St. Lucia is a beautiful island north of Barbados, only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with the Atlantic Ocean on its East Coast and the Caribbean on its West Coast. St. Lucia was first settled by the Arawak Indians, then followed by the Caribs. Subsequently France and Great Britain competed for control of the island, with Great Britain victorious in 1814 and retaining control of this jewel until the island became independent in 1979 while remaining part of the British Commonwealth. The beautiful town of Soufrière and the Saint Lucian Creole French language are reminders of St. Lucia’s French heritage. The photo above shows the iconic mountains, the Gros Piton and Petit Piton, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a charming village nestled between the mountains and the blue-green Caribbean.
My daughter, granddaughter, and I, for our fifth three-generation trip (see Bermuda and Puerto Rico for descriptions of our earlier trips together), stayed at Coconut Bay in Vieux Fort, five minutes from the airport, an all-inclusive resorted rated tops by Travel and Leisure and receiving glowing reviews in TripAdvisor. Recognizing different preferences, the resort has separate sections for couples and families. A wide range of activities are offered free of charge, including snorkeling, scuba diving, accompanied Segway riding through the 85-acre property (with helmets provided by the resort), kayaking, horseback riding (for an additional fee), as well as water slides and a “lazy river” for buoyant tube rides. Unfortunately when we were there Sargassum seaweed from the north had been swept up on the beach, limiting its appeal, but the resort staff worked diligently to minimize the impact. The seaweed blooms in the Sargasso Sea, located in a two million square mile body of warm water in the North Atlantic ocean. Officials of the fifteen Caribbean nations are working on ways to alleviate this problem.
The meals are imaginative, abundant, and inclusive of healthy options. I partook of the healthy options, with some deviations, and was able to adhere to my weight-loss program and actually lose weight. Cocktails and mocktails are free, as is wine, and there is swim-up access to the bar, one for kids and one for adults. The free drinks are a plus for people who enjoy alcoholic beverages and for kids who love to drink the “bottomless” mocktails. Since I do not enjoy drinking, I would prefer a place where I am not implicitly “subsidizing” those who do, but this is a minor issue in the overall value provided by Coconut Bay. Breakfast includes a tantalizing array of options, including a diverse array of smoothies including a nourishing and delicious “breakfast in a glass” that my granddaughter loved.
Breakfast in a Glass, The World’s Best Smoothie
½ cup Cornflakes
½ cup oats
2 teaspoons local honey (or your favorite honey)
2 ounces yogurt
2 teaspoons condensed milk
2 ounces milk
Ice cubes to taste to make smoothie thick and foamy
Makes one scrumptious 12-ounce serving
Blend at high speed and serve in a glass, and watch people smack their lips.
And in addition to the various restaurants, there is a marvelous Saturday night barbecue in which the chefs compete for honors. At our barbecue, one of the chefs cooked tuna steaks from a 101-pound tuna caught in the local waters that day. The winning chef offered ribs, chicken, and tenderloin. The desserts are over the top, as evidenced by the dessert buffet at the barbecue. Fresh fruit is always available, attractively displayed, as well as bananas in rum sauce. The hotel hosts a craft fair on Tuesdays and Saturdays, where local craftspeople display their wares. A few women specialize in braiding, and my granddaughter had four braids made on each side with her long, flowing hair, held together with charming colored beads, pink, white, and lavender.
Also, though the food was abundant, healthful, and delicious, when we arrived after lunch on the first day after our exhausting eight-hour trip from Boston (via Charlotte, NC) the only food available was at the snack bar. The “world’s most delicious chicken sandwich,” as posted on the wooden menu on the wall, turned out to be quite unappetizing. And nobody directed us to the nearby nachos and salsa or the steaming hot chili bubbling in a pot. Our negative first impression was more than overcome by the meals we thoroughly enjoyed in the main dining room, one of the free restaurant options, Calabash, which serves Caribbean food (where my daughter and I ordered the lollipop lamb chop special and enjoyed four each of these delectable chops), Silk, which serves Chinese food, and Capri, which serves Italian food. We splurged one evening at the elegant, recently opened La Luna restaurant on the beach’s edge overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, which has a surcharge of $39 per adult and $12 per child, and the night we were there offered king crab legs, tenderloin of beef, and roast guinea hens. (When lobster is in season, it is an additional option.) With our private table in a comfortable individual cabana virtually at water’s edge, and the sound of the waves breaking on the beach, we felt very pampered.
I enjoyed a delightful tour along the West Coast with my informative and skillful driver, Al (Nerv’s Auto Service), who pointed out the highlights in Laborie and Choiseul, small fishing villages, as we wended our way along narrow, curvy roads to the beautiful town of Soufrière,the Toraille Waterfall, the iconic
Grand and Petit Piton mountains visible from multiple perspectives, small fishing villages, and local vegetation yielding coffee beans, cocoa beans, mangos, and sour oranges.
For lunch Al took me to the charming Petit Piton Restaurant in Soufrière overlooking the water and the Grand and Petit Pitons, with simple but delicious food. Shrimp abounds in St. Lucia, and their shrimp salad was scrumptious.