We’ve had mixed success navigating Caribbean islands in the past. In some cases (such as Dominica and Curacao) we wanted to spend a few days at various points on the island, so a car was the most practical way to do that. On shorter trips like Barbados, we would have been better off taking a shuttle to and from the airport and, perhaps, taking a tour or taxi if we felt like it.
St Lucia was a bit of a mixed bag. Between the frustrating car rental process* and difficulty in finding specific locations on the island (some missing/closed due to the November hurricane damage, and also poor signage), I almost would have preferred just sitting on the beach with a beer in a shady lounge chair for two days.
You never know what mood you are going to be in on a trip like this… normally we are ready to drive around and explore but both of us have been very busy with work lately and needed some time off with a good book in a hammock on the beach. The palm-shaded beach didn’t make it easy to get in motion, but we managed to spend 1.5 days making it to the few locations that were signposted.
Frustratingly, the map we received from the rental agency was probably the worst map we’ve had in the Caribbean, making it hard to explore away from the main tourist attractions as we generally prefer. On the positive side, the main roads were in surprisingly smooth and in good shape. The hurricane-induced landslides had been cleared to the sides in all but one small section. Also, St. Lucian drivers tended to be quite polite, with less tailing compared to Barbados.
our snorkeling spot off Anse Chastanet Beach near Soufriere
the defining feature of St. Lucia – the Pitons
interior parts of St. Lucia are very jungle-like – the Diamond gardens, for example
Latille Waterfall on the east coast
looking north toward the Pitons from Moule-a-Chique
What we did manage to see of the island was very lovely and ultimately I’m glad we did get to see beyond the gates of our resort. We would definitely go back to the island, probably to one of the small hotels along the west coast, and plan some pure beach time too.
* There was no one at the Budget counter for well over 20 minutes so finally the Avis folks in the next kiosk took pity on us and tracked our guy down. It then took another 20 minutes to get a temporary license and wait for him to get the car. When he pulled up, a random woman he picked up from outside the airport got out. Nice.