|(View of Petit Piton from Tet Paul Trail)|
Over the long holiday weekend I was lucky to spend a few days visiting my mom on the beautiful island of St. Lucia. This was my fifth trip (I can’t believe I’ve been there so many times already!) to the island and each time I discover something new. This trip was short, just five days and only three full days yet I was able to relax and rejuvenate before heading back to work and the start of fall weather in Chicago.
| Day 1 – Getting There (It’s half the fun right?) |
Flying from Chicago via Miami I thought my flight would be cancelled due to the hurricane passing through the southeastern part of the US. Our plane only took a minor detour to avoid it but because of this detour I barely made it to my connecting flight. Sprinting through Miami Airport at 8am wasn’t my ideal choice of exercise for the day but at least I made my flight. As my plane landed at Hewanorra airport in Vieux Fort, St Lucia I was greeted by the two majestic Pitons at the southern tip of the island. Stepping off the plane and taking in the fresh humid air always makes me feel better have hours of traveling.
Before dinner I hopped into the pool for a quick swim with my new pool accessory, a giant pineapple float and relaxed in the late afternoon sun. To celebrate my first night on the island we had dinner under the evening stars at the Naked Fisherman’s restaurant. This intimate and cozy restaurant is steps away from the Caribbean Sea and tucked away in a lagoon below the CapMaison Luxury Resort and Spa. I ordered the catch of the day, Mahi Mahi with a glass of wine. Each bit was savory and filled with bursting Caribbean flavors. For dessert we treated ourselves with the fried banana and ice cream. With only a few tables filled we enjoyed a quiet meal listening to the sounds of the crashing waves.
|(Relaxing on my pineapple float)|
|(Naked Fisherman Restaurant)|
|(My attempt to capture my mahi mahi, lighting wasn't the greatest)|
|(Banana dessert, topped with ice cream and so much other goodness!)|
| Day 2 - Rejuvenating |
Starting the day off with a fruity tropical breakfast I was ready to explore a new part of the island. A short hike from where I was staying is a secret spot with a private beach and the most photogenic palm tree. We spent the morning basking in the Caribbean sun, swimming in the cool waters and snapping a few photos under the palm trees. In the afternoon my mom and I headed to Cap Maison Luxury Resort and Spa for our massage appointments. She had the Swedish massage and I chose the Delicious Lucian scrub. I’ve had several professional massages before but had never tried a scrub. The first part of the scrub began with the masseuse massaging my body using a fruity scrub that at first felt weird and rough but once I got used to the texture it felt amazing. Once she was done I hopped into the shower and rinsed off and returned to the room for the second part of the scrub, moisturizing. Hot oil was poured all over my back, arms and legs to moisturize my skin after scrubbing. It was a relaxing experience and I could feel that my skin was soft for days! If you haven’t gotten a scrub I highly recommend it.
|(Beginning the hike to private beach)|
|(Beautiful atlantic ocean with Caribbean sun)|
|(Along the hike)|
|(Playing around under the palm trees)|
|(Entry to Cap Maison Resort)|
|(Spa we had our massages/scrub)|
After our massages my mom and I headed over to the hotel’s restaurant, The Cliff at Cap. The view was spectacular, looking out at Pigeon Island and the Caribbean Sea I enjoyed a cup of tea spiked with the local rum, Chairman’s Reserve. It was a bit early so the restaurant was only serving their in transit menu meaning only a few choices from the menu were offered. Our meal was small but filling, I had the jerk chicken satay with sweet cane and mango chutney. The sweet yet tangy spices mixed together with chicken and grilled mango were a delicacy. As the sun began to set we finished our meal and decided to stay a bit longer, enjoying the cool ocean breeze and sunset. It was an idyllic end to the day.
|(The Cliff at Cap is to the right, Pigeon Island straight ahead)|
|(The Cliff at Cap)|
|(Mixing in my local rum with tea after our massage/scrub)|
|(Jerk chicken satay with sweet cane and mango chutney)|
|(Table for two watching the sunset at The Cliff at Cap)|
| Day 3 - Wellness Continues |
A trip to the south of the island is a must when visiting St Lucia, especially if you are staying in the north. We woke up to a rainy day but decided to drive south along the Caribbean side. Passing through the fishing villages of Anse la Raye, and Canaries you catch a glimpse of the island life – children riding around on their bikes, elderly women gossiping on the street corners and men coming from the sea with their catch. Once you reach the town of Soufriere you are between the two great Pitons. Having hiked the Gros Piton three times already I wanted to experience something different. The hikes up the Gros Piton are for the advanced hikers but for those who want to enjoy a leisurely hike there is the Tet Paul Nature Trail. A very gradual hike through the gardens a guide introduces you to the many local plants growing around the neighboring hills. We hiked to two panoramic points with breathtaking views of the Pitons and southern tip of the island.
|(Our guide showing us the local plants)|
|(Spike tree found on the island)|
|(Baby pineapple - pineapples grow from these plants on the ground)|
|(Stairs up to one of the views of the island)|
|(View down to the local farming community)|
By lunchtime the rain had stopped so we headed to Fond DouxPlantation Resort for lunch at the Jardin Cacao Restaurant. During the lunch hours several tour groups may stop by the restaurant so they have a buffet set up. Laid out for us was a variety of Creole food: Caribbean rice, mango salad, green bananas and salt fish, mac & cheese and Creole chicken. I happily but together my colorful plate and enjoyed the local cuisine with a glass of rum punch. Our dessert was a slice of gingerbread cake with strawberry ice cream.
|(My colorful plate)|
We ended our day in the south with a visit to the sulfur springs in the Soufriere volcano. The black water pool allows for visitors to soak in the mineral rich pool which is 38.7C (101.6F) and you can scrub yourselves with mud from the volcano. In 1784 King Louis XVI had samples of the mineral water from Sulphur Springs in St Lucia analyzed in France. It was found that the water had similar medicinal properties as the waters of Aix-les-bains (thermal spa town in eastern France). Many say that bathing in the mineral baths in the Sulphur Springs can make a person appear ten years younger. This trip was quickly turning into a wellness adventure for me, from the massage to the mineral baths, I was in heaven =o)
|(Enjoying the mineral waters)|
|(All lathered up in mud from the volcano)|
| Day 4 - Last indulgences |
This was my last full day on the island and I spent the morning lounging around the pool on my pineapple float soaking up the Caribbean sun. The rest of the day I caught up with local friends and stopped at the store to pick up some goodies to bring back (granola, tea, and rum!) My last evening was celebrated at the incredible Jacques Waterfront Dining, one of the restaurants I had not yet been to. We feasted on French inspired foods by the water’s edge, enjoying each other’s company. Compliments of the chef we were brought a delicious sample of a tuna spread on a fresh piece of toast. As a main course I ordered the rack of lamb with a rich herb gravy and brandy sauce paired nicely with a glass of red wine. For dessert I ordered the banana flambe soaked in local rum. Bananas are one of St Lucia’s biggest exports and you always have the freshest bananas when served, so make sure to try anything with a banana =o)
|(Left: My rack of lamb at Jacques; Right: Lounging in the pool)|
|(Jacques Waterfront Dining)|
|(Compliments of the chef - tuna spread on toast)|
| Day 5 - Heading back |
On the way to the airport I made extra time to stop by the Castries market where I always pick up spices from my spice guy, Zach. Filling up a bag of Caribbean spice, rosemary, cocoa sticks and cinnamon sticks I stocked up on some of my favorites to bring back with me. I also bought some of my favorite soaps I like to use because they smell so delicious and have several health benefits. If you are on the island make sure to stop at the market because walking through the market is always an experience, from the fishermen selling fish to the fruit stands and stands filled with souvenirs. Driving back to the south, this time along the Atlantic side I enjoyed my last few moments of tropical paradise. Although this was a short I was thrilled to have seen new parts of the island and discover more places to eat. The island is filled with so many adventures that I may have to come back a few more times =o)
|(Heading into Castries market)|
|(So many spices!)|
Believe it or not but on the way back flying through Miami I had to yet again sprint through the airport so I didn’t miss my plane back to Chicago. Running through that airport is apparently my latest form of exercise.
x the Adventurer