Warning! The following post will contain blurry, low quality photos and me with way too blonde hair.
The first real trip I did completely alone, was back in 2008 when I was still living in the Dominican Republic. I had just decided to move back to Norway, and I realized that after living in the Caribbean for three years, I had never set my foot outside the island (besides a few layovers in the US when going to Norway), and I decided to do something about it. After a bit of research, I found out that the small volcanic island of Saint Lucia in the Lesser Antilles, was the perfect destination for traveling alone as a girl. In what seemed like a few hours after getting my “revelation”, I booked plane tickets and a small cottage down at the beach near the southern town of Vieux-Fort.
Saint Lucia is a famous honeymoon destination, and it’s not hard to see why; it’s one of the most romantic places I’ve been (my photos won’t reflect that though since I went alone). One of the first thing I noticed when driving across the island from the airport to get down south, was how clean and green everything was. I felt like all the pollution from Santo Domingo was drawn from my lungs.
St. Lucia is so much more than beach and sun, and you should really take the time to travel around the island. Here you can find rainforests, national reserves, a volcano, and of course, the landmark of Saint Lucia; the two twin peaks “The Pitons”. I would have loved to hike there, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the time. Although I didn’t get to see as much of the island as I would have loved to, I did get to travel around a bit. Besides the places I’ll mention more in details, I also went to Castries, the capital, which is mainly focused around the cruise ship industry with a huge Duty Free mall down by the harbour.
The town of Vieux-Fort is basically an industrial port with a population of aprox. 4,500. The surrounding area is also called Vieux-Fort, and the cottage I booked was around 40 minutes walking distance from the town. The town, in my opinion, didn’t have anything special about it. It even seemed a bit sketchy in some areas. However, the area Vieux-Fort is charming and raw, and still haven’t suffered the consequences of mass tourism. I had the beach practically to myself most of the time. I stayed on the Atlantic side, where the winds are very strong, so this means that it’s very popular to practice kite- and windsurfing, and these were the only tourists I saw around the area I was staying. (This also means that I was constantly covered in sand from trying to sunbathe.)
The cottage that was my humble home for five days was booked through responsibletravel.com, however they no longer offer this accommodation. What I enjoyed the most was that it was directly by the ocean, so I could hear the waves crashing in while laying in bed at night. Bliss.
Up along the East coast there are many deserted beaches that can be tricky to access. I was so lucky to see a few of them when I took a horseback ride up the coast with a horse from a local stable. The nature was so wild and so beautiful. It was an experience I’ll never forget, mostly because my horse was crazy, but I won’t get into that.
My favorite part of my trip, however, was visiting the volcano in Soufrière, which actually is a drive-in volcano, see the breathtaking views, and bathe in the Sulphur Springs. On the way up I passed by some gorgeous resorts in the hill with open rooms… Gosh.. You can see for yourself here.
You cannot visit Saint Lucia without going to the sulphur springs. The water in the “pool” comes directly from the volcano, so it’s really warm and full of minerals. That explains the color of the water. My skin has never been as smooth as after the trip to this natural spa, and I was so relaxed. Aaaa.
In the same region you can also find the Diamond Falls Botanical Garden with lots of flowers and this beautiful waterfall. They have hot springs there as well, distributed into various pools.
Rodney Bay is in the north of the island where most of the big resorts are. Beautiful, but an excellent example of how the mass tourism can make a town in the Caribbean seem exactly like one in Asia. I was there five minutes. I took this photo and left.
Marigot Bay is a bay on the west side of the island with several luxury hotels, and is known for being very beautiful. Beautiful indeed, but I found that there were way too many boats, and the tiny piece of beach was quickly crowded. Fun fact: Parts of the movie “Doctor Dolittle” from 1967 was filmed here.
- Rent a car! There are so many things to see, and many of the things are not easily accessible by public transportation. The few days I stayed, I hired a taxi to take me around the island, but if you’re staying longer it can get pricy and it’s really not the best option. In Saint Lucia they drive on the left side of the road, so be careful!
- Bring your sneakers! Please, do not go there just to lie on a beach. If I were the island, I would get very offended. Hike, see, explore… and then, lay on the beach. ;)
- Is it safe for women to travel alone to Saint Lucia? Yes, I would say so. I had no problems whatsoever while staying there. I didn’t go out after dark, but that was because where I stayed was very secluded. If you stay somewhere more touristic and more lively, I would imagine that wouldn’t be a problem at all. It’s a safe country, but of course, take precautions like you would in any other countries.
P.S: I went in January 2008, so things may have changed since then. My memory can sometimes deceive me as well. Maybe if I went today I would have a completely different opinion, but this is how I remember it.