adventures · wanderings

No pressure, No problem

That’s the motto down in St. Lucia. We heard it from all the locals and found ourselves even saying it by the end of our week in Paradise. No pressure, no problem. A much better way to live. Don’t stress the small stuff, because really… what’s the point?

After the last crazy 6 months Mr. SweetPea and myself have had, we needed a vacation. Somewhere warm and tropical. Where the hospitality is as warm as the weather and our worries could just melt away with like the condensation from our drink glasses. St. Lucia. She sounds exotic and perfect doesn’t she? Believe me when I say, she didn’t disappoint.

Sunday April 30 – Our day started bright and early, well maybe not so bright as it was raining/lightening when we left home on our way to Toronto. All I could think about was our flight being cancelled because of weather. Shoo shoo clouds! Thankfully flight left only 15 minutes behind schedule. Toronto Pearson International Airport > Hewanorra International Airport.

Our home for the next 7 days was Room 806 at The Sandals Halcyon. Sandals in St. Lucia has 3 properties total, you can stay at one and play at all 3. We picked the Halcyon because it was known for being quaint, relaxing, a garden of Eden. We’re not the parties anymore, so it sounded perfect for us. An added bonus was that it was central to the other 2 properties which meant quick shuttles back and forth when we wanted to leave.

Monday May 1 – We did the orientation first thing this morning, always a good idea in my books as it gives you a good idea of where everything is, and maybe a few things you didn’t even know about. We spent the rest of the morning at the quiet pool. Mr. SweetPea wanted to try out our new full face snorkel masks before heading out in the open water tomorrow. The Paradise Pool was the quiet pool of the 2 on site. Agnes working the bar was a gem <3.

The afternoon we headed down to the beach. The sand might not be white (Oh Sandals and your photoshopped adverts), but it’s soft and the water was warm. We knew coming here that the beaches aren’t the most beautiful in the Caribbean, but that’s not why we came. Plus, does the colour of the sand really matter that much? After soaking up some sun and kicking around in the water, we headed over to the waterspouts department. Here you could take out Hobbycats, kayaks, standup paddle boards, waterski, and sign up for snorkelling trips with the resort.RIMG0563

We took out a kayak this afternoon and booted around. A lot of fun and a great upper body workout. Have to burn off all those Pina Colada’s we’ve been drinking 😉 The colour of the water got more that gorgeous aqua blue shade the further out you got.

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The sunset happens early and quickly here. By 6:20, it’s gone. We hustled to catch this one before dinner. Could def get used to this view.

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It was a Caribbean Carnival style party after dinner. They had “St. Lucia’s Mystic Rhythms Fire Eating and Limbo Dancers” as the entertainment. You could smell the fuel and feel the heat. It was incredible. I’m still in awe of what they were able to do. After the performance was over, they had a live band to dance the night away. 🙂

Tuesday May 2 – It was an earlier start to the day as we were going out for a snorkel trip. It’s really convenient the way the resort handles it, you sign up ahead of time at the sports desk, and the shuttle comes and picks you up at the lobby. They had trips at 10:20 am, and 2:20 pm everyday.

It was only a 5 minute boat ride out to the side from the marina. We had some divers on the board as well, and they dropped them off first and then brought us snorkelers closer to shore. We were brought to a place called “Honeymoon Reef”. It’s actually right by the rock arch that was in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and we were able to swim through it. The reefs themselves were not as colourful here as other places we have been. But it still had a lot of life and things to look at. We were in the water for a good 30 minutes before the Captain signalled us to get back to the boat.

This afternoon we made a trip to one of the other properties: The Sandals Grande. When you get there, you totally understand why they gave it this name. First of all it’s much bigger than our resort, and secondly, it’s decorated very ornately and over the top.

The beach is also much bigger and has white sand and clear waters. Very beautiful. We grabbed some drinks and a couple loungers and enjoyed the sun.RIMG0597

We also spent some time in these floats anchored into the water and sipped on our blue Hawaiians. Life is good.

We caught the 6pm shuttle and headed back to the Halcyon for the rest of the night. Dinner was at Soy Sushi bar. The cocktails were made with Sake and dangerously tasty. We shared a couple rolls and then headed for dinner. You honestly could 24/7 on this resort. 😛

The entertainment tonight was a county/cowboy theme soooo, we opted to grab some drinks and spend some time by one of the fire pits instead 😛IMG_3364

Mr. SweetPea enjoying a cigar he brought from home. Me? I just enjoyed the view and the fire. We had an early start again tomorrow, so an early night to bed.

Wednesday May 3 – The beaches in St. Lucia are all public. That doesn’t bother me, but it does mean that you will get offered a variety of things while on the beach. On Monday we met a man named Julien and he ended up selling us a Land and Sea tour for today. It hit most of the places we wanted to see while we were here, it was a good price and we are helping the local economy. Plus who doesn’t want a little adventure right?

The pick up was supposed to be right on the beach by boat, but the waves were pretty strong, so Julien made a quick phone call and got us on a shuttle to the marina instead. I was quite happy to see safety first. Another thing we liked about this tour, they limited the number of people on the group, so the boat wasn’t ram jammed full.

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A quick ride from the marina, we ended up at our first stop of the day, “Marigot Bay”. The inland potion of the bay actually serves as a shelter point for boats during a hurricane.  It was the setting for the 1967 film “Doctor Dolittle” and really just a very pretty point to stop and stretch our legs while the boat refuelled.

Next stop “Soufriere”, the original Capital of the island founded by the French. We walked around the city for a little bit before catching our shuttle to the Sulphur Springs. Nothing like the smell of rotten eggs first thing in the morning. Haha, it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, but you can smell it from pretty far away.

The mud bath part of this was pretty hectic. Lots of people and little to no organization. No pressure, no problem though… it all worked out. First you get in the hot spring and soak. Now when I say hot, I mean hot. Like hottest hot tub I’ve ever been in hot. RIMG0623

Then comes the fun part as you scoop handfuls of the warm mud onto your significant other. We were told to wear dark coloured bathing suits as the mud can be difficult to get out.

Photo op, and then back in the pool to clean it all off. You are left with extremely soft skin and a little more relaxed.

After drying off, we walked over to check out the dormant volcano. It’s known as the worlds only ‘drive-in crater’. You can see pools of boiling, steaming mud. It was pretty cool. RIMG0646

We clearly had worked up an appetite from all this hard work :P. Lunch was served at Julien’s Auntie’s place. Traditional homecooking, made with pride. It was simple, but delicious. The group all sat at a table and passed plates of potato, pasta, rice, veggies, fried plantain (my favourite), fish and chicken around. So. Much. Food. One of the highlights of this excursion for sure.

After lunch it was a quick drive to our next stop: “Toraille Waterfall”.RIMG0690

The water was brisk, so very refreshing after being in the sun. We were able to walk into the natural pool and get right under the fall. It came down hard on your head!

After the waterfall, we shuttled back to Soufriere and got back on our boat. IMG_3437

The boat took us right up to the largest bat cave on the island. You could hear them before you got close to it all. You could see them too as we got closer, there were thousands!

We then made it to the most beautiful site on the entire island, the Pitons!IMG_3423

Locals call them the ‘breasts of the Caribbean’ haha! Really they are very lush green mountains that a site to see. IMG_3444

The boat docked between Petite and Gros Piton for us to get out and enjoy the beach or snorkel in the marine reserve. We of course opted for the snorkelling and were not disappointed. The reefs were just full of activity. So much to look at. It was also kind of surreal when you poked your head up and saw the Pitons looming overhead. RIMG0725RIMG0709

On the way back, the guides busted out the rum punch, and the banana moonshine (which was delicious!) and we rode back to the resort. They were able to drop us off right at the beach. Such an amazing day out.. well really half day because we were back by 3ish. Still lots of time to relax.

I should also mention how stunning all the gardens were on the resort. The property was incredibly lush. All of my favourites like hibiscus, and plumeria. As well as some that only smelled at night. IMG_2152

There were also plenty of kitty hosts<3.  They were there to help control the pest population, but they seemed to spend most of their time looking cute and hoping for scraps or getting their head scratched. We liked having them as they filled the void of our cats we were missing at home.

For dinner tonight, we originally were planning on going over to the Grande, but an error on shuttle times (my fault entirely… who keeps proper track of time while on holiday?:P), we ended up visiting the third property La Toc. It’s also a very spectacular property with amazing views as it’s built up into the hills. We sat on a patio and dined while listening to the waves crashing on the beach.

Thursday May 4 – Today was a perfect lazy day. It started off with a bit of rain, but quickly cleared up. It actually rained almost every day we were there. It just rains for 5 minutes like crazy, and then clears up. IMG_2134

After lunch we decided to go check out the watersports. RIMG0728

There was a hobbycat available and after a quick lesson, we were sent on our way. Captain SweetPea was a natural. We lost wind a couple times, but I’m proud to say he kept us upright and we didn’t sink or capsize! It was a lot of fun and I was surprised how fast you can get going on one. We both said it’s something we would like to do again. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach and in the sea.

We decided to have dinner over at La Toc again tonight.DSCF8551

We arrived early and had a table right by the water. The restaurant was all open, just a roof, no walls and positioned up a little higher than the beach. It made for some amazing views of the sun setting and a very romantic night.

After dinner, we had some drinks and listened to the singer they had in the main lobby area before taking the shuttle back to our resort.

When we got back to Halcyon, the entertainment for the local St Lucia night had already started. The band was really good, and the girl who was getting us our drinks even got up to sing. There are a crazy amount of talented people working here. And they seem to be encouraged to have fun. Even the general manager of the property was dancing.

A couple local vendors were set up on the terrace today and this evening. We ended up buying a piece of art from one made from the Calabash fruit. He drilled out the hard shell and made it into a night light with hibiscus and hummingbirds. It’s really quite pretty.

After enjoying the music and some drinks, we took a dip in the hot tub before heading to bed.

Friday May 5 – We had a lazy start to the day, even though we had a lot planned. We just had to catch the shuttle over to the Grande by 11am.

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Once we arrived we met back up with a local woodcarving artist named Lalo who we had met earlier in the week. He makes some very unique pieces to sell. Mr. SweetPea asked if he could make me an owl. He came through and carved it out of white cedar that grows all over the island. Love it ❤ And I love how genuinely nice all the locals we met were. No pressure, no problem… can you feel it?

We walked out past the resort to Pigeon Island National Park. They were actually starting to set up for the Jazz festival that takes place the following weekend. DSCF8569

Once you started up the path, it was full of trees and ruins from the days of the English/French battles. DSCF8574

Inside the musket redoubt looking up at Fort Rodney. IMG_3543

Making our way up the steep hike to the peak of Pigeon Island.

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The views from the top were def worth the hike. On the left is the Atlantic Ocean and on the right is the Caribbean Sea. IMG_3555

Feeling on top of the world. We could even see Martinique from where we were standing. DSCF8593

We made our way back down, and then back up to the actual Fort.DSCF8599

Looking back out to where we just came. From the flag pole at the top of the grass clearing in the middle, it was another 15 minutes up to the top peak.IMG_3570

Inside Fort Rodney with more lovely views. It was wild to find out how they brought the cannons up from their ships to the Fort. It was also sad to learn that when the Admiral George Rodney took over the island, he got rid of all the natives, cut down all the trees for clear viewpoints, before the Fort was built. IMG_3590IMG_3583

There were a few other ruins scattered around the island including the Officer’s Kitchen.

Once we finished the hike, we headed back to the Grande. We clearly had worked up a sweat and needed some refreshments 😉 After lunch, we changed and hit the beach to soak up some more of the Caribbean sunshine. IMG_3598RIMG0789

A small detail I loved about the Sandals resorts, everything was built for 2. No matter if it was a chair, a couch, a float or a swing, it was meant to be shared ❤ IMG_3617

You really had to watch out for the sand crabs on this beach. They were clear and blended in with the white sand. Their little black eyes were the only thing that really gave them away. IMG_3612

We ended up staying at this property to watch the sunset.IMG_3615

With a front row view like this, I think you can see why…IMG_3622

It was ‘White Night’ at our resort… just meant people wore white if they had it. Which was kind of silly since they had a chocolate buffet as part of the evenings celebrations 😛 After dinner we stuck around to watch the Lover’s Game (a knock off of the newlywed show). Some of the answers had everyone dying with laughter. It was good fun. We played some pool, had a few drinks and relaxed at the hottub again before bed. We could get used to this.

Saturday May 7RIMG0823We decided to do the Sandals snorkel trip again this morning. They took us back out to the Honeymoon Reef that we had visited on Tuesday. At first Mr. SweetPea and I were kind of disappointed by that, thinking it was going to be the same. Oh how wrong we were! They dropped us off a little further out than before and the reef was much better and much more to see. There were also little jelly fish I may or may not have screamed in my snorkel mask when I saw them. They were tiny and we were told after that they are harmless and don’t sting. Would have been better to know that before I saw them 😛 I’m still glad I was avoiding them like the plague. RIMG0853

Snorkel selfies. These full face style snorkel masks are amazeballs by the way! Highly recommend.

When we got back to the resort, we had lunch and wanted to spend more time at the beach… but the waves were pretty strong and the red flag was up. Better to be safe than sorry, so we spent the afternoon working on our tans by the quiet pool.

Tonight we had our mini photo shoot with the resort photographer. You could pick if you wanted a day session in the water or in the gardens, or one with the sunset. We decided on the sunset and couldn’t be happier with the choice. We lucked out and had one of the most fiery sunsets of the week.800656025

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After photo’s we headed back over to Soy for a Sushi appetizer and a drink (I really wanted another Dragon’s Punch). Then over to Kelly’s (the restaurant over the water), for our last dinner on the island. The food was delicious, we had the Piano man for some entertainment. He honestly had the most contagious laugh ever. 😀

We spent the last night around a fire pit enjoying the warm tropical breeze, some drinks and lovely company ❤

Sunday May 8 – Last day on the island. We slept in, had a lazy breakfast. We packed up most of our stuff last night so we would be able to enjoy the last few hours outdoors at a cabana before the shuttles came to take us to the airport. Just soaking it all in…IMG_2157

The shuttle came around 11:30am. It was quite the drive back. Now we had already made it here and were prepared for the hills and the hairpin turns and the winding roads. IMG_2197However, I was not prepared for our little red van. I honestly think they didn’t have enough shuttles for everyone that was leaving at the same time, and someone called a friend who just happened to have a fan and could take us. How we made it without the engine blowing up while climbing the mountain into the rain forest, I’ll never know. We almost got rear ended twice (that I was aware of), and passed by everyone. Little red van, I hope you got some good oil and gas after getting us there in one piece. 😛

The airport itself was also insane when we got there because of the amount of people. 4 flights were leaving before us, so there was nowhere to sit or stand at first. Luckily we were able to score a table for 2 upstairs and slowly the crowd diminished. We snacked and played Scrabble. IMG_2198

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WestJet 2627 bound for Toronto. We landed ahead of schedule, grabbed our luggage and cleared customs. Picked up our car, got gas, and an obligatory stop at Timmie’s before we hit the road.

After a very long day, we were back home. Happy to be safe and see our kitties, but also sad to have left an island paradise in the south.

Leaving home makes you appreciate what you have, puts material things into perspective. It also makes you richer for the experience and it has a lovely habit of bringing Mr. SweetPea and I closer together. I’m grateful for having such a lovely travel partner. ❤

Saint Lucia, you are more amazing than I ever have thought you could be. No pressure, no problem. Ya Mon.

 

 

 

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