Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Travel Diary: St. Lucia

Since travel never goes out of style, I have decided to share some of my travel diaries with you. Over the last couple of years, my husband and I committed to traveling as much as possible. One of the first adventures we shared together was our honeymoon in St. Lucia. St. Lucia is a magical destination, and is the quintessential "relaxation station." There are plenty of activities, entertainment, and adventures to embark on; however, also doing "nothing" can be just as fun. Along the way, we met some amazing people, whom we have continued to keep in touch with today. There is something to be said about the people and the culture of those who live in St. Lucia; the hospitality, friendliness, and level of comfort you feel with each has not been matched in any other location we have traveled to.

We decided to be adventurous, and stayed in the three walled rooms at The Ladera Resort. We were definitely not disappointed. The rooms are beautiful, and are all a great size. We read in a few reviews before visiting, that upon arrival at the resort, if you simply ask for an upgrade, they will do their best to accommodate, and this was proven to be true. The first room we arrived in was beautiful and perfect, but we decided to go for it and ased for a bigger room, and the staff was more than happy to oblige, where else can you get that kind of treatment?! Each room comes standard with a private pool, stocked kitchen, and net-covered beds. Every room has a full frontal view of the beautiful forest, Piton Mountains, and ocean. No complaints here! No wonder this resort is listed in Oprah's top places to visit! (Helpful hint: three walls equals easy access for nature's friendliest-miniature creatures, have the room bug sprayed daily and the mosquitoes WILL stay out, keep the staff-provided water guns handy and the birds will leave you alone, and be open the world's cutest, tiniest, 1 inch frogs possibly hopping in on your party - they are cute and harmless, to do not be frightened!)

The food in St. Lucia was phenomenal. It is a perfect combination of French inspired, island cuisine (think jerk chicken, mixed with pasta dishes). We were fortunate enough to stay at Ladera while the world famous Chef Orlando was still head of the kitchen. His daily menu and hospitality was unreal. Chef Orlando has since left Ladera to open his own restaurant, "Orlando's," so we are thankful to have had the pleasure to meet him and eat his daily meals. What a pleasure!

Along with Chef Orlando, the restaurant at Ladera was staffed with some of the most incredible people that we have had the opportunity to meet. We quickly became friends with one of the servers and bartenders, and are still friends, and keep in touch with them to this day.

The people, the food, and now... the beaches! No words can describe the beauty. Clear water, soft sand, waiters and staff on hand, and incredible views. It doesn't get much better than that!

Although we went with intentions of doing nothing at all, some of the adventures we embarked on have since been placed in my Top 10 experiences.

First, boat ride with locals to the Friday Night Fish Fry in Anse La Raye (a MUST!). Locals set up shop in front of their houses lined up and down the street, where they cook freshly delivered sea food and home made cocktails! There are tons of local vendors selling hand-made items, and locals playing music up and down the street.

Second, a day of sailing on a personal sail boat... the peaceful ocean, wonderful views, and the chance to chat with the captain of the boat about the wonderful experiences he has had at sea.

Fourth, snorkeling! But don't forget your underwater camera like we did!

The experience, the memories, and the beauty of St. Lucia will be with us for a life time. It was my first "out of the country" experience, and still remains my favorite and our most recommended vacation spot to this day.

Warm wishes and love,