I think this post must begin with a disclaimer. For those that know us well, you will appreciate that we are not the "normal" or "average" tourists, whatever that means. We aren't much for suntanning on a beach, drinking endless rum beverages at an all inclusive, plus we are pretty cheap. There, it's been said, and now you know, just in case you didn't already ;)
So in planning our jaunt to another Caribbean island to avoid the hassle of getting our driver's licences, we said hello to St. Lucia because flight costs were the lowest we could find. Oh, and the island had some kite surfing from what we could tell from our internet searches.
Out we flew on Dec 28, landing at the south end of the island, which incidentally is the non-touristy coast of St. Lucia. We had booked a rustic sea-side cottage that was about 1/4 of the price of any hotel in the area. The owner, Marianna, promised to picked us up, saying the service was included. We arrived and met Marianna who indicated she had a ride for us and we had to pay the driver $12 USD! It turns out the driver was her husband -- we'll have to check on the definition of "included". Anyway, after the very short drive (a 10 minute walk on a slow day) we arrived at our humble accommodation, I use humble loosely - check the photos. Paul may have commented that we'd never even walk into a neighbourhood like this, let alone stay in it! But our "modest" accommodations were perfectly situated a 10 minute walk to the kite surfing beach and another 10 minutes to town, and 5 meters from the ocean. For those of you with only inland or lake experience, the ocean is ALWAYS wavy and ALWAYS windy. Who knew? We had to wash the salt water from the spray off our sunglasses regularly.
Anyway, so that I don't bore you, our two major highlights of the trip included kitesurf lessons (see Paul's blog), and a hike up Gros Piton - one of the two landmark volcanic mountains of St. Lucia. Despite our best effort to act like locals and take the bus, the hiking experience cost us full tourist prices ($110 US to taxi there and $71 US to hike), it was a good 3 hour round trip trek to an amazing vista of the St. Lucian coast.
Overall this part of the edventure was a bit of a costly learning experience for me about supply and demand. The St. Lucian's have figured out that they can make tourists take taxis, rather than use local transport to their chosen destination. And because lots of cruise ship and all inclusive tourists have the money and are willing to pay, they can charge $71 US to climb a mountain. Brilliant business minds!