Saint Lucia rich in history and breathtaking beaches

On the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, Rodney Bay is home to Reduit beach and Pigeon Island National Landmark, an important monument to St Lucia’s history. We had a chance to walk around the historic site recently and were torn between the hilltop ruins of Fort Rodney and a panoramic view of the ocean and coastline where breathtaking photo opportunities are abundant.

Pigeon Island is a 44-acre island reserve just off the north coast of Saint Lucia, connected to the mainland by the construction of a man-made causeway built in 1972. The French, who owned the island in 1778, declared war on the British who retaliated by attacking them in Saint Lucia and capturing the island.

The British then built a Naval Base, heavily fortifying Pigeon Island. From there they were able to monitor the French fleet in Martinique which resulted in the defeat of the French at the Battle of the Saints in 1782.

Today, visitors can tour the grounds that feature ruins of military buildings used during the battles between the French and the British, two beautiful beaches, a restaurant featuring trendy local cuisine with a pub popular with locals and another restaurant with a historical theme. A lookout point at the top of the Fort gives a panoramic view of the Northwest coastline.

%Gallery-142734%Looking in one direction, visitors see what is left of barracks built for soldiers in 1778, weathered by exposure to the elements. In another direction, the ocean beats against the shoreline and can be seen much as those soldiers saw it over 200 years ago.

A trip to Saint Lucia is easy with several major airlines flying directly to the island. Coming from the United States, American Airlines flies daily from Miami and Air Canada does twice-weekly flights from Toronto. Across the pond, British Airways has daily non-stop service between London Gatwick Airport (LGW) and Hewanorra International Airport (UVF).

A few cruise ships stop there too, offering a quick taste of the island, including Seabourn Quest, Carnival Victory, Emerald Princess and Holland America’s Maasdam.

Regardless of how travelers get there, Saint Lucia is a must-see Caribbean island with panoramic vistas and a rich heritage, both of which can be viewed side by side at Rodney Bay.

Photos by Whitney Owen

St. Lucia There & Back Part 7: Sunset Cruisin’ the Carib

Heading out on a sunset cruise filled with couples and hopeless romantics as a single lady has its pluses and minuses… First, I had the honor of being thrown an occasional glance or two by a cuddling couple probably wondering why I’m not cuddling with someone of my own. Second, I had the opportunity to make conversation with the crew members and locals about all the aggravating things tourists tend to ask practically everyday. Third, I got to laugh with the crew members once all the rum punch kicked in and people got wild and wacky on the dance floor, but the fourth part of going single or hitched is watching an incredible sunset while cruising along the bumpy Caribbean waters. In my case there wasn’t a totally awesome sunset to see – the clouds managed to hide quite a bit of the late afternoon rays and sun as a whole, but I knew I was far lucky than someone else out there who wasn’t sipping on Planter’s Punch just taking time for themselves.

I booked my sunset cruise through Solar Tours & Travel with a woman named Thecla Cockrell. It was scheduled in the late afternoon after my morning helicopter tour and she promised it would make for a pleasant ending to an adventuresome day. She couldn’t have been more right. The catamaran we took off on was named the “Spirit of Carnival” and I set up camp on the front left hand side so that whatever bit of sun was left would be in perfect view. I let everything on my mind drift somewhere far out to a distance I could no longer see or imagine what was actually beyond. I watched the waves bump up against the vessel and then I also had to watch for staggering individuals with beverages making their way back to their own post. And when the music changed from reggae to American favorites like Summer Lovin’ from Grease I was invited to dance with someone’s 60 year old husband and boy could he move!

By this point night had charged its way in and the clouds had transformed into the kind that let out showers of liquid sunshine in the daytime and rain in the night. As we pulled back into dock it started drizzling. It couldn’t have been better timing. I don’t think I fancy the idea of being out on a boat in the rain, but that’s just me.

To find out more on booking a Sunset Cruise or other island activities with Solar Tours & Travel they can be reached by phone at 758.452.5898 or by visiting their website, here. Ask for Thecla Cockrell. The two hour sunset cruise on Spirit of Carnival is $45 which includes drinks, small appetizers to feast on and good music with a dance floor to show off your best and worst moves.

St. Lucia There & Back Part 6: Sightseeing by Helicopter

After I took my first aerial tour in Oahu, Hawaii about two years ago I knew I’d want to take more by helicopter on future vacations, so before I departed to St. Lucia I did some research and found that there is one company offering helicopter tours in St. Lucia. Unsurprisingly, they go under the name St. Lucia Helicopters. They offer a number of tours depending on how much you wish to see and how much money you want to drop to see it. For the $155 I decided to spend I could have probably gone over to neighboring island, Martinique, but once more I wanted to see the island I was camping on at another angle. For $155 you get a 30 minute helicopter ride over the entire island. They also offer a quick 10 minute ride over the north side for $70 per person and a 20 minute tour of the south side for $120. If you’re serious about getting great photographs from the sky you should look into their photography tours which can be extremely expensive. Your best bet is what they call the North & South Tour or the one I joined in on.

For my second time in a helicopter the experience itself wasn’t that memorable. This helicopter was a six-seater which was much bigger than the tiny four-seater I had been on in the past, but it also much noisier once we really got started. I couldn’t hear the pilot well enough when he described some of the attractions on the island, but I was pretty aware of what was situated where for the most part. Also, I was riding with two happy vacationing couples and of course everyone wants a front seat. Well as my luck had it I got a window seat in the back as the couples divided up so one could take pictures in the front and the other could snap shots in the back. One of the girls, a slickster, tried tricking me into the middle passenger seat in the back so I wouldn’t be able to provide you with any decent photographs, but I shut her operation down by smiling and kindly stating that I would like a window seat. Move over toots!

With those two things being said I apologize for the lack of captions and also the lack of clarity in some of the photographs. I didn’t get the kind of weather I had hoped for on this adventure out and shooting through a thick helicopter window in the back won’t get you the kind of results you’d like. If you go, fight for a front window seat. Knock a few teeth out if you have to. I’m just kidding. Remember this is paradise or something close to it so sit back and enjoy the ride. Click continue reading to check out the photos from my view above.

St. Lucia Helicopters can be reached by email at or by phone at 758.453.6950.

St. Lucia There & Back Part 3: Rodney Bay Beach

Rodney Bay Beach is like most beautiful tropical beaches and I did what most people do when vacationing near a beach so you can imagine how tough it is for me to divulge every single minute of my wading in crystal clear cool Caribbean waters between working on becoming a golden honey color on the sand. I’d seriously sound like a spoiled hag to sit here and tell you how I sipped on piña coladas and made jokes with the local guys begging for me to join them on one of their jet ski’s while you were more than likely slaving away in some stiff office environment flirting with deadlines and fire-breathing bosses hanging over your back. Then again this could come as a source of inspiration for all of the many Americans who fail to take a little time off from the office. With that being said I will provide you with some Rodney Bay Beach basics.

Rodney Bay doesn’t exactly stretch for miles on end, but for the proximate mile you get you’re bound to be sharing your little piece of paradise with several other vacationing tourists. For the most part the beach isn’t so jam-packed that it can’t accommodate your own beach chair and umbrella, but you can count on making friends. If you happen to be visiting the island single (ladies) all the boys working the beach offering boat rides, parasailing adventures, jet ski rides and the opportunity to see life under water while snorkeling or scuba diving are bound to be a little flirty and offer a discounted rate. If you happen to be a honeymooning couple they’ll offer just the same, but with a little less charm and for full price.
During my stay I actually didn’t spend a huge amount of my time at the beach. Two days is enough for me before I start mixing things up and venturing to other parts of the island. Most people found lazing on the soft sand with a deck of cards, building sand castles and munching on a few snacks for five or more days the only way to do it in Saint Lucia. That too is totally cool. Anything goes really. When I got antsy I took off on a beach photo safari and here is just a little of what I happened to capture between my two days spent relaxing and listening to the sounds of my reggae tunes found in my iPod. Feel free to use these as suggested methods to making the most of your stay or create an adventure of your own.

Should one choose to spring into action and cruise a couple of waves there are tons of options and ways to go for it!

Or you can simply contemplate quitting your job back home and moving to St. Lucia to live peacefully as you walk down the entire stretch of the beach.

Once you reach one end where the sand disappears and the waves begin crashing against the rocks instead you can sit for a moment before walking down to the other end.

When you’ve reached the opposite end you might consider finding a good spot to kick back for a while and drift off for a beach nap.

If you’re too hyped to be in Saint Lucia to sleep you can read the latest and greatest novel on all the book sellers lists.

But when the Fruit Man comes in you should probably get your EC (local currency) ready to buy fresh fruits and juice.

Just be sure you do your part in holding his boat while he slices up your fresh n’ fruity goods or he might just float back into the sea.

If you’ve got a camera in tow and a few filters to play with you can alter the look of your destination by attempting to make it look dreamier. I tried to, but it didn’t quite hit the mark.

Rodney Bay Beach is located on the northern part of the island and is a prime tourist area. There are tons of restaurants, bars, shops, hotels and nightlife to keep almost everyone busy for at least three or four days.

Photo of the Day (3/10/07)

Well I’m back from Saint Lucia and you can expect a trip report to follow once I get a hold of my surroundings. This photo featuring a mysterious lady in a red hat was taken on a sunny yet rainy day in Soufriere, Saint Lucia while touring the town and scenic attractions around the area. It comes from my own photo album and was captured while zooming around in a mini-bus searching for a cheap bite to eat before taking off to head back to Gros Islet.