|Bay Gardens Resort, From June 2010|
We have been back a week now… Our end-of vacation emotions have bordered on sad. I will admit that most vacations come to a point where you are ready to get back to some normalcy. It can get monotonous to be far away from home… Limited on clothing, gear, food etc…
Not with this trip. Actually. Ang and I agreed that this trip was probably one of the most relaxing vacations we have taken… EVER! The hardest decision every day was limited to “Should we go to the pool or the beach first today?” That was really the conversation we had most days! We had a few excursions around the island. But we mostly stuck close to our little beach on the north-west tip of the island.
|Gros Islet beach, from June 2010|
People have been asking me, “why St. Lucia?”
Let me go back to the planning. I had told Ang that I wanted to do a big vacation this year. We seem to do this every 2 or 3 years. Have a mega blow-out trip. This would be the first time out of the country for the kids, so I had to take their interest into consideration.
My first thought had been Hawaii. It has volcano’s… Beaches… Battleships… Jungles… You name it! After exploring the options of Hawaiian travel… It became clear that seeing these things once you get there is gonna cost a lot of money. Inter-island travel looks to be expensive and time consuming. Things that I don’t want to have to worry about on a vacation.
|The Pitons, From June 2010|
I have no idea why, but I checked out a site called cheapcarribean.com. Hey… This is starting to look pretty cheap! I played with that site for a few days. Then realized that I do not know nearly enough about where any of these islands are in respect to each other.
You have many things to consider.
- First was language. Primarily English would be good.
- Whats the weather like, on and off of season. Average temps.
- What is there to do on the island? Are you stuck with nothing more than beach? That could suck for us. What if it rains? I am not spending a week in a room with these kids. I had to have a place with other things to do than the beach.
- Crime. You really have to consider this when you research some islands. Are you scared to walk down the street?
- Culture and cuisine. Are you stuck on an isolated area of the island? Or are you within walking distance to shopping and restaurants?
- Getting around. Would I be able to go everywhere easily. Should I rent a car?
- All inclusive or ala carte? That was a biggie. I have noticed that most people who stay at all inclusive resorts tend to stay on the hotel property. That could be OK if the food is good. But what if its all American cuisine with limited local fare? Screw that! We did not fly 4000 miles to eat a cheeseburger!
I’m sure there are more items to think about… But those seemed kinda obvious.
With all of these questions floating in my head… It was obvious that shopping for great prices on Cheap Caribbean would be useless if I did not know what was our ideal island. I ran out to Borders one day and bought Frommer’s Caribbean 2010 guide.
|From May 2010|
That was a great 20 bucks spent. Maps and reviews of all the islands. Details that broke down all my questions above. They even had decent reviews of restaurants and hotels. Before bed every night I was reading about each island and what they have to offer. Then, if I wanted more detail, I would run to the computer and verify and inspect what they were saying. Even going so far to watch peoples cell phone videos on You Tube! I have to admit to geeking out on the travel research.
Everything I was reading led me to St. Lucia. It was a mix of natural beauty, touristy attractions, and decently priced kid-friendly resorts.
After figuring out where we were going. It became a game of checking all the websites for reservations and cheap flights. When it was all said and done… We ended up booking our trip on Travel.Yahoo.Com. (Travelocity). I was happy that I was able to book a resort that I had read about in the Frommers guide. It made me feel more comfortable about not landing at an unsavory property.
To be continued!