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Island hideaways

Why seven nights in Saint Lucia is not long enough

Samantha Fowler March 10, 2014

So, you’ve decided to go to Saint Lucia, the next big question you have to decide is for how long.

Saint Lucia as an island is so diverse and has so much to see that most people simply miss out because they didn’t have a few more days to experience more or they’ve underestimated this emerald isle as ‘just another beach destination’. How wrong they are.
As a nation we have become accustomed to monotonous rituals in everyday life - get up, go to work, come home, take care of the children, cook dinner and finally find some time to relax before bed. So it’s no big surprise that for the first couple of nights on your holiday you grab a drink, find that perfect spot on the beach and stay there. I mean, why not? You deserve that time to recuperate.
But by the time day three arrives, your feet have begun to get a little itchy and the kids may want more than just the beach or hotel pool. You may have even enjoyed a couple of the watersports on offer, perhaps an indulgent spa treatment and have sampled some of the best cuisine the hotel has to offer without having to lift a finger. But now, it’s time to venture out, enjoy some romantic excursions and really get stuck into what Saint Lucia has to offer.
With so much to do in Saint Lucia for couples and families, I’ll give you a couple of my top picks for your future trip:
-          You can’t go to Saint Lucia and not see the Pitons. They are the most popular day trip for a reason. These rising peaks are definitely a sight you will want to capture with your camera on a hike or two creating more than a few memories to bring home. It’s only natural that they are part of my list.
-          I’m definitely an inhibited thrill seeker and what better way to see the landscape of this beautiful country than cascading through the rainforest via zip line. There’s a range of places you can do this but I’d recommend one of the newest additions, Morne Coubaril Estate. This old plantation estate offers some of the most spectacular views of Soufriere and the mountains. If you’re less of an adventurer but still want the great views opt for the Rainforest Adventures Arial Tram, this way you can glide up and down the mountainside in an eight seat gondola.
-          For the laid back nature-loving explorer, the Diamond Fall’s Botanical Gardens should be on your hit list. These well maintained gardens offer a sanctuary of peace with an impressive waterfall and mineral baths fed by hot sulphur springs that you can while away the hours in – pure bliss.
The Caribbean as a whole produces some of the best ingredients in the world, from fresh fruits and vegetables to exotic spices, and of course, the cocoa bean. It’s for this very reason the next two activities form the final part of my must-dos.
-          Rabot Estate is the newly formed home of Saint Lucia’s very own Hotel Chocolat, where you can arrange a tour of the estate including the history and processes involved in our nation’s number one sinful treat. In my opinion, the more interesting tour is the ‘Tree to Bean’ but there are two available, so try each one back to back for the ultimate chocolate experience. You can even enjoy a romantic afternoon lunch with a loved one, while you wait for your inclusive chocolate bar to cool.
-          My final hot spot is every woman’s indulgence – shopping. I’m not talking international designer labels you can find anywhere in the world but the more rustic ambience of Castries fruit and vegetable market on a Saturday and the craft market alongside it, which is open Monday to Saturday. Sample the best in local ingredients and buy a few hand-crafted gifts for those back home. I’d recommend the small packages of local spices and cocoa sticks.
Whilst you’re at the market pick up some of the most delicious fruit you will ever experience, and speaking of taste experience, I can’t possibly continue without urging you to try the local cuisine. I’m not talking the ‘local’ menu at the hotel, but a small hidden eatery along the roadside where everything is fresh and mouth-wateringly good. It’s a taste extravaganza that will be worth every penny and perhaps even leaving you wondering how to ask for the recipe.
Notoriously, we look at most holiday deals which already include seven nights, book the time we need off work and make a start on those pre holiday tasks as the countdown begins.  But the question is, why book only seven nights?
With international carriers flying to Saint Lucia on a daily basis, you have the flexibility to go for longer duration for only a little extra cost. I mean, in your standard package price, the bulk of the cost is the flight, which usually stays around the same no matter where your destination. So in the grand scheme of things, why not pay a little bit extra and enjoy the charm of the Caribbean for longer?
All in all, if you’re going to travel that far, you may as well make the most of it and immerse yourself in the real Saint Lucian lifestyle. It’s easy for us to say we have been to the Caribbean but if all you have seen is the perimeter of your hotel, you are really missing out.
So when you ask yourself that all-important question of duration, be sure to at least ask for the price of a longer stay. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised not only by how little extra it costs but also by how much more you get from your idyllic Caribbean getaway.