Everything’s Better with a Beach

Several years ago, we had the opportunity to attend a special event in St. Lucia.  We’d always wanted to vacation on a Caribbean island, so it seemed like a good time to go.

I’m not usually one to stay in resorts.  I prefer an experience that is less homogenized.  However, having been to Jamaica once for a work conference (yeah, I know) and having been warned not to go “off the reservation” without an appropriate escort due to issues with crime outside the resorts (I was always suspicious the risks were exaggerated to keep unsuspecting business women from taking their American dollars elsewhere), staying a resort eliminated concerns about crime.  To be fair, I didn’t do much research about St. Lucia because we were meeting a group at a resort.

I’m glad we had the resort experience.  Now I know what I’ve been missing.  It was exactly what I expected it to be–predictable, uninspired, stripped of virtually all local culture, and overall less than what it should be for the prices they charge.  It’s like going to Italy and eating at McDonald’s.

That said, who can complain about being on a gorgeous island at a luxurious resort in the middle of the Caribbean?

Small islands with a large number of inhabitants are probably not the best place to do things like backpacking.  But quite honestly, I wouldn’t know since we only walked around outside the resort once.

We saw quite a bit of the island from the back of the airport shuttle, winding around tight mountain turns to the point that I got motion sickness for the first time in my life.  Interestingly, having never been motion sick before, I interpreted the nausea I was experiencing as been intense hunger.  Maybe that’s what kept me from throwing up?

We also got a peek of the island when we went SCUBA diving.  We were shuttled to the port and then taken out to sea to dive.  I had never been diving before and only had a resort certification to dive only to 20 feet.  Unfortunately, I didn’t learn how to properly equalize and my head felt like it was going to explode.  After the first painful minutes, I finally took a deep breath and relaxed.  The pain subsided and I was truly excited.  Then, I realized all the other divers were swimming below me.  I decided to look up to see how far down I was.  When I raised my head, it popped out of the water.  I probably should have just stuck to snorkeling.

Besides the great group of people we were with and the fun we had celebrating with them, the best part of the trip was the beach.  I signed up for a yoga class on the beach one day.  That might have been the highlight of the trip–no one else signed up.  I got a private yoga lesson in a gazebo on the beach, witnessed by the rising sun and the cool sea breeze.

*Note:  Images starting with “img” are mine.  The rest were from members of the group.