What we did
Basically the only things not included were the extras, like the excursions. Thanks to the great suggestions here, we had decided to use Honeyfund as a registry for our wedding gifts, and the excursions were part of these. Thank you to all of our great family and friends who made them possible, we had a blast!
Now C is a "relax on the beach" kind of guy and I am a "can't sit down" kind of girl, so we compromised by having one day of relaxing and then a day or half-day of activities.
Our first excursion was a trip out to the coast to the whales and dolphins. It was a beautiful day and we saw all kinds of beautiful scenery as we floated along the coastline.
Just as I was starting to get worried that the whole trip was a scam - ie did they really have an 85% success rate or was that just a gimmick to get our money?? - we saw a whole bunch of these little guys swim under our boat:
We had lunch at the beautiful Marigot Bay and visited the resort where the original Dr Doolittle was filmed. This particular bay is known as a haven on the island because it's a double bay, ie on a windy day as you can see above, the waves are spectacular but they break on the first bay, leaving the second bay calm as can be. Which is why during hurricane season many boats come to dock there.
|See that rope? I'm trying to shake the tree and pull down a coconut!|
As a side note, Marigot Bay was also a favorite hideout of the Brits during their many battles with the French because the masts of their boats were hidden by the palm trees on the first bay, so they could just hang out there unseen until the French boats passed.
|Marigot bay seen from above|
Even though this excursion was to see the volcano, since it was on the other end of the island from our resort, we also saw a ton of other stuff along the way. We saw the beautiful Marigot Bay above, we stopped to get fresh coconut milk from a street vendor and we saw a guy with an 8-foot boa constrictor. And all along the way, our guide was telling us about the history of the island and each little town we passed.
Milkjam!). Again, we had a really interesting time learning about the history of the island, and how it was prized for its sugar cane and tropical fruits. The above picture was of some of the local fruits, and we also got to try a cocoa nut - so different than what I was expecting (and slimy).
We also drove through a banana plantation - did you know that banana trees only produced one time and then they die? I had no idea. It turns out it's a great crop for the St Lucians because that means they have trees at different stages of the growth cycle all year-round and thus have a continuous source of income. Plus if ever there's a disease, they don't loose all of their crop.
|Sugar cane processing à l'ancienne|
Afterwards, we all needed some fresh air, so they took us out to the rain forest to look at some of the beautiful tropical plants:
We also had several resort activities planned. Like I mentioned, my brother got us a candle-light dinner on the beach. It was a ton of fun, and very romantic - here they are setting up the table:
So not too bad for eight days and seven nights, huh? I really enjoyed myself in St Lucia - I didn't want to just be one of those tourists who goes to an island and then never leaves the resort, and I feel like the different trips we took really gave us a feel for the place and allowed us to learn so much about its history. The St Lucians were so friendly every where we went and many were just willing to talk and share - it wasn't at all like in Egypt or Tunisia where they are constantly harassing you. Sure everyone has something to sell here, but if you're not interested, you just say no politely and then you can just keep chatting with them no big deal.
There were also people at the edge of the resorts hawking other excursions and jet skiing, but we didn't try any of those. But again they weren't pushy at all, and I did see a lot of people recommending using them on TripAdvisor.
Hopefully this series has been useful for those considering a holiday in the Caribbean and/or an all-inclusive resort. We had a great time, I would definitely recommend Saint Lucia as a vacation destination if you're looking for a tropical island getaway!