A March 2007 trip
to St. Lucia by Hal1026
Quote: St. Lucia is known as the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean thanks to its lush rainforest interiors, along with pristine beaches and offshore waters.
The hotel is located off a side street that diverges from the main north-south road along the western coast of the island. You arrive at the Porte Cochere and you are immediately inside the lobby, which is more like a huge drawing room rather than a reception. In fact, there is no reception desk; instead, you are assigned an "individual host" who helps you out with every single detail of your stay at the property or around the island.
Accommodation: some of the Pool View Rooms look right out onto Coco Palm’s free form swimming pool, and there are six swim-up rooms where guests can open the sliding glass doors of the bedroom and step right into the swimming pool. The style is West Indian colonial and creole. My ground floor room included a desk and mini fridge inside a traditional plantation-style carved wood unit. The bathroom had a luxuriant, walk-in glassed shower, along with a roomy marble top vanity area. But the most unusual design feature had to be the outdoor terrace which led immediately down to an adjacent swimming pool which, in turn, provided fantastic vistas of St. Lucia's rolling, mountainous terrain in the distance. Continental or American-style breakfast at the outdoor covered Ti Kaye restaurant was always a lingering pleasure every morning, while dining here under the stars and listening to the live band was a lively way to start off the evening (or end it).
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 6, 2007
Coco Palm Hotel
Rodney Bay Village
Castries, St. Lucia
My own half-day outing with Hackshaw's began at slightly before eight in the morning when my driver got me to the small dock and reception office of the company at Vigie Marina, near Castries. At eight o'clock on the dot we pushed off in the roomy motorized yacht "Sea Ender", accompanied by two young but very experienced Lucian sailors and angling experts, actually the captain and his assistant. They were responsible not only for the eight guests onboard, but also of course the fishing gear and assisting us day anglers. Our route took us several miles off St. Lucia and the outward bound journey to the fishing grounds took between half an hour to an hour; in fact, the St. Lucian coastline was just a sliver on the horizon by the time our captain decided we had reached deep enough waters. The process for getting everyone into the angler's chair and having a go at fishing was to take turns of about 20-25 minutes for each guest angler, depending on whether you actually got lucky at the end of your session and were able to reel anything in. The available catch in these waters typically include everything from tuna to wahoo, marlin, snapper and, yes, the occasional shark. However, the catch of choice seems to be the tuna or possibly snapper, since these are the most popular to prepare by local cooks. During our particular outing, the first catch came after about 45 minutes, when a large tuna was reeled in. If you have never angled before, be advised that large tuna, wahoo, and other inhabitants of the depths here do put up a considerable effort before they finally land on deck, so you must reel in with equally considerable strength and consistency. The battle may last as long as five minutes, although the effort makes it seem quite longer. Several more large, fine tuna were brought up during our remaining three hours out in these waters.
Hackshaw's Boat Charters provides light refreshments (beer, soft drinks) and chips or other light snacks onboard during your outing. The vessel is covered, but open on the sides to the strong rays of the sun so that sunblock and sunglasses remain a good idea.
Check out their website for more details and description at: www.hackshaws.com
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 27, 2007
Hackshaw's Boat Charters
Castries, St. Lucia
Attraction | "Forestiere Tropical Forest Trail"
Getting to the start of the trail takes some driving skill, as you go up and down some quite steep inland roads that become increasingly less paved. However, once you arrive you will notice the start of the trail by the large sign posted nearby, along with a nearby cottage where the heritage trust people will assign you a guide and work out a route based on your abilities and time. Once you cross over the fencing that bounds the rainforest, you are immediately on a well-cleared path that skirts low gorges and boulders, winding down and then up in gradual descents and ascents that are really not taxing on the legs. Stop along the way and ask your guide anything: mine seemed to know every plant and tree including the few that were not marked by a sign, although most of the notable growth are in fact signed once. Many of these signs bear the Latin name for the tree or plant, then the local St. Lucian "kweole" (creole) name, which often derives from French. My guide pointed out with some pride that there were no less than 188 species of fern within Forestiere, although, in her words, "this was not even the largest rainforest in St. Lucia".
My route did not take in the entire circular journey you can take around the rainforest perimeter, but I did hike in fairly far for about 45 minutes inbound. The rainforest interior envelops you immediately in high old growth that practically filters out most direct sunlight so that you are submerged in a beautiful green-hued twilight. The diversity of the ferns is visible in the variety of their size which ranges from giant species several feet high to small, lichen-like types that spring up between the crevices of rocks along your way. Thick, twisting vines curl their way up the highest trees, some of which have fallen into the lower depths of the rainforest and then become home to more dependent plant life. One of the fascinating things of a hike here, if you are not a biologist used to such facts, is just how interdependent and interconnected the entire spectrum of plant life is within this type of rainforest. At one point, you also pass a small stream that pools near the forest trail, a nice spot for a break to cool off and the water is drinkable. Check ahead for hours to visit, and to arrange a guide. You can check this and other rainforest locations at: www.heritagetoursstlucia.org.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2007
Rain Forest Hike
St. Lucian Rain Forest
Castries, St. Lucia