Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Resort Effect

Sandals Resort, Rodney Bay

St. Lucia is another idyllic Island of the Caribbean. The mountains and hills peak sharply and are very unique. The two tallest peaks are called the Pitons. Petite Piton is smaller and difficult to climb, while the Gross Piton is taller and actually easier! One of our goals is to climb one the pitons during the stay here. 
The sail from Martinique to St. Lucia was excellent. The trade winds blew 10-15 kts, and carried Earthling 25 miles in 4hrs 20 min with only the full Genoa! We caught a Mahi Mahi and didn’t want to be eaten yet and unfortunately it got away as I was bringing it in!  
The Islands in the Caribbean are all different. Some are dependent on Britain, Netherlands, or the U.S, a few are fully controlled by France, and some are independent, like St. Lucia. However, this Island is very dependent on tourism. There are 3 Sandals Resorts and many other hotels. Corporations in the hospitality sector have taken over the island and corrupted St. Lucians with monetarism. The few local people we met have been kind; however, the kindness seemed slightly artificial as the glisten in their eyes indicated the intentions of a reward.
Nico and I were walking on the beach and saw a local standing with a couple of horses! My love for horses pulled me towards them. A young boy ran over, greeted and offered us a horseback ride. “I would love to but  don’t have a budget for that!" I replied. “It’s not expensive, I will give you a local price,” he said. Still knowing that it would be out of the budget, curiosity tickled me to know the price. The local price was 120. The national currency in St. Lucia is Eastern Caribbean Dollars. I thought he said 120EC but no, he meant $120US Dollars ($1=2.7EC). I presented to the young gentleman, that in the past, a 1-2 hrs horseback ride costed anything between $20 to $100 in various places in the world. I wondered what was special about these horses? “They are from St. Lucia!” He replied. After a couple of minutes of conversation, we came to the conclusion that since the tourists have the money, the locals charge them as much as they wish! If a price is asked and somebody is willing to pay it, then that’s the customer’s choice! That’s how they justified it! 
When a place becomes commercialized and corporatism rules, everything becomes more or less artificial. The love you get is based on $$$. In addition, foolish rules and regulations emerge, such as not being able to walk the park after 5pm! Or having to pay an entrance fee to a fenced park close to the resorts that is nothing special.
When you work most of the 12 months and take a vacation for two weeks, you care a bit less about the cost of things as people put a budget aside for traveling. That doesn’t mean that resident of a certain country should take advantage and charge unfair prices. This is a common issue all over the world especially with taxis! Negotiating the price before hands is a must. I haggled the price in advance and still got ripped off while visiting Istanbul a couple of years ago! Furthermore, it is important not to compare other islands to the one being visited!  Locals don’t like to hear about how good, beautiful, or cheap other islands are! Compare it in your mind but don’t make it grounds for negotiation!!
Windward Side

We also got the chance to go for a hike on the northern windward side of St. Lucia with our cruising friends Mike and Rebecca! The windward sides of the Islands are different than the Leeward. They get hit by the trade winds all the time, they are less populated, and the nature is different. It is less lush and green and trees don’t get that tall! One of the highlights of the hike were the 3 dogs that led us and followed us for hours. Moreover, when we were sitting on top of this hill, I got to spot a family of whales jumping out of water! Right now is the mating season for whales and they are spotted in various places close to shore in the Caribbean.  
Love from St. Lucia


  1. The Caribbean is a group of islands and there are many resorts which are the part of the Caribbean islands. Here the information is quite interesting and thanks for sharing.
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  2. Nice post George! Thanks for the info, we will be flying to St. Lucia this June to get married. Unfortunately we won't have enough time to get our boat there because we are starting our shakedown cruise in May.

    1. Congratulations in advance. St. Lucia is a great destination for getting married! Where are you starting your cruise from?

    2. Thank you. We will be summer sailing from the East coast of Florida up to South Carolina and back. Then around the end of November we will aim for the Caribbean. We are glad to have found your blog. Your post are helpful and entertaining. Looking forward to keeping up with your travels.

  3. I visited St Lucia for a couple of weeks back in the early 80's before it became a big tourist destination. There were only a few big resorts and those were filled by holidaying Brits. We stayed in a small town, Micoud, on the east side of the island where we stayed with the relatives of a friend. We also stayed in Castries for a few days with another of the friends relatives. It was a very magical time. I have a feeling I would not enjoy St Lucia as much if I came back now. I guess no matter where you go as soon as the tourism industry builds up then you become seen as just another opportunity. Cuba is starting to become like that now.