|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!!
Love from St. Lucia