we had been to this port several times- but never with a 9 year old- so we went to Blackbeards Castle- we read very good comments in Tripadvisor- so we got in a cab for about 8 dollars a person and it was about 10 minutes from the ship- really cool statues of the pirates and you venture down the hill seeing historic homes and an amber museum. one thing they don't tell you is once you start going down the hill, you're not coming back up so do all the rum tasting and shopping while you are at the top.
We got in another cab and went to Emerald Bay. Great beach and no crowds and its closer than Magans Bay.
Tripadvisor recommended Huntes Garden- and we were all very happy they did- do yourself the favor and go there- it is a little far and takes about Mr. Hunte was very kind and funny and more than willing to show you around- its like Jurassic Park - amazing flowers and even the taxi driver was even impressed. then we went to Bathsheba and saw the rocks, then our driver took us to a beach which we were bombarded by about 4 jet ski people trying to get you on their jet ski- one even went as far as saying that he would 'do it' on the jet ski with my sister. we immediately got back in the taxi and went to Cockspurs beach club- which used to be Malibus beach club- great facility but the ocean had a ton of glass - which turned into a fun thing to collect. but we probably wouldn't return there again. The beach sellers were friendly and actually had nice things and were willing to deal. our taxi cost 90.00 for 4 people for the entire day- Joe was well worth more for the personal touch and knowledge of the island.
We didn't have any plans so we broke down and did a ship excursion to Pigeon point beach- which was way overpriced for the overlook and beach that they took us to. It certainly wasn't the prettiest beach on St. Lucia. we did some snorkeling. Should have just booked something off the ship. We had done a ship tour to the Pitons the last time- and wished we had just done that again. The shopping is pretty good right off the ship- The Rum shop used to not charge for the samples that you have to get at the bar next door- and the bartender there seemed annoyed with everyone.
keeping with the Tripadvisor recommendations we went to South Friars beach- and a Carambola beach club and for 30 dollars got 2 chaises and an umbrella- which we didnt even need because we were snorkeling the whole time- sea urchins and lots of colorful fish and I saw a jellyfish which was alarming but it seemed to stay on one side of the reef there. oh dont forget to keep the toliet seat up or the bathroom attendant will yell at you until you lift it up. We noticed that the people really werent all that friendly- the cab driver, the beach club people and then when we got back to the ship dock the monkey invasion and tip dwellers began. we couldnt even get out of the cab without a person throwing monkeys on you wanting a tip. there were dancers in the square with a tip box. we watched one of the dancers go up to a guy at the bar who wasnt watching them by any means and the dancer banged his tip box on the ground and stood there until the gentleman gave him money.
There had to be about 3 people with monkeys that were constantly around which got really annoying when they would just throw the poor animal at you. even walking on the pier to the ship there were 3 boys singing for tips.
We hired a taxi to take us to Maho Beach. they tried to sell us on the city tours but we just wanted to go to Maho- the driver didnt really say anything the entire time he was driving.
Maho Beach is famous for the airplanes flying above the beach- and YouTube doesnt do it justice! our driver let us out at the Sunset beach bar- which is pretty crowded. we tried to order drinks but the waitress never came back- so we walked along the concrete and runway to the other side of the beach which was less crowded than the Sunset Bar side. They have a chalkboard surfboard with the arrival and departures so you know whos coming in. what we noticed is that the water color is the most gorgeous blue green- we rented 2 chaise lounges and an ubmrella for 20 dollars which was fair. the ocean had a rock or concrete slab for about 10 feet into the water- which was slippery and dangerous with the waves they had there. so we couldnt really enjoy the water too much- some said that after the rock there was sand but a ripcurrent. but we were there for the planes- and they do not dissapoint. we met some locals there that told us about the pilots toying with the tourists and they did just that- small planes would come in so close to you and then stall the engines just as they crossed the fence and then there was the JetBlue plane that came as close to the fence as possible and then sat on the throttle and brake and blew the people off the fence and down the beach! word to the wise- dont stand at the fence- dont even get close- the sand has coral and shells that when it gets kicked up by the jet blast you get more than sandblasted. it was quite funny to see the people get tossed into the water. The best was having a 747 fly 25 feet over your head. The shopping in the ship area seemed small compared to other ports- but no people with monkeys or tip jars. Try the guavaberry drink in the pink cup- very tasty!