I walked around the port and liked the area. Took pictures of some churches, government buildings, and the harbor. I then hopped on a shared ride taxi to Sapphire Beach. Great sand, beautiful water, and decent snorkeling. Well worth the effort and less crowed than Coki or Megans Bay. Took a private cab back to port. It was an enjoyable day.
www.nietours.com provided a custom tour of the island (5 1/2 hrs) for the same per person cost as a 3-4 hour canned tour from the ship. Totally awesome experience with a personalized tour that took us places that few tourists see. Nature Isle Explorers provided a totally custom tour experience that included the entire mid to lower portion of the island. This included Scott's Head and the Soufriere fishing village, both of which are very worthwhile visiting.
Trafalgar Falls Rating:
Trafalgar Falls, and the thermal pools below, were an excellent stop. Most tours only allow viewing of the falls from the observation platform, but our private tour allowed us to sit in the hot water pools below the falls as well. Excellent photo stop for pictures.
Beach Break Rating:
This is a snorkel and unique swimming opportunity. There are bubbles rising from the sea floor from an underwater steam vent. This is how the "champagne" beach got the name. The snorkeling is very good here for non fish visuals. Lots of sponges, sea fans, etc and decent number of fish. Very good experience overall.
www.suntoursbarbados.com is one of 2 large tour companies on this island. They provided a very comfortable car and experienced driver for $40/hr US, so we could experience the island on a private tour basis. We did a complete circuit of the island. Highlights included 2 churches, The Crane Resort and Bottom Bay on the southeast coast, Bathsheba Beach, Farley Hill, St. Nicholas Abbey, and Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill. St. Nicholas Abbey was a very pleasant surprise. We didn't go into the abbey, but the grounds were splendid and awesome for pictures. Farley Hill is restricted in access, but there are still decent photo opportunities and the grounds are very photogenic. There were 4 of us and we paid less per person than the ship tour would have cost.
www.realstluciatours.com provided a custom tour at group tour prices. The Pitons delivered the visual impact that was expected. VERY good. Anse La Raye fishing village was exceptional for photography, and the church there was worthwhile to visit. The Immaculate Conception Church and Morne Fortune in Castries were good photo opportunities. The sulphur springs were much better than I would have thought. There is actually a large mud pot pool that bubbles up and is easy to photograph from the viewing platform. The steam vents are impressive and also make for a good photo opportunity. More compact than in Hawaii on the Big Island. St. Lucia was a 5* experience from start to finish.
Good island with typically good beaches. I really enjoyed Moho Beach, where the airport runway begins across the road from the beach. The beach itself has excellent sand and the water is beautiful here as well. Orient Bay and the clothing optional beach area is good, but not great.