I love the Caribbean and try to visit at least a couple of times each year. Each island is unique and has something to offer. Island hopping is part of the fun and usually there is an island nearby that only requires a short ferry ride.
When I had the chance to visit Barbados I knew the trip wouldn’t be complete without hopping over to St. Lucia for a day trip. I prefer to take a ferry on island day trips whether it is over to Nantucket from Cape Cod or St. Barths from St. Maarten. Ferries allow you to get out on the water and enjoy the scenery. Flights between the Caribbean islands are often delayed and usually require more work getting to the airport and planning additional transfers fees to get to the airport. When I was planning my St. Lucia day trip from Barbados I took considered all of the options.
Ferry From Barbados to St. Lucia
According to the research I did on ferries to St. Lucia from Barbados there was one operating since 2011. Forums and travel guides from major publications stated there is a ferry service known as BEDY Oceanline that operates six days per week and only takes 3 hours. This is why it is important to do your research because had I waited until my arrival to book this ferry I would never have left Barbados. The BEDY travel site no longer exists and Barbados.org states, “there is presently no ferry service between Barbados and the other Caribbean islands.”
There might be a ferry service from Barbados to St. Lucia again in the future but as of June, 2016 there is no option for day trips between the islands.
Flying from Barbados to St. Lucia
The next obvious choice was booking a flight with a local Caribbean island. LIAT is well-known in the Caribbean and has reasonable flights around the region. However, it is also know as “Leave Island Any Time” because of all the delays. Since I was taking a day trip to St. Lucia from Barbados I was a bit worried about a delay leaving the island.
Booking a Flight with LIAT
The Caribbean Airline, as they prefer to be known, has a simple but easy to use booking site. If you book last minute you can expect to pay around $300-$350 USD for a roundtrip flight. If you plan ahead your flight should be closer to $150-$160 USD.
Select the same departure date as return date and search for available flights. Since this is a day trip you will want to take the earliest flight to St. Lucia and the last flight back to Barbados. This will give you maximum time on the island.
Do not select flights with layovers even if they are cheaper. For day trips time is money and could mean a higher chance of delays happening. You don’t want to get stuck in Port of Spain, Trinidad when you are trying to spend the day in St. Lucia (Although, I do love Tobago)
Departing at 9:15 from Barbados will get you to St. Lucia by 10am. The flight time is closer to 30 minutes and you will land at the little SLU airport in Castries.
It is a day trip so don’t bring more than a backpack to avoid baggage fees and the hassle of checking a bag. I arrived at Barbados airport at around 7:30am for the 9:15am flight but that was more than enough time. The flight will board around 30 minutes before the departure time but it is always smart to give yourself some extra time.
Book your return flight from St. Lucia to Barbados as late as possible.
If you are going to spend the day in St. Lucia you might as well have at least lunch and dinner before heading back to Barbados. I arrived at the St. Lucia airport around 6pm for the 7:45pm flight. This airport is tiny and there is very little to keep you occupied but you do want to check-in on time. I am sure I could have arrived at 6:45pm (1 hour early) and had no problems but I wanted to be sure since I had no experience on this island, airline, or airport.
Book your flight with LIAT as far out as possible to get the Web Saver fares. The regular fares are about double the price above and it all comes down to when you book.
How to Spend a Day Trip in St. Lucia
Of course 10 hours in St. Lucia is not enough but if that is all you have than you better make the most of it. St. Lucia is mountainous and looks nothing like the much flatter terrain of nearby Barbados. Driving across Barbados is simple and the only thing to worry about is the occasional traffic around rush hour. St. Lucia’s roads are winding and full of hills to navigate, which means it takes a while to get anywhere. This will cut into your time on the island so make a plan and stick to it.
My goal was to see the Pitons. If you don’t know them by name you have probably seen them before. They are volcanic spires reaching 2,438 ft high near the town of Soufrière.
Soufrière is on the West Coast of St. Lucia and has a population of less than 8,000. It was founded by the French is was the original capital of the island. It is a beautiful little town to spend the day exploring.
However, Soufrière is an hour and 20 minutes from the airport even though it is only around 27 miles (45km). Once you are there you probably won’t have time for much else. If your goal is to see the beach head straight for a beach. If it is the Pitons then make your way there right away.
How to Make the Most of a Day trip to St. Lucia
My favorite way to see a new place is through the eyes of a local but not just any local-a local photographer. After I did some research I found and contacted Kirk Elliot. Kirk is an amazing photographer and was born and raised on the island. He was kind enough to pick me up at the airport and show me around.
He runs photography tours and workshops on the island. This is a great way to see the island and learn something at the same time. We were on a tight schedule but we started the day in Castries before driving up to Soufrière. Kirk has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and I highly recommend contacting him if you are ever in St. Lucia. Winning Awards of Excellence in 2015 and 2016 is saying something!
Little did I know Kirk is a local celebrity even if he won’t admit it. He knows everybody and if he doesn’t know them he will get to know them right there. Having a local friend at your side with this kind of insight is invaluable.
Jade Mountain Resort- St. Lucia
I researched the most amazing hotels and resorts on the island and Jade Mountain was at the top time and time again. Since I couldn’t stay overnight I at least had to see this place and enjoy lunch looking over the Pitons. The rooms here only have three walls. The fourth wall is the Pitons and that is all you need to know. I have never seen anything like this place and hope I can stay there next time.
Photo by Jade Mountain
Don’t be surprised but Kirk knew at least 3 people at Jade Mountain and it is not even on his tour. This guy knows everybody- it’s awesome.
Kirk and I enjoyed lunch at this incredible place and took in the views for a couple of hours before heading back to the airport. On the return Kirk took me to a local spot for some delicious snacks and a local beer before I needed to board for my flight.
Day Trip to St. Lucia from Barbados
I can’t say enough wonderful things about Kirk, his tour, and the wonderful people at Jade Mountain. When you plan your trip to St. Lucia be sure to check them both out and make the most of your time on this beautiful island.
Plan Your Trip to St. Lucia
Plan Your Trip to Barbados
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Hotel Review: Bougainvillea Beach Resort