Wow, it’s been a minute since this trip, but I’ve had a floor-length to-do list in my way before I could mentally get to writing this. Even though it’s not that long of a post I am still working on being able to write efficiently. I feel like I haven’t written like this since I graduated college THREE YEARS AGO! But, I am finally almost all caught up with all the things I have been pushing off for months! So here I go, crossing one more item off the list – our St. Lucia New Years Eve Blog!
TRAVELING DURING COVID
Let me just start off with, after this trip, it is officially Jar and I’s pact that we will travel somewhere new every New Years from here on out. It could not have been a more exciting way to ring in the New Year – even through a pandemic. I will secondly say, that traveling during a pandemic wasn’t actually TOO too bad. In this post, I will cover everything that we had to do pertaining to COVID and what it was like traveling during a pandemic. I will also share everything there is to do while visiting St. Lucia, the food, the drinks, and more!
For starters, before we even got there we had to get a negative test within 7 days of traveling, submit all the required paperwork and negative test within 3 days of departure, and then a screening upon arrival to the island. We also had a huge folder with every single one of our required documents while traveling because they checked to make sure as soon as we get to the airport, at our layover, and also when we arrived on the island – all which went very smoothly for us! Our friends though, not so much. Unfortunately, their tests hadn’t come back in time so they actually had to move their entire flight AND trip a whole day as they waited for their test results. It was definitely an interesting experience for sure, but after the trip we had, it was well worth it. I did, of course, have crippling anxiety up until that point, thinking that somehow something might go wrong BUT ALL WAS WELL. It was a breath of fresh air after leaving the screening center and I couldn’t wait to kick my feet up and go full relaxation mode.
The drive through the island to the resort was quite incredible. Although, the 45 minute ride was so hot and curvy, so we had planned right then and there to book the helicopter tour for the ride back to the airport. Our driver was super nice and even gave us a whole lesson on the island and what it was currently like for them dealing with COVID. There were only 50 people on the island that had COVID at that time, while in America the numbers were spiraling. It was so crazy to me to get an instant glimpse of a whole different culture as soon as we took off into the mountains. Driving on the opposite side of the road (I will never get used to this), seeing miles upon miles of banana trees, stray dogs and cats EVERYWHERE. I definitely don’t see those things everyday here in CT.
When we arrived at the resort, we were treated with the warmest welcome (and of course a sparkling glass of champagne). Thankfully, we were immediately allowed to take off our masks and keep them off the entire time while staying at the resort. As far as we were concerned, every person there was tested negative! After almost a full year of COVID, this was the most relieving and relaxing part about this trip for me. I will say the resort took all the precautions and went all-out with the hand sanitizer. From the second we were greeted to the sending we left, no matter where you went or what you did, you had to get a squirt of hand sanitizer before doing anything. Towards the end we began to joke that our hands were going to fall off because you would get one hand sanitizer spray while leaving the shuttle and another 4 seconds later while walking into the lobby, over and over again.
We stayed at the adult-only Sandals Regency La Toc in Castries, St. Lucia, (one of the three Sandals resorts) and it was an absolutely amazing experience. Our luggage was grabbed right away to be brought to our room and we were able to get settled in as the front desk assistants checked us in while the unlimited drinks started flowing. This was my first time ever at an all-inclusive resort and I would say it was the most satisfying experience. From the glamorous and spotless room we stayed in, to all of the activities and relaxing spots to hang out at, it was definitely worth the price we paid! There was a free shuttle that ran every 15 minutes which was super convenient for us because we were staying at the farthest building from the lobby. There are hundreds of different room views to chose from and I actually think we ended up with an upgrade so we got the room with the absolute most amazing view and outdoor tub – my favorite part of the trip, and quite frankly where I spent most of my time. We stayed at the Sunset Bluff Oceanview One Bedroom Butler Suite w/ Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub. It was such a peaceful spot and I enjoyed every second of it.
FOOD AND DRINK
In order to make sure you have the perfect place to eat every night, it’s highly encouraged to plan your meals for the week with the culinary department when you first arrive to Sandals. Almost all the dinner spots require a reservation and they fill up super quick. The restaurant options were pretty diverse and we had a whole range to choose from, which sometimes you don’t always get at an all-inclusive. We headed over to the culinary desk downstairs of the main lobby shortly after arriving and planned our dates, times, and locations for meals for the week. You can chose from up to 9 of the restaurants. For dinner choices there is La Toc, Kimonos, Soy, The Pub, Armando’s, Neptune’s, and The Pitons. For breakfast and lunch: The Pavilion, the Pub, Armando’s, and the pizza spot, Bella Napoli. And of course there was 24hr room service which we had MULTIPLE times (late night of course LOL). The food actually wasn’t terrible. I always hear of stories with all-inclusive resorts about the food but we were all pretty satisfied with the large selection of options and meals.
I think my absolute favorite restaurants to eat at were Kimonos and La Toc. There was a variety of cuisines and it was nice to try all different foods that I probably wouldn’t have tried anywhere else. Kimonos was a Japanese Hibachi style restaurant and La Toc was their Italian style – both my favorite kind of food. The Bella Napoli pizza was actually really good as well. I never have high expectations for pizza outside of CT because I am a PIZZA SNOB and I truly believe we do it best, but this pizza was good and I swear to god I crave the Nutella and banana breakfast pizza every single day since this trip. They were available all day long so this was a go-to meal and snack for us!
Obviously at an all-inclusive resort everything is well… included – ESPECIALLY THE BOOZE. We had a blast with this, we restocked our fridge every morning with booze for the day and were able to order more whenever we pleased. The selections were pretty limited to the basics unless you wanted to buy higher priced bottles which we ended up doing a few times at dinner. As far as fancy drinks go, the espresso martini (my go to drink) was not exactly up to par, it was a little confusing attempting to order this, but the dirty martinis was where it was at – DELISH! Walking around the resort with an open container was totally permitted and so convenient. We would leave dinner with a napkin tied up full of booze, and would head out to the pool area and beach to explore. We sure got a kick out of that one. The signature beer in St. Lucia is their “Piton” beer. Freshly brewed right from the mountains and tastes just like an ice cold Corona, in my opinion. These were the most refreshing drinks after being in the hot sun all day, and I am totally craving one right now as I sit here in write this in the hot summer sun.
Speaking of refreshing drinks, the frozen drinks on the beach was my favorite part of the day. My specialty frozen drink of this trip was the ‘Hummingbird‘. After I had found this drink, it was the only thing I ordered for the rest of the time. SO. GOOD. I have no idea what was in it besides Banana, Rum, and total GOODNESS. However, before finding this drink, I had tried everything under the sun. They had every frozen drink you could think of and I drank them endlessly. Their classic Strawberry Daiquiri was also another top frozen drink I loved. Other drinks were: Purple Rain, Dirty Banana, Pina Colada, Blue Hawaiian, Lovers Leap, BBC, and Miami Vice.
Private Candlelight Dinner
The one thing that we also did which was not included in the all-inclusive food service was the Private Candlelight Dinner. This is a private, romantic, sunset, 4 course dinner at a really unique location under the stars. You get the whole VIP treatment with one personal waiter in white gloves serving you the best gourmet cuisine and wine. There are select seats available for this, as each dinner is in a private setting somewhere along the beach. The table was set up so elegantly and the photographers even come for a whole photoshoot right before dinner. Jar and I both ordered the surf and turf and the meal was quite exquisite. Their lobster was different than the ones were are used to in the North East but if you know me, you know I love to try new things so I enjoyed experiancing the different taste! There were a few options for desserts, all of which is to be selected prior to the evening. We ordered the chocolate and fruit platter which came out with a fancy, artistic, display. If you’re looking for a romantic dinner or even just wanted to try yet another food spot, I would definitely recommend the Candlelight Dinner.
THINGS TO DO
When I say it’s pretty hard to run out of things to do, I mean it. They have everything under the sun for activities at the resort. There’s excursions, water sports, golf, day & night entertainment, a fitness center, private cabanas – the list goes on! However, due to COVID, there were definitely a lot of restrictions. We were not able to leave the resort premises, therefore a bunch of the tours were unavailable as well as traveling to the sister resorts and going shopping downtown. Luckily for us, there were still a handful we were able to choose from that were socially distant and safe. Thank god for this because we had one of the most amazing experiences ever on our excursions.
These were not included in the all-inclusive so you do have to pay for it separately. The excursion we did was the Joe Knows Speedboat Tour. We were picked up by our two amazing tour guide and boat driver and they truly made the whole tour an incredible experience. We did have to wear our masks and get our temps taken throughout the tour to protect ourselves and the locals. And we can’t forget the loads and loads of hand sanitizer.
Our first stop was the Mud Bath and this was one of the coolest experiences I have EVER had. I wish I could have access to this volcano mud bath every single day of my life, it was the warmest bath I had ever taken. We started by layering a gray clay mud all off our bodies and then another layer of a black clay. After it began to dry we hopped in to bathe in the running water from the volcano right above us. I will never forget it and how refreshed I felt after it. (I will be posting my vlog of this trip with clips from this day on my YouTube soon, so stay tuned for that!) We then went on to hike (more so a walk) to the Diamond Falls Waterfall through the Botanical Garden which was an absolutely stunning site to see. We were able see how local cocoa and sugar syrup is made, all of the exotic local fruits that are grown on the island, and more the most beautiful gifts that mother nature has given us. After, we headed back to the boat for some delicious lunch from a local restaurant our guide grabbed for us. We boated around and saw more of the island as we digested and then geared up to get ready to snorkel around. I saw some of the most exotic looking fish, that swam together in huge pools and it was so cool to look at. We concluded our trip with a tour across the Island were we got to see some other really amazing places on the island. I can’t forget to mention the unlimited amount of booze that was brought on this cruise. By the end, it was safe to safe our whole group of 8 had quickly become great friends and everyone was feeling pretty dang good. Our tour guides were an absolute pleasure and kept our group laughing the whole time. As they like to say, “Joe Knows Best!”
I would give this excursion a 10/10. It was fun, relaxing, and adventurous all in one. I think it definitely made this trip an unforgettable one and I’m glad we splurged and paid the extra to do this. We created the most amazing memories that I will hold on to forever.
The only thing that I had WISHED we had done and had more time for was the horseback riding excursion. I love riding horses and riding them on the beach on an island would have been a dream come true. The other options that weren’t available at the time or we just didn’t have enough time for that I would have loved to also experience was the cooking class, scuba diving, and horseback riding. Its fine though, I’ll just have to convince Jar that we have to go back to St. Lucia so we can accomplish all of these things!
Hangout Spots + Activities
They have some of the coolest hangout spots at the Sandals resort. Not only are there hundreds of places to lounge around, but there are activities going on throughout the resort all day long. They have a huge game of chess, hammocks, little cabanas you can rent for the day, they even had dart tournaments and ping pong tournaments. We also spent an afternoon golfing on the resorts golf course and I won’t lie, it was an extremely hot but fun time. They also had tennis, basketball, and tons of pool tables all available for gusts to use at their leasure. There were fire pits, hammocks, swim up bars, and multiple pools. There amount of things you can do at this resort is endless. My absolute favorite spot to hangout at night was at the main lobby called the Pavilion. This is where the main attraction where everyone would hang and we would go here at night for the live music, drinks, and games. No matter where you go, there’s always something to do or somewhere to relax.
Jar and I are total golf lovers (more so him than I, but I always have a blast) so we of course had to get a round of golf in while we were in St. Lucia. Plus, I was excited to do another outdoor activity in the hot sun. Their course was pretty legit, nothing compared a PGA golf course but it was still fun to play on. We rented clubs and balls and had our backpack full of beers. They do send out an assistant with you but he kept his distance and let us have our fun. I would definitely recommend getting a round in, even if you don’t play golf it was a blast and we had a ton of laughs.
NEW YEARS EVE
I am so grateful to have spent our New Years Eve out of the country. We will be doing this for the rest of my life 100% no doubt. Even during COVID, we were still able to have the most wonderful night as we rung in the New Year. There were DJ’s at every building, games, pool tables, champagne bottles, and endless amounts of drinks. We had our dinner at Armondo’s that night and they had their New Year’s specials which was nice. After that we headed to the main lobby where all the excitement was happening and danced the night away. After the countdown and the ball had dropped, there was a silent disco where you can put on headphones and continue to dance the night away. We had a delicious complimentary dessert and I don’t remember too much after that point but I do know that it was the best time I had ever had on a New Years Eve. Not to mention we had met some of the greatest people from all over the world.
As I had mentioned before, the trip to the resort was quite long so we had planned for a helicopter ride for the way back to the airport. This also gave us more time to relax before we left, considering the tour was only 15 minutes as apposed to the 45 ride down a winding road. It was quite exciting and although I do sometimes get nervous I had been in a helicopter before so I wasn’t as anxious. The view was absolutely incredible. To see the Pitons and other parts of the island that we would have never seen otherwise made it well worth it. Sandals was also just amazing and had everything planned out to the T. They took our bags early in the morning and brought them right to the airport for us. This allowed us to roam worry free get our few last hours in of exploring the resort before takeoff.
If you know me, you know that outfits and photo ops are HUGE parts of my trips! I plan so hard for my outfits and its truly my favorite thing to do. I had a TON of looks throughout this trip and if you follow on Insta then you already KNOW. I have all of my looks posted on in Instagram and on my LIKEtoKNOW.it. You can also shop all the outfits directly by clicking the ‘SHOP LOOKS’ button on the pictures in this blog post.
All of my outfits and looks from the trip are linked on my LIKEtoKNOW.it or you can click on the photos that say ‘Shop Look’ to take you to the direct link.
I would rate this trip a 8/10. It was an amazing time, very cleanly, beautiful views, and you’re on an island, what more can you need!? My only spots of improvement that I could think of are the selection of food and obviously exploring more of the island. While I was pretty satisfied with the food, I am a FOODIE and I love to experience the most exquisite tastes. Because of the all-inclusive, I found a lot of the food was generally the same – if that makes sense. It was pretty much like one restaurant owner in 9 different restaurants, not 9 different restaurant owners in one. BUT thats basically what an all-inclusive is. It was definitely different than I am used to, but it was still a great experience and still good food. And then of course I would have also loved to been able to travel to the sister resorts Sandals Grande St. Lucian and Sandals Halcyon Beach or just off the resort in general. Unfortunately, no one can help that because of COVID so but it definitely makes me want to travel back to St. Lucia again.
If you have any other specific questions or ever wanted some more St. Lucia tips, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out and send me a DM! I would be happy to help.
UNTIL NEXT TIME,
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