Downey Duck St Lucia


Anse Chastanet, St Lucia, Oct 26-Nov 2, 2013

We were back at Anse Chastanet for the fourth time. Although it’s more expensive than many Caribbean destinations, the value is definitely there.

Twenty-five of us were greeted at the airport after descending from five different airlines, and whisked away by taxi for the 50 minute drive to the resort. The road is good except for that last steep 10 minute climb up the mountain. We received welcome drinks and filled out some paperwork before being shown to our rooms. Most of the group were in Superior rooms at various levels of the resort. These rooms are more basic, with four walls, but still had great views. Two couples were in the beach level (not beach view) rooms, the only rooms with AC. There are 127 steps from the beach to the reception area, where the buffet breakfast was; shuttles were available for those with knee or other issues. Bill & I were upgraded to Jade Mountain. Although we were in what we called the “basement” of Jade Mountain, with no infinity pool, we still enjoyed the view from our bed of the Piton Mountains and the other amenities. We had one breakfast in their restaurant, but most of the time we were down below with the group, so we didn’t use our butlers much. One of the couples was upgraded to a corner room on the 4th level of Jade Mountain for one night, as there was a one-night opening and they were the only ones leaving the next day. Once they entered their “sanctuary” we never saw them again!

Our package included breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. Drinks beyond water (juices and coffee were included at breakfast) were extra, so a few members of the group opted for the all-inclusive drink package, expensive, but so were the drinks. Breakfast was served buffet-style, lunch was served at the beach level restaurant, and dinner was a choice of about five different menus in as many restaurants. Afternoon tea got lost in the shuffle for Bill & me because we were so busy doing other things.

Anse Chastanet is a great place for non-diving spouses. There’s the spa, jungle biking, boat toys, various hikes and talks, relaxing on the beach, snorkeling, yoga, and sunset cruises, among other activities. Three of us hiked up to Tinker’s Bell after a plantation walk with Meno, and then slipped our way back down a wet, steep trail, arriving at the beach just as the heavens opened up—how on earth do they manage to bike up there?!

The first day of diving we did a check-out shore dive, then a boat dive where I saw scorpionfish, spotted snake eels, and of course lionfish; we told the guides we didn’t mind if they killed the lionfish. Turtle Reef is a minute boat ride from the resort, and we actually saw a turtle there, along with lobsters and spotted drums. We did two night shore dives, which have always been very good, and saw many lobsters of various types, large spider crabs, squid, octopus, eels, including a banded snake eel, flounders,  and basket sea stars spread wide to feed on plankton. At the Pinnacles Bill & I watched a 4” mantis shrimp for several minutes as it slipped from one hole to another; I think we were hovering over where he wanted to go because he kept giving us the evil eye. The last day of diving we went to the Lesleen M wreck sitting in about 70’ of water. It’s an easy, safe wreck to dive, and had a couple moray eels, scorpionfish, and an octopus peering out at us from his cubby-hole. The last dive at Anse La Ray Wall produced the only scarlet lady shrimp I saw all week, and three squid. Afternoon shore diving is available with a guide, but except for the last day when Mabel and Deb went out, everyone took it easy on the beach or did something with their spouses. One day between dives a guided tour of Soufriere was offered.

At the end of October, it was still pretty warm, and we had some rain, but it didn’t stop the fun. Anse Chastanet definitely knows how to keep you happy. We’ll be going back.