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Walk-up tours -- any pitfalls?


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We'll be in St. Lucie Nov. 30th, 2006. Our ship will be in Castrie from 9 am to 3 pm, and will then move to Soufriere from 5pm to 7pm. This sounds like an excellent opportunity to take a tour from Castries to Soufriere and vicinity and then re-board without having to back-track any of the tour.


I've been reading all of the reviews about tour operators and probably couldn't go wrong with Frank, Cosol, Herod, Fabian, Bernard or any of several others mentioned. The ship's tour isn't our cup of tea.


However, we are reluctant to book a tour in advance for several reasons. First, on other cruises, we have experienced schedule changes due to weather, etc. We've had the entire itinerary shifted,and that wreaks havoc with pre-arranged tours. Second, I have a pesky little heart condition and I never really know in advance whether or not I might be too tired to take a tour.


So, I'm curious to hear what other people's experience was if they simply walked off the ship, walked up to the taxi ranks and hired one for a tour. Are there many who will do that? What was your experiece? How did you pick them? And, any other tidbits you think of...

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  • 4 weeks later...

We have been to St. Lucia twice (and will be again next March). The last time was in March of 2005. Unlike most of the caribbean islands, there are not as many "walk up" tours available, or on the spot snorkeling/boating tours as there are in some ports. I did LOTS of research on that the first time - trying to find out if we could just hire someone "on the spot" to take us to see the pitons and swim at a beach. Other posters said not to count on doing that because not that many people in St. Lucia have safe boats suitable for hire on a walk up basis. I was told it was better to arrange a charter, and there weren't all that many of those, either.


Things seem to be changing, however, because now there are a few "on the spot" tours in Castries. Do not go into the rather new shopping village right at the port. Take the ferry to town to the street right where you get off the ferry.We were able to find a guy w/a van and got a pretty cheap tour of the areas and neighborhoods up in the hills around Castries. There were six in our group and a couple more people joined in. We agreed upon how much time we had to tour (as we had a catamaran tour to the pitons booked for later) and the driver/guide showed us what he could in that time, which was actually pretty much - incl. the town of Soffriere from high above it. We also stopped at a roadside vendor area and bought a few trinkets and "marriage dolls". I THINK St. Lucia has of late become more savvy about offering on the spot tours and things to visitors from ships so you should be able to find something other than a ship's tour. I'm sure you know from these boards about the various drivers that offer tours.


Hope this helps. Good luck and have fun! It's a BEAUTIFUL island!

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We had a cruise stop in St. Lucia in october, 2001. There were lots of taxis waiting when we got off the ship; we negotiated with one to take us to the places I had researched, and had a great day.


The driver knew a lot about the island, and stopped at wonderful scenic spots so we could take pictures. Once, I asked him to stop at a view I thought was nice, and he said he gladly would, but that there was a better view a little way up the road--and he was right.

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