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Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

UK
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Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

We have a last minute opportunity for 10 days in St Lucia in December on a reasonably tight budget. It means we need to make decisions fast without the usual hours of research that I'd put in, so asking for help earlier than I usually would, please. This is what we're looking for:

- self-catering, for two people

- great sea views from the accommodation

- proximity to good beach-based snorkelling (I'm not keen on boat trips)

- proximity to local (ie budget) restaurants for dinner when we don't want to cook

- ability to get around the island reasonably easily, ideally by public transport but may hire a car for part of the time

- not Castries (too many cruise visitors)

- probably not Rodney Bay area (too busy, unless you know of somewhere near that isn't)

- not looking for night life

We thought we'd narrowed to Soufriere or Marigot Bay....but then I read there is good snorkelling on the Cap Estate near Smugglers Cove.

Any advice appreciated, initially as to location but also specific accommodation if you can recommend.

Toronto
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1. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

I suggest Mirage Beach Resort - http://www.miragestlucia.com/ in Laborie - good location for most everything you've listed. Bus transportation is not all that reliable outside of the Castries / Gros Islet region but it is possible to use it to get around to some of the sights & attractions.

UK
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2. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

Thanks for the quick reply - it looks just our kind of place, so have just asked re availability, and am keeping fingers crossed.

St. Lucia
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3. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

Mirage is great - I do hope it works for you. There is some snorkeling out in the Laborie Bay - you would need your own gear. Otherwise, you will ned the bus or a rental car over to Soufriere for the beaches and snorkeling there.

Lots of little local eateries in Laborie - nothing fancy, by any means, but meals and snacks all available. Clue's (Zoe's techinically, but everyone know's it as Clue's after the guy who owns it) is closest to Mirage and during the day is great for chicken & bakes and rotis. Nights is similar fare, along with some fish or chicken meals occasionally and pizza on Sundays.

A little further (like 3 -5 more minutes walk) is Mama Rose's, on the square. Evenings you can get meals: fish, chicken, pork or lamb sometimes or quick chicken and fries or fish and fries. Across is Big Bamboo - same sorts of foods; fish, chicken, etc. All around the area are little rum shops and grills also. Keep in mind, most places are closed on Mondays - you would need to venture further or cook for yourselves that night.

Enjoy, Mirage & Laborie are great!

UK
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4. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

I'm getting hungry even thinking of it all, that's just the kind of places we love.

How long does it take to get to Soufriere from Laborie? We had not even thought of staying that far South, so it adds a whole extra dimension.

And is there other accommodation there if Mirage is full? I can find almost nothing online.

St. Lucia
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5. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

It's about 30 minutes or so from Laborie to Soufriere.

For more on Laborie, take a look at www.ilovelaborie.com

There are a few more accommodation options, but nothing beachfront.

For Soufriere area, look at www.soufrierefoundation.org for info on the area and attractions, lodging options, etc.

In Soufriere, try Hummingbird or The Still BeachHouse. I think they both have self catering rooms.

Good luck, Dec is the start of high season here, accommodations this late in the game may be tough.

Enjoy your visit!

UK
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6. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

Thanks again for the help. There are a surprising number of places available - it'll all be down to picking the right one!

No reply from Mirage yet, so am working on other options.

I have been offered Ocean Cottage upper level at Oasis Marigot, and also various options at Marigot Palms. Any thoughts on either of those?

I've also tried to contact Frank Ambler, who seems to have several places but got no reply.

And there are LOTS of options in the North, but that somehow feels wrong for us.

St. Lucia
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7. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

No snorkeling in Marigot Bay - and not a great beach. It is a yacht harbor - and there are yachts and boats there all the time! Small sliver of beach for some sunning and swimming, but it is all in the harbor. It is a beautiful area and there is some good dining in the area - just be in shape, a lot of steep hills! And it is a decent drive down to Soufriere, around 35 or 45 miutes along a very mountainous narrow highway for the great snorkeling. As you said you don't like boat trips, the shorter water taxi route would be out, about 25 -30 minutes.

I do hope you hear from Mirage - it is a small property run by a local lady - it may take a day or 3 to hear from her. Keep sending emails or try calling...it may be quicker.

I would keep checking the Soufriere area proper - lots of small gueshouses and smaller properties around.

Good luck!!

Toronto
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8. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

In the Caribbean, e-mail is not a priority - I would try calling Mirage:

Tel. + 1 758 455 9237 • Mob. + 1 758 286 5420

UK
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9. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

Just called. They have a new suite, not even on the website yet, she will send me details.......

Plantation de Manguiers near Castries is also available, looks like a really nice place with excellent reviews, so have a feeling we may land up spoilt for choice.

Rocky Mountain...
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10. Re: Off the beaten track, but accessible, with good snorkeling?

What did you pick? Mirage is directly on the beach and Plantation de Manguiers is not. If I had to choose the choice would, without a doubt, be Mirage as it ticks all your boxes.