As it was the first time we had been on a cruise I decided to research the island for excursions to go on without having to book the expensive trips on offer from the cruise company. After researching on Trip advisor to find places to go and finding Johns Paradise tours and reading the reviews we thought we were on to a winner. John was great from the moment I contacted him - putting our minds at rest with regards to timings and the logistics of the trip. Most importantly John and Simian were fantastic on the day (Simians laugh is infectious). The tour ended up being just 4 of us (My parents, husband and me) which was great as we had a brilliant personal experience. Simian and John took us to the banana plantations where we not only tried bananas but the flesh of the coconut (known on the island to be good for men's fertility! - Although there seemed to be a lot of talking about that - no TVs obviously!!) . As said in another review John advised us that we didn't have to buy from the local markets and the people were so lovely they didn't pressure you - they just want to try and earn a few pounds so if you don't want to buy just go past and say no. We then went to the Tet Paul trail and gardens (a very short walk but you do need suitable footwear). This is amazing and you have the most fantastic views of the pitons at the top of the trail (I believe the best on the island). Tet Paul is a community project and has been entirely built and is maintained by the local village and actually John is more commonly known as Tet Paul as he helped found it. The people there are extremely knowledgeable and we were offered a lovely refreshing drink and fresh fruit salad (not your normal apples and pears - this was yum). Also for those worried about toilet stops - no need to worry there are suitable facilities here and everywhere we seemed to stop. We then went to the botanical gardens and the waterfalls - so beautiful it is definitely worth the trip and again Johns knowledge of St Lucian life, history and nature was fantastic - a very dynamic and enthusiastic person!. We then travelled onto Soufriere where John took us to a local restaurant for lunch. We opted for the local cuisine and it was honestly wonderful. You are sitting there enjoying a meal together in a colourful wooden hut type building which was really clean and looking out onto the seafront through erm ... open openings I suppose as they didn't have windows - but wow what an experience. We then went down to the beach and had a little paddle and swim - the sea was so blue! Anyway I have no doubts about recommending John and Paradise Excursions - if I was to go back I'd ask John to meet us again and ask him to take us to different places - I would say he could accommodate anybody and would certainly try. He is extremely accommodating. It cost us 50$ each (including the lunch and food/drink) but if there had been more people then this gets reduced (Personally I likes the personal touch!). You need to take a drink with you but you can buy them if you want. Hope this helps.
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