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Quite often we are asked the question “what is your favorite island in the Caribbean?” For a list of reasons far too large for this post, we always answer Grenada. People seldom ask what our least favorite island is though but I will often volunteer it because we do have one of those too. Presently, our least favorite island is St. Lucia. How is it possible that such a beautiful place could be at the bottom of our list of islands to visit? It’s simply that St. Lucia has a “vibe” that we just don’t care for. Now to be fair, my guess is that this vibe is only present in shoreside locals where tourists and cruisers frequent, but the reality is, that’s all I care about.

In addition to this, St. Lucia has had way more than its fair share of crimes against cruisers as of late, not the least of which, a murder of a UK sailor, occurred just the other day. This is horrendous and it pisses me off!

St. Lucia depends on tourism for income. Without this income the police don’t get paid. You’d think that perhaps they would put two and two together and figure out that they need to do something about this. Sadly, it doesn’t appear as if they have and until they do, Rebecca and I will most likely give the island a pass. There are far friendlier, and safer ports of call for us to stop at.

32 Comments

  1. We were discussing St. Lucia this morning aboard La Luna. We are leaving the Caribbean for a couple of years, but would give that island a pass if we were staying. It’s unfortunate. One of the best haul out experiences we’ve had was at the IGY yard in St. Lucia in ’11. Also stayed there for two weeks after waiting for friends, meeting cruisers, doing yoga, attending a yard sale at the yacht club, and shopping. They’ve lost our business for a while.

    • I’ve commented elsewhere on this post, many people who give St. Lucia a thumbs up stay in Rodney Bay marina (or that area) and socialize only with other cruisers. If one does that, St. Lucia is no different that Grenada or SXM or STT!

  2. Love the pics. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  3. I went to St. Lucia in the mid ’90’s and even then there was an “unofficial warning” to not leave the resort. We did anyway…we had a local guy take us to their festival, I believe it was called Square Day. We were obviously the only outsiders and I can remember the guy local guy we were with kept telling everyone that we were with him…guess that was for our benefit.

  4. Oh, I so agree with you but the unfortunate situation for those cruisers who like to do island hopping it is almost a must to stop to catch your breath. I hate to say but it also is a great place to reprovision and do necessary repairs.

  5. It does seem rather suspicious that the couple couldn’t clear customs on Thursday and were robbed and he was killed on Friday! As my husband and I are starting our cruising journey this fall to the islands, I would agree with Mike that St. Lucia won’t be on our list to visit. I want to keep my dream alive and it is not worth the risk to visit there. I realize there is crime everywhere but when you read stories like this one, coincidence seems to be the theme.
    Tara

  6. Wasn’t Dominica a bad case in the past as well. Until it was sorted out by the ‘Boat Boys’ who took matters into their own hands. Now they have an excellent reputation.

    Mike

    • I wasn’t cruising when Dominica had a bad rep so can’t comment on what type of incidents they had. It is a great place to cruise these days. The Portsmouth boat boys are awesome!

  7. We are certainly with you that we will never go St. Lucia way either land air or sea. Please take care of yourselves.

    Paul

  8. St Lucia has been like that a long time. In the mid 2000’s (if my memory serves me right) a USAir pilot was anchored alone waiting for inbound crewmembers. His original crew had finished their visit and left for home that day. In the evening, criminals boarded his boat and while robbing him shot him in the face and left him for dead. Fortunately he lived, but scarred for life. The cruising community and tourism industry shout boycott St Lucia! These people are not just thieves they are murderers!

  9. So in other words…. St Lucia the Caribbean’s version of Detroit!

  10. Glad to see you didn’t get blasted for having a “least favourite” island. Even though you guys are living in paradise, you are certainly entitled to make judgements and criticisms based on your experiences. Not everything in life will come up all sunshine and roses, and posts like this one reinforce how honest your blog really is. Thanks

  11. I read your blog today with much sadness for this family. Yes violence occurs everywhere, however, as you say, there is this “vibe”. I have learned to listen to that vibe. I for one will give this island a pass as well.
    This family is in my heart and prayers today.

    Fred
    Lady J 111

  12. This morning, there was a full back page ad in Toronto’s Globe and Mail, with Air Canada as the sponsoring airline, for trips to SL.
    A lot of money being spent right there.

  13. Every time a cruiser tells me St Lucia is their favorite island I ask them when they went. Almost invariably it’s 10+ years ago. St. Lucia;s Soufriere is the only place thus far we felt unsafe enough to lock ourselves in our boat.

    I give St. Lucia credit for responding quickly but the real issue is a deep seated economic train wreck that pits the haves against the have-nots.

    It’s sad and tragic for those who struggle to eke out a living there and those passing through who may pay the price with their lives.

    • Good comment. The thing is, many cruisers NEVER leave the safety of the Rodney Bay Marina complex in St. Lucia. The same is true on other island too. Unless you travel the island, or at least to various ports, it’s tough to get an accurate impression.

  14. I live near Detroit. If you looking for trouble it will find you. If not, it won’t. I have been to St. Lucia in ’94 and just last year. Petty crime was bad back then but it is nuts now. People there are so poor and there is just no escaping it. Young men approached my wife and asked if she knew of any women back home who they could marry! If you check the site dedicated to crimes against cruisers it is not surprising that a lot of robberies take place when people are checking out at customs. Without doubt the officers are tipping off a thug. A thought; I wonder if the growth of the cruise ship industry has made sailors insignificant to the authorities.

    • Only if they are idiots. Bad press is bad press. A couple of people getting killed will cause the bean counters working for the cruise ships to stop bringing their ships there.

  15. We honeymooned in St Lucia near Soufriere in 1992. We mostly did dives while there. One day we did a day trip over to Soufriere. As we walked through Soufriere we really felt incredibly uncomfortable. We both agreed on our next trip to St. Lucia we would skip Soufriere. The shore side was fine but a couple blocks into town it really went down hill, scary is the word that came to mind at the time.

    • Hi Craig. We have heard others make similar comments, and that’s unfortunate. The thing is, I have never felt threatened there, even when I had to step in between a crazy crackhead and a friend of mine (Vieux Fort).

      I have been badgered though, and I have had attempts made to steal my property. I have had personal friends who have been burglarized. I have been in Vieux Fort when boats have been boarded. I also have found more people on St. Lucia with a “what are you going to give me” attitude than in ANY other island. That is why I will likely skip the island. If circumstances require me to go (weather, etc), I will. I’d just prefer not to.

      • We cruised St Lucia for a month to Jan 2014 and were frequently threatened often before tying up the dinghy at the dock. Once on the dock we were usually asked for money by two to five guys (but ignored them). The hassle is real and so is the vibe. I asked a local guide why they always have beer in bottles – it’s because they like to have weapon in their hand. We heard of a number of crimes and attempted thefts from crews. Also counterfeit currency from taxis. Also constantly hassled on every visit to Rodney Mall by one guy who would never give up. We were in Soufriere customs a couple of days after the Vieux Fort tragedy and got a very garbled explanation regarding the check out puzzle. Based on our experience we aim to avoid St Lucia. For Soufriere and Vieux Fort stay clear. We were ready to quit the Caribbean and then we found Grenada.

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