Let’s talk shopping….
In the Caribbean.
One of the nicest parts of vacationing at a Sandals resort is the ability to book any number of tours right in the lobby, through a fabulous company, Island Routes. They have put together great tours, from easy going, relaxing (and romantic) sunset cruises to exciting zipline tours.
Since this vacation was really all about relaxing (and it was shorter than I wanted) and letting WO SCUBA dive (which he did almost every day he could) we didn’t book any tours, at least not right away. We finally discussed it, and booked the local shopping tour just for me on one of his dive days. Yep, at a Sandals resort; which is all about couples, I planned on going on a tour solo.
Since I am NOT a good traveler, it was a little outside of the box for me. The tour included a trip to the local craft market in Castries and then a trip to the Duty Free shopping area as well. I know that half the fun of the craft market is the haggling… and I also know that I am not good at it. But I decided that is I was going…
The tour was amazing. Our tour guide was Nelbert, and he was incredibly funny and very sweet. On the drive into Castries, he told us a bit of the history of St Lucia. First stop was the Craft Market, and I admit that I was *slightly* nervous. I’m shopping by myself, as all the other couples sort of went off together. But, since I hadn’t met a single un-friendly person on the island, I knew I was going to be ok. Through the craft market I was able to find great souvenirs for everyone (Except the Diva) and got some great deals. I saw Nelbert quite a few times, and each time he would check in on me, see what I had purchased, and make sure I was ok.
After an hour in the craft market, we climbed back on our mini-bus and headed to the Duty Free shops. Again, we were off and running. Finally found a tank top like the Diva requested, and a few other fun little items. It was getting pretty humid, so I headed back to the meeting area a few minutes early. Nelbert was there, and we chatted for a bit, while we waited for the rest of the tour group. In our conversation, Nelbert said that since he knew I was shopping alone, he had kept a close eye on me, to make sure I didn’t need anything. He hoped I didn’t mind… What a sweetheart. I thanked him and let him know I did appreciate it!
On the way back to the resort, Nelbert continued to be a wonderful tour guide, and taught us a bit of creole to pass the time. I think I still remember how to say “I love you, Darling”…
Needless to say, I can’t recommend Island Routes and their tours enough. When they find tour guides who care about their groups the way Nelbert did, they are doing something right! Can’t wait for our next Caribbean trip to try some of their others. Oh, and if you end up thinking about booking a tour by yourself, just DO IT! They’ll take great care of you… I promise!