Romance in Saint Lucia

Photo by Nordica Photography

Photo by Nordica Photography

Valentine’s Day sets the perfect tone for February, making it the ultimate month of romance. Whether cozied up in cold weather or adventuring in the sun, I love having an excuse to give romance the attention it deserves. Of course, here in St. Lucia, every time of year offers countless opportunities to celebrate love. In the spirit of February and Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share with you my top five favorite romantic activities in St. Lucia!

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1. Nothing says romance quite like sharing a glass of champagne with your loved one. Now add to the equation Capella Marigot Bay’s signature plunge pools and I think you’ll agree with me that clinking glasses in the relaxing warm jet streams of your suite’s private hot tub is one of those private personal moments to be remembered and cherished.

2. Sharing thrilling adventures with my significant other is a must on my romance to-do list. That’s why a helicopter ride around St. Lucia makes the cut! It is the perfect blend of thrill-seeking and awe-inspiring beauty. Amidst the rush that comes from skimming above the Pitons, there are plenty of opportunities for adorable couple selfies and jaw-dropping landscape photos that will make your Facebook friends swoon! For example:

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3. Spending some quality time in Auriga spa is my favorite way to recuperate and pamper myself after a day of adventuring. Making it a couple’s massage is the perfect way to elevate levels of romance by experiencing ultra relaxation together!

Photo by Nordica Photography

Photo by Nordica Photography

4. Sunsets are the epitome of quintessential romantic activities. There’s something about the simplicity of the setting sun coupled with the brilliance of the sky that causes us all to take a moment and appreciate the beauty of life. Watching the sunset by boat while on the Caribbean takes it to a whole new level. Thankfully, the Marina never has any shortage of sunset-related boating activities. I’m a big fan of the catamaran sunset cruise because it’s the perfect blend of private and social. You’ll get lost in the sunset together and then spend some time dancing, laughing and drinking with new friends.

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5. The best way to end a day of romance is with the perfect dinner. I love the private canopied treehouse lit by candlelight. I’m lucky to have enjoyed many romantic dinners, but this experience exceeded every expectation I’ve ever had about what it means to share great food with your favorite person in the world in a setting that helps you fall in love all over again.

I hope I’ve provided you with some romantic inspiration for this month of love! If you’re interested in setting up any of these activities- whatever the time of year- your Capella Personal Assistant will be able to arrange everything. Don’t hesitate to let us know! In the mean time, I wish you a full month of unparalleled romance.

The Farmer’s Market at Capella Marigot Bay Marina Village

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The new Farmer’s Market at Capella Marigot Bay’s Marina Village is one of my new favorite events! Indulging in fresh local produce is something of a hobby of mine and I love to take full advantage of the delicious fruits and vegetables native to this stunning tropical climate. If you have yet to try a fresh St. Lucian mango or drink fresh St. Lucian coconut water directly from its source, I must insist you rectify this matter as soon as possible! 

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In addition to produce from local St. Lucian farmers, the Farmer’s Market features local spices, St. Lucian pastries and preserve, and fresh island smoothies. Trust me when I say, sipping on a delicious and healthy banana mango smoothie while walking the Marina’s Boardwalk is nothing short of incredible. 

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Local spices are one of my favorite ways to enjoy the taste of the Caribbean at home. One bite and you will be instantly transported back to palm trees swaying in warm Caribbean breezes. Plus, it is a great way to expand your cooking repertoire to include new flavors.

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Local artists also bring arts and crafts, artisan jewelry and other items that embody the spirit of St. Lucia and the Caribbean to the Farmer’s Market each week. I love purchasing gifts for my loved ones (and for myself!). They quickly become priceless mementos, rich in memories.

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The Farmer’s Market at Capella Marigot Bay’s Marina Village takes place every Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm and is curated by Executive Chef Billy Boyle and his team. It brings the best of local St. Lucian goodness and fits nicely into my resolutions for the new year of eating fresh and experiencing local cultures! I hope you will have the opportunity to experience it yourself, but in the meantime, I leave you with a delicious Caribbean smoothie recipe that happens to be my personal favorite.  

You will need:

Approximately 3 medium bananas

2 mangos

1/4 cup coconut milk (sweetened or unsweetened depending on preference)

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup ice cubes

I recommend chilling the bananas and mangos for about an hour. Once chilled, be sure to peel and slice them. Add them to the blender along with the coconut milk and honey. Blend until smooth. While the blender is still running, add the ice cubes one by one and continue blending until smooth. Serve and enjoy! Imagine yourself strolling along the Marina boardwalk watching the boats go by.

Healthy Resolutions in St. Lucia

The dawn of a New Year is always an exciting time that I enjoy for a variety of reasons beyond NYE parties and toasting champagne at midnight! I love making resolutions and setting goals towards an even brighter future. I would wager there are only a few people out there who have not resolved to be healthier in the coming year and rightfully so. The ambition to continuously strive for healthier habits is well-ingrained in most people. One of my favorite things about St. Lucia is how amazing I look and feel when I spend time here. Clean air, outdoor activities, sunshine and fresh food is a definite recipe for personal well-being.

In honor of the New Year, I decided to share my favorite ways to jumpstart health and well-being resolutions in St. Lucia. I find it to be a great reminder that “healthy” doesn’t have to mean bland or boring!

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We all know exercise is a primary factor in our health but I’ll take adventurous exercise over gym exercise any day! St. Lucia has a wide array of hiking trails that vary in difficulty. On days when I want a more leisurely hike, I’ll venture over to Tet Paul and when I’m up for something a bit more challenging, I like to hike in the Rainforest. But my favorite hike is up the Pitons! Though the difficulty level is more advanced, the rewards are unprecedented. Not only will you feel great from a cardiovascular perspective, but reaching the top will give you a sense of joy and accomplishment that isn’t quite as profound on a stairmaster. Take a look:

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I have a hard time remembering to eat the correct amount of fruit each day, that is, unless we are talking local options. There is nothing quite like fresh Caribbean mango or pineapple. Smoothies by the pool are another of my healthy treat choices and of course, the ultimate, fresh coconut water!

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I love having a coconut first thing in the morning and then again throughout the course of the day. Aside from being delicious, coconut water straight from the fruit leaves me feeling rejuvenated, hydrated and practically glowing.

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Swimming is an amazing form of exercise because the water provides natural resistance without any impact on your joints. Therefore snorkeling tops my list of healthy outdoor activities, as it combines swimming with underwater adventure! When I snorkel, I don’t even realize that I’ve been swimming for over an hour straight because I’m far too mesmerized by life under the Caribbean sea. Plus, my underwater camera helps me capture incredible photographs. I highly recommend bringing one along.

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Being healthy is about so much more than just exercising and eating right. So many of us forget one of the key factors in our well-being – relaxation! I never feel better than right after a massage or spa treatment. Not only does it ease the aches and pains that build up in joints and muscles, but it also is a great way to mentally unwind.

No matter where you are when you’re getting a jumpstart on your health goals for the New Year, I certainly hope you will remember to take some time for yourself to relax, de-stress and feel better overall.

I wish you a happy and healthy 2016!

A Recipe For Winter In Saint Lucia

 

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December is upon us and with it comes winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  But there is no such thing as winter in Saint Lucia.  In fact, the high season is just beginning. While there is no bad time to visit this year-round summer paradise, the high season is my personal favorite. With less humidity and rain, the weather permits for optimal pool, beach and adventure-going days.

I’m a big fan of travel and experiencing all seasons in a variety of places, but there’s something about Caribbean sunshine that simply can’t be beat. So I’d like to share with you my top three favorite St. Lucian activities to beat the winter blues.

Zipline In The Rain Forest

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A zipline rainforest excursion is a certain cure-all. Being surrounded by lush, green vegetation and interesting tropical plants coupled with the thrill of zipping from treetop to treetop is a great way to get your heart racing.  You’ll practically forgot that winter even exists!

Horseback Riding on the Beach

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I like lounging on the beach as much as the next person, but adding the horseback riding element to a beach excursion takes it to a whole new level. Experiencing the sun, surf and sand from a whole new perspective creates such wonderful lasting memories that will keep you warm even during cold winter nights.

Cruising on the Caribbean

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My favorite activity resides on the Caribbean Sea itself. There’s something so amazing about sitting aboard a yacht or catamaran with a tropical drink in hand and watching the sun dip below sea level. For added adventure, I like to dive in for some snorkeling to experience the under-the-sea world. Other times, I enjoy simply lounging port-side and letting the rum punch work its magic.

Until we see get to see you here in St. Lucia, I’d like to share a rum punch recipe that will bring the tropics to you in the mean time.

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Ingredients:

3 cups orange juice

3 cups pineapple juice

1 cup lime juice

a pinch of cinnamon

a pinch of nutmeg

6 shakes of angostura bitters

2 1/2 cups dark or light rum

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approximately 1 1/4 cups simple syrup or to taste!

Mix all the ingredients except the grenadine syrup and the simple syrup in a pitcher. Slowly add the grenadine syrup while stirring until the color looks like a glorious sunset. I like adding the simple syrup last so I can sweeten it to my personal preference.

You can drink it right away but it’s best when refrigerated overnight to give all the flavors a chance to come out. Serve over ice, take a sip and close your eyes. You’ll be temporarily transported to palm trees swaying in the tropical breeze. Cheers!

 

The Tet Paul Hike

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November is Health & Wellness Month in St. Lucia and with good reason! The island’s mix of adventure and tranquility provides an unbeatable setting for physical, mental and spiritual health. Here at Capella Marigot Bay, a 24 hour fitness center, yoga classes, spa treatments and an array of nutritious meals ensure that achieving health and wellness is always easy and fun. Even after just a couple of days here, I always feel rejuvenated!

Outdoor activities in such a pristine setting are a cornerstone of health and wellness and in St. Lucia that exists in abundance.  One of my personal favorites is the Tet Paul Nature Trail. The difficulty level is just challenging enough to make it a great cardiovascular activity while still being pleasant!

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Tet Paul is an excellent nature hike as there are plenty of plants, fruits and flowers to observe and learn about. Our guide, Jarod, was quick to point out the amazing tropical plants we were seeing along the way.

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I saw my first ever pineapple plant in person on the Tet Paul hike! We were even able to try some of the fruits that grow in the area while we were there and they were incredibly flavorful as well as nutritious.

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But of course, the main attraction is the view at the top of Tet Paul! Once you reach the end you are rewarded for your hard work with the most glorious view of St. Lucia’s Piton mountains. That alone is worth the trip and while no photo can truly do it justice, I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed.  It also happens to be the perfect spot to “Touch the Top of the Pitons” a social media phenomenon where visitors take photos of themselves touching the top of these iconic Caribbean mountains and share it online!

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I would love to see your “Touch the Top of the Pitons” photos so be sure to tag me @CapellaStLucia on Twitter and Instagram. ‘Til then, Happy Hiking! Even if you aren’t in St. Lucia for Health and Wellness month, I highly recommend treating yourself to some outdoor activities and of course, a great massage. You deserve it!

 

The Atlantic Rally For Cruisers

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If you love beautiful sailboats and the thrill of being on the sea, you are going to love everything about the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers! With Capella Marigot Bay also being a Marina, we are all very excited about this amazing nautical event that concludes right here in Saint Lucia.

Started in 1986, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has taken place every November as a way for sailing enthusiasts to safely cross the Atlantic together.

World ARC fleet at Cocos Keeling (c) Sarah Barthelet

The Rally begins in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. During the first leg of the journey, the boats sail to Mindelo, Sao Vicente in Cape Verde. During the second leg they sail to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia! The boats typically arrive anytime between November 29th and December 3rd.

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Though the rally is not a race, some friendly competitive sportsmanship definitely plays a part. Handicaps are given based on factors such as the type of boat or the number of people in the crew. On December 9th, once all the boats have arrived in Rodney Bay, an awards ceremony is held and awards are given out in different categories such as “First two-manned boat to cross the finish line” or even fun titles such as “prettiest boat.”

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Over 200 boats and 1200 sailors participate in the yearly event which attracts everyone from casual sailing families with children to serious racers, from big boats to small boats and everything in between. Those who do not wish to calculate their results are not obligated to do so and can simply enjoy this fun, social and safe way to sail across the Atlantic! The ARC has created a supportive community based in friendship and a shared interest in sailing.

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The social aspects of the ARC are witnessed by all who visit Rodney Bay during this time period. The achievement of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small sailboat is celebrated and regardless when each boat arrives, the crew is greeted with refreshments and rum punch. As the ARC says “No matter what time of day or night, the welcome party will be waiting for you!”

The popularity of the Rally has attracted the attention of so many sailors and sailing enthusiasts that a second category called the ARC+ was opened and these boats come to our very own Marigot Bay! The entire event is an exciting part of St. Lucian island life that provides a fascinating look into the world of sailing. You can even view the sailing progress of each of the boats online by clicking here. I certainly hope you will join us for the excitement either in person or at very least on social media!

Please let me know if you will be partaking in this year’s ARC so that I can follow along on Social Media.  I would love to share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Good luck to all of the participants!