September 26, 2003 -- A mountainous island studded with gorgeous resorts, St. Lucia is one of the Caribbean's most popular destinations. If you're looking for island scenery, you'll find a little bit of everything here -- beaches, mountains, a rain forest, a volcano, plantations and a decent town (if one without much historic architecture.) The one thing you won't find is masses of crazed partiers -- and for most travelers, that's a good thing.
For our fully updated guide to St. Lucia, see www.frommers.com/destinations/stlucia.
Several hotels and one airline are offering great rates and discounts for St. Lucia's shoulder season, from now through December.
The tiny, romantic Inn on the Bay has a compelling discount for procrastinators. If you book less than two weeks in advance, you get 30% off their usual rates, which are $120/night before Dec. 15 and $145/night after. A three-week advance booking means 20% off; if you book a month in advance, you only get 10% off. As the Inn only has five rooms, though, we'd imagine it tends to sell out. For details, see www.saint-lucia.com/discount.html
Staying a week? Check out the package deal at Harmony Suites, which bundles together seven nights' accommodation, five full-day dives, and three dinners for $775 per person, double occupancy. They say that's a 20% discount off of normal rates. Check them out at www.harmonysuites.com.
Weeklong journeyers to Anse Chastanet and Windjammer Landing also get one night free when they book six, the equivalent of a 14% discount. Both of these resorts are highly recommended by Frommer's.
Frommer's calls Anse Chastanet St. Lucia's "premier dive reort." Chastanet throws a $150 food and beverage credit into their deal, which must be booked by Sept. 30 for travel by Dec. 19. Their rates start at $210 before Nov. 1, and $245 afterwards. Book by calling 800/223-1108 or go to www.ansechastanet.com.
Low Fare Air Jamaica
To enjoy these hotel savings, though, you've got to get to St. Lucia first. As befits a paradise, it's not the easiest island to get to.
The best deals right now seem to be from Air Jamaica; you can get similar fares through Delta, but you'll just end up on codeshared Air Jamaica flights. Some of the prices we found for November dates on www.airjamaica.com are actually lower than the official fares Air Jamaica gave us. Here's what we saw online, including all taxes and fees:
- New York: $368 (official fare around $440)
- Baltimore/Philadelphia: $382 (official fare around $440)
- Miami: $421 (official fare around $400)
- Chicago: $458 (official fare around $530)
Air Jamaica also flies from Orlando for around $430, from Atlanta for around $500, and from Los Angeles for around $610.
(What's up with all of the 'around's? The official fare list Air Jamaica gave us was before taxes, so we're estimating the taxes.)