Natasha Jervis specializes in online travel publication and has lived abroad in the UK, Canada, USA, Caribbean and Spain. She has extensive training and experience in the travel sector, including a B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism from FIU in Miami, and has freelanced for various companies throughout the United States, Canada and Europe for many years. She is currently a freelance travel writer for various publications and other non-travel publications.
We caught up with Natasha (via email) and got her advice on how to plan and prep for a quick Caribbean vacation.
Favorite Caribbean destination for a quick getaway?
St. Lucia in the West Indies has captured my heart many times over, not only for its beauty, but its strong historic ties and unique culture. The Caribbean island of St. Lucia is a secret gem located out in the Caribbean Sea and many people are not familiar with its grand beauty and tropical island feel.
It has luscious tropical flora and fauna, and is approximately 27 miles long. It’s a small island, but you will never run out of things to see and do. The people are warm, welcoming, and friendly, and you can always ask any passerby for help or advice. When you visit St. Lucia you will not be able to miss the glorious Piton Mountains as they are raised approximately 2,000 feet above sea level. Make sure you visit Gros Islet where you can party hardy at the Friday night street party. I enjoyed some amazing Reggae and Soca music, as well as BBQ that no one could resist. Gros Islet is considered the capital of nightlife in Saint Lucia. This renowned street party has been going on for years and is a highlight for a vacation to beautiful St. Lucia.
If you are an avid scuba diver or an adventurous adrenaline junkie explore the exotic reefs with your scuba gear, go bird watching, hiking, exploring, and see the exquisite rainforest. In the rainforest you will discover birds of paradise, exotic wild orchids, papaya trees, and you might even come across the world-famous endangered St. Lucia parrot. A vacation in St. Lucia is not complete without a visit to the relaxing and soothing diamond mineral baths in Soufriere. Believe me, your muscles will love you for it!
Any tips for packing light? What are the essentials and what gets left behind?
Think sundresses, light colored slacks, cover ups, sunglasses, bathing suits, shorts, hiking shoes, runners, sandals, hats, sarongs, t-shirts, and tank tops. You can also take a cardigan or light jacket for cooler nights by the ocean. Sun block is a necessary asset as you don’t want to ruin your trip by being laid up in your hotel room with a severe burn. You really don’t have to pack heavy at all as you only need the essentials to throw on each day. Most hotels have a laundry service if you need one. Visitors can live in a few pairs of clothing for a seven day vacation. Leave the shirts, ties, briefcase, and heavy material clothing at home. There is no need for ‘clothing-stress’ on your vacation. Keep it simple. Take some Aspirin for any sun burn pain, Aloe Vera, and any other medications you may require. Live freely and enjoy being one with the island instead of bringing too many materialistic items. If you can, leave your lap top at home to avoid working on your lovely quick getaway.
Any travel tools/Apps that make planning a Caribbean vacation easier?
Yes most definitely! Try the Gate Guru App which can be downloaded to the Apple iPhone. If you have time to spend in an airport and are looking for the best restaurants, snack shops, book stores, or more, this cool informative app can help you out. When it comes to travel tools, I find it is always a smart choice to ‘know before you go.’ Make sure you do your research, talk to people and hotel staff directly, and find out where ATM locations and safe areas are, and what the currency conversion it. FreeVerse.com is also a great tool so you can update your friends and family about your travels by sending them postcards from your IPod Touch or iPhone.
When is the best time to take a short trip to the Caribbean?
The best time for cheaper vacation deals is during the summer months and is usually considered June to late August. The high crowd-packed season and most expensive is from December to May. If you are more focused on weather and safety, avoid the hurricane months from June to November. If you are price conscious, head to the Caribbean in the summer, or late August through to early November when prices are still reasonable. You’ll avoid massive crowds that can present themselves during the holiday season, and you can have more access to local attractions. Anything to avoid long line-ups!
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