Okay, I know. This post is long overdue. I have yet to complete my St. Lucia series from my 2021 trip, and I have already been home for 2022 as I am writing this. However! This is the last post to complete the itinerary. As usual, my blog has taken a back burner to my studies. Let me squeeze this in before we head to mid-April.
ATVing is one of my favorite methods of transportation to explore an area. It brings so much freedom and allows you to go beyond where vehicles permit and where you are sometimes unable to locate by foot. I have experienced this excursion in so many countries, except my own, until this point.
I will be frank, securing this excursion was hell. We spent at least 2 weeks getting someone to respond to us and create a reservation. Mind you, these are booked much in advance, and we expected it now for now. We quickly discovered that the discounted local price also came with the prioritization of tourists. Fortunately for us, the only con we encountered was in the planning.
Although this excursion is offered throughout the island (some companies also offer multiple locations), my sisters and I wanted to go to the south. We knew there would be more to see and do and refused to settle for a location elsewhere.
Following many unanswered calls and WhatsApp messages, the four of us booked with Island ATV St. Lucia at their Saltibus location. I cannot recall the total cost for my sisters and me, but I remember being taken aback by how much it was. I have most definitely done this before for less. However, it was worth it. Absolutely zero doubt about that. We will discuss why in a bit. But first, let us examine the prices on their site. I will say that since we have experienced this, the company’s website has undergone an upgrade, which now includes prices and multiple tour options. The tour that we participated in is called the Irie Lucian ATV Tour, which is a two-and-a-half-hour excursion guaranteed to take you through many unseen parts of this community. The total cost advertised on their site: is USD 120, which converts to XCD 324 (in this economy, I am sure the conversion rate was less at the time). Of course, this price does not consider the local and group discounts we received. The price is not part of the issue because it was worth every penny. I think it was just the number x4 that had me stressed. Either way, worth it.
Let us get into the details. We arrived late, of course, mostly because I was the one driving. The guide was kind from the beginning and had us meet close to the road of the entrance. He flagged us down and led the way. I could not understand why he drove quickly through this treacherous road as we snailed behind him in a vehicle barely a foot and a half from the ground. By 90 seconds in, we lost him. No big deal. The road only led one way.
I parked the car, we handed over a few hundred dollars, and he aligned the ATVs. Then, we realized that two tourists would be joining our group, and my tardiness was not too bad after all. We waited a good half an hour before they showed up and spent time filling up our camera rolls. The tourists showed up, dripped in designer, and the moment we all sat on the ATVs (which were now all aligned again), it started pouring heavily. We all scrambled to put out belongings in safe spaces. Running to our car, we grabbed some of their items as well. Of course, the moment I returned from the vehicle, the guide made us aware of the hidden compartment underneath the seat. I went back to grab our belongings.
The rain cleared up in less than 3 minutes and initiated our orientation. Approximately 30 minutes were spent going over safety measures and using a small looped trail off the driveway to practice. Finally, it was time to really begin.
We followed in a single file line on the same road that we initially struggled with within the little car. When we got to the end of the road, we needed to cross the street to continue to our first stop. One by one, we looked both ways and hit the gas. And by hit, I mean just that. The road we were crossing was the end of a corner, and when cars came, they came with speed. Our group of seven continued following this path until the clear distinction of the trail ended. Soon, we became one with nature until we ended up at our first stop. A beautiful black sand beach. In all my 20 something years of living, I never knew St. Lucia to have black sand beaches. I mean, it makes sense because of the proximity of the volcano. I guess I just never thought about it. And still, I called my aunt (from this part of the island) asking why she brought me to Saltibus throughout my childhood but never to this gem, and she debated this fact.
It was evident that the beach is rarely accessed. Not one person could be found here, and there were tracks of previous ATVs, which I am assuming came from a tour our guide did before we arrived. Beautiful, tranquil, and quaint. I do not know what it is, but I love black sand beaches. I love to see the effects of nature and the beauty it produces. This is most definitely a place that I want to access with my family on my next trip home, minus the ATVs. This may be a super long and possibly challenging hike, but there is no doubt that it is worth it. We spent some time speeding through sand dunes and doing doughnuts around one another in this open space that felt like ours for the time being. Here is some photo evidence of the beauty we basked in ↴
The initial stop set the expectation for the remainder of this excursion high. I did not think it could get better than this. (Though I was right, the rest of this activity did not disappoint.) The seven of us started to follow our guide back. It seemed like it was the same way we originally entered, but it was not. To exit, we needed to go through a river. Lined with mud, I regretted my decision to wear white sneakers instead of going to town to purchase a cheap pair. That thought quickly passed as I grew with excitement. There was only one way out, so why not fully accept and enjoy it? Speeding in the mud on one side of the river, we played around for a few minutes seeing how fast we could get these machines to go. (Evidence of decisions I do not regret.) ↴
Moving beyond the minute details and my silly decisions, we began moving through the shallow river. Trying to protect my feet, I attempted to balance my legs in the air. (Clearly, there was a pattern here.) I quickly realized that I was not stable without my feet grounded. After getting dirty enough, I stopped caring. I zigged zagged in and out of the water. What was meant as a crossway became my playground. We followed our tour guide to another beach (or possibly an extension of the same one). When we arrived, attention was immediately drawn to us pulling up on these noisy machines. Instructed to park one behind another, we allowed the engines of the ATVs to rest momentarily. Our tour guide used this opportunity to distribute ice-cold water bottles to each of us. It was much appreciated, but one bottle did not quench my thirst. About 10 minutes max were spent here. Met with curious and flirty locals, it was just the right amount of time.
Soon after, we began making our way to our next destination. And, of course, the man of the couple that joined my sisters and me in this group managed to get the ATV nearly flipped over on the side that met the river. After a sea of gasps, we realized that the machine was stuck. Both he and his designer were dripping in mud. With a good amount of effort, the guide was able to somehow remove the ATV from the position it was in, then switched machines in an attempt to somehow preserve the already dirty outfit that he wore.
We continued in the same direction that we originally came from. At this moment, I realized that the tour was approaching the end. A little disappointed, I blurted out: “that’s it?” At the time, I did not realize that anyone besides my sister next to me could hear, but it was later evident that that was not true. Once again, we crossed the same busy corner we initially crossed in the opposite direction. Instead of taking the slight right turn to head back to the entrance, we continued up the hill. I almost felt a sense of relief. Relief that this excursion was not yet coming to an end and knowing that we were really getting our money’s worth. Shortly after, we ended up at a narrow, high, and seemingly unstable bridge, Devil’s Bridge. A few minutes were spent discussing the myths of the origin of the bridge’s name. This stop was brief, and we made our way back to the entrance shortly after.
Fast forward, we are back where we originally departed from. The hotel or tour bus comes to pick up the couple that joined our group. My sisters and I are left with the ATVs, the perfect time for a photoshoot. We say our thank you’s, the tour guide positions one ATV for us to take photos, takes a few group photos for us, then leaves us to our own devices. The perfect opportunity for a photoshoot of our own. We captured many Instagram-worthy moments. Following half an hour or so, it was time to go as our stomachs were quickly approaching E. We departed in great spirits and were satisfied with the experience overall. Despite the hiccups in communication and planning, I recommend Island ATV St. Lucia. 8.5/10.