Monday,  September 21, 2020  6:29 am

PAX On Location: Connecting with Saint Lucia’s tropical splendor at annual NA Showcase

PAX On Location: Connecting with Saint Lucia’s tropical splendor at annual NA Showcase
Sunset hour at Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa in Saint Lucia.
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Nibble, nibble. 

I’m dangling my feet in a glass-like volcanic pond nestled high-up in the lush and rocky quarters of tropical Mount Pimard in Saint Lucia and a school of curious koi fish are lightly nipping at my toes.

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LucianStyle Experiences is a local tour company that takes tourists to this leafy, secluded spot – by a fleet of gliding Segway X2s, no less – and my two down-to-earth guides, Keyz and Edwin, have assured me that this fleeting (and giggly) moment with the curious koi, an informal fish pedicure of the sorts, will not turn out like the horror movie Piranha.

(If there is a movie worth watching, it’s the one you’ll film of your colleagues hilariously shrieking with surprise as the harmless little-finned ones mistake their pinky toes for lunch).  

Finding the best views of Saint Lucia in Pigeon Island National Park.

It was just one of many memorable, nature-based activities we’d experienced since landing in stunning Saint Lucia less than 48 hours ago.

Born of volcanic origin, Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands of the West Indies Lesser Antilles. Measuring just 43 kilometres long and 22 kilometres wide, the majestic island sits halfway down the Eastern Caribbean archipelago.

At heart, the emerald-green region is known for its dramatic natural beauty – the UNESCO-approved Pitons mountains, two volcanic marvels near the towns of Soufrière on the west coast, being one notable attraction.

PAX is in Saint Lucia this week (July 22-26) to not only experience the island, but to also partake in the region’s seventh annual North American Showcase, a trade show hosted by the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority that gives tour operators from Canada and the U.S. an opportunity to meet with hoteliers and attractions and build new business.

The showcase officially kicks off today (July 24) at the Royalton Saint Lucia, and PAX will be meeting with delegates to get the latest scoop on what Saint Lucia is up to these days.

Saint Lucia's seventh annual North American Showcase begins this week.

Saint Lucia’s Hewannora International Airport, for one, began a $175 million redevelopment this year.

The reno includes a new air traffic control tower (elevating over 100 ft.), five new parking aprons with connecting air bridges to a 337,000 sq. ft. terminal building and a new road infrastructure and traffic management system.

Saint Lucia’s new Village Tourism initiative, too, is in development – the tourism board has selected eight communities with the aim of creating cultural offerings for tourists that seek a more authentic, local experience.

The idea here is also to build on each area’s art, music, food, craft, storytelling, dance and folk traditions, and provide greater economic welfare for the communities.

From left: Jennifer Maguire, communications & public relations, JMCPR; Rod Hanna, director of sales - Canada, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority; Geraine Georges, public relations officer, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority.

Dramatic natural beauty

One can find thousands of images of this mountainous island online, but seeing is truly believing when it comes to realizing Saint Lucia’s tropical splendor.

Our host hotel, the delightful Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa, sits in smooth and sandy Rodney Bay, and is surrounded by lush gardens and colourful, tropical foliage.

When wading in the bay’s clean and clear waters, views of Saint Lucia’s warm, green mountains are just a glance away (and if you want to see an epic sunset, it’s here).

PAX was greeted by a striking rainbow, minutes after checking into Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa in Saint Lucia.

Under ancient French law, all beaches in Saint Lucia form part of the Queen’s Chain, which means they’re all open to the public.

But beaches with turquoise shorelines are just some of many aspects that make this mango-shaped island magical.

While sipping margaritas on a beach in the sun is easily achievable at one of Saint Lucia’s many resorts, it’s the off-property activities – zip-lining through the rainforest, biking, hiking, horseback riding, catamaran-ing, mountain climbing, snorkeling, visiting local markets and vibrant festivals, to name a few – that give this Caribbean paradise some serious vacation spice.

From hikes across Pigeon Island National Park to speedy Segway adventures to “drive-in volcanoes” to steamy Caribbean cuisine – Saint Lucia is bursting with fun and exciting experiences, and PAX will be bringing you the best on-location round-ups and updates, all week long.

Stay tuned!

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