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Customer Reviews for Historical Island Extravaganza

Historical Island Extravaganza

Experience the best of St Lucia, from its quaint ambience and cultural flair to the downright exotic. First, tour the city of Castries; then you will drive up the Morne and back down into a valley packed with banana plantations and small villages. Here you’ll see the locals going about their everyday lives. At the center of the island, Barre d’Isle, you will discover a variety of lush vegetation, including tree ferns, bamboo and fir trees. Continue along the east coast to view the rugged, picturesque Atlantic coastline and pass through the second-largest town on the island, Vieux Fort. Then head out of town along the high road—although it is somewhat winding and bumpy, the view from Moule a Chique will take your breath away. Next, pass the airport and continue through the countryside to the serene Balenbouche Estate. The Balenbouche Estate House is one of the few surviving original plantation houses in St Lucia. Its colonial architecture dates back to the early 19th century, and the rooms furnished with antiques from around the same period. This estate holds the key to a rich history, dating back 1,800 years when the first Amerindian people from Central America arrived in large dugout canoes. Traces of a pre-Columbian presence at Balenbouche Estate include rock basins and petroglyphs on the banks of the Balenbouche River, as well as a collection of artifacts such as stone axes, tools and beautifully crafted clay pottery. Enjoy refreshments before you stroll through the gardens. Your next stop is at the Choiseul Craft Market, where you will see an array of indigenous arts and crafts. En route to the Soufrière area, you’ll stop at the Sulfur Springs—the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano. Watch the bubbling pools emit steam and try to acclimate to the strong scent of sulfur as your guide tells you all about the geo-thermal activity. By then, you’ll surely be ready for a delicious lunch at the Morne Coubaril working plantation. After lunch, see how the workers of yesteryear carried out their tasks. The ride to the jetty affords you magnificent views of the Pitons—a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Notes:Tour begins in Castries and ends in Soufrière. The ship will sail to Soufrière to pick up tour participants. Minimum age is 5 years.
Average Customer Rating:
3.8 out of 5
3.8
 out of 
5
(10 Reviews) 10
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (10 reviews)
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7 out of 10(70%)reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Historical Island Extravaganza
Review 1 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Overview of St. Lucia

Date:February 12, 2014
lilypad
Location:Ohio
Cruise Date Year:2014
Cruise Date Month:February
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We enjoyed this tour. There were a couple spots that were very crowded since there were so many ships in port. Scenery is incredible and the guide was great. We enjoyed most of the tour. The Balenbouche Estate was too crowded and our hostess was stressed. The tour was rushed and we did not see the rock basins and artifacts. The scenic stops are worth seeing and the stop at the estate was so interesting and I wish our stop could have been longer. The guides took small groups and what we saw gave us a glimpse of what this estate might have been like.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
Review 2 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Long Day

Date:February 11, 2014
ladyblue
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Value
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
This is a seven and a half hour tour. Most of which is spent riding around in a van/bus. Our first stop was at an over crowded art/craft area. Charge for using the restroom was $1.00. Our next stop was at a scenic overlook. Charge for using the restroom $1.00. The bottom line is - this is a long day. Bring dollars. Several of the stops are really nothing you would stop at, if you were on your own. There were a total of 7 vans all going at the same time to the same places. Best part of the tour was the final planation stop where lunch was served and you had a tour of the plantation. Cruise date: January 2014. (2014 was not an option listed below)
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 3 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Island Extravaganza Just OK

Date:February 6, 2014
CruisingCapers
Location:Florida
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Interesting tour, but very long time to spend on a minibus that was over-crowded and not in good repair. We sat toward the back and the transmission whined so loud that we had difficulty hearing our guide who, while he was very knowledgeable about the island, spoke very broken English and was hard to understand. Our van was overly full and one passenger ended up spending the whole 7-1/2 hours on a jump seat while the poor guide had to stand the whole time. Enjoyed the lunch and the various spots we stopped, but 7-1/2 hours is a bit long in an over-crowded bus. St. Lucia looks beautiful at first glance and this tour does give you another look at the less affluent parts of the island. Good history lesson about the island. If you don't mind all day on a small bus, you would enjoy this tour.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 4 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Full Island Drive

Date:January 7, 2014
Albertagrandma
Location:Alberta, Canada
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
A relaxing day with a couple of breath taking views. We really felt like we appreciated St. Lucia at the end of this tour. We had a couple of tours of plantations and estates and learned a lot about the history of the Island and it's people. Had a late lunch which was good except they ran out of some foods near the end. An easy day with some amazing changes in landscape and micro climates as we travelled from Castries to Soufriere. It was hard to believe it was all one island. There were some walking and high steps at the crater hot springs but these were optional if you didn't want to go down or up. Very enjoyable day and the only downside was you didn't get to cruise into the Soufriere harbour and see it from the sea. By the time we got on board it was almost full dark. Thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
Review 5 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

One of HAL's best tours ever.

Date:December 26, 2013
goldenspring
Location:Weeki Wachee, Florida
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:December
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This tour is the best we've ever been on and we have been on many. Our guide, Mitch, was excellent; very professional and takes pride in his country. We really saw so much and learned so much about beautiful St. Lucia I don't have space to write it all. Don't miss this tour it's worth every penny!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
0points
0out of 0found this review helpful.
Review 6 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great trip!

Date:March 28, 2013
Cruisefans
Location:Poultney, VT
Cruise Date Year:2013
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We loved this tour! Very comprehensive and informative. Beautiful scenery the entire trip, an informative guide, an absolutely delicious lunch at the Coubaril estate & a heart-stopping view from Moule a Chique. A long day but worth every moment!
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
Review 7 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Wonderful Way to See Inland St. Lucia

Date:February 4, 2013
44Cruiser
Location:Kentucky
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
We sailed aboard the Ryndam in January 2013, not 2012 (the drop down menu did not offer 2013). This 7 hour bus tour from Castries to Soufriere was as advertised, enabling us to truly experience inland St. Lucia. When our excellent tour guide Lera realized our bus would arrive in Soufriere ahead of tenders from the ship, she arranged one bonus stop overlooking one of the Pitons and another overlooking the stunning bay at Soufriere. NOTE: Uneven terrain, steep stairs and walkways, and limited storage aboard the bus for walkers and wheelchairs, made access at some stops difficult for passengers requiring such assistance. Also, this is a popular tour, so you may not get the seat you want. When our bus filled to capacity. one lady held up our initial departure for 15 minutes by insisting on someone trading seats with her and her husband so they could sit together. Her husband, who had the best seat on the bus (a single seat at the front), was not complaining, but she remained most unhappy when no one traded with them. Due to limited storage space for walkers, hers was stored in the doorway, resulting in Lera standing for the entire 7 hour tour.. Lera demonstrated extraordinary patience and professionalism during the entire tour.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+6points
9out of 12found this review helpful.
Review 8 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

St. Lucia daylong tour

Date:January 27, 2013
Shiraz
Location:Arizona
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
January 2013, not 2012, the drop down menu doesn't have 2013 as an option.
This is a great island overview for someone like me who had never been there before. We had a wonderful, comfortable bus with huge windows and went to two beautiful plantations, several panoramic lookout points, the sulfur springs among other things!
At the first estate, we went inside and were served juice. The caretakers gave some history and we were able to look at the period-appropriate furnished roped-off rooms as well as in the front room where we stood.
The craft market was kind of spare. I picked up a bracelet which I saw on other islands for more than twice what I paid for it at this market, but there were not very many vendors or much merchandise. So I was happy with my little bracelet.
The volcano reminded me of Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, except the smell in Hawaii was very strong. This sulfur was much more bearable. There was a warm mineral river that ran through the tour area which looked like something to come back one day to try! We climbed down and then up quite a few stairs for the full tour but you could see most everything without going on all the stairs. We just got closer and saw the bubbling mud from a different angle, as well as the narration of the on-site guide.
We were pretty hungry by the time we finally got to the other estate and lunch! The buffet was tasty and there were plenty of restrooms on both the front and backsides of each restroom building. The tour was briefly interrupted by rain showers, but my makeshift trash bag raincoat served me well and I recommend carrying one with you if you don't have real rainwear. We didn't go into the actual house at this place, but it was very pretty from the outside. We saw the cocoa bean story and marveled at how someone ever could have managed to create heavenly chocolate bars based on the raw material of sticky, gooey beans in a pod. I tasted one of the beans in its original form since they were offered, and didn't find it the least bit chocolatey, but it was sweet. We had a demonstration and tour of the cocoa processing tools and hut from the early days. I don't think people put their feet all over the cocoa in this day and age but who knows??? We then saw different products like nutmeg and sorrel, and heard about their uses. The next item to view was coconuts, and I think everyone was impressed by that demonstration. Very cool!
Throughout the tour, we were able to catch glimpses of the Piton/s in the distance as we neared them. When we were just above Soufriere, we stopped at a viewpoint and were able to overlook the harbor with Maasdam waiting for us. It was a wonderful day!
I had looked forward to seeing the Pitons from the ocean but wouldn't you know it, the clouds rolled in and blotted out the view as we left the harbor. I was quite happy with the tour and found it to be a good value since it included lunch and we saw so many things! The hardest thing was missing the narrated tour and view of the Pitons that those aboard the ship were able to see as they arrived during repositioning from Castries, but it was a worthwhile trade.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
Review 9 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good overview of the island

Date:March 26, 2012
Handynana
Location:Ventura, CA
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:March
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
Enjoyed it?
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This was a great land tour that covered much of St Lucia. The island is quite mountainous, and the roads are narrow, so the drive itself was an adventure, especially up to the light station. The rain forest is magnificent. The Balenbouche Estate is interesting, but we didn't see any of the petroglyphs or ancient artifacts mentioned in the tour description. We didn't stop at a craft market either. There isn't much at the volcano, just a few bubbling pools, and the guides in that area were pretty aggressive in asking for tips. Lunch at Morne Coubaril was excellent, but the tour of the plantation was just so-so. The displays are artificially recreated, and again, the participants weren't shy about asking for tips. Enjoyable excursion, but not outstanding.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? Yes
+19points
19out of 19found this review helpful.
Review 10 for Historical Island Extravaganza
Overall Rating
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

A forever day

Date:March 6, 2012
Sandy4
Location:Los Angeles
Cruise Date Year:2012
Cruise Date Month:January
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
Enjoyed it?
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
I would have liked this better if we had not been marooned above Soufriere for 30 minutes and then on the dock at Soufriere for another 30 minutes waiting for the Noordam to send tenders to pick us up. The lunch was very good, and the drive-in volcano was interesting. But it was just too long a day to end up as it did.
Would you recommend this product to a friend? No
+8points
11out of 14found this review helpful.