This week the WIT blog is following our agent Nancy as she sails around the Caribbean on the Star Clipper on an educational trip to check out the ships and the stops! Today’s the last day of our sailing tour, so we’re taking a look at the final ports on her journey. Nancy will be back in the office on Monday, to give her a call if you want to hear firsthand how it went!
Îles de Saintes, Guadeloupe
These eight tiny islands lie seven miles south of Guadeloupe. Though under most tourists’ radar, the Îles de Saintes offer all the delights of the Caribbean—from gorgeous beaches, crystal-clear water, and delicious food with French influence. Visit Terre-de-Haut, the main town that houses most of the restaurants and hotels in Les Saintes. Shopping covers French and island goods: bamboo hats, local handicrafts, madras cotton crafts, African dresses, etc. While you’re there, try to mingle with some of the native creole population, known for their hospitality—and enjoy their unique patois of English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and African. Photographers should head to Le Bourg, the incredibly picturesque harbor, and to La Chameau, the highest point on the island with its 360 spectacular view of Terre-de-Haut and the seven other islands.
Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda
The Star Clipper will dock at Saint John, the only city on the island. Visitors typically walk through Heritage Quay up to the town, where they can enjoy duty-free shopping and tasty restaurants. Antigua food is tropical with many African influences, with dishes such as saltfish, grated sweet potato, coconut and cornmeal. Try a cup of delicious “fever grass” (lemongrass) bush tea. Scuba diving is fair, with many reefs just off the eastern coastline. If you have time, you can hire dinghies or catamarans to explore the plethora of coves and natural harbors around the island. There are more than 60 registered shipwrecks on and around Palaster Reef in the nearby isle of Barbuda. Other sightseeing includes Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, the public market, steel-pan bands at Shirley Heights, Betty’s Hope Sugar Estate, and St. Peter’s Church in Parham. Traveling with kids? Go bird-watching near the lagoon at Darkwood Beach or try some delicious tamarind or sea-grapes.
Gustavia, St. Barts
Gustavia is the capital of Saint Barthelemy (or St. Barts as it’s been Anglicized). In the past decade, French immigrants have doubled the population and tourism has flourished. There are now many high-end boutiques and luxury hotels available in the town. For an excursion, you can hike up to Fort Karl and Fort Gustav, or check out the Gendarmerie at Fort Oscar. Grand Galet Beach can be reached on foot from town and is a prime location for shell seekers. If you’re into surfing, hit the waves at Pointe Milou, on the north coast.
Did you know?
– Guadeloupe produces two-thirds of bananas eaten in France.
– Les Saintes is the only region in the world where two species of iguana occupy the same area.
– Many of the streets outside of Saint John, Antigua, don’t have names. The mail is delivered door-to-door by carriers who know exactly who lives where.
– Volleyball is the most popular sport on St. Barts, with hundreds of tournaments annually that draw crowds of 500 or more.
Star Clipper: Disembarkation Day
As we in the office know, Nancy loves cruises and is excited to contrast her smaller ship experience against her vast repertoire of large cruise lines. She has anticipated that Disembarkation Day in particular will be truly different:
“The Star Clipper experience is all about relaxation and rejuvenation, not sticking to a script. This will sound weird but I’m especially excited about my last night onboard! Why? I can enjoy dinner, socializing with my new friends, and savoring the wonderful week I’ve had and NOT race to meet the deadline to have my luggage outside my cabin! Nor do I have weave between masses of bags littering the hallways. Cruising on Star Clipper really means that the vacation fun doesn’t shrink on the last night; it rolls through breakfast.”
Interested in sailing with Star Clipper? Willamette Intl Travel regularly books these boats and would love to tell you more! Call us at 503.224.0180 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For a firsthand review, ask to speak with Linda, or by next week, Nancy!