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'Immersion' in St Lucia Part 1

'Immersion' in St Lucia Part 1

'Immersion' is the new buzzword in travel circles. It shuns cookie-cutter beach all-inclusives and characterless package holidays in favor of seeking out experiences that reflect the genuine feel of the country.

Immersion traveling says sun, sea and sand can be found in thousands of places all over the world, but what is it about your destination that makes it different? What makes it unique? It is pretty difficult to capture the real spirit of a place if you're cooped up in a resort.

This is where 'tourist' ends and 'traveler' begins. Perfect for those who crave adventure and culture, approaching holidays from this revolutionary perspective  will create unique memories that last a lifetime.

Here we run down 10 immersion experience ideas to get you started:

1. Join in Independence Day Celebrations

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Plan a scuba diving trip in the Bay Islands Honduras

Not an exhaustive guide but fast facts that can help you get to grips with this part of the Caribbean.

Location:

Honduras : The Bay Islands sit off the north coast of Honduras or if you prefer the lower left hand corner of the Caribbean not far from Belize.

They form a small island chain and tourism provides the greatest economy.

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Interesting Facts

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St Lucia - Battle of the Beaches

St Lucia - Battle of the Beaches

It doesn't take a lot of research to realize that St Lucia is a pretty special place. With its unusual mix of French, English, African and Amerindian cultures, beautiful beaches and undulating tropical scenery, it makes for breathtaking exploring. Add to that the excellent range of accommodations, from exclusive, adults-only luxury, to quality family resorts, and there is something to cater for everyone.

The hotels and resorts in the north of the island are spread around Castries, Rodney Bay, Cap Estate and Gros Islet, which are all within close proximity to each other. In the south, the main cluster of hotels is to be found in southwesterly Soufriere, though Vieux Fort at the most southerly tip is home to the popular Coconut Bay. The north and south offer vastly different atmospheres and experiences at their beaches.

For many people, a good quality beach is a holiday staple. Though St Lucia is relatively small at just over 600km², the road between Soufriere and Castries can take up to 80 minutes to travel, so choosing the right location for your stay could save you a lot of time and expense.

For the North

- Reduit Beach Excellent for swimming and has a huge amount of watersports available at decent prices. Popular with visitors and locals alike, the weekends see it play host to numerous beach parties and picnics, music pumping out of beach bars and food and drink plentiful at Spinnakers.

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Luxury in Soufriere, St Lucia

Luxury in Soufriere, St Lucia

If you are looking for a luxury break overlooking the Caribbean Sea, look no further than Soufriere, St Lucia. A quiet area on the island's west coast with beautiful beaches and panoramic views, Soufriere is home to more than ten outstanding hotels.

Here we compare three of the finest luxury hotels situated in Soufriere - Jade Mountain, Ladera Resort and Sugar Beach.

Jade Mountain, owned and designed by architect Nick Troubetzkoy, places bold design on the highest hills of Soufriere and is the only resort boasting a view of both the Piton mountains that jut out of the Caribbean Sea. In among Forbes magazine's Top 10 Luxury Boutique Resorts and voted top Caribbean Resort in both Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure magazines, the hotel has worldwide recognition but remains exclusive and private.

Ladera Resort didn't come far behind, voted 6th in Conde Nast and 7th in Travel & Leisure. Situated in the former Rabot Estate, one of Soufriere's oldest cocoa plantations, it offers rainforest and beach surroundings for adults only.

Sugar Beach is much larger and accommodates families as well as couples and individuals. With a huge range of activities on offer, luxury relaxation and recreation is accessible for all the family. One of the best beach settings on the island, it is ideal for those who enjoy watersports.

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Explore St Lucia on the water

Explore St Lucia on the water

With the Caribbean Sea on its west side and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, St Lucia is the perfect destination if you enjoy spending time on, and in, the water! Most towns and attractions are located on the sea to take advantage of the beautiful natural beaches and outstanding views. This makes traveling around by boat rather than by road an exciting opportunity which leaves the island's possibilities wide open to you. With vast stretches of idyllic blue waters and a pictureque tropical coastline, St Lucia is ideal for exploring by water.

If the sea is important to you, the Bay Gardens Hotel would be a good choice for accommodation. It is situated at Reduit Beach in Rodney Bay, which is often called the best beach in St Lucia. Check out Saluna by the beachfront, a provider of water sports, activities and equipment. Catering for serious watersports aficianados, unsure beginners and those just looking for a bit of fun, they offer waterskiing, sailing, wake-boarding and jetskiing. You can choose whether to just hire equipment, or pay very reasonable rates for instruction and supervision until you find your feet.

For those who prefer a more relaxing experience, try hiring some snorkeling equipment to explore the tropical sealife and coral. Or if you want to stay above the water, Saluna offer pedaloes, paddle canoes and paddle boards at competitive rates.

When you've had your fill of your resort and the surrounding Rodney Bay area, catch a water taxi to take you to one of St Lucia's many attractions. They can pick you up from the shoreline and whisk you away to Pigeon Island's historical exhibits, the Gros Islet Friday street party or Soufriere's volcanic mud baths, to name just a few. They will wait while you enjoy new experiences, delicious meals or refreshing drinks and take you back when you're ready.

For a truly unforgettable experience, book a bespoke boat tour excursion. For half a day, a full day or to fit your schedule, the Saluna team will take you down the Caribbean Sea coast to destinations of your choice. With a wide range of refreshments and snorkeling equipment included, from just 100 USD it represents very good value for money. A full day on the water with a knowledgeable and friendly team, exploring all that St Lucia's coast has to offer will surely be the highlight of your trip and a memory that will last a lifetime.

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Authentic St Lucian luxury at Fond Doux

Authentic St Lucian luxury at Fond Doux

St Lucia is known for its lush vegetation, authentic Creole culture and its reputation for romance. If you are looking for a unique experience far away from the tourist hotspots, Fond Doux Plantation & Resort is a choice sure to satisfy your need for peace and tranquility. Visited by Prince Charles and Camilla in 2008 and rated number 2 Plantation Hotel worldwide by The Guardian newspaper, the Resort has attracted worldwide praise but still remains a private and serene hideaway.

Fond Doux is a 250-acre working plantation that primarily produces cocoa. Nestled within its flourishing greenery are fifteen private cottages that offer the best in St Lucian luxury. Crafted from wood by expert local artisans, they have been designed to enhance the beauty of the natural surroundings and create a romantic and intimate feel. With choices of 1 bedroom cottages, honeymoon suites with private plunge pools, and 2 bedroom cottages, there are plenty of options for every budget and preference. They have names like African Tulip, Cinnamon Cottage, and Hilltop Guava, which perfectly reflect the rich agricultural heritage and local produce of St Lucia.

Fond Doux Plantation has two restaurants. The Cocoa Pod is a more casual restaurant open for breakfast, buffet lunch and dinner. The Jardin Cacao offers a la carte lunch and dinner. Both restaurants serve chef-prepared Caribbean and International cuisine, using locally-grown foods from certified organic farms. Understanding the importance of atmospheric dining, Fond Doux have placed their restaurants to benefit from optimum light, shade and tropical breezes. Dining among the lush gardens surrounded by flowers and fruit trees, you will feel worlds away from the busy pace of everyday life.

For further relaxation, Fond Doux have created a boutique spa experience for you to unwind while immersed in nature. Designed to rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit, Mamma La Terre spa offers a wide range of treatments including a full range of massages, scrubs and wraps. The spa's name means 'Mother Earth' and Fond Doux show their eco credentials by using all-natural, organically grown ingredients for their treatments. The proximity to the volcanic sulphur springs in Soufriere allows the spa to make use of its healing mud in its treatments, said to improve both the quality of the skin and peace of mind.

There are a variety of beautifully-designed outdoor swimming pools set in tropical scenery and equipped with comfortable seating areas, with both shaded and direct-sun options. Some accommodations come with plunge pools and veranda areas, so you can unwind right in the heart of St Lucia's natural paradise.

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