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Who has been to St. Lucia? flight length/connections?

My ILs are doing their annual holiday trip to St. Lucia this year.  Since my MIL is retiring they are no longer bound by her work schedule (teaching) in the times they go away.  So they invited us to go from 12/29 until 1/2. 

St. Lucia is on my list of places I would love to go to, but I am wondering if it's worth it to travel that far (w/ 2 young children*) for what is basically a long weekend.

I have no idea where we would be staying, etc. 

 *I think my kids are good travelers, but I worry that connecting flights + going through customs on the way back in could be trying.  

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Re: Who has been to St. Lucia? flight length/connections?

  • I know nothing about St. Lucia, but seriously. .. 4 days?  That's barely worth packing for you all.
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  • We went to St Lucia for our honeymoon.  It's beautiful!!  That's not really a lot of time there, but it's such a relaxing place, that three days might totally be worth it.

    The connecting flights - at least our experience - really wasn't terrible.  We flew to Miami (~2.5 hours) and then to St Lucia (~3 hours).  The flights were uneventful and at most our layovers were 1.5 hours.  I think coming home you definitely need that long to get through customs. On the way home - you have to get your bags from baggage claim, re-check them (took 30 seconds), and then go through security and walk to the domestic terminal.   Not that it took forever, but the Miami airport is HUGE and the walk was long. 

    Depending on where you are staying on the island, it could be a fairly long drive to the hotel.  We stayed at a Sandals and because of the location of the hotel (complete opposite end of the airport), it was about 1.5 hour drive to the hotel.  This is also because we flew into the big airport as opposed to the small one.  The small airport only has connecting flights in and out of Puerto Rico.  We chose Miami in case something happened...we were in the country.  But the Sandals Grande is the furthest away from the airport...and the non-Sandals hotels - that we saw - were gorgeous!  My suggestion would be to look at anything in Marigot Bay.  That was my favorite area.

    Hope this helps.  Let me know if I can answer any other questions. 

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  • image KathrynMD:
    I know nothing about St. Lucia, but seriously. .. 4 days?  That's barely worth packing for you all.

    I agree, but it would be our Christmas present from them (which is better than more stuff) and that would be our holiday time with them as well.

    I asked DH if he had anymore details on the trip, like where we were staying, etc. once I get that info I will look into if we can extend our trip by a day or 2.  

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  • We went to St. Lucia also for our HM and our flights got royally screwed up.

    We got married in NJ and were scheduled to fly in/out of Newark through Peurto Rico, to the smaller airport near Castries, St. Lucia. The week before I get an email that says our return flight has been changed to land at JFK. You are from NY--hell if I was flying into JFK. I called the airline, complained, complained some more. Asked if we could at least fly into Philly (since my parents live closer to philly), they had to confirm that it was within resonable distance of Newark  <insert dramatic eyeroll>, and we finally got the OK.

    That being said, the flight itself wasn't bad, but we did have a bit of a lyover in San Juan from waht I remember and 2 of our bags didn't arrive until later that night.

    We chose the smaller airport b/c it was closer to our hotel. I didn't want to deal with over an hour ride in a van getting car sick.

    I would get more details about the trip before I jump right in. SOunds fabulous to me!

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  • DH and I went to St. Lucia for our Honeymoon in August 06. We flew out of BWI to Puerto Rico had about a hour lay over which wasn't bad at all. We flew on a smaller plane into the Casteries (small airport). We stayed at the Sandals Regency which was about a 30 minute drive from the airport. On the way back, we had huge issues. During our honeymoon, their was the liquid scare, so once we left for the airport (or the shed, as DH likes to call it) our bags were checked two times. Our flight was delayed because of these searches. We were able to get into Puerto Rico with about 45 minutes before our flight was to leave. Going through Customs was not bad. It was waiting for the bags and then waiting in line to put your bags in their line. Then waiting for security that was a nightmare. We almost missed our flight. We were that couple running through the airport, the last to board the plane and the first to get our bags in Baltimore.

    St. Lucia is beautiful I would definitely take the IL's up on that offer though. 

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  • We went for our HM. Definitely beware of the small airport and the small Caribbean airlines that fly in and out of there. They are notoriously unreliable. I would do what smange did and fly through Miami on the bigger airline (I think its American). We got screwed by one of the small airlines and ended up stuck in Puerto Rico overnight on our way home.
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  • Thanks for the info- all of the flight stuff is super helpful!  While I have no issues w/ small airports (or planes for that matter) when it's just DH & I, I can see that being a bit of a PITA w/ a stroller, carseats, etc. 

    My MIL books these flights using miles and tends to go and make all arrangements w/o any consulting w/ anyone else, so I will have to see what her plan is.  

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  • We honeymooned there at a little hotel called Ti Kaye on the west side of the island...def not an AI experience like Sandals, which was fine for us since we wanted a small and intimate experience. They didn't allow kids under 13 there.  I wrote up the longest review when we got back in 2008 that touches on the flights and other things to do in St Lucia if you want to read it...

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g147343-d151080-r23057990-Ti_Kaye_Village_Resort-Castries_St_Lucia.html

    For the abbreviated version....there is a lot to do there in St. Lucia...horseback riding on the beach, zip lining, gardens and cocoa plantation tours, sunset cruises, fantastic snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, kayaking....but not a ton for kids...especially little ones.  I would love to go back but only as a couple, not as a family.  But hey, if my IL's were paying...yep, the kids would go then too!  If we ever go back, we would def do a few days back at Ti Kaye, but would love to also stay right near the Pitons down on the south side of the island...closer to the big airport...some of those resorts are....Jade Mountain (I think the last bachelor show took a date there...crazy expensive place), Jalouise (they import the white sand onto their beach...lol.), Stonefield (which has full size pools for many of the cottages, but I don't believe this place has an ocean view and they have to drive you down to the beach), Ladera, or Anse Chastanet.  We also ate in Marigot Bay and they had some cute hotels there as well....I think Discovery @ Marigot Bay was a popular one.

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  • When we were there (Oct 09), they were builing...what seemed to be...a beautiful Westin.  I'm not sure if it's done yet, but it was near the big airport, so you won't have to worry about a long van ride to the hotel.  If I remember correctly, they were also building a golf course right near there too.  Worth checking into.
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  • DH spoke w/ his parents yesterday and didn't get any more details on the trip, so I really have no idea what MIL has planned. I definitely need to get more info! 
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