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Sandal's Grande St. LucianAuthor: Bill L
Date of Trip: March 2006
Sandals Grande St. Lucia-- March 2, 2006 -- Bill L
We flew out of Cinci, Ohio (Kentucky) on Thursday morning on US Air arriving in San Juan about 2PM. We had decided to maximize our stay in SLU and fly American Eagle out of San Juan into the smaller airport. It cost 4 of us $20.00 or less one way Taxi from the airport to the Holiday Inn Express in Coronado District. The cost was $112 a night.
We walked to two casinos and my wife played the slots and I played Texas Hold'em. She made money! I was not as successful but had a great time. We ate dinner at Tony Roma's right across from casino.
We tried to get our boarding passes at airport before heading to motel but we were told we needed to check in in AM. Holiday Inn Express has free internet but no printer. Next morning we flew out earlier than our tickets (check flight times religiously) and arrive in SLU around 3PM. Tony was handling check-in & great guy!
Nights and days seemed to blend together. We were in room 6203 (I think) second floor building 6 facing the front road. Flowers were great and no real noise as we had our doors open at night. Building 6 is very close to all the activities. We went down to scuba shop to arrange for diving learned that everyone must have dove in the last 18 months or needed to be check out in the pool. Great guys at scuba shop (Martin was a hoot). Our group made the pool check out the next morning and dove at 11AM same day.
Breakfast had great fruit and wonderful eggs. (Every morning) We ate lunch outside of barefoot (French Fries and Turkey Club daily). We loved the main pool and beach. Could have more bartenders even if two bars the swim-up and beach are 20 feet from each other.
We hiked up both sides of the National Park ($5 each) in A.M. which I believe is the best time. Not a hike for flip-flops or a faint of heart. We stopped and read the historical signs very nice. They had a quaint shop and open air diner for the sail boaters which had a food, drinks, bathroom, reading room (LOL) and some art and collectibles. Great activity!
Tubing! OMG! We had a great time! Warning a newly wed lost his ring in the sand getting off the tube. Never to be found. You can ski, wake board and bounce on a water trampoline. A winner!
Shopping downtown! Best shops for us were to the right BEFORE going over the bridge into town and the straw market. We had to walk back into it and it was not easily visible from road. We found a nice oil painting and liquor. You need a passport and /or tickets to buy from duty free stores. We saw the same rum $30 dollars in downtown&$55 at resort. Again, this is a good cloudy morning activity. Get out of town before 3PM when the schools get out. Some shops would sell without passports where others wanted you to pay and they would deliver it to the airport.
We talked to Konrad Wagner at the pub. He is one of my all time favorites and his employees told me that they love him and many other resorts would like to have him. What a compliment! He was gracious with both his time and the history of the resort. Butch needs to give him a raise!
We dove for two days, dive staff was excellent and the shallow diving was average. In all fairness, we missed some of the better dives. We enjoyed playing pool at the pub 2-3 nights and skipped the shows next door. We did however go over to Newly Wed Game night and as always had many laughs at both the older and younger newly married couple's answers.
We had only 6 nights so we enjoyed the beach and the pool. The sea food buffet and chocolate at 11PM was very good and many people stayed up. The whirlpools were colder than warmer most evenings. We didn't find lover's pool until 3rd night.
We left on Thursday March 9th at 1PM for a 3PM flight. Make sure you keep out $21 American for departure fee. We went to cafe next to waiting room just inside the small airport. The waiting room is small. The 2PM A flight was delayed and we actually got out before them.
If you have head phones with double male jacks bring them for USair as they charge to get headphones so you can watch movies from SanJuan to US. Again we tried to get boarding passes for next morning USair flight but everyone was gone at 5PM. We caught a taxi back to the Express and enjoyed the night.
Next morning ... began the a 12 hour adventure. Our 10AM USair flight out of SanJuan had been moved to 7AM &.yup we missed it. We luckily got booked on the 1:30PM flight. Our 1:30 flight into Philly was 1 hour late so we missed the connection to Cinci. As luck would have it, our flight from Philly to Cinci that we missed was cancelled. I am not a fan of the Philly airport especially the shuttle bus from A terminal to F terminal.
We got rebooked into Cinci on a 8PM flight from Philly and arrived in Cinci at about 11PM. Long day! We did get a $40 food voucher for 4 in Philly from USair.
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