Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
St. Lucia

St. Lucia ATV Shore Excursion

Petit Piton is a volcanic mountain that adds to the great views. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
A St. Lucia ATV tour in the backcountry of the island ranks among the most beautiful and most fun of any excursion we have taken in the Caribbean.

My son loved the mud that covered him from head to toe. Thankfully, I escaped the mud shower and simply enjoyed the ride.

St. Lucia doesn't have the lush beauty of a Jamaica. But its landscape nonetheless is beautiful for its wonderfully contoured hillsides, flowers and wide sections of uninhabited land.

Views of the landscape, beaches, volcanic Piton mountains and lovely shoreline in the backcountry made our tour worth the money.

How to Go on a Tour

Tourists can go on a St. Lucia ATV tour in one of two basic ways. If they are visiting by cruise, as we did, they can either arrange the tour onboard ship or do it directly with an excursion operator.

Arranging the tour on ship is convenient but more expensive. Arranging it directly with the operator means arranging transportation.

It also cuts out the extra money that goes to the cruise line. Some operators offer tours only through the cruise lines.

One major cruise line offered an ATV tour starting at $130 per person. The three-hour tour had a minimum age of 16 years old.

Another major cruise line had a three-hour tour starting at about $180 per person. It didn't offer any information about what it was $50 more than the other cruise line.

A national tour operator, which takes a cut of the price like a cruise line, had a three-hour tour on St. Lucia for about $130. Passengers on the second cruise line would save quite a bit of money by booking the tour with the national operator.

Our Own Tour Experience

St. Lucia cruise
Cruise line prices for ATV tours can vary greatly.
We took a relatively brief ride from Castries to a vast section of privately owned land where our ride would begin.

I wondered if it was worth the money -- this was the second most expensive excursion on the entire cruise among more than 100 choices, second only to golf at a luxury resort.

My concern increased when we arrived over a bumpy road at the ATV facility.

We sat there idling in the bus for 15 minutes while the previous tour maneuvered the four-wheel vehicles back into place. All of us noticed that both the vehicles and people were covered in mud.

A stern and unsmiling young woman eventually motioned us -- eight women, my 19-year-old son and myself -- out of the bus.

She gave us quick instructions on how to work the vehicles, and we took off on our ride up the path on a hillside with one male guide in the front and the woman in the rear.

We climbed and zig zagged up the muddy path of the hill to the top and started down the other side.

Beautiful Shoreline Views

Within a few minutes, we saw a vision ahead -- a pair of small but deep coves facing the Caribbean Sea and surrounded by hills with grass, trees and flowers.

No people or buildings could be seen. With the aqua water and blue sky, it was one of the most beautiful landscapes in all of my Caribbean travels.

The young male guide zipped up and down our line a few times and eventually led us down toward the land by the water.

Our dirt path became a sandy path. Suddenly he hit the gas and we went fast to the left around a large sand dune with a steep sidewall to the path.

We turned to the right and kept turning and kept turning until we came completely around the large dune.

We went around the dune several times until the woman led the rest of us out onto a spit of land between the two coves.

My Son's St. Lucia ATV Mud Bath

I realized my son and the young male guide weren't with us.

Looking back, I saw them continuing to round the dune at a high rate of speed, sand flying all over them. After a few more turns, they followed us onto the path that now changed from sand to mud.

The woman guide took us on a simple circular mud path around the spit of land that was several hundred yards long.

After going around a handful of times and getting a small amount of mud splattered on us, we pulled into a picnic area in the middle of the spit.

The male guide and my son kept going, but again going fast and this time huge globs of mud flew off the back wheels of the guide's ATV and all over my laughing son.

They finally slowed down and joined us in the picnic area for drinks and snacks.

The group talked quietly among themselves, although one teenage girl insisted to her mother that she wanted to get as covered with mud as my son.

The mother did not agree.

More Coastline Views

One of the guides pointed out a nearby hill that apparently contained what remained of the foundation for a lighthouse.

We climbed the hill, avoiding the droppings from horses, to reach the top and look out over the wonderfully peaceful view on the St. Lucia coast.

In time, we all all resumed our rides, circled the the spit of land and the sand dune a few more times and made our way back to the facility.

Although I can't speak to other ATV excursions in the Caribbean, the one in St. Lucia is worth the high price just to experience the beauty of the land -- and to photograph a son who was encased in mud.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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February 17, 2020
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