Seeing both sides of St. Lucia

Calling the Caribbean island of St. Lucia “picturesque” may be like saying Miss America is beautiful. And how.

There are Kodak moments around every hairpin turn on the road. I took this picture a few minutes ago from the top of Windjammer Landing. I’ve uploaded more photos to my Flickr page, too.

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I’ll share more snapshots and stories of St. Lucia in an upcoming post on National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog. But I also wanted to offer a few early impressions.

Things haven’t been the same on this island since Hurricane Tomas struck last fall, leaving the southern part of St. Lucia looking like a “war zone.” We took a tour of the island yesterday and asked our guide to show us the island as she knew it.

Although we had a chance to see popular attractions such as the Pitons (pictured above), Soufrière and the dormant Qualibouwe volcano, our guide took us beyond there, to her hometown of Fond St Jacques, the town hit hardest by Tomas.

It was riveting. The mud that cascaded from the top of the mountain during the storm, washing homes and lives away, is still in the village waiting to be cleared.

I’ll be honest: My kids weren’t too thrilled about seeing Fond St Jacques, which is struggling to recover from this natural disaster. But they’ll never forget it.

Neither will I.

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