When one opens the softbound guidebook entitled St. Lucia, written by Chris Higgins and published by Ulysses Travel Guides, we immediately note the quotation of Derek Walcott, a Lucian poet and playwright:
I come from a place that likes grandeur
it likes large gestures
it is not inhibited by flourish
it is a society of physical performance
it is a society of style
I guess this, in a nutshell, is a succinct but nevertheless accurate description of this enchanting but relatively unknown Caribbean Island called St. Lucia.
For those of us who never heard of St. Lucia or where it is located, the first few chapters of this guidebook will provide us with the necessary facts should we decide to travel to the Island. We are informed by the author that St. Lucia is located at the heart of the Lesser Antilles, the Caribbean region extending east of Puerto Rico to the northern coast of Venezuela. It is one of a thin line of islands known as the Windwards that cuts across the rough Atlantic to form the tail end of the West Indies.
The guidebook also introduces the reader to the fascinating history of the inhabitants of the island, the Ciboney, the Arawak and the Carib. For those of us who are intrigued by history this section of the book is quite illuminating and filled with many facts and figures.
The table of contents reveals to us the general format of the publication and we notice it is divided into eight sections, namely, a portrait of the island such as its geography, history, politics, etc, the usual practical information, outdoor activities, Rodney Bay and the North, Castries and Surroundings, Soufrière and the West Coast, Vieux Fort and the South and finally the Mid-Atlantic Coast. Within each of the topics pertaining to the various villages we have information pertaining to restaurants, accommodations, shopping, entertainment and the other usual tips found in most guidebooks.
The author has also provided us with a short list of maps that indicate tourist information, airports, bus stations, lighthouses, post offices, parks and beaches, mountains, and churches. What I found very helpful was the inclusion of suggested tours within each of the villages or towns. The description of these tours included an attraction classification denoted by way of stars. In other words, if the tour has a one star denotation the author considered it interesting while a three star classification merited a “not to be missed” opinion.
The book’s language and descriptions are clear, precise and to the point and the index at the end of the book provides the reader with a practical reference tool pertaining to the usual questions travellers enjoy posing. I even noticed mention of some interesting recipes such as how to make rum punch and cocoa tea. Reference is also made to St. Lucia on the Internet where you are given Internet addresses to such topics as Creole Culture, photographs, profiles, and hotel information, funky Creole cooking.
The book is soft bound and can very easily be fitted into one’s back or side pocket for easy carrying.