The Ladera Resort was awesome. It is definitely a must see if you ask me. It is very similar to Jade Mountain, but not as expensive. We actually got to know the owner, Holly Smith, and she made sure that any and all needs were taken care of. They did upgrade our room which was beautiful. Huge private pool (at least huge for having one in your own room and then 3 bedrooms on the upstairs. Everything is open air which makes it very unique. At night the resort is surround by jungle so the tree frogs and whatever else is out there love to make all sorts of noise, but to us it was like a noise machine and we just slept through the night. The beds are surrounded with mosquito nets and you have citronella candles to burn as well. With the setup of the rooms, you will see some flying bugs, but I had read those reviews and it wasn’t anything that would creep you out. The gnats would show up if you had red wine open, but nothing the citronella spray they gave us wouldn’t take care of. Food at the restaurant was very good and the hospitality was top notch. The resort is smaller so they do a very good job of knowing you by your name.
Absolutely loved St. Lucia. We did our best to maximize our time there. We did do the Piton hike and then couples massage. The hike is worth it, but I would tell people if you are completely out of shape it will be a very difficult struggle for them. The last 20% of the hike is a definite workout, but was worth it when we got to the top. It’s basically a trail through the jungle up the mountain, but has a fairly decent pitch to it which gets the legs burning and the lungs on overtime! We did the mud baths which was unique as well. We did do the zip line which was cool, but I would say if people have zip lined before not sure if they would be that wowed by it or not. I have never done it before so I can’t compare it to anything. I thought it was fun and lasted about 45 minutes. We spent time down on Sugar Beach and got to know Randolph and Johnny. They are a father/son duo that do boat excursions. We had Johnny take us one night up to the Rainforest Hideaway restaurant in Marigot Bay which was somewhat expensive, but the food was very, very good. It was awesome to see the island at night as well. It was about a 30-40 min boat ride compared to a 60-90 taxi ride. We paid $100/couple and he then took us out and about after dinner. We also spent a day going up to Castries with Johnny to check out the market, had lunch in Soufriere Bay at Doolittle’s and then we snorkeling at over on towards the larger Piton….the one that is more south on the island. The snorkeling was ok as they lost a lot of coral to a hurricane, but we still had fun!
I would say favorite things would be the resort, the beauty of the island and the excursions we did. Honestly, not sure I would have done anything different. I felt like we maximized our time there with a good mix of just down time on the beach. One thing we did do is bring some liquor and wine with us in our luggage for the beach and rooms which helped with some of the cost. We didn’t have a bad meal at any of the restaurants we went to. Some of the other restaurants we went to were Orlando’s, Boucan (across the street from Ladera) and Bayside Restaurant at Sugar Beach.