Spending a week at Brigand Hill can really be anything you'd like it to be. Below is a very small sample of how our guests may prefer to spend their time, however please don't hesitate to inquire with us with any questions at all. Our villa manager, George, is one of the best attributes to Brigand Hill - he can and often does act as an island tour guide for our guests. Be sure to take advantage of him and all he has to offer.
Saturday: Stop at the supermarket on way to Brigand Hill and pick up groceries. We recommend the Super J’s in nearby Cul de Sac, which is on route to the villa from either airport. If you prefer, our staff will shop for you (a fee of $60 is charged for this service). Arrive at the villa in time for a swim off our beach or pool, cocktails and dinner. Plan menus and activities with Brigand Hill staff. Typical first night meal to be prepared by Bertilla would include chicken curry, plantains, salad, pumpkin spice soup, and desert.
Sunday: A great day to get to know our plantation. Hike back into the estate to explore the old sugar mills and, if you're especially adventurous, have George guide you to the Brigand Cave. Note the many wild orchids, plus the Bird of Paradise, and giant ferns. Finish the hike off with a swim. Consider dinner at Marigot Bay or nearby Ti Kaye resort (we are respectively 15 and 10 minutes away). Ask George to arrange a boat trip to Soufriere and points south for the next day.
Monday: Meet boat in Anse la Raye or Marigot Bay and motor south to Anse Chastenet for superb diving and snorkeling. Make Soufriere your first stop and visit the Diamond Baths and Gardens (an easy walk from the Dock). Back to boat and retrace steps to Anse Chastenet, visiting bat cave on the way. After beachside lunch, motor further south to Sugar Beach ( a Viceroy Resort), located between the Pitons, and snorkel the preservation reefs right under the Petit Piton. After a cocktail, head back to villa, possibly stopping at Tikaye’s Anse Cochon beach for another swim.
Tuesday: If summer, inquire into turtle watch by calling Jim Sparks at 758-452-9829. Ask George to order up some lobsters (a one-day lead time). Get early start on trip to Maria Islands, home of the St. Lucia Whiptailed lizard, the Maria Island snake, and hundreds of migratory birds. Take Atlantic side route south to National Trust office (phone 758-454-5014) directly across from Hewanorra Airport. Guide will take you to the Island. Bring swimsuits, as there is a superb beach on the island. If so inclined, continue on the "circle route", stopping at Ladera (just south of Soufriere; phone 758-459-7323) for cocktails. Enjoy the superb mountaintop view of the Pitons and Sugar Beach below.
Wednesday: A quiet day at the villa in preparation for the next day's climb of the Gros Piton. Perhaps a walk or drive to Anse Cochon Beach for great snorkeling (10 minutes away). Alternatively your group could explore a charter fishing adventure with Chris Hackshaw at 758-453-0553. Common species caught include marlin, mahi, tuna, and wahoo.
Thursday: Get an early start to Soufriere and climb Gros Piton. It will take about two hours to ascend, slightly less to come down. Pack lots of water. Climb is not dangerous, but vigorous and requiring some fitness.
Friday: To Castries to visit the open-air market. Lunch at the Coal Pot, on the water just north of town, or the Pink Plantation House which sits up on the hill over the capital with wonderful views of Martinique and serving superb cuisine. Golf at Cap Estate’s two courses or Sandals course. Book dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in Rodney Bay - we especially like The Steak House or Razmataz Tandoori Restaurant , or the new “in spot” just south of Castries-- the Pink Plantation House, which offers stunning views over Castries and where you can buy the outstanding ceramics and paintings of artist Michelle Elliott. Leave time to stop by the weekly jump up held every Friday night in Gros Islet or, better, Seafood Friday in nearby Anse La Raye.
Saturday: Relax at villa and prepare for departure.
Or .... your week might go like this: Get up, have breakfast, listen to music, have lunch; open a good wine, listen to music, finish book, have massage, nap, wake for cocktails, have supper, go to bed. Next day—get up and do it again.
While Brigand Hill and the local area offer many diversions (Friday night's Seafood Friday in Anse La Raye is not to be missed), guests can sample St. Lucia's many other nearby delights.
Just 10 minutes away is the horseshoe-shaped Anse Cochon beach which features Ti Kaye's great beachfront bar and restaurant. This magnificent beach also offers wonderful snorkeling and an on-site dive shop serves scuba fans.
Another approach is to have our staff arrange for a boat to take you down the coast, enabling you to sample many different beaches and snorkeling spots (some equipment is provided for Brigand Hill guests, but you should bring your own masks ). Be sure to stop at Anse Chastenet to check out their superb undersea life and bar-restaurant. (Only the brave DRIVE into Anse Chastenet).
Continue to Soufriere and the marine park between the Pitons at Sugar Beach. This would be a good time to visit Soufriere's "Sulfur Springs" "drive-in" volcano, gardens and mineral baths. Imagine bathing in the same tubs as Napoleon's favorite soldiers! His wife Josephine grew up in Soufriere.
A suggestion - the hotels often welcome "day guests", sometimes charging a small fee. Four worthy of consideration are nearby Ti Kaye Resort (Anse Cochon beach; a superb boutique hotel, which offers great hospitality, and weekly charge priviledges to Brigand Hill guests), Le Sport (located in the North, close to the Cap Estate golf course), Ladera, on a mountaintop just south of Soufriere, and Sugar Beach, located below the Petit Piton. The first is only minutes away and offers a wide spectrum of spa treatments (but you are advised to book ahead); Ladera has an outstanding kitchen, a breath-taking view and is well worth visiting for lunch or dinner (and dallying by their pool and deck). It was to this hotel that Superman flew to pick a flower for Lois Lane, in the movie of the same name. Sugar Beach is the handiwork of the late Lord Glencomer (Colin Tennant), intimate of Princess Margaret and developer of Mustique earlier in his career.
St. Lucia offers superb diving with fully equipped dive facilities at several locations, including nearby Ti Kaye Resort. Call ahead to Island Divers, who take great care of Brigand Hill's guests. They also offer a safe, one-on-one "Discover Scuba" package for first-timers. If you plan on diving, bring your valid NAUI/PADI card, but plan to rent tanks on island at Ti Kaye (Anse Cochon), Oasis Marigot or Anse Chastenet. Leave your spear fishing gear at home, though; St. Lucia prohibits such fishing (but encourages the other, deep sea kind, and many charters are available).
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Whale and dolphin watching is available via boats operating out of the Rodney Bay and Soufriere areas.
Several charter operators are located in the Rodney Bay area. We favor Hackshaw's, which is conveniently located in the Vigie Bay marina next door to the Coal Pot Restaurant. Tell the owner, Chris Hackshaw, that you're staying at Brigand Hill for a preferred rate. In addition to large Billfish, we usually catch Mahi-Mahi and Wahoo, and we almost always see Dolphin frolicking by the boat.
Savoring St. Lucia's Natural Wonders
The St. Lucian government has worked hard to make the island's magnificent features easily accessible to visitors while, at the same time, creating employment opportunities for its citizens.
14 nature trails (the most on any island in the Caribbean) varying in difficulty and length dot the island. Through the Forestry Department's hard-won success in restoring the endangered St. Lucian parrot one can see parrots on many of the trails. Visitors can now visit the Maria islands off St Lucia's south shore, home of two creatures--the whiptailed lizard and Maria Island snake (the rarest in the world with only about 100 in existence)--which only live on this 26-acre windswept island.
St Lucia's two most prominent landmarks are the Pitons just south of Soufriere. Contrary to popular wisdom, these are not "dead" volcanoes; in fact, they are volcanic cones and both can be climbed. The Petite Piton has a forbidding reputation and some hikers have fallen off (a fatal miscue). The larger Gros Piton is safer, though still a test on one's fitness (plan on a drink at Ladera and a nap afterward). The Government requires that each party take a guide on the climb (a good idea; we've gotten lost on the descent) for a small fee. Our caretaker, George, can fulfill this requirement for you. The view from the top is breathtaking.
Yacht charters by the day or week, bare boat or with crew are readily available at Moorings in nearby Marigot Bay. Chateau Mygo at Marigot offers an excellent day sail, including lunch, which many guests call the highlight of their stay. This is a great way to see the beauty of St. Lucia's coastline or some of the nearby islands like Martinique. Local ferry companies offer a one-day trip to/from and bus tour of Martinique and other Islands.
Another initiative that was started 25 years ago by the St. Lucia Naturalists Society and the Fisheries Department is safeguarding the leatherback turtles when they come ashore in the months of March through July to lay their eggs. Magnificent creatures as big as a Volkswagen Beetle, some turtles have ventured as far as Australia before returning to St. Lucia to deposit their eggs. The Turtle Watch Program has succeeded in protecting the nesting turtles from human predation, initially through all-night vigils and now by enlisting the former predators as allies. Two years ago 14 young people from the community were trained to conduct and monitor the turtles and they now manage the beach site, charging tourists a modest fee to observe the leatherbacks! This is considered by many as the model for community-based conservation projects in the Caribbean. Brigand Hill's staff can arrange such a turtle watch, sometimes accompanied by Jim Sparks (an American living here for over three decades), former chairman of the St. Lucia National Trust and the individual behind this success.
The island has three golf courses, the Cap Estate Country Club, a 9-hole layout at Sandals, and a Jack Nicklaus signature course. All are open to the public and rent shoes and clubs. Tee times are seldom necessary.
Kurt Verhaegen of ATV Paradise Tours www.atvstlucia.com offers a great tour through the 1000-acre Fond Estate in Micoud. Our guests love the experience. Call 455-3245 for reservations.
Zip-Lining through the Jungle Canopy
This is a new attraction, very exciting and quite safe.
The best windsurfing in the world can be had at St. Lucia's southern end. Equipment rentals and instructions are readily available.