Originally Posted by nancyg
Does anyone have a recommendation for a private tour company in St. Lucia? thank you.
We booked an Island Tour with Spencer Ambrose. He was an awesome tour guide and we had a wonderful day with him. Here is our review with photo's of our day with Spencer Ambrose.
July 9--our family went on the West Coast Island Delight Tour with Spencer Ambrose. In order to stay ahead of the large cruise ship crowds, we were instructed to get off the ship as soon as possible. Even though we left the ship shortly after 8:00 am, we had a later start because Spencer was waiting for another family to show up. After waiting around for 35 minutes, Spencer decided that we couldn’t wait any longer, as any more time wasted would defeat the purpose of missing the large crowds, plus cut into the time needed to complete everything on the tour. Spencer felt really bad about leaving the other family behind, but felt it wasn’t fair for those of us that arrived on time to have our time sacrificed. About 1/2 hour into the tour, Spencer received a call from the missing family. They were not pleased that Spencer left without them!
Altogether there were 11 people on this tour. Our family and another couple toured with Spencer while another family went with Spencer’s brother Small. I cannot say enough good things about Spencer and his services—he was an awesome tour guide and by far the best tour guide from all the islands we visited on our Carnival Victory cruise! He really knows how to take care and look after his guests. He had a cooler stocked with soft drinks, water, beer and home-made rum punch which we could help ourselves to at any time. Our boys loved the access to the free coke!
Spencer was very accommodating and flexible and was willing to cater the tour to our interests. We wanted to see everything that was advertised in his tour as we have never been to St. Lucia before—even if it would mean shorter stops at places.
As we left Castries, we passed our ship, the Carnival Victory.
Our first stop was at a banana plantation. Here Spencer gave us some fresh delicious bananas to sample and explained the harvesting procedure.
After that we continued on our way and stopped at a high overlook at Anse la Raye. Here we could take pictures looking down onto a Fishing Village.
From there we saw the “snake man” standing on the side of the road with a very large Boa Constrictor. Spencer asked if we wanted to stop and we all agreed—like I said we wanted to do everything--even though I do not particularly like snakes. This Boa Constrictor was picked up on a beach just the day before. (I’m glad I wasn’t on that beach!) The snake man encouraged us to touch the snake--my youngest did. We took a picture of it, tipped the man and then continued on.
We made another stop at an overlook where we could see our first glimpse of the Pitons and the town of Soufriere. Even though the Pitons look like they are at the same height, one of them is actually 600 ft higher! My DH thought it would be a real adventure to climb the Piton—Spencer says that he would have to be crazy to do that!
We continued down the winding hillside and arrived at the Toraille Waterfall and Botanical Gardens.
After a short dip in the cool falls fed by spring water, Spencer pointed out some of the Botanical plants in the garden.
A Tropical Waxrose Flower
At the exit to the Waterfall, a lady was selling love apples. Spencer bought some of these apples for us to eat. I thought it had a similar consistency to that of a pear.
From the Torialle Waterfall, Spencer took us to a local restaurant in Soufriere called the “Big Yard” for lunch. Spencer had called ahead to order the meals. We arrived at a rustic, open-air restaurant that looked like it was situated in the ruins of some old building. The front of the restaurant was open to the street and we could see chicken frying on a large grill. We passed through an opening in a stone wall and continued to the back of the building where colorful picnic tables and bar were set up. The ceiling was naturally constructed from some kind of vine that cascaded across and over the restaurant with long, string-like roots dangling down. This all added to its rustic charm.
The Big Yard Restaurant
Spencer’s brother Small and his group met up with all of us at the restaurant. Both Spencer and his brother proceeded to serve us. They brought us our meals and drinks and did not eat lunch themselves, until we were at Jalouise Beach, as their priority was to make sure all our needs were met first! They served us some delicious local cuisine which included grilled chicken, rice, potato salad, a noodle dish, and a potato-fish salad. The food was very good and flavorful.
Once we were back in the van, Spencer served us dessert--fresh Coconut Cakes which he bought from a stand near the Toraille Waterfalls. We were all pretty full from lunch but we did sample them. They also were very tasty.
Our next stop was Sulphur Springs—the world’s only drive-in volcano. Since we lost time in the morning waiting for a family to show up, we had limited time here. Spencer arranged for us to get a shortened 15 minute tour of the Sulphur Springs rather than the full 1/2 hour tour. This worked fine for all of us.
Sulphur Springs—although we can see some activity, the volcano is dormant
Amazingly, the sulfur smell was not as strong as I thought it would be. Spencer said that some days it is so strong, it makes your eyes water. I guess we were lucky to be there on a day when the smell was less putrid. Nonetheless, the boys still thought it smelled bad. My 14 year old actually pulled his shirt over his nose to mask the offensive odor. They say the sulfur smell is stronger at night, which actually is a good thing, because if the smell goes away. . .RUN!
Our last stop was Jalouise Beach—a beautiful, white-sand tropical beach, lined with palm trees and nestled between the mighty and majestic Pitons.
Again we had limited time here and were only able to enjoy 45 minutes of paradise.
The boys swam out to a dock in the water. They had lots of fun jumping into the calm waters of the emerald and teal colored ocean.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the ship. Spencer is very conscious of the time and it is his goal to get everyone back to the ship one hour prior to sailing. He said that if he had too, he would roll up his pants and go into the water to pull you out in order to get you back on time!
The roads are pretty winding heading back and my younger two sons were feeling a touch of motion sickness—or maybe the 5 bottles of coke they drank had something to do with it?!
Spencer made another stop to pick up some delicious, fresh from the oven, hot Creole bread, served with either peanut butter or cheese. Spencer was willing to make another stop to pick up jerk pork for us to eat, but we were all too stuffed to eat anything more. There certainly was no shortage of food on Spencer’s tour!
We arrived back at the cruise ship pier at 3:30 pm.
We had a wonderful day with Spencer. He is an awesome guide who offered us the best tour and service ever! Not only will his stories entertain you, but by the end of the tour you feel like you have gained a new friend. No wonder Spencer is such a well respected and popular man—you wouldn’t believe how often his phone rang! Spencer pays for all the admission fees and food and doesn’t require payment until the end of the tour. Be prepared to have fun and enjoy your best excursion ever, touring the beautiful and lush island of St. Lucia with Spencer Ambrose!