How to (safely) go on a Beach Vacation this Summer

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As we move into August and the scorching summer heat, a beach vacation sounds irresistible. Many Caribbean islands and parts of Mexico are opening their doors to American tourists this summer, but with safety regulations and protocols in place.

All of the islands have a few more entry forms you’ll need to fill out, they will take your temperature at the airport, and they require masks to be worn at all times in the airports and on all flights. Like the rest of the world, masks, social distancing, and frequent hand-washing are always encouraged but each destination also has its own twist on their coronavirus safety efforts. Here’s what you need to know about traveling to the beach this summer {and please keep in mind that this information is accurate as of July 20th and may evolve over the coming weeks}:

Cancun & Riviera Maya, Mexico

over water bungalows on punta maroma mexico
[Photo credit: Ann Petronio, Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

The requirements for flying into Cancun are pretty minimal. Currently, there are no restrictions on air travel to Mexico from the U.S. However, when you arrive you’ll need to complete a COVID-19 risk questionnaire. All travelers must undergo thermal screening, and if you exhibit symptoms upon arrival you’ll have to go through further screening and a potential quarantine. When you depart you will have to upload a second COVID-19 questionnaire. This can be tricky with the Cancun airport wifi so it’s best to complete it before leaving your resort.

On Vacation

Once you’ve landed you’ll find that business openings are dependent upon strict sanitary protocols, social distancing, and hygienic guidelines. Bars, casinos, and nightclubs remain closed but hotels, resorts, and restaurants that have received the Clean & Safe Check certification can open at 30% occupancy to facilitate social distancing. Staff will always be wearing masks and gloves, and depending on the resort you may be asked to do a temperature check at check-in. Many hotels also have a new app that allows guests to scan a QR code to see the restaurant menu on their phones to limit contact. The most notable differences in your Cancun or Riviera Maya experience will be having no buffets, lots of cleaning, and social distancing markers.

two shots of tequila and cribbage on vacation in Mexico
[Photo credit: Paige Van Norstrand via Annie’s Escapes]

In general, masks are required in all public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. However, masks are not required in private areas like your hotel rooms and on the beach. The public beaches in the area are currently closed but resort beaches are open to their guests so you can still get plenty of sun and sand. If you’re looking for something more active, many water sports and private tours are still operating. Xcaret, Xel Ha, and Xplor are all open with limited capacity and required reservations.

The biggest focus in Quintana Roo is social distancing, so it’s still fairly easy to enjoy the warm sea and soft sand of these exquisite beaches as long as you’re far enough away from fellow guests.


stunning areal of the bay in antigua
[Photo credit: Rick Jamison via Unsplash]

Getting There

Antigua’s focus on the safety of locals and tourists means they are requiring everyone who enters to be tested for COVID-19. Knowing that your fellow travelers tested negative certainly offers greater peace-of-mind while relaxing on the beach.

Travelers heading to Antigua must upload a negative COVID-19 test certificate taken within a week before their arrival date. Every incoming traveler must be tested for COVID-19. So if they do not have a recent negative test certificate, it will cost around $100 to be tested upon arrival. Tests administered at the airport will take about 15 minutes to complete and results will be available within 48 hours (during which time you will have to quarantine at your resort).

Before traveling you must fill out traveler registration and traveler accommodation forms. Upon arrival, besides the regular immigration form, you will have to fill out a health declaration with coronavirus risk-related questions. When leaving the airport for your resort, you must use authorized certified ground transportation to help increase the effectiveness of contact tracing.

three beach chairs in antigua
[Photo credit: Danielle Acampora via Annie’s Escapes]

On Vacation

Antigua is taking the safety of locals and visitors very seriously so they can provide a safe environment for your vacation. There is strict mask enforcement in public locations throughout the island. Failure to wear a mask in public places and those places where social distancing is not possible can result in a fine up to $5,000 or 6 months in jail. Washing or sanitizing your hands before entering a new location such as a restaurant, grocery store, or hotel is also strictly enforced.

However, face masks are not required on the beaches when social distance can be maintained. While vendors and other staff will be wearing face masks and gloves at all times, beachgoers can enjoy the ocean unencumbered. All the beaches will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and there is a general mobility curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Guests are asked to, generally, stay inside their resort property and participate only in activities arranged by their resort. However, dependent on their negative test results, arrangements can be made to rent a car through the hotel.  


Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica
[Photo credit: Ann Petronio, Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

All travelers to Jamaica must complete a Travel Authorization Screening within 5 days of their arrival date and present the result at the airport. The response is usually generated within 10 minutes after submitting the form. You will not be granted permission to travel if the COVID-19 risk is considered too great. On arrival, if you are considered high risk or exhibit symptoms, they may ask you to take a COVID-19 test and place you in quarantine until the results are available (usually within 48 hours).

Travelers from New York, Florida, Arizona, and Texas are considered high-risk and must have a negative COVID-19 test result from an accredited laboratory taken within 10 days of their arrival date before being allowed to board the flight.

enjoy a glass of champagne overlooking the resort pool and ocean with palm trees in Jamaica
[Photo Credit: Anne Marie McLaughlin via Annie’s Escapes]

On Vacation

Jamaica is asking that you remain within your resort bubble and comply with the face mask and social distancing requirements. They have created a “resilient corridor” on the north coast to manage the movement of tourists. Resorts and hotels in this corridor may only open after receiving a COVID-19 readiness certificate so you know they are following the 120-page hospitality guide. The hospitality guidelines include sanitation and temperature checks upon arrival, luggage sanitization, face masks and PPE for employees.

As long as social distance can be observed, masks are not required on Jamaica’s beaches. To help facilitate this, beaches will be restricted to 70% capacity with designated entrances. Like Antigua, there is a general mobility curfew on the whole island from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. but that shouldn’t affect your beach vacation too much.


ocean sunset with sailboat in Aruba
[Photo credit: Helen Pereira via Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

Aruba has four main requirements for entry. Basic travel information, Personal Health Assessment, negative PCR test, and insurance. All of the forms and information are consolidated onto a digital ED card. Aside from the usual basic information, passengers must fill out a Personal Health Assessment with COVID-19 risk-related questions between 72 and 4 hours before boarding.

Residents from 20 high-risk states [AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, IA, KS, LA, MS, NV, NC, OH, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WI, WY] must upload proof of a negative test result from an accredited laboratory taken between 12 and 72 hours before flying. Other states’ residents have the option of uploading the test or having one taken at the airport in Oranjestad for $75. If the test is taken at the airport then travelers are required to quarantine at their booked accommodation (remaining in their room and avoiding all contact with others) for 24 hours while awaiting results.

Finally, all travelers must purchase mandatory Aruba Visitors Insurance which costs around $15 per person per day and covers up to $75,000 in expenses should they test positive during their stay.

private beach umbrellas under the palm trees in aruba
[Photo credit: Paulo Evangelista via Unsplash]

On Vacation

The requirements to enter Aruba are greater than some of the other islands, but once there you can feel secure knowing everyone there has had a negative test result and you can relax at your resort. Like the other islands, hotels in Aruba are following protocols for extra cleaning, luggage sanitization, elevator safety, and contactless check-ins. Though social distancing and masks are not mandatory outside the airport, they are heavily encouraged in all public spaces.


couple enjoying their plunge pool in St. Lucia
[Photo credit: Nicole Fiero via Annie’s Escapes]

Getting There

Visitors to St. Lucia must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the past 7 days. They will also have to complete a travel registration form. At the airport, each passenger will be screened and their temperature will be taken. Anyone showing symptoms will be tested and quarantined at their expense. Travelers must also show confirmations for their stay at a COVID-19 certified accommodation before boarding the plane.

the ocean view from a beach-side cabana in St. Lucia
[Photo credit: Sara O’Brien via Annie’s Escapes]

On Vacation

To protect the locals and minimize risk, St. Lucia is restricting guests to an approved list of resorts that are cooperating with strict COVID-19 protocols, and is not allowing multi-resort stays (you have to remain at one property for the duration of your vacation). Throughout the properties, there will be sanitization stations and they have implemented strict cleaning protocols.

St. Lucia asks that you not explore the island on your own, but a small number of tours will be available through the resorts. Masks are required in public spaces and hotels are implementing limited contact check-in and check-out protocols. Additionally, hotels are required to check guests’ temperatures at each meal-time. As with the other islands, masks are not required on the beach as long as social distance is maintained.

Although a relaxing island vacation will require a few more steps than usual this summer, most of the Caribbean has seen low coronavirus numbers. That combined with their commitment to sanitization and testing should give you great peace-of-mind as you head to the beach. Fantastic resorts and all-inclusives usually mean you don’t want to leave your resort anyway. So, if you’re excited by the idea of soaking in the sun and enjoying the waves let us know and we can help you navigate the new rules and regulations for wherever you want to go!

All the right ingredients

Choosing the right honeymoon destination can be difficult…especially when you have to take into account special needs, like a serious food allergy. When I met with these lovebirds, we quickly focused in on all-inclusive resorts, in  English-speaking destinations (no risk of mis-translating a menu), with lots of restaurants to choose from, and plenty of hand-holding from attentive staff (can’t get much better than a dedicated butler!)  From the post-trip email I just received, it sounds like we made the right choice. Sandals La Toc in Saint Lucia had all the right ingredients for the perfect honeymoon 🙂


We are SO sorry we have taken so long to get back to you – it’s been quite the whirlwind getting back to the real world! But, we’d love to share our thoughts about the honeymoon.

First of all, thank you so much for all your help. We absolutely loved our honeymoon. Sandals Regency La Toc ended up being the perfect place for us in every way. Our room was wonderful – very spacious and comfortable, and remarkably quiet. We were so impressed by the lack of noise from neighbors, which led to us feeling like we had a much more private bungalow, rather than a room in a block. Also, we were indeed upgraded to a room with a sunset view, and WOW was it amazing! Every night, we had the most spectacular sunset view from any window in our room, as well as the balcony.

sunset over the ocean at Sandals Regency La Toc resort

The resort itself ended up being a perfect fit for us. We spent most of our time in the Sunset Bluff area. We loved the pool up there and preferred it to the main pool (much quieter and less crowded). We also rented cabanas twice on the beach, which was such a special, wonderful treat. We thought the landscaping was beautiful, and we loved the hilly nature of the property. It made it feel quite spacious and quaint all at the same time. We also liked that there were a variety of ages, from newlyweds in their 20s to older couples in their 60s and up. We weren’t really sure what to expect in that arena, but we felt very comfortable right in the mix with everyone else. We did notice that the Sunset Bluff area skewed a bit older, which we liked, whereas the main resort area had many more young couples.

firepit and couches look out over the ocean in st. lucia

As for the food at La Toc, our favorite restaurant far and away was Armando’s. We found the food to be phenomenal and on par with some of the best Italian food we’ve had elsewhere. We really enjoyed the rest of the restaurants as well, but none of them compared to Armando’s in our opinion. The main buffet was spectacular for breakfast, though we didn’t visit it for any other meal. Also, I felt like my food allergies were handled as well as, if not better than, they would have been in the US, which made me very happy!

We were really glad we chose to have butler service, though we did experience a little bit of nervousness about how to best handle tipping. We ended up having 4 different butlers throughout the week, and we never were sure when we would see someone for the last time, or when it would be appropriate to tip them. We saw other guests tipping per service (as in, cash in hand for a ride down the hill), but we weren’t really prepared to do that nor did we want to carry cash around all week. We ended up giving envelopes for all our butlers to our final butler at the end of the week (some advice we received from another couple who were Sandals pros), but it left us wondering if we would have received more attentive service had we been tipping throughout. We had one stellar butler (Tana), and the rest were pretty mediocre, and we weren’t sure if we would have had more responsive service had we been tipping throughout the week. I think, should we go back to a Sandals, we would probably come better equipped to tip throughout if needed.

a view down the sandy beach with beach-side cabanas in St. Lucia

While we were there, we did visit both Halcyon and the Grande and were really glad we did! We totally understood what you said about Halcyon having the more traditional Caribbean vibe. It was so relaxed, and everyone was congregating in the middle at night, even swimming at night in the middle of a torrential downpour. We loved eating at Kelly’s and visiting, though we were glad we stayed at La Toc in the end (we enjoyed having a little more space from the main entertainment area than would have been possible at Halcyon). The Grande was amazing – we had no idea how glitzy it would feel in comparison to La Toc! We didn’t spend too much time there, but we really loved eating at Gordon’s, and we definitely would consider returning to the Grande at some point for a visit. That said, we still really felt great about our decision to stay at La Toc. It felt more secluded and quiet than the other two, which really was the perfect speed for us.

breakfast from a balcony that looks out over the ocean Sandals La Toc St. Lucia

We didn’t do any excursions because we were so tired, but we would consider them on a return trip. We just stayed by the pool and beach and were very happy. It really was a wonderful honeymoon, and we would love to have the chance to go back to the Caribbean sometime. If we were to go back to St. Lucia (which was stunning and beautiful!), we would probably try to split our time between La Toc and the Grande in terms of a stay. We’d be curious to try out the Grande, but would definitely want to go back to the Sunset Bluff area of La Toc.

Thank you again for all your help – it was a magical, wonderful vacation!

– S&J

Priceless Peace of Mind

Every honeymoon couples wants their “escape” to be magical, memorable, and stress-free, but with a life-threatening food allergy to contend with, the #1 item on Allison and Greg’s wish list was to be able to eat/drink at an all-inclusive resort without worrying about a medical crisis. We chose a Sandals resort in St Lucia, because of Sandals’ strong track record in accommodating special dietary needs, and they were able to relax and enjoy their honeymoon knowing that they were in good hands!

Hi Ann,

We had a fantastic time on our honeymoon.  I’ll break my email up into sections to make it easier!


The resort (Sandals Halcyon Beach) was perfect for us- quiet, romantic, and tropical.  It was exactly what we envisioned.

Dietary needs

Sandals was amazing with my dietary restrictions.  Within five minutes of arriving at the resort, the executive chef was waiting to meet me.  We discussed all of my concerns then and he went over the restaurant options and menus.  All of the waitstaff was extremely cautious as well.  The first question the servers asked was “are there any food allergies at the table” so even if I had not warned them, I would have been fine.  I ate great all week without being sick.

Sandals Honeymoon Registry

We did a lot of great excursions through the Sandals Honeymoon Registry, which I would definitely recommend.  They had prebooked everything for us, but were open to changing them if needed.  This took a lot of stress out of the registry process.  Unlike others, you didn’t have to estimate how much the excursions were, find a place to do them, get the money from the registry, pay for the excursion, and then book it yourself. Everything was taken care of.


The excursions/extras we did were: Zip Lining, Soufriere Jeep Tour, Piton Sunset Cruise, Couples Massage, and the Private Candlelit dinner.  We absolutely loved every single one.

Zip Lining

We did it with Tree Top, who is #1 on TripAdvisor.  This was through the Honeymoon Registry.  They were great. Everyone was assigned a “guide” who assisted during the excursion.  Our guide took great photographs and videos for us.  The zip lining course was awesome.  There were 12 lines, each of different heights, lengths, and speeds. I was totally petrified before doing it, but I got over it and had so much fun.  The views of the rain forest were gorgeous as well.

honeymoon couple zipline in St. Lucia

Soufriere Jeep Tour

This was from our registry as well and was our favorite.  We were picked up at the resort in a big open air jeep and were able to stand in the back. We viewed the Pitons, went to the Sulphur Springs, went to a waterfall, ate lunch at a local restaurant, and stopped in a lot of towns/villages.  We really felt like we got to see so much of St. Lucia.  The views were breathtaking and we had so much fun at each stop.

couple on their honeymoon in st. lucia

Piton Sunset

This was on our registry, but not purchased, so we used the Tour credit we got when we booked the honeymoon.  Also a very fun excursion.  We took the large catamaran out to the Pitons, snorkeled between the Pitons, and then sailed back.  The sail to the Pitons was relaxing and scenic, while the ride home became a party with a DJ and rum punch!

Couples Massage

One of the best massages I have had!  The massages are all done in gazebos outside throughout the resort.  It was very romantic, with candles that we got to pick the scent of, and take home for a souvenir.

Private Candlelit Dinner

A can’t miss!  The food was exquisite and the service was excellent.  You can choose to have the dinner on the beach or in a gazebo. We chose a gazebo because of the rain.  We had a private server.  It was a four course meal, with a bottle of champagne (and other drinks if you wanted) and a rose.  Very romantic!! We just loved it!


I know I voiced our concerns about the weather before we left.  It was definitely rainy! Not so much like Florida.  It rained almost every day we were there.  A few days it rained all day long.  Friday was a complete wash out, the towns were flooded, the shuttles were canceled between resorts, and the beaches were a mess with debris.  Even the locals were amazed with how much it was raining.  For this reason, I would probably not suggest St. Lucia during this time of the year, although of course overall we would highly recommend St. Lucia.  We made the most of our trip and didn’t let the rain affect us at all, but a lot of guests were complaining!


We had a good experience flying into St. Lucia, but the trip home was horrible.  The shuttle got us to the airport very early, so we waited forever!! Then when we landed in Miami, they didn’t have a gate for us so we sat on the tarmac for over an hour.  We had to rush through customs and security.  We made out connecting flight with honestly not a moment to spare.  We boarded, but then were delayed because of a missing lifejacket.  By the time we were at our house, it had been 14 hours of traveling!  We seem to always have problems with American Airlines like this and probably won’t fly with them again.

I hope this all helps! Let me know if you have any other questions! Thank you again for helping us plan our dream honeymoon!!!!

Honeymoon in St. Lucia

Is there anything better than hearing from a client who LOVED their honeymoon?  How about one who takes the time to write and share a lengthy, detailed review about the experience?! Thank you Kristen (and Chris). I know my other honeymooners are going to love this:

Overall Impressions
My husband Chris and I had an amazing time on our honeymoon in St. Lucia!!  We stayed at two different Sandals resorts – the Sandals Grande and La Toc.  There are three total Sandals in St. Lucia (the third is  Halcyon Beach), and Sandals provides free shuttles to all the locations so you can go to different restaurants, try out the different beaches, and explore the other resorts.

Overall, I liked the Sandals Grande the best.  Everything was all in the same area – you walked out of the lounge and you had the 3 different pools, beach, and restaurants all close together and easy to walk to.  This resort had a younger, rowdier crowd.  The main pool would get pretty crowded during the day, so we ended up walking about 200 feet to the “quiet” pool which was nice.  Sandals Grande also seemed to have the best beach, with a dock that went out into the ocean so you could sit in lounge chairs overlooking the water.

Chris overall liked La Toc better, he thought the restaurants were nicer.  La Toc is very spread out though – we had a butler service when we stayed there, and they drove us around on golf carts to get to places (really convenient).  We visited Haylcon Beach twice for dinner, and it was very nice, but seemed quieter and smaller than the other two resorts from our brief impression.

Our Trip

We left Boston very early Monday, took a flight to JFK, and then to St. Lucia.  When on the flight to St. Lucia you will have to fill out a form to bring to customs – bring a pen on the plane with you!!  They don’t give you a pen on the plane.

When you get to the small St. Lucia airport, you wait a little to go through customs, and then you go toward the “Sandals Lounge”.  This part was a little hectic – someone came up to me and told me to wait in line with the other women who had just arrived, and they told Chris to follow him with the luggage.  Turns out the women waited in line to check in while the men took the luggage and waited in the lounge to board the shuttles to go to the various resorts, but without any explanation it was a bit confusing.

There is an option to take a 15-20 minute helicopter ride to the resort instead of the hour and a half ride.  We had thought of doing this for the trip home, but it was going to be an extra $35 taxi ride on top of the $165 per person cost.  We didn’t look into it because we put our money towards another excursion instead.
The shuttle ride itself I had read about online from other travelers.  It wasn’t as bad as everyone said it was, but it was bumpy.  There are no real speed limits in St. Lucia and the roads are very narrow and windy, and people pass each other erratically and at any time.  So it wasn’t the best hour and a half of our lives, but they did have air conditioning.

Prior to arrival, we had e-mailed a copy of our wedding invite in order to get the “honeymoon” deals (aka a bottle of champagne in your room).  When we got to the resort our room wasn’t ready yet, so they brought us to the Sandals Lounge where they offered us drinks and snacks.  The room was normal sized, not really big or small, but only had 2 USA power outlets for phones, etc.

Advice: They have an orientation the next day where you can go over booking everything, but if you don’t want to wait in the long lines while everyone else books, come back and book your restaurants and excursions that first night.  If you don’t have a butler you need to make all the reservations yourself.  Some restaurants require reservations (Tuscanini’s at the Grande, Kimono’s at the Haylcon and at La Toc, Kelly’s at Haylcon Beach) so you might as well make them the first night you’re there to beat the rush and make sure you get reservations.

You can also book your excursions at the Lounge, too.  But for the water sports and snorkeling you have to make reservations at the area on the beach.  I’d recommend trying to book snorkeling early – there was about a 1 day wait time.

After we booked a few things (including a couples massage since we had free credit when we booked), we hung out at the pool, grabbed food, and took in the beautiful St. Lucia views 🙂

three photos of a honeymoon couple in the resort swimming pool in St. Lucia

We woke up early Tuesday and went to orientation to learn more about the resort.  Then we went to the beach.  It’s so nice that you just walk out and the beach is there!  One annoying thing is that there are plenty of people trying to sell you tours and souvenirs on the beach.  One tip is to not walk on the beach if you do not want to get nagged about tours from people outside Sandals.  It was the worst at the Grande.  We preferred going to the pool over the beach for this reason.

a view of the sandals resort in St. Lucia

My husband and I knew we wanted to do a tour of the island, and had looked at a few different tours online.  There are TONS – Joe Know St. Lucia, Charlie’s Tours/Ocean Angels, Spencer Tours, Exxodos Tours, etc.  Charlie from Charlie’s Tours/Ocean Angels (two names for the same company) ended up stopping us on the beach, and was selling his tour which included a boat tour, visit to the mineral springs, mud baths, lunch at a local place, snorkeling, and other sightseeing.  We also asked if we could do zip lining, and he added that in.  If you want to zipline, definitely bring it up.

The cost originally was $200 a person, but we were able to haggle.  MAKE SURE YOU HAGGLE!!  Also bring cash.  Charlie took cash or credit cards, but we felt more comfortable giving cash.  We paid a $100 deposit, and then were told to bring the rest of the money tomorrow.

The rest of the day we spent hanging out at the pools.  We grabbed lunch at the creperie/pizza place.  If you go there, make sure to get a milkshake (not listed on the menu)!  And ask for ice cream with your crepe 🙂

black and white photo of a woman with a plate of food in St. Lucia

There was a cocktail night in the Sandals Lounge, so we went to that which was fun.  The Sandals lounge has a few events going on during the week, so be sure to take advantage of them.

Wednesday morning we went to the dock to go on our Charlie’s Tour.  Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen – it’s over $20 a bottle at the resort if you forget.

The tour was AMAZING!  I’d highly recommend it.  Charlie had told us there would be 2-3 couples max, but when we got there that morning there was about 6 couples on the boat, 12 people total.  However we ended up seeing a Joe Knows tour while we were out, and there were about 30 people crammed onto a really tiny boat.  We heard from other people that that tour gets really crowded, so we were happy to be in a smaller group.  Our tour guide was Garth (like Garth Brooks) and he was great.

The day started off with a boat ride and sightseeing on the water.  Then us and another couple got off the boat to go ziplining which was awesome.  I had never ziplined before and it was scary at first but then once you did the first one it was fine.  After that we met back up with the rest of the group and went to the mineral springs, the volcano for a mud bath, lunch, and finished the tour with snorkeling.  It was beautiful and well worth the money.  We got to do everything we wanted on the island in one tour instead of paying through Sandals to do several excursions.

One thing to note is when you go to the mud baths, they make you get into this water first which is SO HOT!!  It must have been over 100 degrees since it’s coming right from the volcano.  Then after you put mud on, you have to go back into the water to wash it off.  I recommend not putting too much mud on your face since you have to wash it back off in the really hot water 🙂

two photos of a honeymoon couple sailing and ziplining in St. Lucia

two photos of a honeymoon couple at the mud pools of St. Lucia

They had a “honeymooners” event on the beach that night with appetizers and drinks.  There are a lot of events going on during the day and evening (volleyball, pool tournaments, etc.) which was fun.  Then we went to check out Haylcon beach for dinner.  We couldn’t get into Kelly’s dockside (you need to get there right at 6 to get in) so we went to another place.

This was our last night at the Grande, so we spent the day at the pool and tried kayaking.  We had a couples massage done which was so relaxing.  The only annoying thing is at the end of the massage they try to sell you a bunch of lotions and other stuff.  Overall that was the most annoying part of the trip – all of the pushing for selling – additional trips in the future, photos from dinner (a guy takes a photo of you and they have a shop to see the photos), scuba diving, zip lining, horseback riding, etc.

A few people we met walked up a mountain trail near the Grande for $7 each, but neither of us are big hikers so we opted to hang out in the pool.  At night there was another cocktail night in the lounge, which was fun.  Then we had reservations at Toscanini’s which was yummy Italian food.


We checked out and transferred to La Toc.  At La Toc we had the butler service, so we met our butler and he went through everything he had already booked for us.  Advice: Ask for menus to all the restaurants!  Then you can order take out at any time and know exactly what you want.  The room was nice but was set up awkwardly – bed post was blocking TV, full size mirror in front of bed, bathroom was small but had more US power outlets then the other resort!

two photos of the private pool and bed of the St. Lucia resort

the beach at the Sandals Le Toc resort in St. Lucia

We went to the water sports area and booked snorkeling for the next day.  That night there was a Friday Night Street party where they had a bunch of local food.

We hung out at the pool, grabbed lunch, and then went snorkeling.  The water is so beautiful and clear!

a honeymoon couple with snorkel masks on in St. Lucia

That night we took the shuttle to our reservations at Kelly’s Dockside at Halcyon Beach.  The reservation was at 6:30 when the restaurant opens, but you need to get there by like 6:15 to get a seat.  It didn’t even seem to matter that we had reservations, they just seated everyone who had been waiting.  So if you want to go there, make sure to get there early.  Also be sure to review the restaurant dress codes – Kelly’s was a fancier restaurant with a specific dress code.  All the dress codes are listed online.

indside the dining room of the St. Lucia Sandals resort


We had another excursion/spa credit at La Toc, so we spent it on a horseback riding excursion.  This was my favorite part of the trip.  We set it up the day we got to La Toc because they only do certain excursions on specific days, so if there is something you want to do, sign up early so you are able to do it!  We went through a few trails, and then stopped to go in the water with the horses.  It was so cool.  If you are not an experienced rider, make sure you make that clear with the employees so they can pair you up with a horse that’s less challenging.

We had hibachi dinner that night at Kimono’s.  The food was delicious.

We got some pool time in in the morning, then it started downpouring.  June – November is the rainy season, but most days there’s just a quick shower that clears up.  We went to dinner at the Pitons restaurant, and the service was extremely slow.  It took over an hour to get our food.


We checked out and left early.  The ride back felt a little worse than the ride there since we were leaving the beautiful St. Lucia!

Other Comments

  • The sun sets really early in St. Lucia.  It had set by 6:30 pm every day.

  • The wifi is awful in the rooms, not like it is slow awful, like you are using DSL modem back in 1995 awful and spotty, but you get very decent service by the pools and in the lobby areas

  • We brought $460 cash on us, and spent exactly that in cash.  You can charge anything extra you buy at Sandals (we just bought some souvenirs and also paid a slight different for our massage because our credit wasn’t enough).  We didn’t realize we’d be buying a tour in cash, so that’s where the majority of our money went to.  Then we bought a few souvenirs when on our excursions.  But while Sandals does not accept tips, everyone else pretty much looks for them (ex: external excursions) so bring a few singles with you.  For example, when we arrived at the airport to leave, someone rushed over, grabbed our bags and rolled them the 50 or so feet inside the airport (something we easily would have done ourselves), and then stood there with their hand out asking for a tip.  Also at Sandals if you have the butler service, you can tip them on your credit card when you check out.  We read online that most people tip each butler (we had 2) about $20 a day depending on the service.

  • La Toc has golf, but it’s extremely expensive if you don’t bring your own clubs.

  • There are stray cats everywhere, but they are very friendly.

  • My husband liked to time all the restaurants, so here are some expectations on time to get foodBayside Dinner @ Halycon -27 min

    • Pizza and Crepe @ Grande – 10-15 min
    • Bayside Dinner @ Grande – 25 min
      • French food – get the onion soup – yum!
  • Tuscanini Dinner @ Grande – 20 min

  • Regency @ La Toc – 9 min app and 20 min meal

  • Armandos @ La Toc – 25 min

  • Kelly’s Dockside @ Halycn – 27 min

  • Pitons @ La Toc – 23 min app, 55 min meal

  • Make sure you get your credit for staying at the resorts and don’t forget you can use it for massages and other activities (we had $160 credit at both places and used it for the massages and horseback riding).

  • Ladies – definitely bring a cover up for your bathing suit!  I bought one at Target before going to St. Lucia and ended up wearing it every day.  You can just throw it on after lounging by the pool and then go to the restaurants which is nice. 

  • Enjoy your time together!! St. Lucia is beautiful and full of lots of honeymooners, so you will have a great time.  And make sure to put on your sunscreen – the sun is strong there!

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)