This summer, I had the pleasure of spending three nights at Fond Doux Eco Resort on the beautiful island of St. Lucia. It was a memorable experience and the highlight of the summer. Besides being beautiful and a wonderful property, the resort featured wonderful hospitality, interesting history, great birding, and easy access to jaw dropping views of Petit Piton.
Fond Doux Eco Resort welcomes visitors
Even before I visited the resort, I already felt welcomed during email exchanges with the staff. You could tell they really aimed to please from my first email inquiry. The hospitality ramped up as soon as I stepped on to the property. Check-in was easy and efficient, and I was given a breakdown of how everything worked. My cabin was Coconut Hilltop, which required a little effort to get there. I was helped with my backpack up to my cabin, and I was delighted to find that there was air-conditioning and a dip pool at my cabin. I had read one review about not having a/c, but this was not the case. Being on the hilltop provided a great view of the surrounding rainforest.
Nature walk to an overview of Petit Piton
I arrived kind of late in the afternoon as my flight was delayed from Barbados by three hours. I did not waste any time though as I settled into my room, and then decided to go for a hike up to see Petit Piton. It was getting late, but I had a flashlight and the trail was not too long. A well maintained trail climbed up from the resort through the surrounding rainforest to a lookout. It took about 15 minutes to get to the overlook. I arrived after sunset, but there was still some color in the sky.
I spent a half hour photographing Petit Piton. It was absolutely gorgeous and peaceful. Hummingbirds flitted from tree to tree, and as the sky grew darker, the lightning bugs lit up the rainforest and a bat soared through the sky above me. Going back down the hill, the lightning bugs helped light up the trail. The trail is a loop, but I decided to go back down the way I came as I did not want to break new ground now that it was dark. The other benefit of this strategy was the trail started at the bar. I arrived back at the resort and Randy Jack the bartender was ready for me with a cold Piton beer. Cannot beat an ice cold Piton after enjoying a Piton sunset.
Hilltop Coconut cottage
When the porter opened the door to the room, I was met by a beautiful display on the bed. The word “welcome” was spelled out surrounded by exotic plants and two hearts. Red and white pillows were framed underneath a white canopy held up by pillars on each corner of the bed. My favorite part of the room was the beautiful balcony that overlooked the rainforest and wrapped around the cottage. On the far end was a waist high dip pool. If you got too hot and did not feel like competing with other guests at the main pool, you could just walk five feet around the corner. Another highlight of the room was the beautiful outdoor shower. It was so refreshing to start each day taking a shower in what felt like being in the middle of the rainforest.
Dining area and bar
Since you are somewhat isolated at Fond Doux, it makes sense to eat most of your meals at the location. The resort makes breakfast super easy for you as it is a wonderful complimentary buffet with a made to order eggs and omelet service. Fresh coffee, juice, and tropical fruits, and homemade bread is the best way I know to start off a day. In fact, some of the fruit is harvested right at the resort. I enjoyed two dinners at the bar as well as many Piton beers. The ingredients in many of the dishes are locally grown farm-to-table, and the freshness was obvious with each bite.
Do not do all your swimming at the dip pool though as the main pool must be visited and enjoyed. There are three different pools and they are on the same level as the hilltop, so they afford the same beautiful view of coconut trees and lush rainforest. It is a must spot for photography as well. I woke up early one morning just to catch the sunrise there.
Related: Birds of Chobe National Park
Fond Doux Eco Resort birding
St. Lucia and anywhere in the Caribbean is automatically a great birding spot, so definitely make some time to keep your eye out for interesting species. The great thing about the hilltop is you are right there at the tops of the trees where many birds like to hang out. Even though I was there during the summer, I managed to see a nice array of birds. The highlight for me was seeing a mangrove cuckoo. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a picture as he proved elusive. I did see several species of hummingbird, scaley-naped pigeons, gray kingbirds, grey tremblers, bananaquits, and bullfinches. Several birds of prey soared over, but I was not able to get a good enough look in order to identify.
Fond Doux tours
The front desk is exceedingly helpful in arranging tours. They have a complimentary shuttle to Sugar Beach that leaves at 11 a.m. and arrives back at 4 p.m. This beach is at the base of Petit Piton. They also arranged for me to hike up Gros Piton and afterwards take a mud bath at Sulphur Springs. Both of these locations are close by and the front desk can arrange rides and a guide.
I did the Gros Piton hike in the morning and the Sulphur Springs in the afternoon. In hindsight, I would recommend you do the hike one morning and the mud bath the following morning. It seemed like doing the mud bath after the hike would make sense because it would soothe your aching bones. It did do this, but since the baths are hot, and I was still kind of hot from the hike, I did not feel that comfortable. Also, the Sulphur Springs were really really crowded in the afternoon; therefore, it is better to go the next morning. After hiking Gros Piton the day before, your bones and muscles will still be sore and need soothing the next day.
Fond Doux Eco Resort history and chocolate tours
My departure was not until 4:30 p.m. on my last day. In the morning, I did a history and chocolate tour at Fond Doux. This was really interesting hearing about the history of the island and the full process of chocolate making. As a social studies teacher, I found it really interesting how the French Revolution had a profound impact on the island’s history. It is interesting to hear how worldwide events impacted local history elsewhere.
The chocolate tour started out by checking out the cocoa trees and beans that grow on the resort grounds and the steps that are taken to process the beans into chocolate. We started out in the rainforest and then back at the resort where I was shown all the steps including how the finished chocolate bars are wrapped. It was fascinating to see the process. As a final nice touch, the resort gave me a couple of Fond Doux chocolate bars in a gift bag to take home with me.
Goodbye Fond Doux Eco Resort
Fond Doux arranged both my shuttle from the airport and to the airport. I arrived at the George F. L. Charles Airport (SLU) in the north and flew out of the Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort (UVF) in the south. The northern airport serves inter-Caribbean flights and the southern airport serves international flights. The shuttle was $80 from SLU and $90 to UVF. My ride arrived to drive me to UVF, and I sadly said goodbye to Fond Doux. I definitely recommend staying there and if you are interested, check out their offers here.