February 2024: As part of a two-week trip to visit my last countries of the world 197/197, my nephew Dylan, friends Jimmie, Wes and I spent two nights in Saint Lucia with the main purpose to go canyoneering in the Holy Grail Canyon in the lush rainforests of northern Saint Lucia. Our guide, Edmond, who learned how to rock climb in a previous job working on a cruise ship developed his own canyoneering adventure business and is one of the only canyoneering guides in all of the West Indies. I reached out to him before the trip and picked his most arduous and thrill packed day trip, a 6-hour hike from the top of the Holy Grail Canyon down to the bottom walking, swimming and climbing through rapids, cliffs, waterfalls, and caves while also rappelling a few waterfalls with rope, the highest being about 50′. The trip turned out to be one of the most action-packed fun day trips of any I have ever had in the Caribbean or anywhere.

 

 

About Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia like its neighbors was once inhabited by Arawak and Carib Indians who were wiped out by Europeans. The island changed hands between the French and British a few times before ending up in British hands. It has since achieved independence and it one of the favorite islands of the Caribbean for tourists. The islands best beaches are in the south but the best tropical rainforests, mountain landscapes are in the north where the famous volcanic rock peak formations the pitons are located.

 

 

Saint Lucia

To get to Saint Lucia, we flew via InterCarribean Airlines in a qwtin prop plane fromSaint Vincent and the Grenadines. We landed in castry airport in the south of the island. The airport hs the best layout of any I have visited in the world with a var/restaunt situated just across from the check in counters at the airport on a beautiful beach.

I decided to take a break from driving and instead I had our canyoneering guide, Edmond from ERA Adventures pick up us and drive us across the island to his property, where we would camp for the night before setting off the next morning into the canyon below his property.

 

 

The beach at the airport

Canyoneering at the Holy Grail Canyon

Edmond showed us around some beaches and helped us get some groceries before taking us back to his property in a plot of jungle with a few crops he planted overlooking the canyon we would be exploring. He recently purchased his land and was in the process of building a rustic hut for tourists to stay in. These weren’t finished yet, so he let us stay on his property in our tents for free. The next morning, we set off on an awesome adventure into the canyon. My embarked on a 6-hour canyoneering adventure that involved rappelling, cliff jumping, swimming, and climbing sketchy slippery rocks. Somehow, we managed to avoid any broken bones and walked out of the canyon with one of the best single day adventures.  

 

 

One of the pitons as seen from Edmon’s property where we camped 

We had the canyon to ourselves. Inside the canyon, we were surrounded by towering cliffs, lush rainforest, ferns and cascading waterfalls. Once in, the only way out was to keep walking downriver until we emerged from the steep canyon. There was no going back, and this was always on my mind oif one of us injured ourselves. The day was long and hard especially on our feet, but we all loved it.

 

 

Entering the river

Swimming through caves

Jumping into a rapid that rushed through a small cave

Sketchy moment descending a canyon 

Edmond carrying all of the rope 

Navigating the canyon

Swimming through a narrow part of the canyon

Sometimes we just jumped off a cliff into the pool before us, other times we had to rappel down a rope that Edmond set up. On this rope, I managed to get down within a foot from the bottom and the rope became stuck, so Edmond had to climb down and assist me before ascending back up to help the others descend. Then in another rappel down a waterfall, we all slipped and descended awkwardly but no one had it worse than Jimmie who swayed into a waterfall headfirst waterboarding himself and taking the brunt of the waterfalls flow to his face.

 

Rapelling down a cliff 

Jimmie being waterboarded by a waterfall

After the canyon trip was finished, we stopped at a village home to have a traditional meal of fish, cassava, beans and rice and lemonade all home made from a few local women that were neighbors of Edmond.

 

 

Homemade meal 

After our meal, Edmond drove us to the south of the island where we stayed the night in a local house where we stayed with a few vacant rooms that were offered by a local family. The rooms were cheap and comfortable and the owner extremely helpful and kind. The next afternoon we flew to Trinidad via Caribbean Airlines,

 

 

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