Relaxing at a Cocoa Plantation

After the indulgent luxury of Sugar Beach, DonQui decides something a bit more rustic, authentically Caribbean and affordable is in order.

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So it is that he finds himself up in the rainforest above Sugar Beach at the wonderful Fond Doux (Sweet Valley).

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Fond Doux is a working organic cocoa plantation owned and run by local St Lucians. Nestled on the hillside, tucked in amongst the lush vegetation are 15 colonial style holiday cottages.

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There is no TV, no air conditioning but there is wifi. The comfortable welcoming cottages are well designed to be airy and cool even when it is hot outside.

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DonQui is quite happy to make friends with the resident gecko who shares the cottage. He is glad that it is a lizard not a spider keeping the insect population down as DonQui has issues with spiders.

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The spacious verandah is a perfect places to sit out and let the day slip slowly by. DonQui’s even has its own plunge pool.

At night the insect noise from the forest is so intense that DonQui uses ear plugs when he tucks himself into bed beneath the mosquito net. At around 05:30 the insects take cover as the birds begin to wake up and salute the rising sun with a deafening dawn chorus.

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It is a perfect place to laze about, take the odd walk or two through the lush vegetation or lie by the pool with its soothing artificial waterfalls.

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The Bamboo Restaurant on site may not offer fine dining but it is it pretty good with St Lucian staples such as goat curry, jerk chicken, roti, and locally caught king fish and mahi-mahi on the menu.

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Goat curry with rice, plantain, and a bit of jerk chicken which DonQui stole from Duchess’ plate. DonQui washed it down with a couple of chilled glasses of the local Piton beer while Duchess experimented with various coconut and chocolate cocktails.

DonQui highly recommends Fond Doux if you want a few days to chill out and relax. He also highly recommends booking a massage. It is probably not the place to go if you are looking for action-packed days or a beach holiday. There is a daily shuttle which goes to sugar beach but DonQui did not bother taking it as he much preferred to simply laze about on the plantation.

The staff are super friendly and helpful, The owners Lyton and Eroline are often around and are more than happy to chat with guests. On Thursday nights they host a cocktail party for guests, staff and local dignitaries.

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The ebullient Lyton Lamontagne holds court at his weekly cocktail party

 

A Nice Quiet Beach

Feeling in need of a little R&R by the sea, DonQui makes his way to La Azohía, not too far from Cartagena on what is called the Costa Cálida or ‘Warm Coast’. By now it is late September and the air temperature is still hitting the high 20s – low 30s although the water seems a bit colder than it was in Tarragona a week or so earlier.

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DonQui was hoping for a quiet place to relax without horrid high-rises, garish attractions or too many humans.

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He had found it. La Azohía is about as laid back as even a sleepy donkey could hope for. There is only one tiny shop, a few restaurants and a couple of beach bars.

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With the season coming to an end, the coast is pretty free of humans and many of the restaurants and bars are closed. The best, however, are still open.

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Although it is on the east coast, the south-west facing curve of the beach means that there are some fabulous sunsets to watch while sipping a drink and having a meal at the Restaurante Bodega Molina.

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Here DonQui enjoys some very nice freshly caught fish grilled with garlic, olive oil and chillies.

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An even better sundowner is to be had at the Rockola Summer Club – a tiny beach bar.

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Here all drinks are €1.50 and they have a great play list of rock, blues and jazz.

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All in all DonQui thinks La Azohía is a pretty good place to stay for a few days of blissful peace and quiet. There are no hotels here but if you fancy a stay there are plenty of holiday apartments to rent. DonQui found a very nice one right on the beach through Airbnb.