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Conflicting reviews of COSOL—should we take the tour?

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I took a tour with Cosol in February.  We had a great time, very professionally run, great sites and lots of food.  It does feel a bit rushed because of how much is crammed into one day but that is to be expected.  Don’t let the bad reviews put you off.  

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On 3/8/2019 at 3:53 PM, juneholaday said:

I'd like to weigh in on this topic for just a moment. We just cruised last week on the NCL Dawn and we booked COSOL tours in St Lucia. I have been cruising for 20 years and this Cosol Tour was absolutely one of the best tours I have ever been on in any country.  Not liking the price gouging by the cruiselines on shore ex, we usually hire a taxi when we arrive in port and have them take us wherever we like. However, this being my first time to St. Lucia I didn't want to miss anything. Cosol offered all the highlights I wanted to hit (as opposed to the cruiseline that offered only some of the sites. 

 

These guys are very organized. Each van holds about 12-15 passengers and we had 3 vans in our "caravan". We were going right from the start at 8:30am. We drove through Castries to get out to the countryside. Our guide YELLOW BIRD (brother of Cosol) was fantastic.  He tells the history of the island as we are driving through the city into the countryside. He answered every question we asked. Stopping for beautiful overlooks, we could get out and take some pix.  Once in the countryside, the real fun begins and the feasting. The food on this tour was amazing. I was never hungry or thirsty. First stop the banana plantation. After a quick history lesson on bananas and how they grow, we sampled banana ketchup and banana bbq sauce on banana chips. Yum. Then we each got a whole banana to try. We washed it all down with a few homemade spiced rum shots - wow 10 am here I come!

 

Then on to see two different fishing villages. In the second village we stop for breakfast. All 3 vans together was less than 50 people and did not feel crowded at all. In fact most of the time we were getting out on the shoulder of the road for photos and we were not a big group. I won't spoil it for you but breakfast was an amazing variety of local foods all cooking right there. One of the vans had the "mobile bar" in the trunk. Water, beer, rum punch, soda, juices. As many as you wanted. I won't detail too much more because you should be surprised and delighted as we were. The water taxi to the beach between the Pitons was quick and the beach is wonderful. Be sure to swim on the hotel side for softer sand. You just cannot use any hotel chairs. We had a full hour there - lovely.

 

Back on the water taxi and on to the volcano. We only had 3 of our van who wanted to go into the mud baths so YellowBird set them up where they needed to go. Then he drove the rest of us up the hill to hear a guide speak about the volcano and sulfur springs. That was not part of it, but he gave us a great tour so we didnt just sit around waiting for the mud pit folks. And he paid all the entrance fees. Then we picked up the mud folks and headed to the waterfall. So beautiful. After working up an appetite we stopped for hot baked bread and cheese. Loving the homemade food on this trip plus of course more  drinks from the mobile bar. 

 

We started to head back to Castries. On the way a car came roaring up beside us honking their horn. Yellow bird got out to meet a woman. He came back into the van with baggies of homemade cookies for the ride back! This tour was absolutely the best bang for your buck and I feel like I got to see the whole island. Oh, and did I mention that it rained for most of the day? Anyone on that tour would agree with me. We were having so much fun that the rain didnt even matter. If you're on the fence, just go for it. You won't forgive yourself if you miss out. Only warning I have, take a dramamine before getting in the van. The hairpin turns are numerous. Ask your driver to show you the one stretch of straight road on the island... it's pretty funny. Have fun!

 

I would agree with all of this!  We did the tour on March 1st.  I believe there were 4 ships in port the day we did this tour.  We had 4 vans in our caravan - one of which only had 4 people in it.  Ours with Baptiste had 12 people I think.  While the day was fun filled I don't think that the tour is necessarily great for little kids.  The hairpin turns were constant so if you get car sick easily - sit up front or have some dramamine with you.  Overall this was a great day and a great way to see many of the different areas of the island!

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I had read on how some people felt there were too many people on the tour, so booked a private tour with Cosol, it was fantastic and we loved the fact it was just the 4 of us, we had as much or as little time at each stop and the driver was fantastic, watch our belonging while doing the mud bath.  for us the additional cost for a private tour was well worth it.

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Had a great time recently on the Cosol Tour, for the second time.  We enjoyed having Baptiste as our tour guide/driver for the day.  He told us all about St. Lucia, with a great sense of humor and kept track of us all day long.  I think there were 2-3 vans on the tour the day we were there.  A very manageable group to me.  It is a busy day, just based on the distance from the port to the highlights of the Pitons, Sugar Beach, waterfall and mud baths, but still very enjoyable.  The roads are windy and I did take a little non-drowsy Dramamine, and ginger candy, and requested to not sit in the back of the van and I was okay, as was everyone else on our tour as far as I could tell.  The various stops along the way do break up the ride.  The local brunch food was great to immerse in the culture of St. Lucia.  The included beverages were also readily available.  New to the tour since we took it several years ago was the boat ride to Sugar Beach.  It was fast, somewhat bumpy, but had great scenery around a Piton to arrive at beautiful Sugar Beach in about 5-7 minutes.  The area where non-resort guests can sit is not very large at all. I came for the snorkeling, so I just stowed my gear next to a tree as all the loungers there were taken.  The snorkeling is terrific there, it is just a bit of a rush to do it and be back at the boat within an hour.  But I would still rather do it for a short while then not at all. We chose not to partake of the mud baths, but most of our tour enjoyed that.  The waterfall was a refreshing stop.  And then on the way back we stopped for warm "bat" bread and cheese with rum punch and Piton beer.  They watch the time carefully to make sure you get returned to your cruise ship in plenty of time before departure.  A great day in the beautiful lush country of St. Lucia!

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We've toured with Cosol twice, including last November, and Spencer Ambrose once.  Each tour was great and we saw so many things.  Some of our favorite tours ever.  

 

The only caveat--and it's true for all the tours--is that the beach you stop at is mostly 'owned' by a pricey resort and the tour groups have to stay to the side (if they want a chair), which is very rocky, small, does not have enough lounge chairs and some of the ones there are in very bad condition.

 

You can walk on the sandy beach and swim there, just can't use their chairs, which are for guests.

 

'

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Thanks to everyone who posted such great reviews of the Cosol tour. I am just beginning research for our Jan 2020 Celebrity cruise and with all the good info here and on trip advisor, I've got at least our St. Lucia tour set. Now on to the other 7 ports on the cruise LOL

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