Lush, hilly and blessed with more than its fair share of beautiful beaches, it’s no surprise that the Caribbean island of St Lucia is on the tourist trail. But don’t rule it out just because it’s popular. Here’s our guide to must-see St Lucia.
Swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean
The warm waters of the Caribbean are a major draw for tourists and St Lucia’s shoreline is no exception. Stay at the popular Rodney Bay area in the north of the island where there are plenty of opportunities for water sports. Try wakeboarding, kayaking or sailing straight from Reduit Beach. If you’re looking for an off the beaten track experience, try Grand Anse, on the island’s north east coast, where leatherback turtles sometimes lay their eggs. Anse Chastenet is one of the best spots on the island for snorkelling; its reef teems with over 150 varieties of fish.
Hike to a waterfall
St Lucia’s abundant wet season rainfall and mountainous interior means that the island is dotted with waterfalls. Walking in the shade of forest trails with ample opportunities to swim in natural pools is advised, particularly if you’re from colder climes. But where to choose? Sault Falls, sometimes referred to as Dennery Falls, is one of the tallest. Saltibus Falls near Choiseau is another gem, reached by a rewarding hike through the rainforest. Toraille, near Soufrière, is easy to reach from the main road. Diamond Waterfall, found nearby at the Diamond Botanical Gardens, is the perfect choice for those with a keen interest in plants.
Climb the Pitons
The twin peaks of the Pitons are St Lucia’s most recognisable landmark. There are superb views from the beach, and resorts like Ladera and Sugar Beach are a great choice if you want to gaze at the Pitons from your terrace or sun lounger. But to truly appreciate the Pitons, you need to stand at the top of them. Hiking isn’t permitted on Petit Piton, which is the steeper of the two. An ascent of Gros Piton, at 2619 metres above sea level, is within reach of anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. We recommend you hire a guide who’ll accompany you to the top and see you safely back down again.
Visit a cocoa plantation
Several cocoa plantations open their doors to visitors so if you’re keen to learn more about the chocolate making process then you’ve come to the right place. Boucan by Hotel Chocolat operates tours for non-guests; the “tree to bean” and “bean to bar” come as a package which of course includes lots of tasting. Guests can also join one of several nature walks through the plantation. Other options on the island for chocolate lovers are Fond Doux, established by the French in the mid 18th century, and Morne Coubaril, which has a zip-lining course on site. If you’re planning to eat a lot, you might want to do that first!
Let your hair down at the Gros Islet jump up
On a Friday night, there’s only one place to be on the island and that’s at the Gros Islet jump up. This buzzing street party brings together locals and visitors for an evening of music, food and drink. It’s loud, fun and safe – just be sure to arrange your ride home beforehand as you won’t want to waste your evening trying to find a parking space. Once you’ve been dropped off, all you need to do is order some freshly grilled fish and a cold Piton beer and then you can let your hair down, St Lucia style.
Wallow in mud at a drive-in volcano
Sulphur Springs bills itself as the world’s only drive-in volcano. Though its vents steam continuously, it last erupted centuries ago. That’s good news for the many visitors who come to wallow in its mud pools, thought to have health-enhancing properties. If you have aching joints from a hike or sunburn from falling asleep in the open air, this may help! Book a guided tour to learn a little about the volcano and then strip down to your bathing suit to enjoy the mud for yourself.
Keen to visit the beautiful Caribbean? Why not see if Mundana has a St Lucia deal with your name on it?