St. Lucia is the kind of island that travelers to the Caribbean dream about; a small, lush tropical paradise that is still relatively unknown. St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, and north of Barbados. The Island is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. The Atlantic Ocean hugs its eastern shore, while the beaches of the west coast owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea.
There are a broad array of exciting and exotic activities available on St. Lucia. The island’s steep coastlines and lovely reefs offer excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. The rainforest preserves of St. Lucia’s mountainous interior are one of the Caribbean’s finest locales for hiking and bird watching. Natural waterfalls, breath-taking views, friendly locals and authentic culture impress the most traveled individuals for a holiday with lasting memories. The island also possesses excellent facilities for golf, tennis, sailing, and a host of other leisure pursuits.
Check out the best things to see and do on this incredible island below.
1. The Pitons
Rising tall from a Caribbean sea base and covered in emerald-colored vegetation, these volcanic plugs (or land formations made out of volcanic materials) are the most iconic sight in all of St. Lucia. Situated between the towns of Soufrière and Choiseul, Gros Piton and its smaller sibling, Petit Piton, are easy to spot from many points in the southwest. Those who took the hike loved the beauty of the trails and said the views at the top were breathtaking, with some describing their experience as unforgettable. Despite there being two peaks available for climbing, locals caution against hiking Petit Piton unless you are a pro climber, as the hike is incredibly steep. If you want to hike the Pitons, your best bet is to have a guide accompany you.
Tip: For those who aren’t interested in breaking a major sweat, take a boat out onto the water to get great views of the Pitons. You might even consider snorkeling, as there is a lot of colorful sea life that populate the waters near the peaks.
2. Sulphur Springs Park and Drive-In Volcano
The well-known Sulphur Springs in Saint Lucia is the hottest and most active geothermal area in the Lesser Antilles. The park is approximately 110 acres and is billed as the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano. Visitors can drive right up to the active volcano. A walk through the crater takes you past pools and hot springs bubbling and belching with sulphur-laden steam.
3. Marigot Bay
Marigot Bay’s unspoiled lands and marked popularity draw visitors from all over, making it home to many different facilities and accommodations. Enjoy fine dining, shopping, entertainment, and other activities along the shore while at Marigot Bay. The area, located just south of the capital, Castries, is the perfect location for exploring the beautiful island of St Lucia. Marigot is easily reached from both the Intercontinental and Regional airports and lies equidistant from the spectacular scenery of the Soufriere region to the south with its “World Heritage” Piton Mountains, drive-in Volcano and hot springs.
Located in the south, Soufriere is the oldest town in St. Lucia which was established by the French in 1746. Of particular note is its unusual marketplace, decorated with colorful murals and gingerbread trim.
5. Anse Chastanet Marine National Park
Anse Chastanet coral reef harbors a treasure trove of sea life across varying depths. On a plateau of two to eight meters, divers can see colored sponges, soft corals, boulder coral, and brain corals. Frogfish inhabit a large nearby cavern, and divers may spot many varieties of fish in the coral gardens, including parrotfish, goatfish, wrasse, chromis, and barracudas. Above the surface, is a sheltered beach with beautiful views of the Pitons. Diving off the waters of St. Lucia is ideal for both beginners and experts alike as there are a variety of dive operators on the island who are dedicated to ensure an exceptional diving experience.
6. Castries Market
The colorful Castries market, located at the eastern-most point of Castries harbor, is a great place to experience a slice of local life on St. Lucia. Goods range from handicrafts to locally grown fruits and vegetables. Next door to the produce market is the Craft Market,where you can buy pottery, wood carvings, and handwoven straw articles, and innumerable souvenirs, trinkets, and gewgaws.
Tip: While the market is open every day, the most active day is Saturday.
7. Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island, a 40-acre islet connected by a causeway to St. Lucia’s west coast, is a beautiful nature park which reflects a thousand years of history. There are marked trails with a number of historical sites, like the remains of an 18th-century British fort and Fort Rodney. The island also has two secluded beaches and is the premiere venue of St. Lucia’s annual Jazz Festival. The Pigeon Island Museum & Interpretive Center, displays the island’s history, and housed in a landmark former British officers’ mess building. Across from Rodney Bay, Pigeon Island National Park, is one of St. Lucia’s most important historic attractions. A causeway connects the island to the mainland and visitors can hike up to the lookout point and enjoy panoramic views of St. Lucia’s northwest coast. Also on the island are the ruins of the military buildings used during battles between the French and English, an interpretation center describing the island’s fascinating history, a small restaurant, and two white-sand beaches.
8. Diamond Botanical Gardens
The Diamond Falls are consistently described as one of the natural wonders of St Lucia. Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, a six acre site, is an attractive, alluring and peaceful retreat from the outside world. Enjoy the beauty and sultry warmth of the tropics whilst walking through lush fertile vegetation and marveling at the diverse range of tropical flowers and plant life. A haven for birds and insects, which gives one a true nature experience not to be duplicated anywhere within the Caribbean. You have just stepped into a world with a breathtaking waterfall, hot mineral springs fill the historical baths with age old medicinal waters and flora and fauna abounds.
9. Edmund Rain Forest Reserve and Enbas Saut Waterfall Trail
The Enbos Saut waterfall trail lies on the lush slopes of Mount Gimie, St. Lucia’s highest mountain. The well maintained trail cuts through dense rainforest to a waterfall, which has eroded its way into volcanic rock. The trail takes about two hours 30 minutes, and requires good hiking shoes. Along the way, hikers may spot birds such as the St Lucia parrot, Sempers warbler, and St Lucia wren, and the park also harbors exotic plants, such as the Blue Mahoe and Honduras Mahogany.
Tip: Access the trail in four-wheel-drive safari vehicles along a rocky road, which also affords one of the best views of the Pitons.