Saint Lucia has to be up there in the top five of destinations when you think of paradise. Can you really beat a Caribbean island filled to the brim with rum, soul and a ‘no pressure no problem’ attitude?
There’s no denying that Saint Lucia is pretty easy on the eye for starters – its varied landscape sets it apart from other islands with its moody and rugged volcanic terrain, along with stunning beaches, rainforests and waterfalls. There’s not many places you can fly to in eight hours and get all of this!
Ask any of the locals and they’ll happily tell you the condensed version of Saint Lucia’s history –the French were its first settlers, battling with the English a total of 14 times, with the French taking control seven times and the English matching them. In 1814, the British took full control, while more recently, in 1979, it became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations. As a result, St Lucian’s wholeheartedly embrace the tourism trade which floods into the island and chatting to any of the locals will make you feel like they’re giving you a big warm hug! (And they’re bound to offer you rum too!)
An island of contrast it most definitely is, so if you’re visiting, try and see Saint Lucia from all its beautiful sides! Aside from its landscape, you’ll find fishing villages nestled alongside five star resorts; renowned chefs running luxurious restaurants, locals running side stalls and street food bursting with local Caribbean flavour. There’s a very general North / South divide – in the North, the Capital Castries and Rodney Bay Village (Saint Lucia’s only resort), are best for beaches, restaurants and bars, while in the South you’ll find the picturesque Pitons, the village of Soufriere and a more scenic, tranquil vibe.
So, what’s on the list of absolute must-do’s? Here’s nine of the best!
A Must-Do – Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival May 5th – 14th 2023
This melting pot of chilled out musical brilliance started in 1992 as a three day event and has now developed into an 11 day festival with over 50 concerts. A fusion of performances are celebrated every May in a number of stunning locations culminating at the picture postcard Pigeon Island. Here, music and art unite on a green lush lawn against a back drop of turquoise sea (sounds good doesn’t it?!) The atmosphere is electric and performers over the years have included iconic Jamaican musicians like Jimmy Cliff, through to Robin Thicke, Flo-rida and Gregory Porter. The line up each year continues to impress by drawing in the big names in pop, jazz and r&b while the crowd peruse stalls, eat picnics, drink rum and generally indulge in the music. This May, Sting, featuring Shaggy will headline on the last day of the festival – May 14th.
Climb the Pitons
The mighty Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton) are a famous Caribbean landmark – two dormant volcanoes which dominate the landscape. No photo will every prepare you for their stunning, imposing, majestic presence when you get to see them up close. If you’re up to it, it’s a steep two hour hike to the top of Gros Piton where you get to celebrate with fantastic views and a native Piton beer. Or, you can continue down to the gorgeous town of Soufriere (which was originally the Capital). Stay at the Ladera Hotel for the most incredible views of the Pitons from your private suite with pool.
Soufriere Beach Park at Hummingbird Beach
While you’re in Saint Lucia, be sure to visit Soufriere Beach Park at Hummingbird Beach which opened a few years ago. With a restaurant, spa, beach bar, pizzeria, smoothie bar and tourist information centre, the huge transformation has created an amazing attraction for locals and visitors as part of a wider programme to broaden the tourism experience in various areas around the island.
Sail Saint Lucia
Sailing down the West Coast, Carnival Sailing is a great way to get around the island. We took the Wet and Wild Tour aboard a stunning catamaran with breakfast, soft drinks, cocktails and beers included along with sunbathing and snorkelling.
Take a Buggy for an Adrenalin-Filled Experience
To get around Soufriere in unique style, We’d more than recommend the adrenalin-filled Buggy Island Routes Caribbean Adventures for a safari style glimpse of what this amazing little town has to offer. You really get to experience it. As part of the buggy tours, you’ll get to swim under the breathtaking Torailles waterfalls guaranteed to refresh and revitalise as the water cascades down the mountains into a photo-worthy pool of paradise.
Visit the Sulphur Springs
Immerse yourself in the Sulphur Springs Park mudbath – the world’s only drive-in volcano! It’s one of the hottest and most active geo-thermal areas in the world and you can smother yourself in the rich mineral mud before basking in the warm sulphuric bath (sometimes up to 100 degree Celsius) famed for its soothing and healing effects on the skin. As the most instagrammed spot in Saint Lucia, there’s now an additional three pools.
Relax in Saint Lucia at Marigot Beach Club & Dive Resort
While you’re in Saint Lucia, there’s one hotel you must make a point of staying at. The newly renovated Marigot Beach Club and & Dive Resort sits beautifully on the west coast of Saint Lucia. With over 120 rooms in total, its 57 beautiful suites are wonderfully placed, so from the oversized balconies (many of which have their own plunge pools), Marigot Bay almost feels like a castle majestically looking down over its own kingdom.
Suites are modern and spacious and have doors which open out onto the balcony – both from the living area and the bedroom. The main room easily manages to integrate a lounge area, dining table, island and full kitchen, with more than enough room to move around. There’s an expansive bedroom with a good sized four poster bed, and a great bathroom with brilliant lighting, a huge rain shower and an abundance of Acqua di Parma bathing products.
The Marigot Beach Club experience includes a PA at the touch of a button to arrange trips and hotel transfers. On return to your room, you’re greeted with a treat – whether it’s a bottle of chilled beer or freshly baked crisps; there’s also a fully stocked and complimentary fridge and a gift wrapped bottle of Chairman’s Reserve rum on arrival.
An absolute must, even if you’re just visiting Marigot Bay, is a visit to their distillery inspired Rum Cave. Inside, you’ll embark on a fabulous tasting experience where’ll you’ll get to learn all about how rum is made in Saint Lucia.
With two beautiful pools, an invigorating spa and gym, stunning restaurants and those uninterrupted views out over the marina and bay, Marigot Beach Club’s superb amenities, relaxing, intimate atmosphere and surrounding tropical greenery really will have you believing you’ve stumbled upon your own little piece of paradise… and you’d be right.
See Saint Lucia by Rodney Bay Segway!
Rodney Bay is a hub of tourist activity located in the north-west of the island. It’s home to a tonne of bars and restaurants, a huge Sandals resort (the Grande Saint Lucian) and also the legendary Friday night ‘Jump Up’ street parties where music booms from every bar and the locals get down to the beats on every corner, whilst drinking rum punch from the many side stalls.
The best way to explore Rodney Bay is by segway – an exhilarating and fun way to get around with an adrenalin rush and the (warm) wind in your hair! Segways are eco-friendly, effortless and really, quite the thrill once you get your balance! We took our tour with Lucianstyle.com which was chilled, fun and informative all at the same time. As we explored Mount Pimard, we were alerted to different flowers, plants and butterflies with plenty pit stops to freshen up, take photos and indulge in delicious fresh mango and melon. We also got to visit a WWII American military bunker and took in absolutely stunning views of Pigeon Island, the gorgeous Reduit Beach, Rodney Bay Marina and of course the unescapable and totally beautiful Caribbean sea. What could be better?!
Adventure in Saint Lucia: Swing and zip line with Rainforest Adventures
Who knows when you might get another chance to swing through a Caribbean rainforest like Tarzan?! Located in the area of Chassin in Dauphin, Saint Lucia Rainforest is a thriving, vibrant area covering an area of 1250 acres of the Castries Waterworks Reserve. The open air gondola will take you up and up through the forest reserve until you’re higher than the trees, yet at the same time, completely immersed in them – quite a strange concept to get your head around! Then from above the canopy, the gondola descends (don’t worry it’s a smooth journey), providing a great bird’s eye view of the spectacular rainforest with panoramic views of the North of the island. Bird watching takes four hours and requires you to get up at the crack of dawn, but with 1700 different species of wildlife on the island, you’re bound to see something a little special. Then it’s zip wire time – not for the faint hearted, but a definite must for an exhilarating adrenalin filled experience to get the blood pumping! It’s completely safe and secure and by the time you’ve reached the third or fourth wire, you’ll be totally relaxed and able to enjoy zipping through the trees! Rainforest Adventure can organise your experience for you.
British Airways offers seven flights per week from London to Saint Lucia. Book your seats now for a fun-filled holiday on a stunning Caribbean island and all less than nine hours away.