The Best of St. Lucia

Located north of Trinidad and Tobago, this dazzling Caribbean island is a marvel of a paradise. Food and Wine Magazine dubbed St. Lucia the new “It” Island in 2006 and since then, the sovereign island country, which follows a legal system based on British common law, has seen an influx in tourism-related building and development. Since tourism is one of the main legs upon which the St. Lucian economy stands, the island is abundant in luxurious amenities, exciting attractions, rare and beautiful natural wonders and plenty of outdoor activities for all ages. Need a vacation? You can’t go wrong with the best that St. Lucia has to offer.

St Lucia Halcyon Beach HDR

Resorts

Jade Mountain Resort in Soufriere is one of the top St. Lucia resorts, an architecturally stunning getaway where guest rooms (sans a fourth wall) look out onto private infinity pools and the extraordinary natural world beyond. To keep the environment as peaceful as possible, the rooms don’t have TVs and guests are asked to keep their cell phones on vibrate and hidden, and to restrict their use to the privacy of their rooms.

Sandals Grand St Lucia Beach at Night

Another popular option close by is the Anse Chastenet Resort, complete with guest rooms, dining area, spa and on-site boutique shopping. No two rooms in this resort are alike, with 37 spread out on the ultra-green hillside and the other 12 down at beach level. Some rooms are not air-conditioned, but open walls create a superior air flow, coupled with cool clay tile floors. Anse Chastanet offers up six different dining options with something for every palate, while the spa soothes away cares with massages, skin treatments, aromatherapy and scrubs.

Sights

Undoubtedly the most popular tourist attraction in St. Lucia is The Sulfur Springs, part of an enormous caldera-type volcano near Soufriere. It is billed as the “World’s Only Drive-In Volcano,” allowing visitors to literally drive to the edge of the springs. The springs were formed some 410,000 years ago after a weak spot in an enormous crater allowed an upheaval of lava to burst forth. The water now boils continuously at about 170 degree Celsius. Downstream there are hot springs for guests to bathe or receive self-applied mud baths, believed to have healing powers. (Believe it or not, the volcano is due to erupt again in about 100 years, which would be devastating to the people of St. Lucia.)

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The Pitons are another grand natural wonder on St. Lucia, named Petit Piton and the Gros Piton, the remnants of two volcanic domes. The smaller, Petit, is 743 meters high, while Gros reaches 771 meters into the sky. Gros Piton can be climbed, though; it takes considerable strength and physical ability to reach the summit, with something like 50 percent of those attempting the climb failing to complete it. It’s advisable to trek with a guide, who will also have knowledge of simple medical procedures should an accident occur.

St. Lucia - Pitons Area

Excursions

A rainforest walk is one of the premier ways in St. Lucia to spend an afternoon. With rainforests all over the world disappearing, you’d be remiss not to jump at the opportunity to experience the lush greenery and tropical flora that constitutes the Caribbean rainforest. Join a walking tour group and let a guide show you exotic trees and flowers and rare birds and other wildlife, like the St. Lucian Parrot or even a boa constrictor high up in the branches.

Village of Anse La Raye - St. Lucia

From snorkeling to scuba diving to deep sea fishing, there are water activities aplenty on St Lucia. However, keep in mind that you must join up with a licensed operator if your hotel or resort does not offer these services.

If you have a healthy love of history, you will enjoy the plantations and gardens which dot St. Lucia, as they provide an intriguing look into the history of the island, when it was the domain of farmers who made their fortunes in bananas, cocoa and coconuts.

St Lucia-37

The exquisite Diamond Botanical Gardens in Soufriere were commissioned and paid for by none other than King Louis XVI (husband to Marie Antoinette and  who was beheaded via the guillotine during the French Revolution), and they feature trails, waterfalls and mineral baths. The wildlife is exquisite, the mineral baths appropriate for those with sore joints and muscles, and the Diamond Waterfall will likely take your breath away, as it has been laced with minerals that appear to make the color change before your eyes.

About the author

Horace Kinney is a contributing writer and world traveler who recently arrived home from a three-week tour of Bangkok. His vacations to St. Lucia, however, are many, and he holds a special place in his heart for the Gros Piton, which he was fortunate enough to scale — at the age of 46.





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