I have traveled to St. Lucia many times and it remains one of my favorite islands in the Caribbean. Different parts of the island offer different things. In the north around Castries you have the main beach resort area. This is also where the cruise ships come in. Heading south you have the mountains, the still active volcano (where you can get a mud bath) and the famous pitons. The area is perfect for hikers and adventurers. The resorts in the mountainous area are the most beautiful (in my opinion) with many of them having rooms with only 3 walls giving you the opportunity to always see the beautiful views no matter where you are in your room (except maybe the bathroom!). And since your resort is on the side of a mountain, no one can possibly see in to your 3 walled room. These resorts have access to a beach and offer transportation to get there and back. You can walk to the beach if you want but I must warn you that going down to the beach is easy but the walk back up is not!!!
I spent 3 days in St. Lucia doing sight inspections at resorts and discovering the island. These pictures, and the pictures on the St. Lucia destination page, were all taken during my visit to this amazing island. Enjoy!
Sights—The mineral baths at Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens; views of the Piton mountains; touring the sulphur springs at La Soufriere Volcano, which is called "the drive-in volcano"; spotting the endangered parrot, the Amazona versicolor; the black-sand beaches on the south end of the island; a zipline ride or tram trip through the treetops in the 19,000-acre rain forest. The twin volcanic peaks, Petit Piton and Gros Piton—probably the most-photographed mountains in the Caribbean as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site—are on the southwestern side of the island.
Museums—The history and culture of growing sugar at La Sikwi Historical Sugar Mill and Plantation; multimedia displays at Pigeon Island Interpretation Centre.
Memorable Meals—Pumpkin soup; green fig and saltfish; savory creme brulee; cocktails made with local rum Bounty, or Piton Shandys (a blend of beer, spices and fruit juice) after a day on the beach.
Late Night—Counting nesting leatherback turtles; dancing to soca music during Friday-night street parties (Gros Islet's Jump-Up and Anse La Raye's Fish Fry); mingling with yachters and expatriates at The Lime in Rodney Bay.
Walks—A hike on the Edmund Forest Reserve Rain Forest Trail; a challenging climb up Gros Piton; a stroll through tropical forest to a sandy beach.
Especially for Kids—Climbing over the ruins and cannons at Fort Rodney at Pigeon Point National Park; snorkeling along shallow reefs at Anse Chastanet Resort and enjoying watersports on Reduit (pronounced red-wee) Beach; watching pools of furiously bubbling mud at La Soufriere—an active volcano.
St. Lucia is stunning when seen from the water, so even cruise ship passengers who arrive by sea may want to take a boat trip to glimpse the Pitons plunging straight into the bay, or visit one of the picturesque coves that cut deeply into the west coast.
Land tours with the best sightseeing opportunities include the Soufriere area. Although the town itself is crowded and run-down, it features striking views of the Pitons. The surrounding countryside is astonishingly diverse and includes the island's highest peak, 3,118-ft/967-m Mount Gimie, Diamond Botanical Gardens and the bubbling sulfur springs of the drive-in volcano.
North of Castries, Rodney Bay is a tourist haven with restaurants, bars and Reduit Beach, which draws a lively crowd of watersports fans. A short drive to the north brings visitors to Pigeon Point National Park, location of 18th-century Fort Rodney. South of Castries lies Marigot Bay, a major yacht harbor and one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.
Nature lovers will want to visit the less developed—at least for now—east coast, which is battered by the wild Atlantic and serves as a habitat for a vast variety of plants and birds. Mamiku Gardens is a shady refuge filled with birds, orchids and medicinal herbs, and the Barre de L'Isle Forest Reserve offers a hiking trail with panoramic views
Accommodations range from deluxe beachfront resorts to villas, local hotels and inns. Many of the resorts are all-inclusive properties, providing meals and recreational activities. Many establishments offer discounted rates during the off-season, usually from July to November but keep in mind that this is also hurricane season.
DO'S & DON'TS
Don't pick the bananas or any other fruit off the trees. You may be stealing someone's crop—besides, bananas are not nearly as sweet (even if they're yellow) when they ripen on the tree. Always ask before picking.
Don't sunbathe in the nude. It is illegal in most places in St. Lucia.
Do book your flight at least six months in advance if you plan to visit during the two weeks before and after Christmas, and two months ahead if you are attending the St. Lucia Jazz Festival. Many St. Lucians living abroad go home for Christmas, making it difficult to get a flight then.
Do join locals at public festivals and events. Residents also enjoy talking with visitors at restaurants, bars and public places frequented by tourists, but walk briskly away from anyone asking for money or offering, unasked, to drive or lead you to any destination.
Don't assume that if you see surfers at a given beach it's safe to swim there. Many of St. Lucia's beaches have strong undertow currents which may not inhibit surfers farther out on the breakers, but can pull you out if you're not careful.
Do expect to be serenaded at night by crickets and frogs if you are staying in a forested location. Light sleepers should take earplugs.
Do take old clothes or a swimsuit that you don't prize if you plan to soak in the sulfur springs. The water will discolor whatever you wear.