Things to Do in St Lucia
Perched along St Lucia’s southwest coast and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the dramatic twin peaks of Gros Piton and Petit Piton are among the Caribbean island’s most memorable landmarks. Towering 2,619 feet (798 meters) above sea level, the Gros Piton, the larger of the two, is also a popular challenge for avid hikers.
The 44-acre (18-hectare) Pigeon Island is a nature reserve on St. Lucia's northern tip, where travelers can trace the island's colonial past, and sunbathe and swim on its beaches. Not only one of the most beautiful spots in St. Lucia, the park is also one of the most historic sites in the Caribbean, holding both national landmark and national park status.
American novelist James A. Michener called Marigot Bay “the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean” for its dream-like appeal. The bay is a postcard-worthy stretch that offers small white sand beaches, swaying palms, turquoise waters, and verdant green hillsides—exactly the kind of tropical paradise that the writer described.
Billed as “the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano,” Sulphur Springs Park is one of the most active geothermal sites in the Lesser Antilles. Guided tours through the caldera of the dormant Soufriere Volcano take about 30 minutes and allow visitors to explore the stark, lunar landscape pockmarked by steam vents and pools of boiling mud and water, where the air is tinged by the acrid scent of sulphur from the venting fumaroles. Downstream from the boiling pools, a pair of bathing pools has water that has cooled to a comfortable 38.7 degrees C (101.6 F). The Black Water Pool—famed for its reputed health properties—is so rich with dissolved minerals that the waters are tinged black, while the Pool of Love has clear, warm water where visitors can soak in the natural hot tub surrounded by rainforest.
The dormant La Soufrière volcano (also known as the Qualibou caldera), is described as “the world’s only drive-in volcano.” It’s home to Sulphur Springs Park, the most active geothermal area in the Lesser Antilles, where tourists and locals alike who come to bathe in nature hot springs and enjoy the health benefits of the mineral-rich volcanic mud.
One of St. Lucia’s most popular natural attractions, Toraille Waterfall drops about 50 feet (15 meters) from a cliff before falling into a pool that’s perfect for a refreshing swim. The falls, near the town of Soufriere, sit at the end of a nature trail and amid a tranquil tropical garden.
Deep in a sheltered gorge at the foot of the Pitons, the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens is part of the Soufriere Estate, one of the oldest and best-preserved estates on St. Lucia. The gardens sit at the edge of Sulphur Springs Park, and the rich volcanic soil nourishes an incredible collection of tropical plants and flowers.
The site of a colonial-era sugar mill dating back to 1723, the Marquis Estate continued as a working plantation on the island for centuries, growing crops like sugar cane, coconuts and bananas. And now this historic estate is poised to become the home of St Lucia’s newest five-star luxury resort. The 500-acre grounds will continue to overflow with mangoes, star fruit, orchids, jasmine and myriad other fragrant tropical flowers, while the hotel itself—part of the Harlequin Hotel and Resort Group—will feature a Gary Player Signature Golf Course, a world class spa and a marina to welcome cruising yachts.
Development is still underway—when finished, the property will boast accommodations to fit the travel style of the most discerning travelers, with marina apartments for yachters, links-adjacent condos for golf connoisseurs and ornate villas ranging from one to four bedrooms for groups of all sizes.
The name Morne Fortune translates to Hill of Good Luck in French, which must’ve been a sarcastic twist as this was the site of brutal battles between French and British forces. Today, you’ll find a French-built powder magazine and trio of guard cells are the oldest remaining structures. The Morne Battery still features the emplacement of four cannons (though not the cannons themselves) as well as a cemetery containing the graves of French and British soldier, a handful of civilians, and some of St. Lucia’s 19th-century governers. The 852-foot hill also offers a good view of nearby Castries Harbour.
This historic 18th-century Morne Coubaril Estate still features the original, now restored, plantation house along with a reproduction farm worker’s village that depicts the plantation’s centuries-long history of cotton, sugarcane, cocoa and coffee production. Crops like coconuts and manioc still grow on the estate in the traditional ways, and guided tours include demonstrations for husking coconuts, along with tastings of ripe cocoa and fresh-pressed cane juice. The on-site restaurant serves a creole lunch buffet of St. Lucian specialties. Adventurous travelers can get their adrenaline fix on the Soufriere Hotwire, an hour-long zip-line excursion through the rainforests at the foot of picturesque Petit Piton. Eigh ziplines whisk you at speeds up to 30 mph through giant banyan trees, and offer panoramic views of the bay and the town of Soufriere.
More Things to Do in St Lucia
Best known for its vast marina, Rodney Bay is a long, curved stretch along St. Lucia’s northwestern coast, above Castries. The second largest yachting center in the Caribbean, the marina sits in a man-made lagoon that is surrounded by a modern complex of restaurants, bars, and shops, with Reduit Beach just outside.
Located on a sheltered cove with a view of the island’s emblematic Pitons peaks, Anse Chastanet is one of the most beautiful beaches on St. Lucia. A reef just offshore teems with life, making it a great place to scuba dive or capture underwater photographs of mixed coral and large schools of tropical fish.
The inviting stretch of sugar-soft sand along Rodney Bay is one of the largest and most popular beaches in St Lucia. Visitors looking for sunbathing, swimming and watersports can spend a day here and enjoy the convenience and amenities of the nearby town, including changing rooms and parking.
Reduit Beach’s golden shores offer commanding views across the bay to the verdant peaks of Pigeon Island National Park. Visit the watersports center at the Royal by Rex Resort to rent lounge chairs and snorkel equipment, or sign up for windsurfing and waterskiing lessons in the protected bay. The beachfront restaurant Spinnakers is the perfect spot to grab cocktails and a grilled fish lunch. And don’t think you have to go home when the sun goes down. Reduit Beach’s lively shore is equally popular at night. The west-facing beach boasts one of St. Lucia’s best sunset views, and the bars and nightclubs of Rodney Bay Village offer music and dancing until the early morning hours.
St. Lucia’s pint-sized capital is a bustling port town with a famous market street. While fires and hurricanes have periodically devastated the city, you can still find traces of the colonial era, when the island bounced between French and British control. Stop here to pick up souvenirs, try local food, and enjoy the nightlife.
Many visitors to Saint Lucia see nothing more than the coast, and only the Caribbean coast at that. But the rugged hinterland can offer more than just an exotic green background in your beach holiday snaps. Stretches of untouched rainforest are the green heart of St. Lucia, teeming with vegetation and local species such as the colorful St. Lucia Parrot.
Much of the mountainous, largely unpopulated interior comes under the auspices of the Forestry Department, who control the various trails. Popular routes include the Edmund Forest Reserve, from which you emerge in the shadow of Mount Gimie, the island’s tallest peak, and the more demanding Des Cartiers trail, which takes you right off the beaten track in the island’s east.
If your children have trouble choosing between the playground or splashing around in the pool, Splash Island Water Park off Reduit Beach is a combination of both. Instead of an oversized swimming pool, however, the water park actually floats in the ocean right next to a pristine reef. Swing on the monkey bars, scale the climbing wall, or jump on the trampoline—all while splashing and cooling off in the cobalt Caribbean Sea. As the first floating, open ocean waterpark found anywhere in the Caribbean, Splash Island Waterpark is redefining the concept of fun on the water. Children will love playing water volleyball or taking multiple runs on the slide, and adults will love the sweeping views looking back towards St. Lucia’s Mountains. Onshore, Rodney Bay Village is just a short stroll away full of dining, shopping, and nightlife, and whether you’re just looking for a one-hour dip or a full day of splashing in the sun, the Splash Island Water Park is a big Caribbean, inflatable, non-stop adventure.
On the northern tip of St. Lucia’s windward shore, Cas en Bas Beach is one of the best kitesurfing spots on the island, with regular tradewinds blowing onshore and a protected cove where the water stays calm and glassy. Kitesurfing St. Lucia offers lessons for all levels right off the beach. This somewhat secluded spot is the ideal destination for travelers who prefer a quiet place to swim and sunbathe away from the crowds and persistent vendors on the beaches closer to town—it’s also home to unique artifact, a spent rocket booster that washed ashore here after it was jettisoned by a spacecraft in flight. Join one of the horseback riding tours through the forests of the northern coast, and you’ll stop to relax and swim at Cas en Bas Beach before turning back on the trail. And hungry beachgoers can find food and drinks at Marjorie's Restaurant and Beach Bar, a casual, open-air eatery offering local favorites like fresh seafood and BBQ right on the sand.
Vieux Fort, as its name implies, was settled as a French fort, an installation which dates to the 17th century and can still be visited today. The town later came to prominence as the center of the agriculture industry and it remains a busy commercial center to this day.
The surrounding area is of more interest than the town itself. Start your explorations with stunning views at Saint Lucia’s southernmost point, where a lighthouse looks south towards Saint Vincent.
And on the Atlantic coast you’ll find the long Anse des Sables beach. Be prepared for bigger waves, stronger winds and fewer facilities than you’d experience in west coast resorts, but also far fewer people. The beach faces the Maria Islands, and there’s a meeting point at the southern end of the beach for expeditions to this protected off-shore habitat.
Experience natural beauty from above aboard the open-air St. Lucia Aerial Tram. Soaring as high as 120 feet (37 meters) over the rain forest canopy, you’ll thrill to a bird’s-eye view of the lush, tropical jungle. A naturalist entertains and informs while identifying the island’s flora and fauna on this family-friendly ecoadventure.
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