By Jen Lewallen
The St. Lucia experience is unlike any other in the Caribbean. The luxurious spas and resorts alone make it one of the top destinations for honeymooners. But St. Lucia offers so much more than romance and relaxation. This island has earned its status as the “Hawaii of the Caribbean” due to its lush mountainous landscape and paralleled outdoor adventures. Unique culinary creations, breathtaking scenery, and lively culture guarantee a trip to St. Lucia is an adventure for the senses.
A Different Point of View
From waterfalls, to rainforests, to the mesmerizing mountains, St. Lucia’s awe-inspiring scenery captivates from every angle. But the best views aren’t found from your suite’s balcony.
The iconic Gros Piton and Petit Piton peaks rising from the sapphire waters of the Caribbean Sea can be seen for miles from the beaches and resorts surrounding the city of Soufrière. This World Heritage Site is an official symbol of the country, and there are many ways to get your dose of views; air, land, and sea are a few options. But the best way to see the Pitons has to be from the trails traveling up the mountains themselves. Not only will you revel in the flora and fauna that call the mountainsides home, but the vistas of the island from their peaks offer a one-of-a-kind sight.
The plush greenery of St. Lucia’s beautiful rainforest draws nature-lovers and adventure-seekers alike. For a thrilling look at this natural paradise, we recommend a fast-paced ride through the trees. Speed through the canopy by zip lining between platforms on some of the longest and swiftest cables in the Caribbean. Expert guides are there for assistance and to point out the species of plants and wildlife of the island.
Perhaps one of the most striking geographical traits of the island is its volcano. However, St. Lucia’s volcano has a special trait; it’s considered the only drive-in volcano in the world. A road running through the middle of this volcanic crater allows visitors the chance to get up close and personal with hot steam, mud, and water bubbling up through cracks in the crust. This unique experience is a must-see for every traveler!
Related: 8 Wondrous Things to Do in St. Lucia
Food for Thought
St. Lucia’s warm tropical climate permits aromatic spices, rare fruits, and even cocoa beans to thrive here. Combine this with fresh seafood from the surrounding seas and you have the perfect recipe for culinary creations that push the boundaries of your taste buds.
You’ll seldom find a person to admit they dislike chocolate. This sweet treat was once known as the Food of the Gods, and it all starts with a bean. Cocoa is one of St. Lucia’s key exports, and they are very enthusiastic about sharing its history, cultivating process, and decadence with you. Ever been curious about how they turn those brown gems into the quintessential bars we love today? Find out with a tree-to-bar lesson from Hotel Chocolat. You’ll learn all about the anatomy of the pods, how they harvest them, grind down the beans, and make a candy bar of your very own! The experience is completed with a lunch at Boucan, whose tantalizing menu features the cocoa plant in every one of its dishes.
A trip to the Caribbean is never complete without sampling some fresh seafood and the locals always know how to make it just right. Anse La Raye, a once small Gros Islet fishing village turned into a bustling cultural town, has perfected the Friday Night Fish Fry. What began about 20 years ago as a means to entice tourists into town, is now a favored tradition for vendors, locals, and travelers. Stalls offering the catch-of the day fried, grilled, and baked prepared with local ingredients line the streets, and the tantalizing smells are accompanied by calypso music, creating a feast of the senses for hungry patrons. And trust us, you’ll want to go hungry and sample all the delicacies, such as Accras, or “fish cakes,” and whole King Lobsters, available at a fraction of restaurant costs and, frankly, fresher. Be sure to wash it all down with locally distilled rum or a cold Pitons Beer.
Nothing reveals more about a culture than a visit to its markets, and the one in Castries, the island’s capital, has everything you need to experience the flavors of St. Lucia. Nibble on homegrown exotic fruits and vegetables while browsing for unique spice blends and bottled sauce concoctions to bring the tastes of your travels home. Open every day of the week except Sundays, the market is busiest on Friday and Saturday mornings, which many understandably may wish to avoid, but there are also more vendors on those days, so plan your visit accordingly.
St. Lucia’s tropical climate assures warm beautiful weather all year round. However, contradicting touches of hot and cold can be found here. The best option for experiencing this phenomenon is with a tour of the beautiful waterfalls that also includes a stop at Sulphur Springs. Cool down in the pools beneath the many waterfalls that dot the island, and let the cascading water massage the tension from your shoulders. If that didn’t do the trick, rejuvenate at Sulphur Springs. Thanks to the Soufriere Volcano, pools of hot mineral water create the perfect natural soaking tub. You’ll also want to lather up in a warm mud bath, whose thick grey silt is believed to contain medical benefits and healing properties.
A Hint of Sweet and Spicy
Surround yourself in the sweet scents of St. Lucia’s many botanical gardens. While stopping to enjoy the majesty of Diamond Falls, be sure to take a walk through the surrounding 2000-acre grounds, home to the oldest botanical garden on the island. The signature scent of Plumeria, a fragrant flower that also flourishes in Hawaii and commonly used for leis, attracts not only visitors but different species of hummingbirds and butterflies at Mamiku Gardens. Three areas of different themes showcase the various species found on St. Lucia, including a medicinal garden with guides to the plants and their uses.
Jump Up and Get Down
St. Lucia’s colorful culture shines through in its energetic music scene. Afro-Caribbean inspired Calypso and pulsating Soca music appear to be the front-running styles, but notes of Reggae and R&B can also grace the air. For the best showcase of these eclectic melodies visit during the annual Lucian Carnival. The islands top and aspiring artists come together to share their songs and compete for various prizes. Dancers wear bright costumes, and hopefully you’ll pick up some of their impressive moves. If you won’t make it to Carnival, then head over to Gros Islet for their weekly Jump-Up Street Party. Every Friday night, live bands and DJs entertain the crowds, creating the perfect opportunity to mingle and groove with locals.
From sights and sounds to scents and savory tastes, a vacation in St. Lucia will awaken the senses. While romantic luxury resorts and picturesque beaches are definitely the main draw, step out to experience everything this fascinating island has to offer. Contact your local travel agent today to start planning your sensational St. Lucia escape now.