St Lucia, the lush mountainous island renowned for two mountainous spires called the Pitons, may not possess an abundance of white sand beaches like the Bahamas, or benefit from the dry climate of Aruba. But what the island lacks in some areas, it undoubtedly makes up for in others, and the understated alluring charm of the island has made it the hidden gem of the Caribbean.
Natural Beauty Everywhere You Look
The Pitons, with UNESCO World Heritage Status, are one of Saint Lucia’s most arresting sights. Said to be the most photographed site in the Caribbean and most famous mountain pair on earth, the Pitons are a must-see for anyone who visits the island. Located just south of the town of Soufriere on the west coast, Gros Piton (771 m / 2,619 ft) and Petit Piton (743 m / 2,461 ft) rise like spires from the sea. On a clear day, the islands of Martinique, Dominica, Barbados, and St. Vincent are visible from the top of either peak. The jewels of this island beckon locals and tourists alike to journey to the top of the mounts.
Hiking to the top of Gros Piton is one of Saint Lucia’s most popular tours. Anyone with reasonably good physical fitness can handle the climb. The trail begins in the quaint countryside village of Fond Gen Libres; proud and friendly young persons from the village serve as guides. Petit Piton is a much more arduous ascent that should only be attempted by very fit and experienced climbers.
St Lucia Is Home to Spectacular Luxury Hotels
The Pitons, with UNESCO World Heritage Status, are one of Saint Lucia’s most arresting sights. Boasting dramatic views of the Pitons and the Caribbean Sea throughout, the spectacular boutique Boucan by Hotel Chocolat is the perfect location to admire this natural wonder. With plenty of vantage points ranging from the black quartz infinity pool to the Boucan’s signature restaurant specialising in exclusive cacao cuisine, there are plenty of opportunities to admire the Pitons each day. Moreover, the Boucan’s location on a 140-acre estate and active cocoa plantation means that once in a lifetime experiences to create your own chocolate, indulge in cocoa spa treatments, and explore the lush landscape are also available to guests of the hotel. Such one of a kind experiences set this fabulous hotel apart and truly elevate each stay.
Elsewhere, on the western coast of St Lucia lies Marigot Bay just 4 miles away from the island’s bustling capital Castries. Described by American novelist James Michener as “the most beautiful Bay in the Caribbean”, Marigot Bay’s beauty has the power to captivate and mesmerise. The turquoise waters speckled with immaculate yachts, and the strip of white sand lined with emerald palm trees has made it a dream destination for lovers of luxury. Here, the Marigot Bay Resort by Capella provides extensive luxury facilities, with an on-site spa, a variety of dining options and the Rum Cave for an authentic rum tasting experience with regional rums and cigars.
You Can Immerse Yourself In The Local Culture
On a holiday to St Lucia, you will also be able to immerse yourself in the local culture. From May to October, the island comes alive with four incredible events including the ever popular annual carnival. In May, St Lucia hosts an international jazz music festival, with events in all parts of the country. In June and July allow the lively rhythms, bejewelled costumes, and the steel drums to enchant you as you dance the night away under the warm Caribbean sun. Whilst the Roots & Soul Festival and Arts and Heritage festival later in the year provides the opportunity to experience the new and the old as you become fully immersed in the history and traditions of St Lucia.
Heavily influenced by West African, British, French and East Indian cuisines, the flavourful gastronomy of St Lucia is a treat you won’t want to miss out on. From the fresh seafood to the delicious fruit and vegetables, it’s a fact that the menu in St Lucia is bursting with colour and vitality. Saltfish is Saint Lucia’s national dish and is usually accompanied by unripened green bananas (green figs). Salt fish often consists of kippered herring or dried and salted cod that has been cured with dry salt, soaked overnight, and preserved. Another popular dish in St Lucia is Lambi. This is the type of dish that you will commonly find at street parties and family gatherings. The main ingredient is a large selfish called conch. The accompanying sides to these beautiful dishes are delicious too! From fresh avocado to fried plantain, and breadfruit, if you love food, you will be in your element in St Lucia.
St Lucia Is Home To Beautiful Beaches
St Lucia is home to palm-fringed bays, hidden beach coves and powdery soft sands. There may not be as many white sands beaches in St Lucia, as there are on other Caribbean islands. But as the old adage goes, quality is better than quantity! Out of all the St Lucia beaches, Anse des Pitons has the best location. It’s directly in between the iconic Gros and Petit Piton peaks. It’s also known as sugar beach thanks to its pristine white sand, imported from Guyana. Surrounded by St Lucia’s mountainous eastern coast, and far removed from the island’s development and tourist spots is Grande Anse beach. This beach is perfect for slow romantic strolls on an evening during a luxury honeymoon. Visitors also visit Grande Anse to watch the turtles. Endangered leatherbacks, the largest of sea turtles, crawl out of the water and lay their eggs on the shores of Grande Anse. For water sports and water activities, we highly recommend Reduit beach. Reduit beach is Rodney Bay’s one-mile-long masterpiece made up of perfect golden sands and clear waters. There’s also an excellent range of things to do, from swimming and the inflatable water park Splash Island for families to scuba diving, snorkelling and sailing.
Bursting with culture, natural beauty and five-star resorts, St Lucia is undoubtedly one of the hidden gems in the Caribbean.