Narrowing the list of great reasons to visit St. Lucia down to seven is like putting out a bowl of potato chips and eating just one.
The place is sophisticated, lush and breathtakingly beautiful with a great variety of accommodations and a wealth of things to do. And the people are nice. Very nice.
There’s a plethora of reasons, so maybe culling this list is a fool’s errand. But a weeklong visit’s par for the course for many visitors, so seven’s a pretty good start. Think a delight-a-day.
Sunny morning and we’re climbing skyward on the Tet Paul Trail. We hug the side of one ridge and stare out. We can see for twenty miles. Further along, on a section called Stairway to Heaven, I stop in absolute awe. Both Pitons tower over us, the sea below is royal blue. Best view in the world. “Up ahead,” says our guide. “It gets really pretty.”
After a rainforest ride on an aerial tram, we do another hike in the north, our guide waxing enthusiastic as she points to the variety of flora found here.
When we pass a gigantic hill swathed in every shade of green, our driver, Vienney DeFreitas, points. “You can almost hike the whole island from there,” he says, “rainforest all the way.”
It’s Friday night at Gros Islet. Barbecues sizzle; a congregation of stalls sell cold drinks – Piton Beer, Chairman Reserve Rum – and the catch of the day. You can barely hear yourself talk, the music’s so loud during this weekly shindig, but you’re not here to talk. Already people are dancing in the square and I hear tell that when this party’s done, some of the bars up on the Rodney Bay strip might stay open all night.
In the afternoon, we watched them prepping for the big fish fry at Anse La Raye. Live entertainment and catch of the day. St. Lucians like their parties.
There’s great food, too, at these celebrations, though that’s hardly unique to either of these weekly fêtes.
We’ve spent a week dining like royalty, in places with views as good as the ones from Tet Paul.
Fish and chips at Orlando’s in Soufriere, local food at Fond Doux. Haute cuisine in haute ambiance: modern sophistication at sky-reaching Jade Mountain Club, perfect sunsets and sea views at Windsong restaurant at Calabash Cove (red snapper, grilled dorado), Dasheene restaurant at Ladera – natural wood and stone, snugged down between the Pitons with views so gorgeous I don’t even remember what I had.
Here’s a challenge: try for a bad meal in St. Lucia. Methinks you’ll fail.
Though St. Lucia’s volcanic origins don’t lend themselves to an abundance of great beaches, the ones we did discover are spectacular, boasting, among other allures, some great snorkeling.
You can snorkel right off the pier at Anse Chastanet – nice coral, a wealth of fish species. Then sun on their secluded brown sugar beach. Or do Sugar Beach for real: at the bottom of the slopes dominated by Ladera. Go north and baste on Reduit Beach, the most popular on the island, or stay at Windjammer Landing and play with their water toys after your surfeit of sun, sea, and sand.
Great Places to Stay
When it comes to choices, the breadth of accommodation on St. Lucia rivals the culinary options.
Stonefield Villas are snugged mountainside in the south, rustic but comfortable. Ladera, Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain offer over-the-top elegance and rooms open to nature; Anse Chastanet’s motto is: No walls, no doors, no windows, no glass. Windjammer Landing boasts family-friendly villas clinging to steep hills; Calabash Cove is romance personified. Modern and sophisticated, Marigot Bay Resort and Marina offers well-equipped suites with perfect views of the marina.
No shortage of great places to stay on St. Lucia – from family-friendly to romantic.
The romance never ends when you book a couples’ massage.
After my treatment at the Escape Spa at Stonefield Villa Resort all those muscles I pulled on my hike are happy as the St. Lucia parrot. At the sun-kissed spa at Windjammer Landing, our treatment includes the strategic application of local bamboo and hot stones.
To enter the spa at Marigot Bay Resort and Marina you cross a little water feature, at Fond Douce your massage awaits you at a secluded oasis hunkered down beside a sun-dappled glade.
But maybe your paradise dreams are more ambitious.
Snorkel; ride an ATV, a mountain bike, a horse. Climb a waterfall. Slather yourself with healing mud. Soak up history, go zip lining.
Trip Advisor lists nearly two hundred things to do here so you could fill up your week without even blinking.
Seven great reasons to visit St. Lucia?
Think, instead, a plethora.
For more great reasons to visit St. Lucia, visit: www.stlucia.org
Mark Stevens is an award-winning travel writer whose specialties include Canada, the Caribbean and boating. For more images by Sharon Matthews-Stevens, visit: [email protected]
Mark and Sharon Blog about their travels at: www.travelwrite click.com