Sights of St Lucia
The first thing you notice about Saint Lucia is its magnificent, rugged green landscape. It’s an emerald jewel jutting into the sky, surrounded by deep, sapphire-blue seas. Two of these emerald jewels at the southern end of the island are the Pitons: Gros Piton and Petit Piton – two volcanic plugs. These steep, twin verdant peaks are synonymous with St. Lucia’s identity where even the local beer has taken their name. They form part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and are the first thing you see as you approach from the south. To take a mooring buoy between these two majestic peaks is an awe inspiring experience. To climb one is simply breath-taking; in all sense of the words. The entrance to the park is set among idyllic grounds in an old community of escaped slaves from a bygone era called Fond Gens Libre, whose name translates to ‘Valley of the Free’. It is here, in these lush tropical surrounds, that you will find the entrance office where a fee is paid and a guide allocated.
Once you have exerted yourself climbing, take your boat north around Petit Piton to Soufriere and pick up another mooring buoy. Within 15-20 minutes walking distance of the town you will find the serene Diamond Falls and Mineral Baths. The lush, tropical, well maintained gardens are full of ginger lilies, heliconia and bird of paradise. Hummingbirds dart about in abundance. At the back of the gardens are the therapeutic mineral baths dating back to 1784 where you can take a dip, and the small attractive Diamond falls. Later, when you return to your boat, you can relax in the cool Caribbean Sea snorkeling in the crystal clear water.
Moving up the coast there are several places to pick up mooring buoys; all are worth a visit but beware of a northerly swell. Anse La Raye has become famous for its ‘fish fry up’ on a Friday night where locals set up stalls on the front street selling their seafood dishes.
Two thirds of the way up the island, you would be forgiven if you missed the entrance to Marigot Bay hidden away by land either side. It is a pretty spot with a small spit of sand with palm trees at its centre adding to its charm. The Marina at Marigot Bay, with mega yacht berths, the marina village and the luxury boutique hotel give the place an elitist appearance, which is not far from the truth with the small area left for anchoring and the price of moorings. But it is a beautiful spot not to be missed and some restaurants will waive your mooring fee or let you stay on their dock if you eat at their restaurant.
Castries is the capital of St. Lucia and a busy port with cruise ships visiting regularly. It is the commercial heart of the country. Visit here to check out the town that was twice almost destroyed by fire, and a diverse mix of shops and roadside vendors.
Finally we reach Rodney Bay at the northern end of St. Lucia; the hub of all sailing activity and home to Rodney Bay Marina and village. It is a popular spot especially in the winter months with the arrival of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) – the largest transatlantic event, and peak tourist season. The area is self-contained with many bars, restaurants and shops. The Bay is full of hotels lining the beaches with all sorts of water sports available. At the north end of the bay is Pigeon Island, an old military fort reached by a causeway. Today you can climb both small hills or walk around the grounds in the shade of the flamboyant trees. Every Friday in the small village of Gros Islet is ‘Jump Up’ night. The main street is closed and food stalls line the road. Bands or a DJ pump out music until the small hours. If you fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle then take a walk across the island to the east coast and the windward beach of Cas en Bas. Or, if you are feeling more adventurous, take a trip to Chassin and try your hand at swinging through the jungle. An aerial tram will take you over the top of magnificent rainforest canopy past gommier trees 180ft tall. After a short walk, you reach the first of the zip line platforms where a guide helps you zip through the jungle while suspended on a wire. It’s an interesting and unique way to visit the rainforest with some magnificent views of Martinique afforded from the tram on the way down.
Saint Lucia has something for everyone from relaxing sandy beaches to a beautiful interior waiting to be explored. Make sure you don’t miss out on all it has to offer.
Rosie and her husband Sim Hoggarth, both from the UK, have cruised the Caribbean and North America for the last seven years on Alianna their Corbin39.