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Captivating St. Lucia

If ever an island was a crown, the only country in the world named after a woman rises as a stunning centre jewel of the Caribbean. With amazing beaches, fantastic culture, and incredible experiences for every kind of traveller to explore, St. Lucia is a true gem.

The island’s first European settlers were the French, who created a treaty with the indigenous people of the island in 1660. The British and French were at war for rule of the island 14 times over more than a century. Because it had been under both British and French rule so many different times, the island was sometimes known as the ‘Helen of the West Indies,’ a reference to Helen of Troy and her ability to induce a fierce battle over her beauty.

Named for St. Lucy of Syracuse, legend says that sailors were shipwrecked on the island on the feast Day of St. Lucy—December 13—and therefore honoured her by naming the island Saint Lucia.

What to See, Taste, and Do

The island offers a plethora of amazing experiences, and every visitor will find something unforgettable to see and do. Snorkellers and scuba divers will enjoy many stunning places to explore the world under the sea. Many wrecks make scuba dives exciting for both beginners and experienced divers and eagle rays, sea turtles, eels, and fish create an amazing underwater universe.

Other water sports are an obvious choice for an enjoyable day on the water. Boat tours of the island are particularly popular as many beautiful sights can be appreciated from above water, and these tours allow guests to delight in the beaches and snorkelling as well.

If being outdoors but on land is more your style, the island offers many beautiful hiking opportunities. Beginners and more adventurous hikers have lots to discover, and St. Lucia’s rainforests and waterfalls never disappoint. The Diamond Waterfall at the St. Lucia botanical gardens is of particular interest to those wanting a taste of nature.

Creole culture permeates the island, so tasting the many flavours of St. Lucia is an amazing way to eat and feel like a local. Amazing fish dishes and curries are popular local meals, as well as the ‘hot bake,’ a savoury bit of dough similar to a fried doughnut. And one can’t experience true St. Lucia cuisine without tasting some amazing chocolate—the cocoa trade on the island dates back to the 1700s!

St. Lucia is much more mountainous than some other Caribbean islands, thanks to the now dormant volcano that created the island. Even though the volcano isn’t active, few islands in the world give you the opportunity to actually drive into a volcanic crater! The sulphur springs there create warm pools of mud; visitors can bathe in this for a very natural detoxification process.

These mud baths are said to heal, relieve arthritis and sore joints, and more. A dip in the baths is messy, fun, and something you won’t soon forget!

The Pitons

Speaking of volcanoes—the island’s most-recognised landmark—the Pitons, tower above the sea between the towns of Soufriere and Choiseul on St. Lucia’s western shore. Translated from French as ‘little pegs,’ these volcanic spires and the mountainous ridge that connects them are a World Heritage Site.

The calm waters between the mountains, welcome snorkellers from around the world and are a top tourist destination on the island. The Pitons are so famous that even the island’s own lager beer is named Piton.

Plan Your Visit

St. Lucia has two airports, and getting there from the mainland US, Canada or UK is relatively easy. The island also receives regional flights daily. Once on the island, there are accommodations to fit every style. From all-inclusive luxury resorts to small boutique hotels and private villas, the stunning views of the ocean mean anywhere you stay on island will be fabulous.

From shopping in the markets of Castries to seeing history unfold at the Fort Rodney military ruins on Pigeon Island, St. Lucia is full of all kinds of amazing things.

Whether stopping by St. Lucia on a cruise or spending a week or more on her beautiful shores, the island is sure to become one of your favourites.

Sara Sherman
Sara Sherman is a former St. Thomas resident and the editor of Virgin Islands Property & Yacht.
Sara Sherman

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