GMT -4 hours
A romantic island of green mountains, tropical forests and adventure
St Lucia changed hands between the French and British fourteen times during the 18th and 19th Centuries and it isn’t hard to see why both nations coveted it so much. This paradise island boasts a true essence of romance as well as adventure with talcum-white beaches and crystal clear waters, dramatic landscapes, an unspoilt rainforest and even a drive-in volcano.
It takes about four hours to walk up the Gros Piton and back down again, so don’t try this if you’re not physically fit! The best time to go is early in the morning before the temperature starts to rise, and it gets colder the higher you climb. The views at the peak were beautiful - we could see Petit Piton directly ahead and the turquoise ocean, while surrounded by lush green mountains. I’ve never seen such a beautiful sunrise. . . it was as if it was rising up out of the ocean."
Emma Wilkinson, Kuoni's Late Trading Pricing & Yield Co-ordinator
Striking natural landscapes provide the perfect backdrop to your dream holiday in this Caribbean heaven. Fringed by largely unspoilt beaches, St Lucia, often touted as one of the world’s most romantic destinations, is scattered with sprawling banana, cocoa, coconut and mango plantations which are nestled in thousands of acres of pristine rainforest. The island has long been a popular destination for both weddings and honeymoons with a number of romantic hideaways dotting its golden shores.
The vibrant capital city of Castries, which was founded by the French and later used by the British as a naval port, sits by a deep sheltered harbour on the island’s west coast. The city is best viewed from the summit of Morne Fortune, or the ‘Hill of Good Luck’, once a key battle ground and the site of a fort built by both the French and British. At the heart of the city and its culture is the bustling Castries Central Market where the stalls creak under the weight of the island’s exotic produce.
Many of our featured resorts are idyllically situated on sweeping, palm-fringed bays that dot the west coast between Castries and the island’s northern tip. The northern-most town of Gros Islet is a lively destination featuring a number of bars, restaurants and nightclubs as well as hosting the energetic Friday Night Street Party, the longest running street party in St Lucia. The town’s main stretch of sand - the family friendly Reduit Beach - offers a great base from which to enjoy a variety of watersports including parasailing, snorkelling and diving.
The former 1,500 acre sugar plantation Cap Estate sits just to the north of the town and is now home to some of the island’s most sought after houses, an 18-hole golf course and one our favourite family resorts in St Lucia, the all inclusive Smugglers Cove Resort and Spa.
For history buffs the national monument of Pigeon Island National Park provides a hint of St Lucia’s incredibly rich past. The headland, connected to the mainland by a natural causeway boasting two beautiful beaches, was once home to the French buccaneer François Le Clerc, also known as ‘Peg Leg’. This pirate of the high seas used to prey on Spanish galleons as they sailed the Caribbean Sea laden with treasures from their South American empire. The island was later fortified by the British and today visitors can explore the remains of Fort Rodney while enjoying breath-taking views of beautiful coastlines and rolling hills.
The real jewels of this magical island are found on the south west shore towering over the town of Soufriere, St Lucia’s first capital. The Pitons, two striking vegetation clad volcanic plugs, rise dramatically from the coastline and the dense forest that surrounds them to form the island’s most recognisable landmarks. Petit Piton reaches 743 metres above sea level while its loftier sibling Gros Piton stands at 770 metres high. Soufriere itself is an enclave of Gaelic culture which survived over 150 years of British rule, with French style architecture, character and place names highlighting its long-faded importance as a French trading centre.
Although it may seem an island that only caters for couples seeking secluded shores there is a lot more to St Lucia than meets the eye. . . there is adventure and culture to be sought too. From yachting and windsurfing to forest canopy zipline challenges and 4WD buggy and cycling tours there is much to entertain those wishing to try something a bit little different on their St Lucia escape. Seek out the world renowned St Lucian cuisine, a delectable blend derived from the island’s various cultures, at a rambling plantation or beachside shack and enjoy hospitality the Caribbean way.
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