Hike the Pitons
The Pitons are to St Lucia what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. They are the most photographed landmark on the island and for good reason; rising straight out of the sea, these ancient forest-clad plugs offer a majestic backdrop across the western coast of the island. Gros Piton stands a lofty 2,619 feet above sea level, and coupled with Petit Piton, you are presented with some really stunning views of the island once you reach the top.
Zip Lining Through the Rainforest
Gliding above the dense rainforest at high-speed is not for the faint-hearted. After walking through a pathway filled with exotic trees and plants, you’ll get strapped into a safety gear and harness, followed by a brief introduction on how to work the ropes.
The course consists of 12 different zip lines of various lengths and heights across the rainforest. The views are spectacular and worth any trepidation you might have with heights. The guys working at Treetop Adventure Park are filled to the brim with energy, which you’ll feel grateful for when you’re battling to finish the final zip lines and need some final words of encouragement!
Visit Sulphur Springs and Mud Baths
Dubbed the world’s only drive in volcano, these boiling hot pools of sulphur provide an insight into the island’s volcanic beginnings some 300,000 years ago. Before you arrive, you’ll most definitely smell it first, if you’ve been to Iceland you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Nearby you can treat your skin to some extra minerals by jumping in a mud bath so keep your swimwear at arm’s length!
Nearby the Sulphur Springs lies the beautiful Botanical Gardens, home to a myriad of exotic plants and flowers. As you walk to the end of the nature trail you are greeted with the piece de resistance: the Diamond Waterfall.
Tip: This garden is located nearby the Sulphur Springs so visit these places together.
Eat, Eat, Eat, Drink, Drink, Drink
Exploring a new place through its food is always a winning formula. National specialties include plantains, green figs, and salt fish. St Lucia is all about seafood, being on the ocean’s doorstep, it’s guaranteed to be nothing less than fresh, with most travellers enjoying local fish, mahi mahi, and snapper. If you really want to indulge in seafood and soak up the local atmosphere and culture, do Fish Friday at Anse La Raye.
For something sweet try the chocolate produced on the island. Chocoholics might be keen to know there’s a tour called The Tree to Bar Experience where you learn how the farmers of St Lucia are being helped to return to cocoa bean production. Then you can work hard to make your own chocolate bar going through the history of chocolate makers, and eat what you make at the end!
If you’re a fan of rum you won’t be disappointed, visit the island’s only rum distillery and discover how the Caribbean’s favourite tipple is created.
Visit the stunning beaches
For location you can’t beat Anse des Pitons also known as Sugar Beach which is actually the name of the hotel which resides over it. This astonishingly beautiful beach occupies a dramatic location in the cleavage of the Pitons. Though if its fine, white sand looks out of place, you’re right in thinking so – it has been imported from Guyana, previously it used to be a black beach.
With its gorgeous islet and natural harbour, it’s no surprise why Marigot Bay has become a hot spot for swanky apartments and yachts. It also provided the setting for the 1967 film Dr Dolittle, and toasting its success you’ll find a restaurant that goes by the same name. Arrive here just before the sunset and watch the whole landscape turn shades of gold – do this with a cocktail in hand!
A Boat Trip to Lover’s Rock
Fans of Pirates of the Caribbean might recognise this natural arch from the film. It’s a beautiful example of Mother Nature working her magic. As the name suggests, this boat trip is perfect for couples as together you can sit back and listen to the waves break across the front of the boat and let the sound of ocean soothe your ears. Rather amusingly, I was the only single person on this boat trip so I managed to stick out like a sore and very lonesome thumb!
St Lucia is arguably even more beautiful under the sea, with a huge variety of marine life for you to explore, including coral reefs, turtles and innumerable tropical fish. The water is very clear, with visibility varying from 20ft to over 200ft, so for this reason, pack an underwater camera or Go Pro if you have one.
Visit Castries & the Market
The lively and colourful capital, Castries, deserves a visit so you can experience what the market has to offer. A hive of activity, it will probably be one of the most touristy places you visit due to the high volume of souvenirs you can buy. But don’t be put off, as this is the place to go if you want to experience local people and food, including a staggering array of fruits and spices.
Talk to the Locals!
When you’re in a place that is popular for its resorts, it can be easy to miss the locals, that’s why it’s ever more important to get out of your resort. Talking to the locals enables you capture the spirit of the island and taste the real St Lucia.
If you really want to delve into another subculture you could climb Mount Gimie, the tallest mountain in St Lucia where a few Rastafarians reportedly live at the top, it’s said they are vegetarians and lead a very self-sufficient lifestyle. It seems plausible.
Go to a Street Party
If there’s one thing St Lucian’s can do, it’s dance and it appears to come as naturally to them as breathing and sleeping. Their innate rhythm is something to be seen, and there’s no better arena than heading to a street party! On a Friday night you’ll be able to head to a few, with the most popular being at Gros Islet.
Can you add to this list of things to do in St Lucia?
During my winter escape to sunny St. Lucia I was a guest of Thomas Cook Airlines. Getting an insight into life in the Caribbean was a new experience for me and I’m hoping it won’t be my last!