Surrounded by the tumultuous yet tranquil Atlantic Ocean the island of Saint Lucia is located in the Eastern Caribbean Sea and offers a spectacular site. The entire island stands on volcanic rocks but miraculously the sands on the beach are golden which only adds to give a luxurious effect. The hills of this small island are covered with tropical forest whose canopy extends to the sky and provides shelter to a plethora of animals. Saint Lucia has several fun outdoor activities up her sleeves, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, sunbathing, trekking, and many more which are bound to entertain the tourists.
The Pitons: Where the Mountain Meets the Sea
The soaring peaks of the Pitons and the azure sea is the landmark of Saint Lucia. UNESCO declared the space to be a world Heritage site in 2004. Rising from the sea, the two massive structures of Gros Piton and Petit Priton are 789 meters and 750 meters high respectively. It exhibits various volcanic features such as explosion craters, lava flows, hot springs and volcanic domes. Hiking expeditions are conducted regularly with the help of official tour guide as the climb is steep and tricky.
The underwater cliffs provide much relief to the drivers and the coral reef which covers sixty percent of the marine site and gives a spectacular view.
The entire area is covered with tropical dense forest which consist varieties of flora and fauna. There are more than twenty seven species of birds, eight types of reptiles, three varieties of amphibians and many more.
The Mystic Bay
Fans of Doctor Doolittle would be much familiar with Marigot Bay which is situated in the western coast of Saint Lucia. The popularity of the bay does not restrict itself to the classic film, as it has historical significance. This was the battlefield of British and French navies; the British supposedly hid behind the massive palm fronds to escape the enemy. The shore is flanked with luxurious resorts, boutiques and restaurants.
The beauty of the waves clashing on the beach can be seen from Marigot Village, located at the top of the hill. There are prospects of renting a Kayak, visiting the mangroves and even sunbathing on the beach.
Snorkling Has a New Destination
Anse Chastanet is one of the most spectacular beaches of Saint Lucia, even though the entire island is built of volcanic rocks the sand is the color of gold. The Anse Chastanet Marine National Park provides the best place for snorkeling and diving. The famous coral reef is also located at its offshore, at a descend of two to eight meters, the tourists can have a glimpse of different types sponges, brain corals, soft corals and boulder corals. Along with that, the area has plenty of fishes such as parrot fish, goatfish, trumpet fish, needle fish, sergeant majors and a lot more.
The plateau drops 46 meters at the edge, and here lies lace coral ecosystem with more variety of eels, crabs and lobsters. Guided tour to waterfalls, trekking trails and volcanic mud baths are provided. Moreover, underwater excursions are also provided at the cost of a small fee which can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike.
Pigeon Island: a Historical Landmark
More than the panoramic view of the entire island and the turquoise sea, the island attracts tourists for its historical ruins. This was strategically used by the British during their war against the French. The ruins of military hideouts and building are a passageway to history. The forty four acre space is also a natural reserve and has the status of a national park. The visitors can also try various outdoor activities such as snorkeling, sun bathing, scuba diving, sailing and trekking while touring this island.
Take a Trip to Another Bay
Rodney Bay is the northwestern coast of Saint Lucia and is denoted by its arch. Ultra- modern structures such as shops, restaurants, hotels, the island’s single casino, bars etc. are scattered around the man- made lagoon. Being the second largest yacht center of the Caribbean region, the place attracts lots of visitors throughout the year. Like most of other bays of Saint Lucia, Rodney Bay offers a plethora of activities, kite- surfing or windsurfing being the most popular of all. Besides this, tourists can enjoy the calmness of the beach while sipping some exotic drink.
Take a Drive Through the Volcano
Once a mining site, Mount Soufriere is known for its sulphur lakes and hot springs. The volcano last erupted thousands of years ago and since then the pit continued to emit sulphur in the air. The park is around forty five hectors long and occupies one third of the island. The main area of the crater has hot springs, whose temperature reaches up to 300 °F.
Surrounding the main spring with bubbling hot water are smaller hot springs and mud pools which are at favorable temperature and have health benefits due to its mineral content. Except the tour of the hot spring, guided tours are provided to see the stream vents. This is a geoheritage site for its remarkable features.
Diamond Studded Waterfall
The name is indication enough to the nature of the Diamond falls. Due to the mingling of ever present volcanic minerals and rainwater the fall keeps changing its color throughout the year. Situated in the south- western region of the island, in the town of Soufière, it attracts tourists and locals alike.
The area has picture perfect trimmed garden of hibiscus, heliconias and orchids which surrounds humungous trees like coconut, mahogany, redwood etc. The tour even includes a visit to the spring bath which was originally built for King Louis the XVI of France.
Hike at Tet Paul Nature Trail
The Tet Paul Nature Trail is located in the southern part of the island. It offers a much awaited respite from several beaches and bays present in the island. This place is prefect for hiking; even guided tours are conducted for a better experience. The quaint trail gives a spectacular view of the island, and is best place to snap as many photos as possible.
Visitors can come to a close proximity to the area’s native flora and fauna while hiking. The famous “stairway to heaven” gives a panoramic view of the picturesque island.
Collect Exotic Items at Castries Market
This flamboyant market place is located in the easternmost part of the harbor. Constructed in the year 1891, this is Saint Lucia’s largest open market. All sorts of handicraft items, hand- woven beachwear, collectables and souvenirs are sold in this market which resides in the capital. The list does not end here, various sorts of spices are displayed in well decorated shops and the sweet fragrances of those spices are ever present in the air that surrounds the market.
Visit a Rain Forest
Gear up with suitable hiking boots to trek in Edmund Rain Forest Reserve. One of the most popular sight- seeing areas, this provides the visitors with an opportunity to interact with nature without any interruptions. Lust green trees cover every inch of the land and the well- marked trails lead its way directly to the waterfall. The entire trekking period is of two hours and thirty minutes, during which, the visitors can have a glimpse of native birds such as St. Lucia parrot, St. Lucia wren, Lucia oriole and Semper's warbler.
The Mount of Good Luck
Rising at a height of 852 meters at the southern point of Castries Harbour, Morne Fortune offers a picturesque view of the sea beyond. Due to its location, in the 18th century this was a battle ground of the British and the French. The area is littered with old ruins of the building and monuments with immense historical relevance. Even though the meaning of the Morne fortune is “Hill of good luck” in reality it is far for the truth. In the later part of the 19th century Morne Fortune was used as a coaling station.
The World of Plantation
Morne Coubaril Estate is located half a mile away from the sulphur springs. Various trees such as coconut, coca, sugarcane and coffee are grown in this estate. Guided tours are provided to the visitors explaining the history and tradition of plantation, elaborate details are also provided about the condition of the plantation workers and living standards.
Tourists can take a tour of the ground on horseback. Except this, zip lining activity is conducted at the base of Petit Piton which swooshes through the dense rainforest and provides satisfaction to the visitors.
Take a Walk Around the Square
Established in the year 1760, the square is located at the center of Castries. The Derek Walcott Square was named after the noble laureate Derek Alton Walcott who was a citizen of this volcanic island and received a noble prize in literature in 1992. This two acre wide square does not provide homage to the noble laureate, but also honors the people and soldiers who have lost their life during the war.
The cathedral present at the heart of the square is built following the Romanesque design with an Italian style clock is a landmark that must be visited by the tourists. While visiting the square grab a quick bite at one of the pretty restaurants that is located around the square.
A Bird’s Eye View
The Aerial Tram tour is one of the most sought outdoor activities for people above the age of twelve years. The gondola is situated thirty seven meters above the ground level which even exceeds the canopy of the tropical rain forest. It gives a spectacular tour of the forest during which a plethora of flora and fauna can be observed. The return journey gives a panoramic view of the northern side of the island.
Have Fun in the Water Park
Even though all the beaches of Saint Lucia are splendid, sitting idle on the golden sand can be utterly tedious. To solve the issue of boredom, Saint Lucia has Splash Island Water Park which is not located in some isolated man made pool but the park floats on the Ocean. It has monkey bars, swings, slides and trampoline which add extra entertainment.
The water park takes safety measure seriously and only allows children above the age of six years; wearing life jacket is also a mandatory rule. The adults can participate as well or float around the water while soaking the view of Saint Lucia’s mountains. Both children and adult can have a fun day in the park.
Vieux Fort: the French Fort
As the name signifies, Vieux Fort was constructed by the French during the 17th century. It is located in the southernmost tip of the island, the fort overlooks Saint Vincent. This is the site where Saint Lucia’s first sugarcane mill was built, to keep up with the tradition the area still deals with sugarcane and coconut plantation. There are many sites to explore by foot, one of the most prominent being the lighthouse.
This place is a commercial hub which gives the prospect of exploring other outdoor activities such as kite surfing and windsurfing. Near to Vieux Fort is the Hewanorra International Airport.
Visit Another Magnificent Waterfall
It is of no surprise that the land of Saint Lucia is abundant in natural beauty. The entire volcanic island is densely populated by lush tropical trees, cliffs and numerous waterfalls. Toraille Waterfall is another scenic waterfall which is easier to access and locate. The visitors do not have to travel or hike for two hours to reach the place of destination.
The path that leads to the waterfall is dotted with wooden footbridges, well- marked directions and picturesque gardens of exotic plants that add to its aesthetic aura. The waterfall is fifteen meter high and is the perfect spot for taking a dip in the serene lake that is situated at the bottom of the falls. After a bath or swim, the visitors are also bestowed with the opportunity to grab a small bite at the picnic tables which are placed on the site.