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  • Last Updated: 06th October 2016

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Saint Lucia - the jewel of the Caribbean

The small island nation of Saint Lucia is part of the Lesser Antilles chain of islands in the eastern Caribbean. Recently voted “Best Island in the Caribbean” by US-based Global Traveler Magazine, it features magnificent tropical landscapes and beaches, friendly people, good food and great music.

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Saint Lucia’s landscapes

The volcanic origins of Saint Lucia reveal themselves in a mountainous landscape that alternates magnificent peaks with lush valleys and tropical forests. These descend to banana and sugar plantations, and from there to dazzling white beaches and a limpid, blue-green sea.

Although the highest point on the island is Mount Gimie at 959 metres, the natural panorama is dominated by the Pitons; two forest-clad volcanic spires that surge side by side from the sea near the town of Soufrière. The same volcanic activity that’s responsible for the Pitons is the source of richly populated marine coral reefs, mineral-laced waterfalls and a network of sulphurous hot springs.

The forests and mountains invite trekking, climbing, hiking and biking. Horseback trails, jeep and ATV tours are also available, as is rainforest ziplining.

Saint Lucia’s picture-perfect beaches are among the best in the Caribbean, and the island’s waters are home to a diverse range of colourful marine life. Saint Lucia also boasts picturesque and naturally protected harbours, which for centuries have served as a refuge for sailboats and today are dotted with yachts.

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A rich history and island culture

Saint Lucia’s history is one of piracy and intrigue, along with frequent switches from French to English control that have earned it the nickname “Helen of the West Indies”. Today you can still see the remains of 18th Century British forts. You can also visit the largest Catholic church in the Caribbean – the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1897.

A blending of colonial European influences with traditions brought over by west African slaves and the laid-back island lifestyle of the Caribbean have produced a unique culture, evident in the island’s music, cuisine and local Creole language (which differs from the Creole spoken elsewhere).

Coconuts, mangoes, bananas, papayas, pineapples and other exotic fruits grow bountifully on Saint Lucia. The island's fresh produce is combined with pork, chicken or fresh seafood – especially tuna, mahi-mahi and snapper – and spices to create a range of tantalising Creole dishes.

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Island parties and festivals

Saint Lucia’s people hold a number of colourful festivals each year. These include Creole Day (Jounen Kweyol), with plenty of singing, dancing and eating, and the island’s very own Carnival, with fabulous costumes, competing bands and an all-night party. The world-famous international St Lucia Jazz Festival, which also features the region’s traditional Calypso music, takes place in May.

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Saint Lucia highlights not to miss

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    Magnificent Reduit Beach, with its golden sand and view across to Pigeon Island, and snorkeling from pretty Anse Cochon beach with its backdrop of lush jungle.

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    Watching leatherback turtles at Anse Beach.

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    Diamond Falls Botanical Garden, which includes lush tropical vegetation, a nature trail, hot springs and the beautiful Diamond waterfall.

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    The world’s only “drive-in volcano” at Sulphur Springs Park near the town of Soufrière.

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    The Friday night “Jump Up” party on Gros Islet, where you eat, drink and dance in the street until sunrise, and the weekly local fish fry in Anse la Raye.