St Lucia Holidays – Tours & Adventures Travel Guide
“Located north of Barbados and between the island of Martinique and St Vincent, St Lucia has been voted as one of the top travel and honeymoon destinations in the Caribbean. With the charm of its friendly and warm people as well as the lush enchanting rainforest, it is easy for one to lose oneself in the serenity of St Lucia. Nonetheless, St Lucia has much more to offer its visitors than most people would realize. The culture of the people, a potpourri of African, European, Amerindian and East Indian traditions, has a unique and exotic flavor to it. It is this combination of her scenic natural beauty and her rich cultural heritage, which makes St Lucia such an alluring destination. As the St Lucians say themselves “soon come back.”
St Lucia Holiday Highlights
History & Culture – Surrounded by the charms of a tropical paradise, one can be easily deceived that St Lucia had a serene history. However, like most Caribbean islands, the identity of St Lucia was shaped by the conflict between the various colonial powers of the 17th century. St Lucia finally fell into the British hands in 1778 after being fought over by the French. It was the sugar trade established by the British, which contributed to presence of African ethnic predominance in the population today.
The St Lucians still believes in the many customs and superstitions of their African roots resulting in an eclectic fusion of cultural beliefs between the mystic and Catholicism. The Obeah or better known as voodoo is also widely practiced alongside the mainstream religion. The music of the Caribbean, the calypso and reggae, is also very much a part of the St Lucian way of life. This is evident in the four-day St. Lucia Jazz Festival held annually from May 8th-11th. The Market Vendor's Feast is also another example of the vivid expression of the culture of the St Lucians.
Sightseeing - Some of the most captivating sights found on St Lucia can be seen in the capital city, Castries. The La Toc Battery, the Central Library, the uniquely decorated Cathedral the Market and Bagshaws are some of the sights that visitors must experience to get a glimpse into the rich heritage of this island. Other notable sights include:
- Morne Fortune
- Derek Walcott Square
- Anse-le-Ray & Canaries
- Gros Islet
- Pigeon Island, Venue for the ST Lucia Jazz Festival
- Pigeon Island Museum & Interpretive Centre
- La Sikwe Historical Sugar Mill & Plantation
- Marquis Estate
- Morne Coubaril Estate
- Rodney Bay
- Marigot Bay
Nature & Hiking - The well-preserved ecological treasures of St Lucia provide for some of the best locales for hikers in the Caribbean. Beside the lush tropical rainforest, nature lovers will also have the opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful coral gardens off the coastline as well.
The Pitons - One of the most striking landmarks that defines St Lucia is her twin Piton peaks. The Gros Piton and Petit Piton are two conical peaks situated south of the town, Soufriere which rise over 2,000 feet and offer good hiking and trekking opportunities.
National Rain Forest - This park envelops over 19,000 acres of valleys and flourishing rainforest. Of particular interest to bird watchers will be the colorful St Lucia Peewee, Oriole and Parrot, also known by the local as “Jacquot”, and the white Breasted Thrasher.
The Sulphur Springs - The Sulphur Spring features the only drive-in volcano in the world. A tour of this steamy hot spring offers an insight to the turbulent geological makeup of the island along the Caribbean Rim. Other places of interest to nature lovers include:
- Mt. Gimie
- Latille Gardens
- Maria Islands
- Frigate Island
- Mankote Mangrove
- Diamond Falls
- Union Nature Trail
- Fregate Island Nature Trail
- Grande Anse Beach
Water Sports & Activities - The warm waters around are a habitat for some of the most spectacular coral reefs and marine life in the Caribbean which makes the island perfect for swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling. In addition, the calm but windy waters also provide for excellent windsurfing and sailing conditions for visitors to enjoy.
Windsurfing - At Cas en Bas and Vieux Fort, those of intermediate and advanced skills can find first class equipment for hire. Beginners are advised to try out the calmer water around the west coast first.
Sailing - Those into sailing can charter yachts at the various boat charter operations around the marinas at Rodney Bay and Marigot Bay.
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling - The reefs at Anse Cochon and Anse Chastanet as well as an old shipwreck offer some of the best dive sites on the island.
Deep Sea Fishing - It is hardly surprising that the waters off the coast of St Lucia also offer some best fishing grounds for those into this challenging sport. Some of the prized catches include the White Marlin, Barracuda, Mackerel and Sailfish. Boat charters are available at some of the marinas around the island.
When To Go
St Lucia has a warm tropical climate and during the month of December to March, the weather here is both the peak season and driest time of the year. June and October is the Hurricane season thus the weather during this period can be a little wet. Nevertheless, since the hotel occupancy rate is lower, prices are also lower during this time of the year.
- Respect the local culture, as friendly as the locals are, you are still visiting someone’s home.
- St Lucia with its catholic background is a conservative society, thus dress appropriately at all times.
- Always ask permission before taking pictures of the local populace and try to offer a small gratuity as a token of appreciation.
- Visitors might be pestered at the street market and sometime the vendors can be a little pushy. The best way to deal with such situation is to be polite but firm.
One Week Excursion - Make your base at Soufriere. Take a day to explore the town and the beaches. Take one day to hike to the top of the Pitons. Day three you can go scuba diving at the surrounding reefs. Day four and five, drive to the capital, Castries, and explore the city as well as Gros Inlet and the marina at Rodney Bay. Day six return to Soufriere and relax at the thermal pools here.