St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean within the Winward Islands became an independent island country in 1979. The British and the French fought over the island many times between its first “discovery” by the French in 1660 and the British finally taking control in 1814. Its capital is Castries, the largest city, with a national population of just 180,000. It is a volcanic island, mostly mountainous, with a tropical climate, lovely beaches and warm clear seas. Tourism is hugely important to St. Lucia. Agriculture plays a small role, largely bananas, with industry fairly insignificant.
The high season for tourists is between January and April, described as the “dry season”, Annually, St. Lucia attracts around 1.3 million visitors who find a lovely island and plenty of natural attractions beyond the climate, beaches and sea. Hewanorra International Airport is in Vieux Fort in the south of the island. This is where you will arrive unless you are arriving from another Caribbean Island. In that case, your flight is likely to be into George F. L. Charles Airport near Castries in the north.
There is nothing to stop anyone wanting to spend their vacation on the beach but there are plenty of things to do in St. Lucia, especially for people who are active and wishing to explore.
- St Lucia, Caribbean
- Top Tours
- 20 Things To Do In St Lucia
- 1- Scale Gros Piton
- 2- Head To Marigot Bay
- 3- Go To The “Drive-in Volcano”
- 4- Marvel At Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens
- 5- Enjoy A Day On Anse Chastanet Beach
- 6- Tour Pigeon Island National Park
- 7- Swim At Toraille Waterfall
- 8- Enjoy An Historic Estate
- 9- Explore The Rainforest
- 10- Try Local Cuisine Favourites
- 11- Sample The Brews Of Antillia Brewing Company
- 12- Enjoy A West Indian Passion
- 13- Cruise In A Catamaran
- 14- Scuba Dive Among The Reefs
- 15- Drink Rum
- 16- Learn More About Making Chocolate
- 17- Sample Cocoa Tea
- 18- Spend Some Time In The Castries Market
- 19- Wander Around Anse La Raye Fishing Village
- 20- Sunbathe At Reduit Beach
St Lucia, Caribbean
20 Things To Do In St Lucia
1- Scale Gros Piton
While Mount Gimie, in the heart of St. Lucia, is the highest point on the island, Gros Piton is the mountain to climb if you just have a single choice.
You will start on the beach in the south west of the island and a local guide is certainly advisable.
It can take you up to three hours to climb the 2,600 feet (almost 800 metres).
From the beach, the ascent is steep immediately and as you go you will get a series of wonderful views.
Petit Piton, the other of the twin peaks, is one of them as you get higher.
The beaches and the blue sea on the western side of the island demand you stop for photographs.
If you’re not game to hike, take a tour to the Pitons to admire them.
2- Head To Marigot Bay
The views you get if you head to Marigot Bay certainly deserve inclusion in your holiday album.
Margot Bay Resort is a luxury place with lovely beaches and a small marina that is large enough to house luxury yachts that sail through the Windward Islands.
This is a great place to relax and sunbathe but beware of too much sun too quickly.
Away from the beaches, you will find shops and restaurants.
If you want a little adventure, rent a kayak and paddle around the mangroves.
You can spend a day here or if you want to tour, an experienced guide will show you around for a couple of hours here.
3- Go To The “Drive-in Volcano”
Have you ever come across a “drive-in” volcano? Probably not! Here in St. Lucia, you can actually drive into a volcano.
The steam crater will be bubbling here in Sulphur Springs Park and the setting is the crater surrounded by rainforest.
The volcano is dormant yet the mineral-rich mud is well worth spending time soaking in.
The park covers 114 acres in the south west of the island close to what was once the French capital of St. Lucia, Soufriere.
Several tours head here if you don’t want to travel independently and a guide is included in the admission fee. Find out more.
4- Marvel At Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens
Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens have a series of trails, all of which head through lovely flora.
There is some wildlife, and an ancient mill with a waterwheel.
The highlight is certainly the Diamond Waterfall with its colours of the rainbow a result of the minerals within the water.
Close by there are the sulphur springs so you can combine a trip to the gardens with a visit to the mud baths.
Louis XVI built a bathhouse here in the late 18th century for his troops.
Remember it was often hot work being a soldier.
People have been enjoying these healthy waters ever since.
5- Enjoy A Day On Anse Chastanet Beach
The mountainous terrain makes exploring St. Lucia a real adventure, even though the island is small.
The island’s beaches are open to the public.
In some cases, you can take a water taxi to get access, typically from Soufriere which has several beaches close by.
Anse Chastanet Beach is a large stretch of sand near the resort of the same name.
Snorkelling is extremely rewarding with plenty of colourful marine life and mixed coral.
Parrot Fish, Trumpet Fish, Needle Fish and Sargeant Majors are all species you should see.
If you prefer to relax with a good book and take in the setting, that is perfectly fine.
6- Tour Pigeon Island National Park
Pigeon Island National Park covers 44 acres in the north of St. Lucia.
It is another great place to relax and perhaps enjoy the views of the nearby island, Martinque.
There are a number of interesting trails that will reveal wonderful birdlife.
The beaches are lovely and you will also see what remains of the oldest building on the island, the 18th century Fort Rodney.
This lovely park is worth a day of your time although tours also offer a half day there.
You can scuba or snorkel here, sail or just sunbathe.
The lookout point at Fort Rodney gives great views of the island’s north west coast.
7- Swim At Toraille Waterfall
Toraille is perhaps the easiest waterfall to reach in St. Lucia.
To get there, you will follow a trail which has a number of footbridges.
The flora around the waterfall is lush and once you arrive, you will feel the cool spray on your face.
A swimsuit is essential because you will certainly want to refresh yourself after the walk.
Sitting below the cascading water is almost like getting a massage.
There are picnic tables so take some food and drink with you.
There are tours which include these waterfalls, but if you are in no rush to leave St. Lucia, you should consider spending more time here than any tour would.
8- Enjoy An Historic Estate
Morne Coubaril is an old sugar estate where you can now experience a number of activities in a day.
Those activities even include horse riding and there are the buildings to explore as well as the farm.
The farm still produces sugar cane, coconuts, citrus fruits, other tropical fruits, coffee, cacao and cassava.
Sugarcane juice is something you may not have tried before; it is very refreshing a great after some activity.
If you are adventurous, why not try the zipline through the rainforest below Petit Piton.
The views over Soufriere and the bay are wonderful.
9- Explore The Rainforest
When exploring the rainforest, take a guide with you to avoid getting lost as well as to learn about the topography, flora and fauna of St. Lucia.
Bird calls follow you as you walk, often parrots and cuckoos while you should take swimwear because you will come across waterfalls as you walk, a refreshing stop is called for.
Most of the rainforest is within reserves that require a permit to explore.
That means a naturalist or a simple guide must go with you. The alternative is an organised tour.
10- Try Local Cuisine Favourites
The local cuisine is delicious.
The range of fruit and vegetables grown on the island is exotic and more.
“Bouyon” Stew is local comfort food, a Creole dish named after the French word, “bouillon.” It is much heartier than the French equivalent.
Dumplings and vegetables are ever-present but the meat used varies.
It is slow-cooked in a claypot and you will also come across roti stuffed with anything from chicken to lamb, often with curried vegetables.
Rotis are popular throughout the Caribbean despite being more commonly associated with India.
Many locals start the day with roti which come fresh, and made just before you buy them. See the sights and taste the food while on this St. Lucia Island Short Tour.
11- Sample The Brews Of Antillia Brewing Company
You need to take in plenty of liquids in countries with a hot climate.
This applies to St. Lucia where you can get everything from rum to water, fruit juices to beer.
Antilla Brewing Company is a craft brewery producing a number of different products.
How about trying a passion fruit ale, imperial chocolate stout, or a rum cask IPA? Specialties will change with the season.
Everything has a season, and when that is over, it is forgotten until the new season comes around.
Fig Banana ale is likely to be new to you.
It is sold on tap in the company’s beer garden near Castries at Pointe Seraphine.
12- Enjoy A West Indian Passion
Cricket is the number one Caribbean sport.
The days when the West Indies ruled the cricket world are over and resources suggest they will not return but it is a game played by everyone from an early age.
A former British colony, cricket was embraced throughout the “British” Caribbean.
The Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet hosts major games which can include Test matches.
Within the Caribbean, the Winward Islands is a major team and Darren Sammy is the island’s most famous player.
He made his debut for the West Indies in 2007, was subsequently the captain and is now the coach.
There will be games played throughout the island all year around wherever there is flat, open ground.
13- Cruise In A Catamaran
St. Lucia’s mountainous terrain and coastline is best appreciated if you are out as sea.
You can head out on a catamaran to enjoy time at sea.
Whether you just want to relax, look out for marine life such as whales, or even try your hand a sport fishing, sailing in these waters is unforgettable.
You can enjoy time on a beach, eat lunch onboard or on land.
The west coast is more sheltered and therefore the calmer side of the island.
As a result, this is the best side for clear water, best for snorkelling.
Pack your swimming gear, suncream, and camera before heading out on a catamaran cruise.
14- Scuba Dive Among The Reefs
St. Lucia is famous for its reefs.
The water is at it clearest on the sheltered west coast but scuba diving in all its waters is very rewarding.
Some of the reefs are actually artificial but you would not know it if you were not told, except they tend to have been developed around a shipwreck of which there has been many in the Caribbean, or intentionally sunk wrecks.
The best reefs are in the Soufriere Marine Reserve and the Pigeon Island National Park and these are certainly the most popular.
There are some great species to look out for; moray and eagle rays, as well as lobsters.
15- Drink Rum
Buying Caribbean rum is as grabbing a bottle of water but if you want to try top-notch small-batch rum, finding the best rum can be a challenge.
St. Lucia has a rich rum heritage and many locals believe Chairman’s Reserve is the best.
This is a spicy and fruity rum with flavours of vanilla, chocolate and toasted banana.
You can pick up a bottle at duty-free shops across the island, but to taste different varieties, book a rum tasting tour at St. Lucia Distillers in Roseau.
16- Learn More About Making Chocolate
The Fond Doux Estate comprises 135 acres of rainforest, tropical gardens, and organic cocoa fields.
You can buy a range of sweets at its Plas Cacao Chocolate shop, and also dine in the restaurant on the estate where the dishes include all the produce grown locally.
Tours of the Fond Doux Estate are rewarding because you will learn everything about the process of growing and harvesting the cacao pod before seeing how the pod then becomes the chocolate you love.
17- Sample Cocoa Tea
Open-air markets sell a huge range of fresh produce but you are also likely to see round, brown sticks everywhere you go.
Looking like little batons, they are edible and make good souvenirs and presents.
In addition, they are cheap but they don’t come with details of what they are, and what to do with them.
You’ll need to ask, and when you do a local will tell you that you use them to make cocoa tea.
They are made by taking roasted seeds from the pod, adding flavours from ground vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and bay leaf.
The stick becomes a concentrate which is grated into hot water or milk.
This is very much a local, non-alcoholic favourite.
18- Spend Some Time In The Castries Market
When it comes to markets, the main one in the capital is a real experience.
Local markets are tourist attractions everywhere you travel.
They reveal the produce used by restaurants to create local favourites for their menus.
Bright colours fill your eyes while other senses are brought into play; the sounds of activity will fill your ears while the different smells from spices and the fresh produce test your nose.
There are cooked items to buy as well including Accra fish cakes, fried breadfruit, and fresh-caught fish.
Why not make your own picnic? Creole spice mixes and tangy, tropical sauces are also things you may not find at home.
19- Wander Around Anse La Raye Fishing Village
On the road south from the capital to the Pitons and many good beaches, you will pass the fishing village of Anse La Raye.
It is worth stopping.
The village is just after you have driven through a banana plantation with the road opening up with the sea ahead.
There is a 16th century cathedral here, traditional fisherman cottages and a pier.
The road winds on to the Horizon Cocktails Viewpoint, a bright yellow bar overlooking the valley and sea.
Time for some refreshments?
20- Sunbathe At Reduit Beach
Reduit Beach is one of the island’s best beaches.
It has sun loungers and umbrellas for hire and is an ideal place to top up your suntan.
The water is clear and inviting if you want to take a break from the beach.
Expect to come across vendors walking along this popular stetch of sand, selling everything from necklaces to coconuts.
The Rodney Bay Marina is close if you need any shopping.
A range of activities is available; snorkelling, windsurfing and waterskiing in particular.
Try a fish lunch with cold drinks and if you like sunsets, stay all day.
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