Saint Lucia is a gem of an island in the middle of the East Caribbean Sea that’s just out enough that its east side borders the Atlantic Ocean. Less known to Canadians than some of its Caribbean neighbours such as Cuba, Barbados or Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia is a joy to explore. The jewel-shaped island is volcanic and boasts a tropical climate, many rain forests on the inside of the island and more mountains than most Caribbean islands. Its most famous twin peaks of Gros Piton and Petit Piton are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and loom over the western side of the island, which claims many beautiful sandy beaches and lovely bays.
It has a tumultuous history of being in a real life tug of war between the English and the French forces who took turns controlling the island for a couple of centuries. Those conflicts are the reason why one might be confused by the language duality on the island; the official language on Saint Lucia is English but a local Creole French is spoken as well. Names of monuments, mountains and beaches are French sounding as well, remnants of the many years of colonisation that ended with a final victory for the British.
But most importantly, Saint Lucia is a great playground for adventure seekers, whether you prefer land or water borne activities.
Adventures in Saint Lucia: On Land
Saint Lucia’s many mountains provide excellent hiking trails that wind their ways through lush tropical forests and gorgeous waterfalls. You can spot many of the islands exotic bird species as well as butterflies and tropical plants. If you’re a honed hiker, the Enbas Saut Rainforest Trail & Waterfalls in the Edmund Rain Forest Reserve at the foot of the island’s highest peak is a good one to try and will provide you with great vistas of the Pitons. The Pitons themselves are also a hiker’s paradise with many trails zigzagging through the majestic mountains although they are best embarked on if you’re an experienced hiker.
Another great and easy hike is the exploration of one of Saint Lucia’s most historic sites, Pigeon Island National Park. Home to historic forts like the 18th-century British one located atop one of the island’s peaks, the once water locked “island” is now connected to Rodney Bay by a causeway. It’s a 5-minute walk from the beautiful, couples-only, high-end Sandals Grande Saint Lucian resort. Located on its own peninsula, the hotel’s pristine beach is the natural extension of the causeway leading to Pigeon Island. Stay at Sandals and take a day to explore Pigeon Island, its two white-sand beaches, its historic ruins and lookout points with gorgeous vistas of the Caribbean Sea.
If you are less inclined to hike your way to the top but still want to get a peek at those majestic Saint Lucian rainforests, hop on board the Saint Lucia Rainforest Aerial tram which soars high above the trees’ canopies to offer you great vistas of the lush greenery below.
For one of the more relaxing adventures in Saint Lucia, the Soufriere Sulfur Springs are not to be missed. Drive through a dormant volcano (yes, you read that right) to get to the heart of the bubbling sulphur springs. You can take a tour of the area then plunge into the decidedly sizzling waters of the Black Water Pool or the Pool of Love where you’ll be able to slather your skin with the rejuvenating mud.
Saint Lucia offers many more land adventures for you to discover. Zip lining from Petit Piton above the town of Soufriere and the waters of the Caribbean Sea or mountain biking in the jungle are only two examples of the many land thrills that the island has to offer.
Adventures in Saint Lucia: On The Water
Saint Lucia provides a diverse playground for those who prefer water bound adventures. It’s a world-class scuba diving and snorkelling destinations with many coral reef formations, shipwrecks and tropical underwater discoveries to be made. The island’s western coast is dotted with dozens of great diving sites and many professional schools as well as dive centres located in some of the resorts.
Other adventures in Saint Lucia include surfing, kite surfing, waterskiing, kayaking, windsurfing and whale and dolphin watching.
Cover photo credit: Mayssam Samaha