Impossibly picturesque, her jagged, jungle-clad peaks rising from the sea like dragon’s teeth, stunning Saint Lucia is rightly feted as the Caribbean’s most romantic island. Accommodation ranges from rustic rainforest retreats and boutique beach hotels to some of the most staggeringly luxurious resorts in the entire region.It’s no surprise that Saint Lucia is a favourite for couples on their honeymoon, but a host of high-octane pursuits and watersports also make it a great destination for the more adventurous traveller, as well as for active families looking for more than just a beach holiday.
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Culturally, Saint Lucia is an intoxicating melange of English, French and African influences, tangible in everything from the exotic markets in the capital, Castries, to the lilting rhythms of Kweyol, the French creole spoken by the locals. Reminders of Saint Lucia’s colonial past can be found in the fortifications at Pigeon Island, while the ‘drive-in’ volcano at Soufrière in the south offers up clues to a more ancient history, when Saint Lucia’s otherworldly landscape, dominated by the towering Piton mountains, was hewn from molten rock. The volcanic nature of the island also means that some of the beaches on Saint Lucia are darker in colour than the classic Caribbean picture postcard, so make sure you let us know if you want to stay somewhere with guaranteed white sand.
Eating and drinking here is a real treat, whether you’re sampling haute cuisine at the hotel restaurants, tucking into tasty street food or enjoying a rum and coke at a local bar. Saint Lucians love to party too – for a slightly sanitised experience, try the Jazz & Arts Festival in May, or for the real deal, head down to Gros Islet on a Friday night and dance with the locals and the yachties to the thundering sound systems set up on the street corner. A word of warning, go easy on the rum punches - they’re strong!
A few of our favourite things...
Whale and dolphin watching
Saint Lucia is a great place for whale and dolphin watching, with tours operating year round. The island’s mountainous landscape provides a stunning backdrop as you look out for the large pods of spinning and spotted dolphins as well as the more elusive pilot, sperm and orca whales. Half day boat trips leave early in the morning and carry state-of-the-art equipment to maximise your chances of spotting these majestic creatures.
Snorkelling the south west
Grab your flippers and head for the coral reefs in the south west of the island. We recommend Anse Cochon, next to Ti Kaye Resort & Spa, a quiet little bay flanked on either side by reefs teeming with colourful fish. Similarly impressive and with a truly spectacular setting is Jalousie beach in Soufrière, which sits smack bang in the middle of the Pitons and also happens to be home to the ultra luxurious Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort.
Scenic helicopter tour
Take a helicopter transfer to your hotel for an unforgettable arrival experience, or enjoy a 30 minute scenic tour of the island. You’ll take in all the sights, from the majestic Pitons and the dense vegetation of the rainforest, to the picturesque bays and beaches along the Caribbean coastline and the sleepy fishing villages of the more rugged Atlantic coast.
It sounds like it can’t possibly work, but give this quirky condiment a chance and it might just surprise you. The combination of bananas, a Saint Lucian staple, with garlic and spices creates a sweet, subtle and very yellow sauce, a great accompaniment to barbecued chicken. Even if you’re not a fan of the taste, it’s a great souvenir to take back home for friends and family.
Where to propose...
On an island so renowned for romance it’s hard to pick out a single location to pop the question, but you can't beat the summit of Gros Piton, where our own Joanna Whinney said ‘yes’ when her other half got down on bended knee. Alternatively, if you’re not feeling quite that athletic, consider a stay at Cap Maison; the hotel provides a ‘proposal concierge’ who will help you to create a truly unforgettable moment , with the ring arriving by zipline at the end of your romantic private dinner at the base of the cliffs.
Trip reports and travel tips...
Saint Lucia - Jazz, Volcanoes and Toblerone
Tom from our team recently returned from Saint Lucia. Read his tales of Jazz, Volcanoes and Toblerone here...
For some useful background information on responsible tourism issues in Saint Lucia, as well as practical tips on what you can do to make a positive difference, check out the Travel Foundation's Insider's Guide to the island...
Flying time from the UK is approximately 9 hrs and all flights are non-stop.
British Airways Daily departures from Gatwick.
Virgin Atlantic Departures from Gatwick 5 times a week in high season and 4 times a week in low season.
Note: All our inclusive holiday prices are based on British Airways World Traveller or Virgin Atlantic Economy flights. Helicopter transfers can be arranged on request - please contact us for details.
English, but a French Creole is widely spoken.
4 hours behind GMT and 5 hours behind BST.
Eastern Caribbean dollar. American Express, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in the hotels.
A full British passport is required and it should be valid for 6 months after the return date of your holiday. Visas are not required for British citizens. No special health documentation is necessary for residents of the UK who have not recently visited parts of the world where cholera or yellow fever is a problem.
It is illegal to wear any camouflage clothing anywhere on the island. Any camouflage clothing found by customs will be confiscated and returned on departure.