With its powder-soft beaches, crystal clear emerald waters, and a verdant, mountainous landscape, Saint Lucia has everything a visitor could dream of a tropical island. Known for its majestic twin peaks of the Pitons and a drive-in volcano, this spectacular island with to-die-for scenery attracts people from across the globe.
Along with hidden waterfalls and snorkel-worthy reefs, the island with countless banana plantations and authentic Creole culture is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands.
FUN FACT: Saint Lucia is the only country in the world named after a woman and has second highest number of Nobel Prize winners per capita
WHERE IS ST LUCIA LOCATED?
Located in the eastern Caribbean about 21 miles (34km) south of Martinique and 26 miles (42 km) northeast of St. Vincent, St Lucia is the second largest of the Windward group in the Lesser Antilles.
Saint Lucia is home to hidden treasures, many of which are off the beaten track. Here are the best things you shouldn`t miss out when visiting this idyllic island!
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN SAINT LUCIA
TIP: The best way to discover beauties of Saint Lucia is to leave touristy Rodney Bay and make your way to the southwestern part of the island where you will uncover the island`s little gems.
1. Sulphur Springs Park
Experience Saint Lucia`s volcano and mud bath at La Soufriere Volcano
One of the best things to do in Saint Lucia is definitely paying a visit to the Sulphur Spring Park, the most active and hottest geothermal area in the Lesser Antilles. Notable for the unpleasant sulfur odor (rotten-egg smell), Soufriere Volcano, which collapsed more than 40,000 years ago, now produces only bubbling, steaming mud that can reach temperatures of 170 °C (338 °F).
Nowadays, the only “drive-in” volcano in St Lucia ranks at the very top of most travelers’ bucket lists. Drive on the road passing through the edge of the crater, park up and walk just a few steps from a dormant volcano.
Take a mud bath at Sulphur Springs Park
After visiting the volcano, make your way to the world-famous Sulphur mud baths with healing powers for the skin. The mineral-rich mud baths, which helps to heal sunburns, eczema, or sore joints, offer a unique experience. Take a dip in the warm waters, cover your body with the mud, and wash off in one of the spring-fed thermal pools. An experience not to be missed!
The world-famous therapeutic waters at Sulphur Springs Park
TIP: When planning a mud bath, we highly recommend wearing a dark bathing suit.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Unfortunately, La Soufriere Sulphur Springs, one of St Lucia`s most overcrowded sites, is never the intimate experience that you would hope for. For a better experience, visit Sulphur Spring Park early in the morning or in the afternoon when cruise ship passengers have already gone.
2. Cool off in Toraille waterfall
After a mad bath in warm waters, cool off in one of Saint Lucian waterfalls. One of the most accessible falls in St Lucia, surrounded by verdant vegetation, is located an only two-minute walk from the main road. To reach 15 meters high Toraille waterfall, follow a nature trail, and enjoy the breath-taking scenery.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Opening times: 9 am – 5 pm
- Entrance Fee: $6 EC ($ 3USD)
- Parking, toilets, and changing rooms are available on-site.
Unsurprisingly, it`s a bucket list place shared by plenty of other people. Come in the middle of the day, and you will encounter hordes of visitors (part of a half or full-day sightseeing tour). To beat the crowds, visit the waterfall early in the morning or near closing time.
When you need a break from stunning St Lucian beaches, Toraille waterfall is a nice change.
3. Relax at New Jerusalem Mineral Baths (“DLO SHO”)
For more intimate mineral bath experience, head to New Jerusalem Mineral Baths. Located just a short drive from the town of Soufriere, these natural pools of mineral-rich water are a hidden gem. A peaceful 10-minute walk down to the mineral baths brings you to warm pools with different temperatures of water. Jerusalem Mineral Baths are a great place to appreciate nature and seek serenity.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- the baths are locally owned and managed
- the trail to the mineral baths is not well marked though
- a changing area and toilettes are on a site
- Entry Fee: No Local $10 EC ($4 USD), Local $7.50 EC ($3 USD), Visiting (Having a look around without bathing) $5 EC ($2 USD)
4. Visit Diamond Botanical gardens
Afterward, head east out of Soufriere town and visit Diamond Botanical Gardens, one of the most beautiful natural wonders in St Lucia. Originally part of the Soufriere Estate, given to the Devaux family by King Louis XIV of France, these well-maintained gardens are laid out around the mineral-rich bath built for King Louis XVI soldiers.
A trail through the well-labeled tropical gardens will lead you to a mineral bath with therapeutic powers and to the spectacular Diamond waterfall.
FUN FACT: The rock face of the Diamond waterfall continues to change color depending on the mineral content, hence the most colorful waterfall in the Caribbean.
Approximately 17 meters high, Diamond waterfall, is a mixture of rainwater and volcanism fed by the mineral-rich Sulphur Springs.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Opening times: Monday – Saturday 10 am -5 pm, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10 am -3 pm
- Admission fee (May 2019): Adults: US$7 / EC$17.50, Children: Half Price
- Private Baths: US$7 – EC$17.50
- Public Baths: US$6 – EC$15
Swimming in the waterfall is not permitted. Visit the website for more information about the Diamond Botanical Garden.
On-site there are changing rooms, toilets, a small shop, and a restaurant.
Saint Lucia`s oldest town and the capital when France controlled the island, stands in the shadow of the twin peaks of the Pitons. Soufriere, home to some of St Lucia`s most famous tourist sites, is often overlooked by visitors. Thankfully, this results in a laid-back atmosphere and reasonable prices. Once a small fishing village can be easily explored on foot, modern and colonial buildings painted in pastels, the Old Courthouse, and the waterfront should not be missed.
6. Climb one of the Piton mountains
The Pitons, the island`s most photographed landmark, are usually explored by boat or from the coast, however more adventurous spirits prefer to climb to the top. Though 743 m (2,438 ft ) high Petit Piton is the smaller of the two, the small Piton is more dangerous and highly challenging to climb because of its steep sides.
TIP: If you are not an experienced climber, consider admiring the volcanic Pitons from the ground.
7. Hike the Tet Paul nature trail
If climbing one of the Piton Mountains isn`t really your thing, but you would love to admire St Lucia`s twin towering peaks, walk the Tet Paul Nature Trail. A simple alternative to the Gros Piton trail offers some of the most spectacular views in St Lucia.
Hillside natural trail through a working organic farm is a loop that could be completed in up to 45 minutes. Walk through a variety of tropical trees and exotic fruits, visit a traditional house and enjoy views of the Pitons, famous Sugar beach, and the neighboring islands of Martinique and St. Vincent.
A staircase is known as the “Stairway to Heaven.” It leads to a platform with a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the countryside and the Pitons.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The Tet Paul trail is located in the Piton Mountain World Heritage Site, near Fond Doux Plantation, Soufriere. The path is easy to find (Turn right from the main road towards the Fond Doux Plantation and follow the sign. Take a left before the entrance to the Plantation and follow the Tet Paul sign). If you are walking to the Tet Paul trail from Fond Doux Plantation, be aware it is a very steep and winding walk.
In conclusion, The Tet Paul nature trail is an easy to moderate hike, great for families and groups. The walk can be comfortably done with young children.
- Opening times: 8 am – 6pm (Every day)
- Admission fee: $10 USD or $27.00 EC
8. Piton waterfall
For something quieter away from the typical tourist spots, consider visiting the Piton waterfall. About thirty feet (9metres) high Piton waterfall with 3 warm bathing pools is a hidden scenic treasure where you may ease aching muscles. Nestled in lush Saint Lucian rainforest, the fall is located along the way to the Jalousie Plantation and Petit Piton, south of Soufriere. For a truly unforgettable stay, arrive early in the morning or late afternoon.
GOOD TO KNOW:
- Guide not needed. A large free car park on a site.
- Entrance fee: Adults $7.50 EC ($3 USD), Children under 11yrs $3.75 EC ($1.50 USD)
9. Anse des Pitons (Pitons Bay)
Anse des Pitons is not only home to the picturesque white sand Sugar beach but is also a popular snorkeling site. Renowned for spectacular underwater scenery and several varieties of corals, Anse des Pitons underwater area is protected as a part of the National Marine Reserve.
What`s more, Anse des Pitons is home to some of the best snorkeling sites in Saint Lucia.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Anse des Pitons offers a superb opportunity to swim and snorkel. However, the waters are getting deeper than on the other beaches in St Lucia. The towering Pitons dominating the landscape also extend to beneath the sea, hence quickly disappearing to the dark depths of the Caribbean sea just a few meters from the shore.
TIP: If you are an inexperienced swimmer, there is plenty to explore in shallow waters closer to the shore.
10. Pigeon Island National park
Want to explore one of St Lucia`s most important historical attractions? Visit Pigeon Island, an easy half-day escape from crowded Rodney Bay. A historic landmark with the opportunity to see the island from above became a strategic lookout point for defending the shores of Saint Lucia in the 18th century. Stumble across colonial ruins and enjoy breath-taking views from Fort Rodney and Signal Peak.
Once a separate island, this hilly islet was connected to the mainland by a man-made causeway. A few large resorts have been built here.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Pigeon Island National Park`s beaches are the only beaches on the island that are not public. As a result, to access the site, you need to pay an entrance fee. Pigeon Island National park is operated by the Saint Lucia National Trust.
TIP: Visit Pigeon island national park on the day when there is no cruise ship in the port. If not possible, explore the site in the afternoon.
Pigeon Island national park has a restaurant featuring local cuisine.
ENTRANCE FEE: For more information, visit the St Lucia National Trust site
11. Shopping at Castries market
Shop for local products, such as spices and souvenirs in the colorful market, located in the harbor of Castries. The largest open-air market is a great place to go for organic tropical fruits and vegetables. The market is open every day.
12. The beaches in Saint Lucia
Reduit Beach in Rodney bay
If you love turquoise blue water and long sandy beaches with a buzzing atmosphere, Reduit beach in Rodney Bay might be just for you. Saint Lucia`s most famous stretches of golden sands with a handful of resorts and a wide choice of restaurants are a popular gateway among cruise ship passengers. St Lucia`s tourist magnet is only a five-minute taxi drive from Rodney Bay Marina, where the visitors may find aplenty of bars, restaurants, and shops.
Reduit beach with turquoise waters and golden sands is an ideal place for swimming.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The visitors may rent water sports equipment, sunbeds, and umbrellas.
TIP: For those looking for tranquillity on Reduit beach, visit the left side of the beach, away from the restaurants.
Want to spend a day on the beach away from busy Reduit beach? Beyond Rodney Bay`s, a Saint Lucia`s vibrant tourist hub lies the peace and quiet beach that the Caribbean is famous for. Head to Choc Bay, located just outside of the capital city of Castries, on the island`s northwestern coast. Renowed for its clear waters, this particular beach is the perfect spot to watch stunning sunsets in St Lucia. Choc beach is an ideal beach for those looking for a less hectic scene.
Picturesque Rat Island just off the shore of less crowded Choc Bay
GOOD TO KNOW:
Choc beach is easily accessible by car from the Gros Islet Highway. Unfortunately, you won`t find any public toilets along this beach, which is something to consider if planning to spend the whole day on the beach.
Next, Marigot Bay, fringed with mangroves and surrounded by steep hills of tropical greenery, is ,without doubt, one of the most beautiful bays in Saint Lucia. The classic Caribbean setting with golden sands, swaying coconut palm trees and anchored boats on the bay`s blue waters was also the setting for the original movie Dr. Doolittle.
Marigot Bay is also famous for being the only “hurricane hole” in the Caribbean where the boats may shelter in bad weather.
- Marigot Bay, located just five miles of south of Castries, is best viewed from a scenic viewpoint on the road between the main Caribbean coastal route and Marigot bay itself.
- The one minute ferry runs always taking visitors from the marina to the Doolittle`s restaurant and the beach for a small fee ($1 or a free ride when visiting the Doolittle`s restaurant).
GOOD TO KNOW:
Idyllic Marigot Bay, with a small strip of sand, is a popular stop for sail excursions. A tiny sandy beach with hotels and pricey restaurants nearby can get quickly overcrowded during the day. Bear in mind that swimming and snorkeling in the bay are not great due to boat traffic nearby. No public restrooms can be found on the beach. Water sports equipment (paddleboards, kayaks, Hobie catamaran) can be rented on the north side of the beach. There is a possibility of renting beach chairs and buying drinks from the locals on the beach (beverages are much cheaper compared to a pricey bar).
A small, expensive grocery store, a few shops, and waterfront restaurants can be found on the south side of Marigot Bay. Restaurants and bars accessible only by boat offer free shuttle until late in the evening.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MARIGOT BAY:
The best time to visit Marigot Bay is in the late afternoon when sailing excursions leave the bay.
Apart from being picturesque, Marigot bay is an ideal place for everyone visiting the island on the private yachts.
Drive 35 minutes south of busy Marigot Bay, and you will hit the secluded Anse Cochon, nestled along the cliffside. The 200 meters long remote, jungle-backed silver sand with the serene waters is an ideal getaway for some rest and relaxation. Anse Cochon, with its tropical setting, shallow reef, and one adults-only hotel, is the perfect place to escape more crowded beaches.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Water sports equipment (including kayaks and snorkeling gear) may be rented from the Ti Kaye resort, even if you are not staying at the resort.
How to Access Anse Cochon beach
To access Anse Cochon from Castries, drive through the village of Anse La Raye and carry on passing the Brigand Hill Estate until spot Ti Kaye Resort & Spa sign in front of you in a 180-degree bend. Go straight, pass the sign, and follow the road, which will lead you down to the resort. However, to enter the beach, you will need to pay USD 10 per person at the hotel reception, which can be redeemed against the food and drinks in the beach restaurant.
Anse Chastanet beach (Marine National Park)
With abundant natural beauty and spectacular views, Anse Chastanet beach is by all means of one Saint Lucia`s most picturesque beaches. A natural curving bay fringed by palm trees just north of the town of Soufriere is an ideal getaway for honeymooners and those looking for a relaxing escape. For snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, easily accessible Anse Chastanet coral reef is in an excellent condition.
Anse Chastanet in St Lucia is known for excellent snorkeling right offshore and also, excellent scuba diving.
TIP: Crystal clear waters of Anse Chastanet with abundant sea life can get busy with the cruise ship tours coming on catamarans. Therefore, for a calmer experience, visit the beach in the morning (before 11 am). Alternatively, in the late afternoon (after 4 pm).
GOOD TO KNOW:
Despite the presence of one of the most romantic hotels in St Lucia, Anse Chastanet can be accessible to non-resort guests. A very steep 10-minute drive on an unpaved road from the village of Soufriere will bring you to the guest parking to the left.
TIP: There is no entrance fee to use the beach as all beaches in St Lucia are public (except Pigeon Island).
Seeking a more remote postcard-perfect beach with crystal clear blue waters? Make your way towards the north end of Anse Chastanet and follow the coastal path below the cliffs. Anse Mamin with soft golden sand, surrounded by trees and lush vegetation, is one of Saint Lucia`s well-kept secrets. The clear sparkling waters great for snorkeling right offshore make it a good place for families with children.
TIP: For a more deserted feel, visit Anse Mamin in the late afternoon.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Visitors not staying at the nearby luxury resort may use sun loungers for a fee. If you would like to visit a grill restaurant on the beach, bear in mind that this lovely place is serving food only until 3pm.
Sugar Beach (Jalousie beach)
No trip to Saint Lucia would be complete without a visit to the most famous beach – Sugar beach, also known Jalousie beach. A powdery white sand beach, nestled between two Pitons, offers phenomenal views.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Sugar beach, the most famous beach on the island, can be accessed via the Sugar Beach Viceroy resort entrance. The resort does not allow non-guests to drive down to the beach. Although visitors can use a shuttle service resort provides (USD 50 per person), or they can walk down to the beach (steep 1.2 km long downhill walk). To avoid an expensive shuttle bus or walking down the steep, curvy road, try to arrive by boat (water taxi).
TIP: Nowadays, the USD 50 per head access fee may be redeemed at a restaurant.
Sugar beach is divided into 3 parts:
- “south” part of the beach is accessible for hotel guests only
- “middle” part of the beach (includes the restaurant, loungers) is for the hotel guests, but visitors may hire luxurious loungers.
- “north” part of the beach (snorkeling area) with a pier and the loungers are free to use
All beaches in St Lucia are public, and anyone can access them (but visitors are not allowed to use resort`s lounge chairs unless they are hotel guests).
13. Sault falls
Surrounded by a serene forest on the Atlantic side of Saint Lucia, Sault Falls is one of St Lucia`s off-the-beaten-path experiences. Known as Errard waterfall as well as Dennery waterfall, this 15 meters (50 feet) high fall, secluded in the jungle, is definitely worth a visit.
GOOD TO KNOW:
We recommend visiting the Sault Falls during a rainy season when the waterfall has more supply of the water.
No entry fee.
Finally, whether you are after relaxing on powdery sand beaches, trekking the rich rainforest with the majestic twin Pitons, enjoying rushing waterfalls, or dreamy coastline, this unique island will mesmerize you every way. Enjoy!
FREE THINGS TO DO IN SAINT LUCIA
- visit the most popular beach on Saint Lucia – a mile-long sandy Reduit beach (the beach with excursions and activities to nearby Pigeon island)
- browse through the shops at Rodney Bay – a beautiful marina with restaurants and bars, located just 10 km (6 miles) north of Castries
- jump up on the Gross Islet street party on Friday night (7 PM – 2 AM)
- shop at the colorful Castries Market for local products, spices, and souvenirs
- explore Choc Bay – a tree-lined stretch of sandy beach on the northwest coast for a quieter experience
- discover one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Caribbean – Marigot Bay surrounded by lush hills
- drive through Canaries village, a charming fishing village on the west coast of Saint Lucia (stop for some scenic views)
- uncover picturesque town of Soufriere with gingerbread houses – Saint Lucia`s former colonial capital
- relax on the Anse Chastanet beach and enjoy perfect postcard views of the Pitons
- visit Anse Mamin beach for excellent snorkeling right offshore
- discover Sault Falls, (also known as Errard waterfall) one of the scenic waterfalls on the eastern coast of Saint Lucia
THE BEST SAINT LUCIA ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES
- don`t miss the drive-in volcano with the hottest and the most active geothermal area in the Eastern Caribbean: Sulphur Spring Park, located just south of Soufriere town
- go snorkeling or scuba diving in the Soufriere marine reserve
- swim in Torrraile waterfall or the Piton waterfall
- zip line through the Treetop Adventure Park
- walk the Tet Paul Nature Trail
- go jungle biking
- climb to the summit of one of the Piton Mountains
- climb the Mount Gimie with a guide for a more challenging experience
- take an open-air aerial tram ride above Saint Lucia`s rainforest
- sail along the coast for unforgettable views of St Lucia
- kayak to Pigeon Island
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN GROS ISLET SAINT LUCIA
- Explore the beautiful marina at Rodney bay
- Have lunch in one of the delicious restaurants at Rodney bay
- Visit Pigeon Island National Park, home to the significant landmarks in Saint Lucia
- Hike up to the ruins of Fort Rodney, located on the Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia
- Relax at one of the most famous beaches on Saint Lucia – on the Reduit Beach
- Try Splash Island Water Park, one of the newest Saint Lucia`s attractions located on the Reduit Beach
- Take a boat tour to Soufriere (a full day tour)
- Take a full-day catamaran sightseeing cruise to the beautiful Piton Mountains
- Relax at white sandy Vigie beach located just 2 km north of Castries (a short drive from the George F. L. Charles airport)
- Meet up with the locals and enjoy the famous St Lucia`s street party on Friday night in Gros Islet (a popular tourist attraction)
- Explore the Choc bay and relax on its secluded white sandy beach
- Adventurous souls should consider hiking up to the summit of Mount Pimard (202 m), located near the Rodney Bay
- Buy some local products at the Castries Market (most famous market in Saint Lucia)
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