The slogan “St Lucia – let her inspire you” is printed on every wristband handed out to visitors upon arrival at St. Lucia’s airport, Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in Vieux Fort. It is not surprising that the island has such a motto, as it goes above and beyond what is typically seen in the West Indies and Caribbean; it is hospitable, picturesque, and overall lovely.
Every year, one million visitors grace the island of St. Lucia– which has a mere 180,000 residents. The British are amongst these tourists annually and it’s no surprise why so many people visit every year when two-thirds of St. Lucia’s income is derived from tourism.
The island of St Lucia has long been considered one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean, and it’s easy to see why. With its stunning mountainous scenery, it’s no wonder that this “Jewel of the Caribbean” has served as the backdrop for films like Superman 2, Dr Dolittle, Inspector Gadget 2, and The American Bachelor.
If you’re looking to experience some of St Lucia’s unrivaled beauty for yourself, here are five must-see sites:
The Pitons, two massive twin peaks, are on every tourist poster of St Lucia. Local brewery’s most popular beer is even named after them.
These eruptions took place out of the Caribbean Sea through tectonic plates off the island’s southwest coast millions of years ago.. In 2004, they were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can take a boat tour and see the Pitons close up from the sea; or, if your budget allows it,, you could circle them in a helicopter for an aerial view.
For the adventurous types, climbing Gros Piton is a must. Scaling the 798.25 meter cliff face is no easy feat and can take up to six gruelling hours. But at the end of it all, you’re rewarded with an incredible view from the summit. If heights aren’t really your thing, that’s okay! There are plenty of gorgeous beaches nearby where you can spend the day relaxing with a refreshing glass of Piton beer in hand while watching the mesmerizing light play off the peaks.
Rainforest Aerial Trams
Head to the rainforest near Castries for an 800m gondola ride through the jungle, 1400 ft above sea level. You’ll get a Tarzan-esque experience as you swing from tree to tree like in the movies, with breathtaking views of St Lucia’s west coast.
The rainforest appears fertile from above, and it’s easy to see how quickly the jungle could consume something if left unmonitored.
As you ride the tram, your expert guide points out various animals for you to look at, such as the agouti. The agouti is a rodent that has very short legs and loves to roll around (its only method of getting downhill).
The agouti is often called dim-witted. It plants nuts in the ground and can’t understand why trees have taken their place a year later.
St. Lucia was invaded fourteen different times over the course of a century and a half, seven times each by the French and British forces. George Rodney, an admiral for Britain during one period of rule between 1779-1782, took control of Pigeon Island on St. Lucia’s north east coast. The island was previously home to Francois le Clerc—a feared 16th century pirate.
On Pigeon Island, Rodney erected a fortress from which he could spy on the French 21 miles away on Martinique to the north. The fort is still there today and even has three cannons that each weigh 24 pounds and are inscribed with “GR” in honor of King George III who was reigning when Rodney built the fort.
The admiral, with a modesty characteristic of the era, called it Fort Rodney. If he wanted an unobstructed view of the enemy across the water, he would have to cut down all the trees on Pigeon Island.
The sparse, treeless 44-acre island is now a National Park, and a marvellous place to see the surrounding islands, including, of course, Martinique. It is also home to the wonderful annual St Lucia Jazz Festival.
Sulphur Springs Park
The drive-through volcano is an attraction you won’t want to miss when visiting the Caribbean. In terms of geothermal activity, it is hottest and most active in the Lesser Antilles region. Sulphur Springs Park, which spans 44 hectares near Soufrière, lets you explore the volcanic crater up close (despite the pungent smell of eggs).
The boiling cauldron is peppered with bubbling volcanic pools filled with water that can reach temperatures of up to 172 degrees. However, there has not been a major volcanic eruption here since 1766.
Bird Watching Tours
The birdlife of Saint Lucia is colourful and captivating. There are hummingbirds everywhere you turn, and the air thrums with the flapping wings of other felicitously named birds such as the shining cowbird, the ruddy turnstone, the grey trembler and – wait for it – the bananaquit.
The birds offer great drama. For example, one evening as we watch the sunset over Caribbean Sea , we spy a Brown Booby as it swoops down and snatches a fish . It’s soon being ruthlessly pursued by its nemesis – the infuriatingly humourous named Magnificent Frigatebird.
Coined as “the pirate of the sea”, this ferocious creature’s MO is to hunt the Brown Booby after it catches a fish, and then either rob it directly or threaten it into relinquishing its prize. The reason the Magnificent Frigatebird does this boils down to one word: Laziness. You see, these birds have wings so big that if they tried to dive into the ocean for their own food, they would drown—a fact which provides them with a convenient excuse for stealing from others. As for the Booby? Well, let’s just say it got its name honestly…