Population: 170,000 citizens
Size: 238 square miles
If an intimate tropical glory that is still relatively unknown is your idea of a Caribbean escape, then the small island of St. Lucia is a gem. Located in the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, St. Lucia is a close neighbor to Martinique, St. Vincent, and Barbados. Like many of the island nations in the Caribbean, St. Lucia has a very interesting and turbulent history. For centuries St. Lucia was fought over for control by the English and French resulting in its ownership having changed some 14 times. Its natural beauty is reminiscent of the south pacific region and full of vibrant tropical orchids, lush foliage, and exotic creatures abound. The amazing beauty of the land is complimented by the sweet smell of the tropical bananas, papayas, and mangos that grow in the fields of St. Lucia. St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. Despite the intimate scale of St. Lucia, this destination is one that offers a wide variety of accommodation. From romantic villas to five-star luxury resorts, you can find a setting that will please any discerning traveler.
St. Lucia’s most recognized geographic signature is its striking twin coastal peaks known as the Pitons. These dramatic formations covered in lush green vegetation reach nearly 2,500 feet above the Caribbean Sea. The Pitons dominate the landscape of St. Lucia as it kisses the Caribbean Sea to one side and to the other provides shelter to the magnificent rain forests.
When to go
St. Lucia is a year round destination and visitors to the island should expect hot and humid weather year round. The average temperature during the hot season is typically low to mid 90’s Fahrenheit, with the cool season dropping back to the low 80’s Fahrenheit. Despite the hot temperatures the mild trade wind breezes bring a comforting feel to the otherwise beautiful weather. Peak travel season for St. Lucia is typically between mid-November and the first of April. When planning for travel to St. Lucia, budget for peak season pricing during the months of November to April as well.
There is a rainy season that is generally between the months of June and November. Brief but heavy showers can and do occur during this period, however they are typically brief and quickly followed by beautiful weather. St. Lucia is a destination that is located in the Caribbean hurricane belt with the greatest potential for hurricanes to occur between the months of June to November.
Weather conditions can vary greatly on the island depending on your location. On the beach shores you will benefit from the cool breezes and slightly less humidity as compared to the humid heat one would experience in the depths of the rainforests.
Sun, Sand, Sea & Shopping
St. Lucia offers your choice of both white sugary sand beaches or stunning black sand beaches. St. Lucia’s black sand beaches are the result of the island’s past volcanic history and provides a beautiful look especially when you find them at times lixed with the white sands. All beaches located on the island are public, however some resorts may make it a little difficult to access some of them. You will find the beaches located on the west side of the island are much more suitable for swimming than those on the eastern or Atlantic side.
On the northwest coast is the spectacular Marigot Bay where beach goers can find restaurants, bars, and shopping. The picturesque Choc Bay is perfect for families with small children given its calm waters suitable for swimming and snorkeling. Rodney Bay is probably one of the most unique beaches in St. Lucia and offers plenty of activities to enjoy. While this beach can become crowded, it offers an array of restaurants, hotels, shops, and water sports to enjoy.
Hiking is one of the most popular activities in St. Lucia and offers an intimate experience in exploring the quieter side of St. Lucia. Covered in mountainous rainforests, it is a good idea to bring your best hiking shoes, light hat, and insect repellant. One of the greatest views while hiking is that of the Pitons.
St. Lucia does offer a duty-free shopping experience for items such as perfume, crystals, liquor, and watches, but it is not known for its shopping experience like other Caribbean destinations. You will also find a number of the larger hotels and resorts offering shopping experiences. Castries Markets and beachside vendors are probably the most popular and offer some great buys for handmade crafts, wood carvings, and beachwear.
Dining & Nightlife
Besides the luxury resorts and hotels, much of St. Lucia’s dining experience can be found in Castries and Rodney Bay. You can find a large range of dining experiences from a romantic European offering to that of a casual beach side establishment offering freshly caught seafood delights just steps from the door. Whichever you choose you will find the island’s beauty will provide a sensory compliment to the dining experience. For a unique dining atmosphere with a view, visit the Anse Chastanet Resort for a relaxed lunch. Perched on a hillside and overlooking the lush tropical foliage and Caribbean Sea, the Treehouse Restaurant offers open air dining in true Caribbean style. In Rodney Bay is the Lime On The Bay restaurant and nightclub offering a great dinner with an atmosphere of music and dancing. When you’re done with your meal, head upstairs to the nightclub or next door to the Late Lime, one of the island’s liveliest nightclubs.
St. Lucia comes alive at night as the locals love their music. Most hotels and resorts will have a variety of offerings for nightly entertainment including limbo dancers and steel pan music. On Friday nights, the village of Gros offers a truly local experience with their “jump-up”, a local street dance and party for the islanders and visitors. Be prepared as this festive event goes into the early morning hours and you will not want to miss out.