St Lucia is deceptively small — it’s only 238 sq miles. But within the island’s 10 districts are a multitude of activities and attractions to bolster your vacation itinerary.
Most of the action is condensed in the north and west coast regions. That’s where you will find the oft-mentioned ancient ruins of the Pigeon Island National Park, steaming Sulphur Springs, and the world-famous majesty of the Pitons.
But peppered in between these popular sites are fishing village fiestas, powerful cascading waterfalls, zipline adventures, and of course, the miles of beaches. Here are the best places to visit in St Lucia.
Best area for nightlife
Castries is the official capital of St Lucia, but Gros-Islet is unequivocally the epicenter of the island’s party scene. The quiet fishing village near the northern tip of the island hosts a weekly street party that has long been a tourist favorite, largely due to the pulsating live music and the tantalizing aroma of grilled fish and barbeque chicken.
A short drive away, the Rodney Bay strip is lined with restaurants featuring multicultural fare. Sports enthusiasts will appreciate the immaculately maintained greens of the Sandal’s Golf & Country Club located in the toney Cap Estate area and the electric atmosphere at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (DSCG), home of regional and international matches and named after a son of the soil.
Join local Olympian Beth Lygoe for kitesurfing sessions on the mostly undeveloped but gorgeous Cas En Bas Beach or take a nearby horse riding tour.
One of the more underrated but stunning beaches, Anse La Vout, aka the “five dollar beach,” is another Cas En Bas gem. Just five minutes away, history buffs will appreciate the Pigeon Island National Park’s ancient artifacts and panoramic hilltop views.
Throw in the family-friendly Splash Island Water Park on Reduit Beach, and you can easily spend your vacation milling about Gros-Islet.
Best city for shopping
One of the capital city’s largest draws is the Castries Market which features scores of local souvenirs like handcrafted baskets and woodworks, soaps, spices and trinkets carved from coconut shells and calabash.
The busiest day is Saturday when residents typically come into the city to purchase homegrown produce and fresh herbs. The Pointe Seraphine shopping complex should be your next stop for more upscale and duty-free items.
It’s just outside the city center and offers a mélange of services and items, including car rentals, land and boat tours, souvenirs, designer fragrances, jewelry and clothing.
Expect it to be bustling when cruise ships are in port. Be sure to drop by the Antillia Brewing Company’s beer garden to sample their unique menu of Passion Fruit Ale, West Indian Pale Ale, and St Lucian Indian Pale Ale.
Morne Fortune, a former military outpost overlooking the Castries harbor, is also worth a visit for expansive vistas overlooking the city. Visitors can also call on the neighboring Governor General’s residence ahead of time.
3. Anse La Raye
Best area for seafood lovers
The West Coast version of Gros-Islet’s Friday night street fete is a mere 45 minutes away southbound — 25 from Castries — in the fishing village of Anse la Raye. However, the Anse La Raye Fish Fry is a bit less exuberant than its northern counterpart. The laid-back vibe reflects the seaside respite's chill personality, which offers a slice of St Lucian life.
Tuck into freshly caught fish seasoned with local herbs and spices and grilled to perfection on the waterfront while sipping on local libations. Other seafood treats include lobster, conch and fishcakes (more commonly known as accras).
Dance with the residents to live or DJ spun reggae, calypso and soca tunes. If you’re looking for a secluded hideaway, the intimate, adults-only getaway Ti Kaye Resort & Spa is perched on a nearby cliff overlooking the bay. The Anse Cochon beach in Anse la Raye is a snorkeling hotspot.
4. Marigot Bay
Best area for boaters
American novelist James A. Michener once described this oasis as "The most beautiful bay in the Caribbean" in his 1978 novel Chesapeake. Marigot Bay is one of the most photogenic spots on an island rife with postcard-worthy landmarks.
Some of the world’s biggest superyachts have dropped anchor in the Marigot Bay Marina’s azure waters. The beautiful bay on the western coast of the Caribbean island was the backdrop of the original 1967 Dr. Doolittle film. Take a water taxi across the bay to dine at the seaside restaurant and bar of the same name, DOOlittle’s.
Landlubbers can sample some of the island’s signature rums with a guided tour of the renowned St Lucia Distillers and their award-winning Chairman’s Reserve, a few minutes away in the Roseau Valley.
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Best area for adventurers
Dennery is yet another of the island’s multiple fishing villages. Like Gros-Islet and Anse-la-Raye, Dennery has its own nightlife staple: a fish fry every Saturday. The seafood fiesta spills out onto the beachfront, accompanied by their signature Dennery Segment sound.
Adrenaline junkies or anyone up for a challenge will find their tribe at the Treetop Adventure Park ensconced deep within the thicket of the St Lucia Rainforest. Glide through the air and view the treetops from 150ft above ground while safely tethered to one of 12 double cable ziplines. Intermittent bursts of color from the various species of blooms are sprinkled throughout the verdant foliage.
Visitors also have the option of biking or hiking the trail to Errard Waterfall, where they will be rewarded with what is considered by many the most stunning cascades on the island. Don’t leave the east coast without stopping at the Mandele Lookout Point overlooking the sheltered village.
Best area for sightseeing
The district on the southwestern coast was once the island’s capital during French rule. That title has since been bestowed onto Castries but doesn’t diminish the fishing port’s significance. No trip to Saint Lucia is complete without visiting at least one of Soufrière’s multiple attractions.
The most famous of the lot is the towering twin peaks, the Pitons. The iconic duo has been on Unesco’s World Heritage List since 2004 and are arguably the country’s crown jewels and a favorite of hikers. The views from the summits are unmatched.
Also demanding top billing is the Sulphur Springs, a “drive-in volcano” fashioned from one of the collapsed volcanic craters. If you can get past the pungent sulfur scent, the soothing mud baths are packed with rich minerals beneficial for skin care.
Soufrière is blessed with some of the island’s most stunning beaches and waterfalls, including Jalousie beach, Anse Mamin beach, the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, and Toraille waterfall. Novice hikers and nature lovers will adore the ease and beauty of the Tet Paul nature trail. With so much available, it’s not surprising that some of the most luxurious and romantic properties for honeymooners like Ladera, Jade Mountain, and Anse Chastanet are hidden in the Soufrière hills.
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Best area for horticulture enthusiasts
Micoud village, on the southeast coast, is tiny but harbors some of the best attractions that St Lucia has to offer. Hop aboard one of the public transits southbound on the Vieux-Fort route (or northbound, depending on your accommodations) and take a leisurely half-hour walk to the La Tille Waterfalls and Gardens or rent a car for the day and drive in.
This spot isn’t as heavily trafficked by tourists, which makes it ideal for those who prefer to avoid large crowds and want a more tranquil setting.
Inside, you will find the gushing cascade, a natural pool, canopied rest areas, hammocks, a “fish pedicure” pond, and a beautifully kept herbal and flower garden with local fruits. Mamiku Gardens is another paradisiacal haven featuring 12 acres blanketed by a medley of exotic and indigenous flowers and ancient trees.
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