A day-long road trip around the beautiful island St Lucia offers natural beauty, plenty of snacks and the chance to experience the island as locals do.
In West Indian parlance, a “lime” is not just a citrus fruit. In the local lingo, it means hanging out, seeking out that oh-so-chill social vibe that’s an inextricable part of Caribbean culture. In St Lucia, there’s no greater lime than a “round de island” tour, a day-long odyssey where you circumnavigate the island, making multiple stops along the way for food, drinks and a dip in the river.
St Lucian roads are a maze of twists and sharp bends interspersed with breathtaking vistas. Yet the real beauty of this full-day trip is the opportunity to see the popular tourist sites like the Pitons and Sulphur Springs while experiencing the country as a local would.
So grab your sunscreen, swimsuit and some comfortable shoes as you hit up some underrated spots on this fabulous, ambitious, day-long road trip across St Lucia.
A St Lucia “round de island” tour
Start and end in Castries
Approximately 70 miles; 6–8 hours
This “round de island” adventure starts off from the city of Castries heading west via the Millennium Highway. Expect an endlessly curvy stretch of road that at times feels like a roller-coaster ride going in slow motion.
For the most part, the terrain is smooth (save for the errant pothole). Tropical storms have caused landslides and erosion over the years, so there’s typically ongoing road work in an effort to rehabilitate the area and improve road safety.
While drivers should always proceed with caution, any driving discomfort is offset by the perpetually gorgeous scenery. Keep an eye peeled for Marigot Bay, the stunning azure inlet featured in the original Dr Doolittle film from 1967. Also on the route is Canaries, a charming, colorful and photogenic coastal fishing village.
Supermarkets, grocery shops and gas stations are available in almost every village and town along the way in case you need to make a pit stop. The vendors perched precariously close to the roadside are also a reliable option should you want a quick snack. Expect a much smoother ride – but one that’s no less picturesque – on the loop back to Castries via the eastern coast.
First stop: Plas Kassav
Wedged between the quaint fishing villages of Anse-La-Raye and Canaries in the community of Anse La Verdure, Plas Kassav, a small, family-run roadside bakery, is the definition of a hole in the wall. It’s a welcome stop along the very long and winding west-coast road.
The bakery specializes in dense and chewy cassava-flour cakes that can be sweet or savory, and which come in over a dozen flavors including chocolate, cherry, banana, cinnamon, coconut and saltfish. Depending on the time of day, you can watch the entire cake-making process, from peeling and grating the cassava tubers to baking the cakes on banana leaves over hot coals. You’ll also catch glimpses of the rainforest just below.
Second stop: Tet Paul Nature Trail
You don’t need to devote hours to enjoy the Tet Paul Nature Trail, which fits seamlessly into this day-long road excursion. Expect an easy-to-moderate trek that can be completed in 45 minutes; it’s also a perfect group outing.
Along the trail, you’ll learn about St Lucia’s agriculture heritage, cassava production, horticulture and organic farming. And the views from Tet Paul are simply phenomenal: in one fell swoop, you can see the towering Pitons, Jalousie Bay, Fond Gens Libre, Choiseul, Maria Island and Vieux Fort. Neighboring islands St Vincent and Martinique are also visible. There’s even a small picnic area to enjoy a meal and decompress while soaking in the scenery.
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Third stop: Piton Falls
Diamond and Latille Waterfalls are amply visited by visitors to St Lucia, but Piton Falls is a secluded oasis which is less likely to be crowded. Just off the road to the Jalousie Resort, the steep and at times winding drive in ends in a short walk down a paved path toward the falls.
At the base of a series of steps, you’ll find three small warm-water pools fed from thermal heated water cascading over slippery rocks. The area is camouflaged by the dense thicket of rainforest, allowing for a tranquil retreat. The intimate, grotto-like setting also makes for a fantastic photo op, well worth the small entrance fee.
Fourth stop: Coastline Beach Bar
Just off the Micoud Highway, Vieux-Fort’s Sandy Beach offers the best of both worlds. There’s the strip of white sand that meets turquoise waters, with an unfettered view of Maria Island. There’s also a Heineken-branded wooden deck with a straw canopy you can’t miss that houses the Coastline Beach Bar, a locally owned haunt serving up freshly cooked fare and frosty local brews at reasonable prices.
This place has the kind of good vibe that might convince you to skip the rest of the trip and shoot the breeze with the locals for the rest of the day. Since the bar is only a couple of minutes from the Hewanorra International Airport, you might plan on making another visit here before flying home.
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Fifth stop: Tomazo Bread
Since it’s impossible to leave St Lucia without sampling some creole bread, Tomazo should be at the top of your list. The roadside bakery is an extension of a family home and always draws a crowd of locals and tourists alike. But the goods are more than worth the wait.
The wood-fired outdoor oven produces large, hot, crusty loaves that are best enjoyed with thick slices of local cheese or butter. Grab some homemade coconut turnovers and Lucian lime squash for later.
Tomazo will come into view on the shoulder of the road as you approach Dennery Village. But trust your nose, and let the smell of fresh bread guide you.
Final stop: Mandele Lookout Point
Mandele Lookout Point is a must on any a round-de-island itinerary. This overlook sits on a bluff overlooking Dennery Village on the east coast of the island, and provides expansive and unobstructed views of the town below. Grab a final drink for the road at one of the three nearby bars. It’s the ideal way to cap off a long day.
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