St. Lucia is the sort of island that travelers to the Caribbean dream about, a small, lush tropical gem that is still relatively untouched by human. One of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, it is located midway downs the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, and north of Barbados. St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado. The Atlantic Ocean kisses its eastern shore, while the beaches of the west coast owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea.
Rising like an emerald tooth from the flat Caribbean Sea, St Lucia definitely grabs your attention. Glossed over as some sort of glam honeymoon spot, this mountainous island has much more to offer then just posh digs.
Who says the Caribbean is all about lying on the beach? If that’s all you do in St Lucia you’re missing out. The rainforest-choked interior is made for hiking; a canopy of green covers the island like a haze. Rolling hills grow to form volcanic mountains and reach to the sky. The iconic Pitons rise from the waves to the clouds like pyramids of volcanic stone. This isn’t some glammed-up, theme-park holiday spot – St Lucia has a pulse. Your senses are bombarded with the sights, smells and sounds of an island that’s truly alive. In Northern St Lucia, Pigeon IslandNational Park has a history of hostility, but these days, is known for walks and its small sandy beach. Towns like Castries move and shake to the sound of car horns, the smell of rotis fresh from the oven and reggae blaring on the speaker.
In natural beauty, St. Lucia seems like an island plucked from the South Pacific and set down in the Caribbean. Its dramatic twin coastal peaks, the Pitons, soar 2,000 feet up from the sea, sheltering magnificent rain forests where wild orchids, giant ferns, and birds of paradise flourish. Brilliantly-plumed tropical birds abound, including endangered species like the indigenous St. Lucia parrot. The rainforest is broken only by verdant fields and orchards of banana, coconut, mango, and papaya trees.
St. Lucia has been inhabited since long before colonial times, and its cultural treasures are a fascinating mélange of its rich past and its many different traditions. The island’s people have earned a well deserved reputation for their warmth and charm, and the island itself is dotted with aged fortresses, small villages, and open-air markets.
Sure you can find a beach to sit on and a nice hotel right beside it. There is great scuba diving to be found under the waves and the sailing is top notch. But it’s much more than that. If you’re looking for a Caribbean destination that will let you get under the skin of West Indian life, St Lucia is the one.