Cover photo: Overlooking the calm and crystal clear waters of the southern region of St Lucia
St Lucia: Island of Dramatic Beauty, Contrasts and Harmony
By: Amber Creighton
Photos By: Amber Creighton
When one hears the words Caribbean Island, the dream-like images invoked include sandy beaches, palm trees, and crystal clear waters. St. Lucia has all these essential elements and more. Our family of three, my husband, our 20-month-old daughter, and myself, landed on St. Lucia for a week of adventure and exploration. In terms of its scenery and culture, I immediately discovered with delight how different St. Lucia is from its neighboring Caribbean Islands.
The most striking feature of St. Lucia are the iconic Pitons. The Pitons seem to rise up out of the sea with its two sky striking peaks. The Pitons and other mountains, as well as the numerous steep cliffs, found on the east side of St. Lucia are in stark contrast to the gently rolling geography commonly found in the surrounding Caribbean islands.
The region surrounding the Pitons consists of pristine volcanic beaches, waterfalls, and the World’s Only Drive Through Volcano, which is an area full of geyser activities and famed for youth-restoring mud baths. Guided historical plantations tours and family friendly actives abound here. The volcanic soil has caused the exotic foliage to grow densely and beautifully throughout the Island.
The east side and southern regions of the island, provide ideal conditions for the adventure sport of kite surfing. The eastern region of the island offers canopy rides through the rain forest. The northern beaches are more sheltered and are ideal for such activities as paddle boarding on and horseback riding by the Caribbean Sea.
Pigeon Island, located off the northwest coast of the island, is a historical preserve of colonial French and British architecture. It offers great hiking, panoramic views and white beaches with calm waters.
Snorkeling and shipwreck and reef diving, are excellent in the waters of St. Lucia. I recommend the marine preserve off of Sugar Bay Beach for snorkeling. I have snorkeled and scuba dived all over the world, yet, I was beyond amazed by the rich diversity and startling combinations of sea life including brightly colored squid, eels, giant parrot fish just a few feet below the surface of this fantastic marine preserve in St. Lucia.
What I loved best about St. Lucia was that although there are tourist resorts, there is no clear division of tourist and local resident areas. Almost every Friday night, there is a fantastic dance and music festival where locals and visitors partake of equally. The vibrant marketplaces, pristine beaches (all beaches are public access), and iconic sites, are enjoyed by visitors and local residents alike.
The residents of St. Lucia are laid back and down to earth. The Creole culture is also evident in the language and the exquisite local cuisine. Due to the island’s history with the British, English is spoken fluently by almost everyone.
The island is relatively safe to drive and explore throughout as a family. Be prepared for occasional traffic jams and that the courteous local drivers will often let new cars cut into the traffic lines. This intensifies the traffic delays, but as a visitor that doesn’t have to deal with it permanently, it could be deemed rather charming. The lush tropical scenery makes the delays enjoyable.
Alternatively, taking a relaxing catamaran cruise to key destinations up and down the island is a great way to avoid traffic and view the island’s beauty from the sea. The full day and sunset catamaran tours stop-off at such picturesque sites as the Pitons and Marigot Bay, a Doctor Dolittle film location (with Rex Harrison) in 1968. Marigot Bay is prime property with many celebrity homes. The streets, beaches, and neighborhoods are extremely clean and well kept.
In summary, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway; a family friendly holiday; or an adventure filled island escape for one, St. Lucia is the place to visit!
Horseback Riding in the Caribbean at Plantation Beach
Paddle Boarding in Rodney Bay
La Toc Beach
Sugar Bay Beach
Watching the sunset at Rodney Bay
A great getaway for couples or the whole family