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St Lucia guide

St Lucia national flag

St Lucia at a glance

ST LUCIA is a strikingly beautiful island, the largest and most developed of the Windward Islands, with charming, English and often French Creole-speaking islanders; easily reached from Europe, OK from Canada, a little harder from the States; some classic white sand beaches, but also many pretty, steep-sided, hidden coves, most with beach bars, some dark sand. Many hotels with an all-inclusive plan, but also an excellent crop of smaller, more individual hotels ideal for independent travellers, in a full range of prices. Also excellent villas. Some good, many lively restaurants, good day sails, growing golf scene, excellent natural life. Visible plantation history.

Read about St Lucia history, population and politics in Island Essentials.

The Definitive St Lucia Island Guide gives you independent reviews, listings, and information from top travel journalists and Caribbean specialists.

Best for:
Beaches, breathtaking scenery, fine dining, good depth of accommodation, spas
What for:
Art & Artisans, Culture & Heritage, Family, Flowers & Gardens, Hiking, Single Travel, Weddings & Romance
Not for:
Casinos, Naturist
How to get there:
Direct flights from the UK and North America ir via Barbados and Puerto Rico.
Top tip:
Take a day trip to Martinique for a French Caribbean experience

St Lucia in depth

By James Henderson

About ST LUCIA...

St Lucia is a stunningly beautiful island situated at the heart of the Windward chain in the Eastern Caribbean, between St Vincent and Martinique. It stands with massive green bulk, a network of forested peaks that soar and ridges and valleys that tumble to the coastlines. Set between their flanks you will find incredibly pretty coves. St Lucia is also immensely fertile. The forest grows so fast it's enough to put a gardener in a panic.

St Lucia is lucky to have a grand variety of terrain. To the south of the capital you will see agriculture, swathes of crops filling the valleys, particularly bananas. But while the south is volcanic and so mountainous and fertile, the north and the east coast have less rugged country. Over the millennia they have become capped by coral growth, and consequently have white sand beaches. As the most developed of the Windward Island, St Lucia has a bit of light industry, which you will see lining the main road out of Castries heading north. Otherwise it is immensely attractive.

St Lucia has been quite successful at projecting itself onto the world’s consciousness as a romantic destination. The island is quite well known now, and it has a large number of visitors each year (including a considerable wedding business). The tourism in the north is led by a number of large and successful hotels.

Many of these have adopted an all-inclusive format, so it might seem limiting for the independent traveller as well, but in fact St Lucia also has a surprising depth of independent hotels. Tucked away in the island’s very pretty coves and on its lush hillsides (even in the busy North of the island), you will find some absolutely charming places to stay, in all the price categories. Here you get real local Caribbean charm with a Creole twist.

The St Lucians themselves are charming and have a mixed heritage that results from the island’s complex historical past. For many years the island was French, but it was snatched by the British, taken back by the French, and handed back and forth by treaty countless times. The result is a population that largely speaks both English and French Creole.

They have received other things too, from their French Creole heritage. There is a certain style, in the cast of St Lucian faces perhaps, and in their manner and dress, certainly in a coquettishness, that distinguishes them from most former British Caribbean islanders.

St Lucia’s most famous landmark are the Pitons, twin pointed volcanic peaks that rise side by side mid way down the Caribbean coast like massive eye teeth. They are incredibly striking, when viewed from both sea and land. Although they appear to be free-standing peaks, in fact they are part of the walls of a volcanic cone that blew itself apart an estimated 40,000 years ago.

But St Lucia is attractive for many reasons. It has a strong Creole aspect which is fun to see. It is a lively island, and accessible. There is a number of weekly events that are fun to join in, fish fries in local villages and of course Friday night at Gros Islet. But in the end its physical beauty is supreme, whether it’s the Pitons in the south or the lovely stretch of bays and beaches in the north.

 

The Definitive St Lucia Guide is maintained by a team of top travel writers and our own in-house team of Caribbean specialists.  The guide contains independent reviews about St Lucia, its accommodation, things to do, places to seegetting around, how to get there and links for travel to St Lucia. 

Contributors include Jane Anderson, Deana Bellamy, Alexander Gray, Feona Gray, Peter Ellegard and Sara Macefield.  Picture editor, Holly Cocker.  Senior Picture Editor, Alexander Gray.

Or read our other island guides

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St Lucia weather

St Lucia weather chart

When to go and weather

Looking for inspiration?

  1. Visit the world's only drive through volcano
  2. Play a round of golf at the Cap Estate
  3. Try dramatic wall diving off the base of the Petit Piton
  4. Eat local food and dance all night at Fish Friday, Anse La Raye
  5. Get married at a choice of romantic spots from private beaches and gardens to cliff tops and brigs

St Lucia Events

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