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Your guide to Saint Lucia
All About Saint Lucia
Dominated by volcanic peaks, dense forests, and tropical vegetation, the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia sits at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Turquoise waters lap the shores of the island’s white-sand beaches, and just off the coast you’ll find coral reefs where you can snorkel or dive. Though Saint Lucia’s volcanoes are technically active, the most action you’re likely to see is at the Sulphur Springs, where geothermal activity creates pools of boiling water that bubble up from the earth. While these pools are too hot to approach, there are some areas where you can take a soothing mud bath.
On the northwest tip of the island you’ll find Rodney Bay Marina, an entry port and marina with cozy restaurants and trendy bars. In contrast, the southern half of the island features candy-colored villages, small markets and stalls, and traditional Caribbean homes. All along the coastline, Saint Lucia offers adventurous marine experiences, including kayaking and windsurfing. The verdant interior rainforests contain massive waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and hiking trails for all skill levels.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Saint Lucia
The best time to visit Saint Lucia is during winter and spring, when the weather is consistently sunny and warm and there is little rain. During May, Saint Lucia hosts the Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival, a month-long series of events celebrating jazz, roots and soul music, and visual arts. Summer and fall are mostly sunny but bring the possibility of brief, heavy rainfall; hurricane season begins in June and lasts through November. In the second week of July, the country organizes Saint Lucia’s Carnival, where you can see music and dance performances as well as parades.
Top things to do in Saint Lucia
The Gros Piton (2,500 feet tall) and the Petit Piton (2,400 feet tall) are the two volcanic mountains that soar above the Caribbean Sea and are a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you’d like to take a closer look, there are trails to the summit of each of them. You can even dive at the foot of Petit Piton and see the volcanic wall from underwater.
Three-quarters of Saint Lucia is covered with lush rainforest, home to 1,300 plant species and hundreds of animal species, particularly birds and insects. You can trek through the rainforest with a local guide, or go ziplining through the canopy and take in the beautiful plant life from above. Aerial trams departing from Castries offer another way of getting a bird’s-eye view, taking several passengers at a time in “cars” that glide high above the forest floor.
This colorful fishing village is about an hour’s drive south from the capital city of Castries and is the perfect base for seeing many of the island’s attractions. Here you’ll find hiking trailheads for the Pitons, as well as the Sulphur Springs and the Diamond Falls and Botanical Gardens. When you’re finished sightseeing for the day, relax on the palm-lined Anse Mamin Beach. There is a small town square with historic buildings where you can learn about the village’s history, as well as some shops and restaurants.