Five Things You Should Do in St. Lucia

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OK, we’re going to assume that you know to visit, marvel over and perhaps climb St. Lucia’s most prominent topographic features, the Pitons, the two massive volcanic plugs that rise dramatically out of the sea. The Petit Piton and Gros Piton – the “breasts of St. Lucia” as some wags call them – are the most photographed landmarks in the Caribbean, they grace the country’s flag, top many must-see lists and are designated a World Heritage Site.

If you hadn’t yet thought of visiting the PItons, then consider this the “Six Thing You Should Do in St. Lucia.”

1. Dive Into a Black Hole
St. Lucia has lots of spectacular beaches, but some of the best are the hardest to get to, keeping away the tourist hordes. Picturesque Anse l’Ivrogne, called “Sevoigne” in the local Kweyol language, offers sweeping views, a line of palm trees and is a hotspot for scuba diving and snorkelling, with trumpet fish, triggerfish, octopus, trunkfish and other marine fauna providing in-water entertainment.. The beach’s nickname is “Black Hole” because of the 2,000-foot-plus drop-off near the shoreline. Locals and tourists alike also come here for horseback riding, exploring 18th-century sugar plantation ruins and reaching the trailhead for Gros Piton hikes. You can find the beach by heading to Pitons Heritage Site and then hiking about 15 minutes from the road – well worth the trip.

2. Drive into a Volcano
Rent a car, go to Sulphur Spring Park and drive into the crater of the Soufriere volcano, which has a fenced-off section full of hot rocks, steam and boiling pools of murky water. Every full moon, the pools turn into geysers. Apparently this is the world’s only drive-in volcano but don’t worry it’s safe – probably. Its last “event” was a steam-only eruption many years ago.

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Photo: Connie Ma

While there you should go for a restorative cure at the Diamond Waterfall, Botanical Gardens & Mineral Baths. The waters were said to hold the same properties as the famous French spa at Aix-les bains and the Aix-la-Chapelle in Germany.  Bathing in the waters is recommended for people who suffer from chronic rheumatism, respiratory complaints or ulcers. Visitors can also be seen covering themselves with volcano mud, also said to have curative powers and pronounced beneficial effects on the libido.

3. Party and Chow Down on Friday Night
On Friday night, things are happening in St. Lucia. Gros Islet (pronounced GROZ-i-lay) is a little fishing village located in the northeastern tip of the island. Its Friday night “jump up” has become famous, with locals and visitors partying together, shaking their body parts to music blasted from competing outdoor sound systems. The festivities, with food supplied by street vendors, go on until the early hours.

Or Anse le Baye, a town boasting French and English colonial architecture on the island’s western side, offers Friday night fish feasts. Its beach road is lined with black oilcan barbecues and great silver boiling pots. With the beach backdrop, and lots of music of course, you can partake of lobsters, fish and conch caught and prepared by local fishermen.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a nice villa to go home to later, gripping your distended belly as you drift off into a seafood slumber.

4. Ramble Through the Rainforest
Yes, you should take a hike through some of St. Lucia’s lush 19,000 acres of rainforest, with pristine waterfalls, ferns as big as houses and wild orchids. Perhaps you’ll get a view of the rare Jacquot (St. Lucia Amazon) parrot. You’ll require a naturalist or forest officer as a guide, who should help you avoid some of the four species of poisonous snakes and boa constrictors that also call the rainforest their home. If you want to stay above such encounters, the Treetop Adventure Park in Dennery lets you do zip-line trips through the forest canopy.

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Photo by: Terri Needham

5. Toast the Sunset
The best place to enjoy a sunset in St. Lucia – with drink in hand, of course – is Marigot Bay, where they shot the 1967 movie Dr. Doolittle, with Rex Harrison. The long road trip south (nicer if you can go by boat) takes you to one of the Caribbean’s most secure anchorages, where fleets of sailboats and yachts are flanked by rugged cliffs and towering pines.  A number of bars offer prime views of the sunset.

 

 

 

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