The Caribbean is a collective name given to the area in the Atlantic Sea which consists of countless islands in the West Indies and the Caribbean Sea.
The tropical Caribbean offers diverse natural and man-made attractions, uniquely different from one another. Among these is Saint Lucia, a land territory located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies. This summer, uncover its charm and beauty as we roam its many white sand beaches and swim in its pristine blue waters.
A Warm Island Greeting
Your first stop whenever in Saint Lucia should be Castries, the country’s capital and most populated city. Established by the French Empire in 1650, Castries offers tourists many recreational activities to do and picturesque landmarks to visit like its exceptionally numerous white sand beaches surrounding the whole metropolis. One of the favorites is the Derek Walcott Square, a public park named after the same 1992 Nobel Prize winning poet and playwright. A few steps from the square is the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the largest church in the country as well as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Castries. Another sight worth seeing is Morne Fortune where Fort Charlotte was constructed as well as the 1895 residential chateau of Saint Lucia’s governor-general. Don’t forget to roam around the duty-free districts of La Place Carenage and Point Seraphine for the best dining and shopping options. Last and most importantly, a trip to Castries will never be complete without spending time at the beach. Probably the most visited is Marigot Bay, a luxury resort and marina, offering tourists and locals alike different services starting from their two infinity pools, bars and restaurants such as the Hurricane Hole, Rum Cave, and Masala Bay; Marina village offering yachting services and a farmers market, state of the art spa and wellness center, and penthouses fully equipped with a hot tub, pool terrace, poolside bar, as well as an air-conditioned bedroom, living room, and dining room.
Never be left out of the party as you board the Carnival Fascination Cruise Ship, Castries’ most lavish and expensive cruise line. Leaving dock at Pointe Seraphine, Carnival Fascination’s crew of nine hundred twenty will gladly assist its passengers at all times. Luxurious in all its forms, the cruise ship is complete with world-class facilities such as the sundeck and serenity pools, casino royale, theater, dance clubs, nightlife parties, beauty salon, spa and fitness center, and varying cabins of different sizes and interior designs. Moreover, many restaurants and bars are also found within the ship’s premises. Among the well-visited are the 88 Piano Bar, Coconut Grove Bar and Grill, Bogart’s Café, and several pool bars and dining areas serving local Caribbean cuisines.
One of Carnival Fascination’s stops is Ibiza Town where a timeworn fortress was built. Far from its tragic yet historical life, Ibiza is now a quaint town where visitors and locals have a chance to witness the grandeur of the Caribbean Sea and its surrounding islands on top of the citadel’s seven bastions. Among these battlements are the Baluard de Sant Jaume, Baluard de Sant Joan, the Baluard de Sant Pere, and the Baluard de Santa Lucia, the largest and the venue of the annual Eivissa Jazz Festival. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the bulwark of Ibiza also has a wide plaza known as the Plaza de Vila whose entrance is through the Portal de Ses Taules. The plaza’s cobblestone courtyard has been a frequent venue for the yearly Medieval Festival held every May, as well as the stage for weekly dramatizations of the town’s affluent history which is included in the two-hour guided tour around the fortification.
Twin Piton Mountains
Saint Lucia’s most iconic landmark and the best viewing point overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the twin Piton Mountains located at the southern tip of the town of Soufrière enthralls its visitors with a beautiful white sand beach as well as a hiking experience on top of Gros Piton.
A volcanic formation called a lava neck, Piton Mountains consists of two spires connected by a ridge called the Piton Mitan. The tallest is named Gros Piton with a height of over 2,530 feet and its twin Petit Piton with a height of over 2,438 feet. Considered as a World Heritage Site, Gros Piton offers an easy hiking experience attainable with or without a guide. Petit Piton, on the other hand, has a more difficult ascent and can only be climbed by professional hikers and mountaineers.
However, if you are not much of a climber and only looking for a place to relax and enjoy the scenery, Jalousie Beach Resort is the right spot for you. Also known as Sugar Beach, the area is accessible through a forty-minute boat ride from the Castries Harbor. Activities in the beach include swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and wind surfing. Visitors can also enjoy a yachting experience complete with stops at the foot of Petit Piton, spelunking in the Bat Cave, diving at the rock formation affectionately called as the Tunnel of Love, interacting with locals in the fishing village of Anse La Raye, and finally swimming at the black sand volcanic beach of Anse Chastanet.
Another must-try when visiting the Piton Mountains are the Sulphur Springs where visitors can see a live volcano’s crater up close. And by live, hot steam continuously comes out of the crater. A river also flows from the crater where visitors can try out a mud bath which is believed to have health benefits.
Last, but definitely not the least, Pigeon Island is worthy of a visit for its scenic landscape and extraordinary landmarks. Situated in the small fishing village of Gros Islet, the national landmark’s most distinct feature is Fort Rodney which was built in 1778 as a defensive citadel against the approaching French fleet. Accessible through a walking trail, the fort offers a historical perspective of the once strong British force through its military ruins, complete with a powder hold and two cannons as well as a kitchen, a mess hall, soldier’s barracks, and the commanding officer’s quarters. A part of Fort Rodney, Signal Hill is Pigeon Island’s highest peak, affectionately known as Admiral George Rodney’s main lookout point. Other attractions nearby are the historical sites of Choc Cemetery, King George V Botanical Garden, and the St. Lucia Folk Research Center.
At the foot of Fort Rodney, one can find man-made causeway Rodney Bay that connects the island to the mainland. Horseshoe in shape, it presents its visitors with many facilities and services such as the Treasure Bay Casino, a man-made lagoon, traditional stores selling local crafts, and spas offering Ayurvedic massages, reflexology, therapies, and yoga classes. The bay also boasts of its superb marina accommodating small and large yachts and cruising ships in its estimated three hundred and fifty three anchorages and mega docks. Both tourists and locals can also play under the sun by trying different water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and water skiing in Reduit Beach or by spending a day at the Splash Island Water Park.
After a fun day, replenish your energy with a sumptuous meal at several sought-after restaurants like Barnacles, La Terrasse, Toscanini’s, Jambe de Bois, and Olde London Pub.
A Caribbean Summer Adventure
Traveling is always best experienced during this time of the year, and Saint Lucia is the best choice to start of the summer season. Take advantage of the warm weather, world-class attractions, and unhindered landscapes as you roam the island one beach at a time.