Nicknamed the Helen of the West Indies, St Lucia is 27 miles of beauty – beaches, rainforest, and the Piton mountains, to name just a few examples.
There’s that and so much more for cruise travellers to delve into, including plenty of adventure, such as mountain biking or zip lining over the rainforest, to experiencing a mix of Caribbean, African, French and English culture, created over many years of warring nations who were fighting for a piece of the island, which was named by the French in 1625 after the Catholic Saint Lucy.
Ships dock at Castries, the island capital in the north-west, either at Pointe Seraphine, on the north side, with a duty-free shopping complex, or at La Place Carenage, a shopping area on the harbour’s south side.
From Pointe Seraphine it is a short walk into the town centre.
The port handles approximately 600,000 cruise passengers a year.
Some smaller cruise ships can anchor near Pigeon Island.
NEED TO KNOW
The heat is generally on year-round in St Lucia and peak season runs from mid-December to April. Travellers will need the Eastern Caribbean Dollar when on the island, although the US$ is accepted at a majority of outlets.
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to beaches. Reduit Beach tends to be the busiest, while Anse Chastanet, in the south-west, is blanketed with dark sand, as is the 200m-long Anse Cochon, between Castries and Soufrière.
There’s a minibus service on the island, although some trips can be completed via boat instead.
Pointe Seraphine has some of the best shopping on the island and is a good place to pick up some souvenirs.
WHAT WE LOVE
The Pitons: One of the best views in St Lucia, Gros Piton and Petit Piton are two mountainous volcanic spires that some believed had mystical powers. A hike to the top of Gros Piton takes about 4-5 hours and is doable even with a moderate level of fitness. The Pitons are also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Rodney Bay: On the north-west of the island is Rodney Bay, a vibrant spot full of life during the day and night. Guests will find the Bay Walk Mall, nightclubs and the Treasure Bay Casino, as well as an abundance of restaurants. The Bay is also home to Reduit Beach, a favourite among tourists.
Diamond Falls: Considered one of the natural wonders of St Lucia, the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens is located on a six-acre site and features an array of plants and wildlife. The waterfalls are supplied from underground thermal springs, while there are also mineral baths on site.
Sulphur Springs: The Sulphur Springs Park, in Soufriere, is known as the world’s only drive-in volcano. There is a guided tour available to understand how the crater came into being. The park includes hot springs, mud pools and fumaroles – or steam vents.
- The Pitons are even more remarkable in the flesh
- Good for families
- A melting pot of cultures