The Pitons – Gros Piton and Petit Piton
Majestic twin peaks “The Pitons” form the most famous landmark in St. Lucia and can be seen from virtually anywhere on the island.These two mountains have been named as Gros Piton and Petit Piton and can either be admired from a distance or discovered via hiking or climbing them.
If you are seeking some island adventure professional tour guides will happily lead you up the Gros Piton trail while the Petit Piton is available for a more steep and challenging climb. No matter which one you dare to tackle, the magnificent views are what will eventually take your breath away.
St. Lucia’s beaches include stretches of black volcanic sand, miles of white sandy beaches and picturesque palm-fringed bays. Mother Nature’s creation of these beaches has made each one more exquisite than the last. All of the island’s beaches are public and embrace you with the splendid warmth that makes you say “ahhhhh”. Many hidden coves can only be accessed via boat (if you discover a cove, it will be yours to enjoy – priceless!).
The most popular beaches to visit are:
Five miles of white soft sand will massage your feet as you stroll along the shore while calm waters invite you for a swim. Lounge chairs and watersports are available here.
More white sand is nestled in the envied setting between the Gros and Petit Pitons. Snorkelers and scuba divers frequent the 1,800-foot drop off at the base of the Pitons here.
Popular for stunning coral reefs and sea walls, this beach welcomes viewers to its vivid ocean life without adventuring out to deeper waters. The natural sand reflects the volcanic origins of the island.
Pigeon Island National Park
At the North of St. Lucia you can find this peaceful and uncrowded beach. In addition to swimming and soaking in the sun, a mini-museum and climb to a vantage point to see the historic Fort Rodney ruins and views of distant Martinique add a little extra excitement to your visit.
Grande Anse beach is lined up to become part of a new national park. The area used to be a plantation and visitors marvel at the cliff backdrops as well as the endangered leatherbacks who come to lay their eggs here.
Dining and Nightlife
After the beautiful sunsets when you are still craving more from the island, St Lucia’s nightlife awaits. Whether you are interested in food, beverages, or live band and DJs, there is something to peak your interest. Much of the St. Lucian entertainment scene is al fresco or plays out on wide patios, giving the impression that the energy of a night out is too much to contain.
There is no shortage of dining options in St Lucia, from roadside eateries to fine dining. Whichever sumptuous feast you are in the mood for, island chefs can serve it up on a platter.
Anse La Raye:
A popular Friday night destination for locals and visitors alike, where a variety of delectable seafood is cooked and sold. Anse La Rayeis a West Coast village and just twenty minutes drive from the capital. The generally quaint fishing village takes on a whole new dimension by sunset Friday night when vendors set up their stalls and the first revelers stroll in for sundowners. By 9pm, the area is bustling, music emanates from towering speakers and the smell of mouth-watering local food wafts through the festive air.
Home to several restaurants and bars that are transformed after dinner.
Fire Grillis – A restaurant and bar offering grilled foods and great live music on weekends.
Big Chef – A steak house with perfectly cooked Angus beef, fish and seafood, in a relaxed but chic setting. Website: www.bigchef.com.
Ti Bananne – The Coco Palm Hotel pool bar features live music on most nights. Website: www.tibananne.com.
Delirious – A lively bar with DJs, live bands and dancing. They serve up great cocktails, and if you are in the mood, they have a very tasty menu too. Often, Deliriousis also the end point for those looking for a fun night out. Website: www.delirious.com.
Buzz Seafood and Grill – In Rodney Bay just off Reduit Beach. Buzz is the go-to place for fresh seafood. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Website: www.buzz.com.
The Coal Pot – Just north of the city of Castries in Vigie is The Coal Pot, offering delicious food served on the waterfront. The Chef has mastered the fusion of local and international cuisine.
Mango Tree Restaurant – The al fresco dining pavilion looks out over a small river stone pool and takes in the magnificent Petit Piton and views of the Caribbean Sea.
The chef and his culinary team use all fresh local market ingredients and build on Mrs. Brown’s home cooking recipes to make the freshest, most delicious St. Lucian flare. All herbs and vegetables grown on property are organic and the former plantation still yields the seasonal citrus, mango and breadfruit, which are incorporated into the daily menus.
Whether you dine under a full moon with Petit Piton cast in shadow, under the starriest of nights, or witness passing ships alight, The Mango Tree Restaurant brings diners the perfect marriage of location and gourmet Creole. Website: www.mangotree.com.
The Pink Plantation House – This 140 year old, 3 storeys, French Colonial wooden home sits on 2 acres of lush tropical gardens with a scenic view of the Caribbean coastline extending to the neighboring island of Martinique. Besides the historical architecture, great ambience, and magnificent view, The Pink Plantation House is famous for its Restaurant & Bar, Art Gallery, Gardens, Local Entertainment, Afternoon Tea and, Wine & Cheese Parties.
Fond Doux Restaurant – Located within the World Heritage Site, Soufriere. At Fond Doux Plantation’s two restaurants, the Cocoa Pod or the Jardin Cacao Restaurant & Bar, the chefs take full advantage of the bounty of fresh organic fruits & vegetables harvested on the estate. Chefs draw upon Caribbean / French influences to create Creole masterpieces often served in traditional earthenware. Website: www.fonddoux.com.
Bear in mind that most shops and Government offices are closed on Public Holidays. Restaurants and attractions are usually open but it’s best to check first. Below is a list of how the locals like to spend these days. There are often events happening on these days around the island, but if there is nothing special planned, there is always the beach! On public holidays locals like to get together with family and friends and spend the day at the beach as they typically don’t get to do that on a regular basis.
New Year’s Day – This is a day of relaxation and for family and friends to get together to wish each other well for the New Year.
Independence Day – On this date in 1979 St. Lucia became an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations with the British queen as the head of the state.
Good Friday – As this is a major religious holiday, most people in St. Lucia will attend church.
Easter Monday – Another day for relaxation often at the beach. A tradition in St. Lucia as well as the rest of the Caribbean is kite flying on Easter Monday, so you will often find kite flying gatherings around the island.
Labour Day – This is a holiday for all the workers in St. Lucia to recognize the important role we all play in national development. The day is characterized by lots of Union activity.
Whit Monday – The seventh Monday after Easter when most government buildings and offices are closed.
Corpus Christi – St. Lucia recognises this Latin Rite liturgical solemnity celebrating the tradition and belief as a holiday.
Emancipation Day – This holiday commemorates the abolition of slavery on 1st August 1834, in the West Indies. Most government buildings and offices will be closed however tourist attractions are usually open (call first if you can). Festivals and events are scheduled in various parts of the Island.
National Day – St. Lucia is named after its patron saint, St. Lucy. The National Festival of Lights and Renewal is held the night before the holiday, in honour of St Lucy of Syracuse the saint of light.
Christmas Day – As St. Lucia is a predominantly Catholic nation, Christmas is of course one of the island’s most celebrated events. It mainly involves Church, lots of food and family relaxtion time.
Boxing Day – The beach is a favourite activity on Boxing Day.
What’s Happening in St. Lucia
In St. Lucia there is always something to fill your day; provide some morning exercise or a little afternoon entertainment. Throughout the year activities include:
St Lucia Jazz Festival – For ten days in May St. Lucia is a buzz with the strains of music in the air. The outdoor festival brings together international, regional and local acts in spectacular venues – parks, beaches, hilltops, for an incredible celebration of toe-tapping, waist-swaying and head-nodding music.
Carnival – St. Lucia explodes into a panoply of colour and energy for its annual Carnival celebrations in July. For months before, calypsonians and steel bands hone their skills and come together to vie for coveted titles. Designers pull out bands of ribbon and buckets of sequins to put together the costumes which will inspire revelers to parade through the streets for the two days of festivities which bring old and young, lawyer and labourer together for a dynamic celebration.
January – New Year’s Day
February – Independence Day, International Food Fair
March – St. Lucia Kite surfing Fiesta
April – Easter
May – Labour Day, St. Lucia Jazz Festival, Whitsuntide
June – Corpus Christi
July – Carnival
August – Emancipation Day, La Rose Flower Festival
September – St. Lucia Bill Fishing Tournament
October – La Marguerite Flower Festival, Thanksgiving, (Jounen Kweyol) Creole Day
November – All Souls Day, The Food and Rum Festival, Sandals 10K
December – Heineken Kalalu World Music Festival, Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) National Day, The Festival of Lights, Christmas & Boxing Day celebrations
Sports in St. Lucia
For energetic travelers who want to do more than chill on a beach or lounge by a pool, a plethora of water and land sport options are available off of the best beaches and within the beautiful landscapes of the island. You are spoilt for choice between water-skiing, jet skiing, the banana-boat, kite surfing, wind surfing, sailing, scuba-diving, horse riding, golf and hiking.
Sailing – Yachts can be hired at the Marinas, with or without a captain and crew, for one or more days. The most popular route from the North along the West Coast is highly recommended.
Wind Surfing – St. Lucia’s constant trade-winds allow for splendid wind-surfing possibilities all year long. The most suitable locations are in the South-East close to Vieux Fort at the Anse de Sables Beach and in the North-East at Cas en Bas.
Scuba-diving – The most luxurious diving locations are situated along the West Coast in the Caribbean Sea and especially at the protected Marine Reserve at Soufrière. Here the water is calm and crystal clear whereas along the East Coast are strong currents in the Atlantic Ocean. Taking away corals and young shellfish is strictly forbidden.
Golf – There is a 12 hole golf course with panoramic views in the North of the island, The Cap Estate Golf Club. This golf club is being upgraded to 18 holes.
Horseback Riding – Horseback Riding in this tropical paradise offers unlimited possibilities for beginners as well as for experienced riders. Stables are available from the North to South and your journey could last as short or as long as you desire. Rides give you a variety of scenes through dirt roads, foot-paths and/ or beaches near the waves.
Hiking – St. Lucia’s dramatic terrain provides many hiking trails through the island’s rain forest reserve. Three of the most interesting hiking trails which are administered by the Forestry Department are: The Barre de L’ Isle Trail take hikers through the centre of the island along the ridge which leads to the top of Morne La Combe offering magnificent views of the island’s interior. The Des Cartiers Rain Forest Trail which goes through the Quilesse Forest Reserve provides the opportunity to see the rare St. Lucia parrot as well as many other rain forest birds. The Edmond Rain Forest Reserve Trail passes through a dense plantation of tall mature trees interlaced with orchids and Caribbean pine trees while offering a breathtaking view of Mount Gimie, St. Lucia’s highest mountain. Hikers also have the option of challenging the Pitons using the Gros Piton Nature Trail.
Cricket – Cricket is the most popular local sport in St. Lucia and can be watched annually at the Beausejour Cricket Grounds, one of the most modern facilities in West Indies cricket.