Beach Vacations to St. Lucia

Sailboat in St. Lucia
St. Lucia (Digital Visions)

St. Lucia Beach Travel Tips

  • Temperatures can rise to 90 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, but the trade winds keep the island cool. December through May is the drier season, but also the busier tourist season.
  • St. Lucia has awful roads, so taxis are recommended instead of rental cars. Most drivers are trained as guides. Cabs are unmetered, but rates are fixed tariffs set by the government.
  • All of St. Lucia’s beaches are open to the public, even hotel beaches. Just be aware that hotels will charge non-guests for chaise lounges and beach equipment.
  • The western (leeward) side of the island has calmer waters for swimming, and it’s where the majority of the best hotels are located.
  • With over a mile of soft beige sand lining clear waters, the most popular beach on the island is Reduit Beach at Rodney Bay. You’ll also find miles of reef-protected white sand beaches at Vieux Fort, at the southern end of the island.

Floating between Martinique and St. Vincent in the West Indies, English-speaking St. Lucia is a mountainous island of some 238 square miles and about 160,000 inhabitants. Word is out about the island’s stunning beauty, and it’s now one of the premier destinations in the Caribbean (especially for honeymooners, who supposedly make up a third of the tourists). Most travelers head to the island’s northwestern shore, where white sand beaches front a number of large resorts between Marigot Bay—just south of the capital Castries—all the way up to Rodney Bay, farther north.

The city of Castries lines a large harbor created from an extinct volcanic crater, and its glass-and-steel appearance is strikingly modern compared to other antique cities in the Caribbean. It’s a major yacht and cruise ship hub, with an interesting public market full of piles of colorful tropical fruit and women in traditional cotton headdresses.

Except for a small area in the extreme northeast, one main road circles the entirety of pineapple-shaped St. Lucia. It’s a hairpin, dizzying ride that takes a few hours but is worth it for the outstanding beauty and panoramic views. You’ll pass banana plantations, a bubbling volcano, wild orchids, and picturesque fishing villages. The central and southern parts of the island are characterized by mountains covered with bright green rainforest. On the southwest coast the island’s trademark peaks, Petit Piton and Gros Piton, rise dramatically out of the warm sea at more than 2,000 feet. This area includes the little fishing port of Soufrière, St. Lucia’s second-largest settlement, with some of its best snorkeling and diving nearby. Other natural attractions in this area include the Diamond Mineral Baths bubbling up from sulfur springs, built on the orders of Louis XVI, and the adjoining Diamond Waterfall, which changes colors (from yellow to black to green to gray) several times a day.

Other side trips worth taking include a sail on the Brig Unicorn, an old-time ship used in the film the Pirates of the Caribbean, and Pigeon Island National Historic Park a 44-acre compound with a fort and excellent beach.

Published: 7 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 30 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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