You’re considering a trip to the Caribbean, but which destination to choose? We say ‘St Lucia’ every time – and here’s why…
If you’re considering booking a Caribbean holiday but aren’t sure which of the region’s destinations to choose, there’s a great argument (well, eight, in fact) for taking your holiday on the beautiful island of St Lucia.
It’s not a big island by any stretch of the imagination; at just 27 miles long by 14 miles wide, this bijou island is small but perfectly formed. But what St Lucia lacks in size, it makes up for in personality, beauty and a host of other attributes that make it a wonderful holiday destination.
1. The people
The people of St Lucia are known and loved for their friendliness and, in service industries, their customer service skills. Politeness is a big deal on St Lucia, and you will find that servers in restaurants, hotel staff and shop workers have beautiful manners and a warm, sunny friendliness that may surprise you if you’re used to holidaying in destinations where amiability appears to be low priority.
2. The party atmosphere
St Lucians really know how to party – just go to any ‘jump up’ (street party), festival or other event popular with locals, and you’ll see what we mean. The music, the excitement, the entertainment and the general atmosphere at these events will rouse your spirit and keep a permanent smile on your face throughout your stay!
3. The food and drink
St Lucian cuisine is all about fresh local produce, much of which comes from the sea. Fish features heavily on menus throughout the island, with king fish, conch and mahi mahi among the most popular dishes. Food is usually beautifully flavoured with aromatic fresh herbs and spices, and accompanied by the freshest vegetables. Alcoholic drinks that are made on the island include Piton beer and Admiral Rodney rum; rum of course being the main ingredient in another St Lucian speciality, rum punch (every restaurant has its own recipe, and each claims its recipe is the best!)
4. The natural history
Being a volcanic island, St Lucia has an interesting and picturesque landscape. It’s a wonderful destination for photographers, who love to capture the island’s mountains, rainforests and beaches on film. St Lucia even has a drive-through volcano and mineral-rich sulphur springs. The wildlife on St Lucia is also fascinating; there are many wonderful birds on the island, for example, including a very rare species of parrot – the Jacquot – of which only a small number remain in the wild (if you’d like to try to spot one during your visit, you’ll need to go on a guided rainforest tour with an approved guide).
5. The watersports
It won’t come as any surprise that the watersports on St Lucia are outstanding – well, it is a small island after all, so you’re never more than seven miles from the sea! Swimming in the calm, warm Caribbean Sea is a treat not to be missed. The snorkelling and diving in our local waters are a real treat. Wind surfing, kayaking and sailing are all also very popular pastimes for visitors. If you like being on the water but don’t have the confidence to take part in watersports, try taking a water taxi trip from one part of the island to another (the trip from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay for shopping is a popular way to spend a morning or afternoon).
6. The beaches
The beaches on St Lucia are stunning. There are many sandy beaches around the island, many of which are not well known to tourists and tend to be used mostly by locals and ex-pat European or US residents that have settled on the island. These beaches tend to be pretty secluded and peaceful. Prefer something a bit more lively? Well, there are also of course many beaches around the island that are very popular with tourists. The one thing these beaches all have in common is their natural beauty; the palm trees swaying in the breeze, the startling blue of the sea and the lush green rainforest backdrop combine to make some of the loveliest beaches you’ll see anywhere in the world.
7. The romance
Year after year, St Lucia receives awards from travel organisations in recognition of its reputation as a romantic destination. It’s extremely popular as a wedding and honeymoon destination, and while we don’t have statistics proving the number of marriage proposals made on the island every year, we’d be very surprised if it’s not one of the most popular proposal destinations in the world too!
8. The weather
Let’s be honest – if you’re considering a Caribbean holiday, the likelihood is that you’re a fan of sunshine and warmth. St Lucia has more than enough of these for everybody! The weather is gorgeous most of the year round (some months are a little wetter or windier than usual, but generally speaking the weather is good year-long). The sub-tropical climate and the dense rainforest mean that showers do happen from June to November, but these are generally short and sharp – they’re over almost before you’ve had a chance to be bothered by them. The rest of the time the sun is hot, hot, hot – so make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen in your luggage!