Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort
A fabulous choice for a family holiday, this village-style resort offers all the advantages of a luxury villa in St Lucia, and adds all the facilities of a beautifully positio…
St. Lucia packs a lot into its small space, with a diverse natural habitat, lots of activities and classic Caribbean sands.
Part of the Windward Islands chain in the Eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia’s shores are met by both the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. This little isle packs a lot into her forty three by twenty two kilometres. Rainforest hills lead down from the Pitons to the sea, where marine reserves protect the habitat of tropical fish and migrating whales. A lively party scene around Rodney Bay contrasts with unhurried beach life at Reduit Beach. Away from the coast the emphasis is on eco-tourism—activities including hiking and biking encourage visitors on a St. Lucia holiday to explore the interior.
Soufrière, the island’s oldest town and the capital during the French colonial era, has a disorderly charm. Brightly-painted wooden houses and souvenir shops with pretty fretwork edge the market square. Beyond the centre you will find the volcanic sulphur springs that gave Soufrière its name and scent the air. Set around a curving bay, the current capital Castries is a busy, working town where cruise ships dock and duty-free shops sell jewellery, souvenirs, and alcohol.
A feast of Caribbean and Creole influences with a touch of French flair, the island’s cuisine reflects its history and inhabitants. Salted cod and green figs (firm-fleshed, savoury bananas), and pouile dudon—a chicken stew made with coconut and molasses—are two typical examples of St. Lucian fare. Seafood also plays a major role on menus, with highlights including accra, fried fish patties or balls, and conch, its chewy meat curried or fried and best enjoyed drizzled with lime. Rum and the light local beer, Piton, are the favoured drinks.
St. Lucia’s wild hinterland is accessible by miles of footpaths maintained by the Forestry Department. On easy nature trails and serious hikes, you will be surrounded by native flora including ferns, vines, orchids, and heliconia. This is prime mountain bike territory, too, with hilly trails for all abilities around the Anse Mamin Plantation. A zip-line tour between tree-top platforms gives adrenalin junkies a thrill ride through the same terrain.
The annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival held in May has thrived for over twenty years—it is an entertainment highlight where international acts such as the Gipsy Kings and John Legend perform. Every Friday there’s a ‘jump up’ at rustic fishing village Gros Islet. This energetic shindig is full of local colour with stalls selling street food and pulsating sound systems. Rodney Bay is another nightlife hub, its bars hosting DJs, live music, and karaoke.
St. Lucia’s beaches are backed by mountains and shaded by palm trees. The sand varies from classic Caribbean white at Choc Bay to burnt amber at Anse Chastenet, a legacy of the island’s volcanic origins. The west coast is met by the Caribbean Sea and has the best beaches for swimming. The Atlantic coast is visually dramatic but not suitable for water-sports; the north coast, where the two oceans meet, has become a favoured spot for wind- and kite-surfers.
How you would like to be pampered? And in what setting? Choose from air-conditioned rooms, tree houses on stilts, and beachfront gazebos. Drift away to the sound of piped music, birdsong, or lapping waves as you enjoy a chocolate wrap using local cocoa, or a sugar cane body scrub. A day on the greens can be equally calming. The country’s undulating landscape comes into play at the St. Lucia Golf and Country Club on the northern tip of the island, where fairways give panoramas of the ocean.
The ocean surrounding St. Lucia boasts coral gardens, volcanic pinnacles, and shipwrecks. As well as diving and snorkelling trips, fishing charters and whale watching excursions head out into the deep waters. On land, birdwatchers setting off on rainforest and coastal trails at sunrise will probably spy St. Lucia Orioles, hummingbirds, bananquits, and parrots. Plant lovers can see hibiscus, ginger lilies, and other exotic blooms at Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens and within the grounds of the island’s plantations.
Inland from the beaches, the island is mountainous and covered in tropical rainforest, and crowned by the twin peaks of the Pitons. These volcanic plugs are St. Lucia’s most famous landmark and rise to around 786 metres. To the south-east of the island, the wetlands of Mankote Mangrove Swamps edge the coastline and the terrain switches again just beyond the town of Soufrière where a barren, pocked landscape with geysers is the legacy of a collapsed volcanic crater.