St Lucia is easily one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands. It is a top tourist destination, with over a million people visiting each year. Our team talked to a local tourist expert to find out the most fun things you can do on a fabulous trip to the island of St Lucia.
1. Sulphur Springs and Drive-in Volcano
Located in the town of Soufriere, which is commonly referred to as the tourism capital of St Lucia, Sulphur Springs is the world’s only drive-in volcano. A visit here consists of three parts.
First you get a brief guided tour on a trail overlooking the craters. The guide provides intriguing details, for example, when the volcano last erupted, and the unfortunate story of how Gabriel’s crater got its name…
Years ago, visitors and guides alike could walk around the craters as part of the tour. A tour guide by the name of Gabriel, whilst speaking to his group of visitors, began to jump on the ground of the springs to demonstrate how solid and secure the area was. Unfortunately, the ground beneath him gave way and a crater was created. Fortunately, Gabriel lived to tell the tale, but did suffer 3rd degree burns. After this incident, railings were placed around Sulphur Springs preventing people from walking too close but still allowing a fabulous view of the springs from a distance.
The second part of the tour takes you to a museum where you can see miniature versions of the Sulphur Springs Area as well as various artefacts which were discovered in nearby areas.
And lastly, the tour takes you to the Sulphur baths, which many consider the most fun part. Water flowing from the volcano collects in three man-made pools at temperatures similar to a sauna. It is strongly advised, however, that you spend no longer that 1 hour in the baths. White and black Sulphur mud from the pools is available for you to cover yourself with and get creative – handprints, writing or drawing – making for an excellent photo op.
2. Glamity Restaurant & Bar
The delicious smell of bbq pork and the sweet sounds of soca, dub or reggae drifting towards you as you enter the Glamity compound are just some of the teasers that reassure any visitor they are in for a treat. Situated in the rural community of Odsan, this getaway is a favorite food joint, watering hole, and hang out for locals.
Any visitor in search of a true St Lucian experience needs to put this is way up on their to-do list. Glamity opens only two days a week, Wednesday and Saturday, and is well known for its stewed and grilled pork with a secret garlic sauce, which is always a hit, and signature pudding. The meat dishes can be purchased as portions or as meals, which usually include side dishes such as green fig salad, macaroni and cheese, or fried plantain and fresh salad.
On Saturdays in particular, almost everyone at Glamity can be seen with a portion of Glamity’s famous pudding. The smallest pudding portion available is XCD$6.00, for three pieces. In addition to tasty meals, Glamity boasts a well-stocked bar, with local and foreign beers, juices and sodas for those who prefer non-alcoholic beverages, and premium and non-premium drinks. There is usually a DJ, too, keeping the crowd thoroughly entertained.
The sound of laughter and camaraderie fills the air at all times – a true reflection of satisfied customers.
3. Gros Piton Hike
Twin Peaks, Majestic Pitons, iconic mountains are just some of the names by which St Lucia’s world renowned Pitons are known. The Pitons are two identical mountains rising out of the ocean that formed as a result of volcanic activity hundreds of years ago. When viewed from a distance, the Pitons appear to be right next to each other. However, it is only when you get closer that you realize quite how far apart they are. Petite Piton is located near the town of Soufriere, whilst Gros Piton is located near the town of Choiseul.
Both Pitons can be hiked; however, Petit Piton is a more strenuous hike and certain parts of the trail can only be accessed with climbing ropes. Depending on your fitness level, the hike time varies but is an average of 2 hours one way. The views along the way and to the top are absolutely breathtaking. On a clear day, outlines of neighboring islands such as St Vincent can be seen.
4. Grand Eden Estate
If you are in search of a truly local dining, hiking, and bird watching experience in one excursion, then a visit to Grand Eden Estate should be top of the list. The tour begins even before arriving at the entrance of Grand Eden Estate. To access the estate, you journey to the heart of the town of Soufriere, drive through Fond St Jacques (also known as the breadbasket of Saint Lucia) to the small community of Mingy, which lies at the bottom of the tallest mountain in Saint Lucia, Mount Jimie.
As you journey up the mountain to the estate, you see fewer and fewer houses and you can take in the clean, crisp uncontaminated mountain air, birds chirping, and the views of large expanses of farmed land, untouched greenery and lush vegetation – and all this with beautiful mountain views. There is even a well-known spring from which you can refresh yourself wıth the clean drinking water; it is rather popular with the residents, particularly when water shortages hit. A beautiful gate carved from local wood signals your arrival at the estate. With the offer of a walking stick, or a ‘third leg’, as it is humorously referred to, your guided hike begins. You will discover various medicinal plants, fruit trees, ocean and mountain views, and see animals such as rabbits, goats, and cows, which you can feed.
Your experience concludes with a meal prepared with produce fresh from the estate, and while you eat, you can watch an array of indigenous birds. If luck is on your side, you could get to see an amazona versicolor in flight. Grand Eden is the perfect getaway if you are looking for a break from our technological world and fancy being at one with nature: you’ll enjoy every minute.
5. Gros Islet Street Party
This usually ranks number one on the to-do list of many visitors to St Lucia. Though currently suspended due to Covid-19, locals and visitors alike would wait in anticipation for 7 pm Friday evening when street parties are hosted in two fishing villages: Anse La Raye and Gros Islet. The streets fill with food and drink vendors, but you can also eat and drink at one of the fine restaurants and bars in the area. Gros Islet is the larger of the two street parties. From early in the evening, food vendors provide roadside seating for you to enjoy the array of seafoods and other meats and side dishes.
As the night carries on, a live DJ plays soca, reggae, dub, RnB, hip hop and all the trending local and foreign hits, thrilling the crowds. The sounds of laughter, lively chatter, and the voices of hundreds of people having a good time can be heard throughout the streets of Gros Islet till 2am, when the street party ends. If you enjoy a good party and you also love the outdoors, Gros Islet is the place to be on a Friday night.
6. Tet Paul Nature Trail
If you are in search of a hike with breathtaking views that every member of the family can tackle, irrespective of age, the Tet Paul Nature Trail is what you need. You have the option of doing this trail on your own or with a guide. The hike takes you up the hillsides from the town of Soufriere. Your first stop along the trail is a recreation of the long-ago houses where you can get a sense of how the locals lived. After this you are taken to the cassava hut, where the ancient tools used to create cassava bread are on display.
Mango, pineapple, guava, and wax apple are just some of the fruit trees you walk past during your hike. If the trees are laden with fruit, you can reach up and indulge in whatever is ripe for the picking.
7. Diamond Falls, Botanical Gardens & Mineral Bath
Situated on the outskirts of Soufriere, the DuBoulay estate is home to three astonishing and popular attractions. The excursion begins with a tour of the flora on display in the botanical gardens. Flowering plants, locally known as the ginger lily, Cat’s Tail, heliconia, etc can be spotted. Following the botanical gardens tour, the Diamond Falls is truly a sight to behold. The water from these falls originates from the Sulphur Springs, another awe-inspiring excursion.
The water and rocks are colored shades of grey, brown and orange as a result of the Sulphur in the water. Visitors to the estate used to be allowed to bathe at the waterfalls; however, due to loose rocks falling from the top of the waterfall, visitors are now content to look on from a safe distance. The final aspect of the tour is the mineral baths, which were originally built for King Louis XVI in the 1700s. The temperature of the bath waters is warm and they are said to have curative qualities.
8. See St Lucia by Sea (Catamaran, Pirate Ship, Private Yacht Charter)
There are various means of exploring the beautiful island of St Lucia: land, air, and sea. But, if you have not explored St Lucia by sea, then I’m afraid to say that you have not explored St Lucia at all. There are various boating companies which specialize in sea tours. For a catamaran tour, go to Cats 1995 Ltd – Endless Summer Cruises, Carnival Sailing Limited or Seaspray Cruises.
You can also get a full day tour, where you sail down the west coast of St Lucia to the town of Soufriere. Here, you hop off and are transported by bus to visit at least two main tourist attractions nearby and have a three course lunch at a local eatery. An open bar is usually available on board the boat.
Another option is a cruise with The Pearl, which has a fleet of old pirate ships, one of which was actually used for the film Pirates of the Caribbean. Other tours include Joe knows, which takes you on a speed boat and is more of an interactive tour for small groups. Sunset Cruises, whale and dolphin watching, and party cruises are some of the other options available for experiencing St Lucia from the sea.
9. Creole Day (Jounen Kweyol)
If you have yet to decide on your travel dates and are an avid food lover, then make October your time to go. October is the month when St Lucia’s rich culture that has made the island and the people what it is today is celebrated. The grandest of the celebrations, Jounen Kweyol or Creole Day, takes place on the last Sunday of the month.
Local work places usually observe Creole Day on the last Friday of October, and either present a Creole breakfast and lunch for team members or team members themselves put together a menu with each one being responsible for bringing a creole dish to be shared. Celebrations on the last Sunday are held in several communities, with an array of local dishes being sold for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Creole Day celebrations fill the air with a melting pot of delicious aromas. The most challenging part is finding the space for all the delicious local foods on display. Best of luck finding a solution to that problem!
10. St Lucia Carnival
“Nothing sweeter than that” is a phrase commonly associated with St Lucia’s Carnival Celebrations. St Lucia Carnival is the mother of all street parties – an array of colorful costumes, trucks with live DJs, or live performances from local and regional soca artists, and speakers so loud the music can be heard from miles away. Large crowds of people either watch from the sidelines or take part.
The event usually begins in June and climaxes with a two-day Carnival jump up, usually held on the Monday and Tuesday of the second or third week in July. Throughout June, parties and carnival-related events are held, leading up to the Carnival proper. Carnival is all about the color and splendor of the various costumes on display, the participation of carnival band members, and the excellent music that gets everyone moving. The bands are judged on various criteria on Carnival Monday and Tuesday as they compete for the title of band of the year, amongst other titles.
Escape, a signature event, is a party held on a work day that begins during work hours. People either request a vacation day or they risk it all, call in sick, and hope no one sees them at the party.
There are beach parties such as Brazen, when hundreds of people party in their beach wear usually on the more popular beaches such as Pigeon Island. During carnival season, you can literally go from party to party, building up to the excitement of Carnival Monday and Tuesday, which is more like a week of consecutive carnival-related events and parties. If you are a party lover, then you won’t regret indulging in St Lucia’s carnival.
11. Pigeon Island
Once a tiny islet to the north of St Lucia, Pigeon Island is now joined to Gors Islet by a causeway. Sometimes called Pigeon Point, the area is rich in history and is now a popular hiking, exercising, beaching and picnicking area for locals and visitors alike.
The island served as a vantage point for the English while fighting the French over ownership of St Lucia. Its location allowed the English soldiers to see when the enemy was approaching, while the French soldiers were unable to see their opponent’s location. To this day, canons bearing the English Army’s insignia can be found on top of Pigeon Island. A burial ground for British soldiers and their family members is also located there, with tombstones stating names, dates, and cause of death. As you hike the trail to the fort at the top, several English architectural ruins can be seen.
At the peak of your hike, Pigeon Island rewards you with one of the most remarkable views you will come across while in St Lucia. On your way back down, what better ending to look forward to than diving into the cool, refreshing waters at Pigeon Island beach.
St Lucia is an island filled with many beautiful, invigorating waterfalls. Some are more popular than others, and some require a lot more walking to get to them. Usually found nestled amidst lush green flora, irrespective of the popularity or ease of access, each waterfall is worth the effort. Should you enjoy chasing waterfalls, the following list, though not exhaustive, but can be used as a guide to your Waterfall Bucket List while in St Lucia:
- Toraille Waterfall
- Superman Falls
- New Jerusalem Falls
- Dennery Waterfall
- Sapphire Falls & Jungle Spa
- Piton Falls
- Latille Falls