Best Things To Do in St. Lucia
Much of St. Lucia's activity happens on the west coast and specifically, in the Soufrière area. That's where you'll find the iconic Pitons that visitors like to climb, or Mount Soufrière, the pungent volcano that emits sulfurous steam. Nearby, honeymooners like to snorkel in the transparent waters of Anse Chastanet. There's also plenty to do farther north in the Rodney Bay area. That's where you'll find the lively Reduit Beach and Pigeon Island National Landmark.
Updated March 29, 2019
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Pigeon Island can appeal to an eclectic mix of travelers. You could get a history lesson about the landmark's previous occupants (including a pirate with a wooden leg) or learn more about the formation of the man-made causeway that currently connects the island to the mainland. You could also attend a concert (this is the site of the annual St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival) or explore 18th-century military ruins, including Fort Rodney, which affords panoramic views of the ocean and Rodney Bay. There are also two beaches and a few restaurants situated within the 44-acre national landmark.
Recent travelers highly recommended a trip to Pigeon Island. Many were fascinated by the history of the area, with informational signs posted throughout the area. Others raved about Fort Rodney, saying views at the end of the hike – which some found to be a bit strenuous – were well worth the climb. There are also some uncrowded beaches, which many visitors enjoyed. Travelers recommend going early in the morning as the lack of visitors made it feel like they had the whole island to themselves.
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Arguably the best beach on St. Lucia for snorkeling and diving, picturesque Anse Chastanet is a more peaceful alternative to the sands of Reduit Beach. If you're indecisive about lodging, you should consider the nearby resort of the same name. Recent guests appreciated its attentive staff and unspoiled views of the water. Even if you don't stay at the nearby resort, you can still use its on-site restaurant and dive shop, or visit its on-site bar.
Visitors who ventured to Anse Chastanet for snorkeling said they were impressed by the clear water and were delighted by the abundance of sea life so close to the shore. However, some travelers were disappointed with the inflated food and drink prices and the conditions of the access road, which some described as difficult to navigate (though many arrived by boat via a snorkeling excursion).
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St. Lucia beaches are a dime a dozen, but none are quite as loved (by travelers and locals alike) as Reduit. The expansive shoreline, glorious sunsets and close proximity to the bars, restaurants and shops of Rodney Bay make for an easygoing beach experience. Adjacent to the Rodney Bay Marina, Reduit is also a great place to try water sports like windsurfing and waterskiing (though several recent visitors said the Jet Ski rental was a scam). What this beach is not ideal for, however, is honeymooners. As the most popular shore on St. Lucia, it goes without saying that this isn't the spot for a romantic rendezvous.
Recent visitors loved Reduit Beach's cleanliness, white sands and clear water. The most common gripe among travelers was the daily onslaught of cruise ship crowds; visit in the morning or evening to avoid the afternoon rush. Some travelers also complained of pushy vendors that troll the shore, adding that a respectful decline can go a long way.
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Rising tall from the sea and covered in emerald-colored vegetation, these volcanic plugs (or land formations made out of volcanic materials) are the most iconic sight in all of St. Lucia. Situated between the towns of Soufrière and Choiseul, Gros Piton and its smaller sibling, Petit Piton, are easy to spot from many points in the southwest.
Travelers frequently gush about just how perfect the fraternal twin peaks are to gaze at or hike through. Those who took the hike loved the beauty of the trails and said the views at the top were breathtaking, with some describing their experience as unforgettable. Despite there being two peaks available for climbing, locals caution against hiking Petit Piton unless you are a pro climber, as the trail is incredibly steep. Though it is still a strenuous venture, many visitors choose to hike Gros Piton. Travelers who considered themselves to be in good shape reported struggling thanks to the uneven rocks, but said the sense of accomplishment in completing the hike was worth the journey. Whatever time of day you venture out, remember this is the humid, hot Caribbean, so bring plenty of drinking water. For reference, guides advise carrying no less than 1 ½ liters on the hike. You'll also want to set aside about four to five hours for the hike.
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If you're tired of lounging on the beach but not up for a hike through The Pitons, then whiling away a few hours at Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens is sure to be a relaxing, and eye-catching, compromise. This 6-acre attraction is filled to the brim with vibrant foliage, including hibiscus, ixora and heliconia, to name a few. The Diamond Falls waterfall is also a feast for the eyes, changing colors throughout the year due to the mixture of rainwater and volcanic minerals that flows down the falls. Here, you can also take a dip in the on-site mineral baths, dine at the Old Mill & Waterwheel Restaurant, or explore the Soufrière Estate.
Recent visitors enjoyed their time at Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, saying the flowers and plants on display were beautiful, providing a refreshing view for a walk. Travelers also appreciated the low entrance fee, as well as the placards with the information about the plants on display. Others recommended exploring the site on your own, despite offers from "guides" at the entrance offering paid tours.
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There's a reason Hollywood comes calling to Marigot Bay (scenes from the original "Dr. Doolittle," starring Rex Harrison and "Firepower," starring Sophia Loren, were shot here). It's because this gorgeous shore, just south of Castries along the central western coast, is idyllic Caribbean: complete with swaying palm trees, anchored boats, and white sand beaches. Visitors describe Marigot as romantic and it's true that it's more blissfully quiet than jumping Reduit – making for a great escape.
Recent visitors' experiences varied by how close they got to the bay. Those who saw Marigot Bay from the surrounding hills were in awe of its beauty, while others on the ground had different impressions. A handful of travelers were disappointed by the lack of beach space and quickly grew bored from the few restaurants and shops in the area, saying if you don't have a boat docked or aren't staying at a nearby resort, there's not much to do.
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Sulfur Springs Park is billed as having the Caribbean's "only drive-in volcano," meaning that visitors are able to safely drive right by an active volcano. This belching mountain located in the western town of Soufrière emits sulfuric steam rather than lava, so remember to hold your nose to protect yourself from the overpowering rotten egg smell. The attraction also features warm sulfuric pools that visitors are allowed to bathe in.
Recent visitors offered mixed reviews about Sulfur Springs Park. Some travelers were fascinated by the volcano and the geological history, while others were bored that it only emitted steam. The majority of visitors, however, loved the sulfuric pools, saying it left their skin feeling very smooth and that the staff and guides are excellent. For those interested in visiting the pools, past visitors recommend getting to the attraction early to avoid tour groups and bring a bathing suit you don't mind getting ruined.
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The Castries Market has been the capital city's local food and flea market for the last century. Open every day except for Sunday, locals gather to sell homegrown produce and spices as well as St. Lucia-stamped souvenirs for tourists.
The Castries has been a hit or miss for travelers. Some recent visitors were delighted by their experiences and enjoyed interacting with local vendors to buy unique items, such as fresh coconut and handcrafted woodworks. However, other visitors said some aggressive vendors they encountered hindered their ability to fully enjoy the market. Most travelers agreed though that there isn't a lot of diversity in the market, as many of the vendors, especially those in the craft market, sell much of the same items.
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