St Lucia would be just at home in the South Pacific, but it resides in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, and is part of the Windward Family Island.
Just north of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago lies a tropical paradise equal to the Pacific islands of Tahiti and Fiji. The calm waters of the Caribbean Sea which is usually compared to the color turquoise, appears to be royal blue around the island of St Lucia. No doubt this is due to the fact this is a volcanic island unlike the coral islands of the Caribbean basin.
Old ship records speak of how captains and sailors alike were awed by the sighting of St Lucia. Perhaps this is why the island was fought over and changed hands 14 times in its history. Two countries, England and France fought 14 battles back and forth to gain control of the island. The English eventually won the war, but France won the battle since the island is definitely French in culture.
The most photographed scene in the Caribbean and landmark of St Lucia are Petit Piton and Gros Piton. These two enormous volcanic mountains are covered with lush green vegetation and rise over 2,600 feet above the sea, and 1,000 feet below. Soufriere, located at the base, is where the jungle meets the royal blue sea. The majestic twin Pitons greet you at every turn while on the island – such an awesome sight!
As a comparison among its Caribbean neighbors, the only two that come close to St Lucia’s beauty is Dominica (the nature island), and the interior of the island of Jamaica. St Lucia boasts a variety of exotic black sand beaches, tropical birds, plants and flowers. Everywhere you turn, and on each island adventure there is just more beauty to be seen. I attempted to capture the island on picture, but the color intensity and depth was lacking more than often. While family and friends remarked at how beautiful our vacation pictures were, I knew the true essence of the island needs to be seen in person.
This is an island to be explored with nature walks, mountain hikes, visits to the natural reserves, boat trips to nearby island sanctuaries, drive through the world’s only “drive through volcano, and a trip to the interior rainforest is a must! About the drive through volcano – you literally drive through the crater to over 15 pools of thick black bubbling lava. The smell is a bit overwhelming. In this region you will also find green and yellow sulfur steam coming up out of the ground, and pools of hissing steam – You can definitely feel the heat from the ground, and guides lead you around the hot stones.
Another interesting site outside of Soufriere is Diamond Waterfall and the Mineral Baths. Louis XVI sent a sample of the mineral water to France back in the late 1700’s to be tested, and it was deemed beneficial. We had a lovely time at the Mineral Baths, and admit I felt quite invigorated afterwards. Diamond Waterfall is near the baths, and this rivals many of the waterfalls on the island of Jamaica – simply beautiful!
The lush mountainous region is home to the rain forest which offers lush and colorful foliage. As you venture into the northern part of the island, mountains turn into lush hills, and orchards of banana, coconut, mango, citrus and papaya trees.
Aside from land tours, a half day or one-day sail around the island is recommended. From a small peninsula that extends from the southern tip of the island you can view where the rough Atlantic Ocean meets the calm Caribbean Sea. On a clear day you can even spot the tiny island of St Vincent. Another location advantage is you easily island hop to the islands of Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe.
The Eastern or Windward side of the island is on the Atlantic coast, and has big waves and surf, and swimming is not recommended, but the ocean views will be remembered far after your vacation is over