Who is dreaming of a tropical paradise? I am happy to report that I have found one I think you will love! Let me introduce you to the wonderful island of St. Lucia! I recently returned from a visit to St. Lucia where I was able to stay at all 3 Sandals resorts and see a bit of the island.
I believe that St. Lucia is one of those islands that the majority of travelers looking for that lush, Caribbean vibe (think Gilligan’s Island) will really love.
1. St. Lucia is close to home!
St. Lucia is nicknamed the Hawaii of the Caribbean for good reason. It shares a lot of characteristics in terrain and climate with Hawaii. The good news is that you can get there in about 4 ½ hours with a direct flight from the New York area airports (St. Lucia’s international airport is UVF, Hewannora International). There are multiple airlines that have nonstop- just check their schedules for what days of the week.
2. The weather is nearly perfect year round.
St. Lucia is part of the Lesser Antilles on the southern and eastern edge of the Caribbean. Because it sits close to the equator, the daytime temp doesn’t vary much between 84 and 88 degrees during the day. I asked some of the residents if they have any noticeable seasons and they told me that the only variation is between the “wet” and “dry” seasons (summer months are the wet season). It’s not unusual to have quick moving showers that pass through. They call it “liquid sunshine”. Because of where the island is positioned, they rarely see hurricanes. Our favorite joke while here was to open our balcony door and say, “How’s the weather?”- “Perfect, just like yesterday!”
3. St. Lucia is a beautiful island with lots of great things to see.
Unlike many other Caribbean islands, St. Lucia is covered with rainforest. It is very green in general and has a distinctive mountain terrain. The most photographed spot are the two peaks of the Gros and Petit Pitons. As you drive along the island you can see banana plantations and even some cocoa trees. There is a great excursion that allows you to take a series of ziplines over the rainforest to get a great view of everything.
One of the resort excursions took us from the northern Caribbean (west) side of the island by catamaran, down to the southern end of the island where you can see the iconic Piton mountains. They regularly see dolphin and whales around the island and I was lucky enough to see a dolphin pop out and do a flip right near the boat!
We visited the fishing village of Soufriere where we boarded a van to take us into the heart of St. Lucia’s caldera that they call the “drive-in volcano”. Here they have hot springs, mud baths and bubbling mud pots. Oh and it all smells like Sulphur! It was really interesting and we got a chance to put our feet in the stream to see how hot the water was coming out the natural spring which was hotter than I make a bath. You can see the ruins of where an old French bath house stood to take advantage of the hot springs. All in all, it makes for a very picture perfect tropical island.
One of the biggest highlights was our helicopter trip from the resort area in Vieux Fort back to Hewanorra Airport. What a great way to see the island. You can see everything and really appreciate how lovely the island is. It was amazing. A definite must do!
4. The people are friendly.
While on St. Lucia I was able to take advantage of some opportunities to see more of the island and meet the people. They are very welcoming and definitely have that island chill vibe. Tourism is the #1 source of income for this island and they definitely want us to come back! You will notice that there are both British and French influences on the island. That is because St. Lucia is a British Commonwealth but spent most of its recent history being fought over between the British and the French. So they drive on the left side of the road but the speak a form of Creole which is mainly French (however, everyone speaks English).
5. St. Lucia is great for watersports!
St. Lucia is great for diving and snorkeling. Sandals offers snorkel and dive trips twice a day and we also stopped to snorkel on our excursion. We saw plenty of fish where we stopped and the crew told us they regularly see sea turtles also. If you are an avid diver, St. Lucia is a favorite for the variety of both dive types and marine life.
I think that St. Lucia has become one of my very favorite islands. With 3 amazing Sandals resorts calling this beautiful island home, I do think that there’s something for everyone looking for that elusive island paradise.