If you're looking for mountainous terrain, there is no better Caribbean island than St. Lucia, boasting multiple natural skyscrapers, including the tallest point at Mount Gimie, which rises over 3,000 feet above sea level.
The most famous mountains are the twin Pitons, located on the southwestern coast. In addition to towering natural formations, the island offers lush rain forests, beautiful beaches and inviting towns that dot the coastlines. To see more of this map of St. Lucia, just widen your browser.
St. Lucia's most visited attractions are not man-made. The island's many reserves and parks attract visitors who wish to tour the diverse landscape and learn about the island's inactive volcanoes, vast rain forests, and rare species. There are also a few historical and cultural attractions, mostly in the North West.
Located near Soufriere are St. Lucia's most recognizable features: two volcanic hills named Petit Piton and Gros Piton. Though they were formed by rock and lava, they are now green peaks rising 2,421 feet and 2,283 feet respectively. Near the Pitons, visitors can navigate winding, forested roads to experience the world's only drive-in volcano, and then walk with park rangers to get a better view of the bubbling sulphur springs. Also near Soufriere are the Diamond Botanical Gardens where the color-changing Diamond Waterfall is located.
About 30 miles north of the Pitons is Morne Fortune, the hill of good luck, in Castries. This hill offers a unique view of the city, and military relics like Fort Charlotte. Between Morne Fortune and Rodney Bay, the coast is lined with a few beaches, including the popular Choc Beach, which is good for water-sports and wading in the calm surf.
Pigeon Island, a 40 acre islet connected by a causeway to St. Lucia's Rodney Bay area, has marked trails with historical sites including Fort Rodney, and two beautiful secluded beaches where St. Lucia's annual Jazz Festival is held. The Pigeon Island Museum and Interpretive Centre enables visitors to learn about the Carib Indian settlers and the island's history.
Other great attractions include the National Rainforest, which covers 19,000 acres of St. Lucia's interior. This forest provides nature lovers with optimal viewing of giant ferns, wild orchids, birds of paradise and tropical fruits. Grande Anse on the northeast coast is extremely secluded, as is much of the eastern side of the island. Grande Anse is one of St. Lucia's nature reserves; beaches in this protected and undeveloped area include Petite Anse and Anse Louvet. Midway up the east coast, between Dennery and Micoud, are the rocky Fregate Islands, named for the frigate birds that breed there. The Maria Islands are found further south, just east of the island's southern tip and the town of Vieux Fort.
Accommodations on St. Lucia range from hotels and all-inclusive resorts to guest houses, villas and inns. The north end of the island, with its lower lying coral base, has the best white sand beaches, making it the most popular location for hotels, resorts and villas.
Castries, the capital city, functions as the island's main hub. Most of St. Lucia's hotels and resorts are stretched along the coast heading north from the city. The largest single concentration of accommodations and restaurants is found at Rodney Bay, just a few miles north of Castries. There are no high rises, so the area is surprisingly uncrowded. A thriving marina with many visiting yachts contributes to the ambiance at Rodney Bay, and helps to support the many shops, restaurants, and activities in the area.
A short taxi ride to the north is Gros Islet, which hosts “Jump-Up”, a weekly street party with Caribbean-influenced food and music enjoyed by both locals and visitors alike.
Other hotels and resorts are scattered along the western and southern coasts, including those in Marigot Bay, which also has a marina, along with a handful of small hotels and restaurants. The area in and around Vieux Fort, located at the southern tip of the map near the island's largest airport, is smaller than the Castries area, but there are several hotels, as well as a collection small restaurants and shops, as well as a weekend market featuring local spices and produce. Most other accommodations are positioned in remote areas along the coast. To expand your dining and shopping options, you should consider renting a car if you decide to stay at one of these more isolated locations.
Soufrière is a small town on the West coast, about 18 miles north west of Vieux Fort and 24 miles south of Castries—a beautiful (albeit long) drive along twisting and turning roads. Other notable towns include Anse La Raye, a small, coastal village between Castries and Soufrière that's known for their Friday Fish Fry, and Dennery, an East coast fishing village midway between the northern and southern tips of St. Lucia. These, and other small villages are ideal destinations for day trips if you decide t o stay in one of the more remote hotels.
St. Lucia's major airport is Hewanorra International, located on the map near Vieux Fort at the southern tip of the island. Service is available from multiple cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe; look for the airport code "UVF." The other airport, near Castries, uses the airport code "SLU." It offers limited air service, primarily to and from other destinations in the Caribbean.
The main cruise port, Pointe Seraphine, is located in the capital city of Castries on the northwest coast. The area surrounding the port is known for its extensive duty-free shopping.
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