As my plane rounded the island, preparing for landing on Saint Lucia's southernmost tip, I was greeted by the most breathtaking view of the Pitons-the dual volcanic mountains that are this little isle’s most famous feature.
I immediately recognized St. Lucia’s world-class appeal. The island, on the Caribbean's eastern edge, is filled with lush greenery, a mountainous landscape, and a Creole culture that beautifully meshes together the country’s African, East Indian, French, and English heritage.
Direct flights to Hewanorra International Airport near Vieux Fort Quarter, the country's second-largest town, can be had from New York City, and a long weekend is the perfect amount of time to explore the tropical locale. Upon arrival take a 45-minute car ride through rainforest-covered terrain to the Soufrière area.
Here’s a list of things to do, see, eat, and drink on the west coast of St. Lucia.
Where to Stay
Enter the Viceroy Sugar Beach. This world-class resort exceeded all expectations, with its gorgeous private white sand beaches, views of the surrounding valley, and commitment to excellent service. Plus, its location is serenely tucked between the Pitons-a UNESCO World Heritage site. It doesn’t get better than that.
Upon arrival, guests are treated to delicious rum cocktails, and taken to their rooms via colorful tuk-tuks. Each guest is given a mobile phone to communicate with their butler, who is always available to assist. The suites are spectacular, boasting private plunge pools, clawfoot tubs, walk-in closets, the most comfortable Egyptian-cotton bed linens, and incredible views of the twins-Gros and Petit Piton. As an added bonus, all rooms are stocked with local beers and plantain chips daily.
The grounds of the hotel are expansive, featuring two beach options-one perfect for families, snorkeling, and beach-side shopping and the other serving as a secluded adults-only respite. You’ll find a tiki-style bar and day beds available at both beaches.
Additional lodging options on the Southern part of the island include both of Nick Troubetzkoy’s iconic (and I mean iconic) properties, the Anse Chastanet and the remarkable Jade Mountain. The latter is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Even if you can't sleep here, make sure to visit the resort for a cocktail or meal-I promise it’s once-in-a-lifetime insane and so worth it.
What to Do
Visit the Drive-in Volcano
Get your science on and head to the only drive-in volcano in the Caribbean. The actively boiling landscape is awe-inspiring. St. Lucia’s Sulphur Springs Park is known to be the most active geothermal area in the Lesser Antilles.
After touring the steamy hot springs, relax in the nearby sulphur pools and get therapeutic. Who doesn’t love a good mud bath? Lather up using the natural elements and you’ll have baby-soft skin afterwards. I found myself wishing I could bottle some up and take it home as the ultimate face mask. Pro tip: Bring a bathing suit you don’t mind ruining.
Explore the Botanical Gardens and Diamond Waterfall
Marvel at the diverse plant life throughout the beautiful Botanical Gardens. A tour guide is not needed, however, is helpful if you’d like to understand the many different types of vegetation native to the Caribbean. Cool off afterwards at the lovely Diamond Waterfall, where you can hop into one of the thermal baths for less than $10.
For lunch, grab a local bite at The Beacon Restaurant. The food’s great, the views are insane, and there’s even a cute bar kitty who might stop by your table.
Hike the Pitons
Take in the views from the top. While locals caution against climbing the steeper twin, Petit Piton, unless you’re a pro, numerous guided half-day tours to the top of Gros Piton are available. If you’re more of a “slowly drift by the Pitons while drinking rosé” kind of person, there are tons of boat tours available-some even offer snorkeling near the base of the peaks.
What to Pack
Think laid-back island vibes: printed one-pieces, chic sunnies, and a woven clutch. Stuff your carry-on with all the flowy essentials (the brand LoveShackFancy was my inspiration). My closet is shamefully white, but I made sure to branch out and include some colored options for this trip-it is the tropics!
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