Home to pristine sandy beaches, lush rainforests, breathtaking mountains and a vibrant French Caribbean culture, Saint Lucia is truly a perfect vacation destination. Whether looking for a relaxing tropical vacation or a thrilling island adventure, one thing travelers won’t find here is boredom.
There is no shortage of entertaining and exciting things to do, but for anyone thinking of making this iconic romantic hotspot your next trip, you’ll want to make sure these activities are near the top of your list.
Visit Pigeon Island
You’ll want to make a day out of Pigeon Island, a 44-acre national park located in the northern region of Saint Lucia. Described by many as a “living museum,” this island is steeped in rich history and culture. Visitors can explore the ruins of military buildings used during the battles between the French and the British, including a number of 18th-century forts—such as Fort Rodney, named for the British naval officer George Rodney—which were once used by the British to spy on French Ships.
Pigeon Island is also an ideal destination for those looking to do some hiking and snorkeling, as it boasts two gorgeous beaches and majestic peaks. The highest point on the island is Signal Peak, which offers a fantastic, panoramic view of the Northwest coastline—for those brave enough to hike to the top.
In the spring, Pigeon Island hosts the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, an annual Caribbean event that brings together local and international musicians with a focus on jazz, R&B and Calypso.
Shop at the Castries Market
Located in the heart of the capital city, Castries Market has been a destination for fresh homegrown produce, exotic spices, and handcrafted souvenirs made by local artisans for over a century. Friday and Saturday mornings are said to be the best time to visit, as the market is less than a mile from the cruise ship terminal and becomes flocked with both tourists and vendors.
When you’re done shopping, head over to the adjacent Vendor’s Arcade annex, which was added to the market in 1996. Here, visitors can purchase frozen meats or sample the cuisine of local restaurants. You won’t want to miss out on delicacies like a bowl of delicious cow-foot soup for breakfast (apparently quite the hangover cure!) or a fresh Creole fish lunch.
Hike the Gros Piton trail
Adventurous travelers may want to tackle hiking to the top of the Gros Piton—one of the two twin peaks rising stoically above the southwestern coast of Saint Lucia. The larger of the two mountains, these land formations made out of volcanic materials are said to be the most iconic sight in all of Saint Lucia. Although it’s possible to hike the smaller mountain, Petit Piton, the trail is incredibly steep and is suggested for experienced professional climbers only.
It’s suggested that visitors set aside four to five hours to hike to the top of Gros Piton; however, the grueling trek is rewarded with absolutely breathtaking views. While it’s not required by law, it comes highly recommended to hire a guide for the hike. Due to the hot, humid weather of the Caribbean, hikers are also advised to carry plenty of water as well as snacks such as granola or protein bars to keep energy levels up.
For those who want scenic views of the Pitons without the hike, another option is to charter a boat off the coast of the Caribbean Sea.
Zipline through the Rainforest
For a high-flying eco-adventure, there is no shortage of ziplining activities and aerial adventure parks found throughout Saint Lucia, giving tourists a bird’s eye view of the island’s lush rainforests. Depending on the tour, visitors can hike, take a tram or ride in a Jeep or buggy to the top of a tropical peak and then enjoy the spectacular views as they zip on down through a number of breathtaking courses, with the treetops brushing right along their feet.
Expert guides are on hand to help with the outfitting of gear, such as helmets and harnesses, while providing instruction and advice to make even the faintest of heart feel at ease while cruising above the canopies. You’ll feel just like Tarzan as you soar through the rainforest. Although Tarzan never had it so good, because when you’re done your half-day excursion, a shuttle will return you right back to your hotel or resort.
Tour the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens
Just outside of the beautiful town of Soufriere, the original capital of Saint Lucia, lies the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens—a six-acre historical estate that once served as a working plantation producing limes, copra, and cocoa. This spectacular tourist attraction is considered one of the natural wonders of St Lucia. The Botanical Gardens alone feature a variety of vibrant foliage and fauna, including hibiscus, ixora, and heliconia, as well as brightly colored birds and insects.
Meanwhile, the Diamond Falls are a veritable kaleidoscope, thanks to waters that change colors throughout the year as rainwater infuses with natural volcanic minerals that flow down into the falls. Visitors can also take a dip in the natural onsite mineral baths, take a walk along the nature trail or explore the historic Soufriere Estate—one of the oldest and best-preserved landmarks in Saint Lucia.