The Iconic Pitons
When I think of St Lucia, the picture that my mind instantly evokes is that of lush greens, vast expanses of blue Caribbean Sea and the twin peaks of The Pitons mountains rising in the distance, as the backdrop for the most inspiring of postcards. Just look at some of the photos above, it really does take your breath away.
Oh, the glorious beaches! Can anyone envision St Lucia without picturing them? Can anyone ever have a vision of the Caribbean without the automatic mental picture of a long uninterrupted stretch of glistening white sands and crystalline blue-green waters (of various mesmerising shades)?
St Lucia naturally has a wealth of them, of course, as a Caribbean gem no one dares to doubt that, but beyond the white sands and turquoise seas that are common to all Caribbean Islands, St Lucia boasts some iconic backdrops that no other beach in the region can compare to. For one, you have the backdrop of The Pitons which I've already mentioned, an attraction on their own right, and then you have a selection of attractive beaches, each with its unique character and atmosphere.
Whilst Reduit Beach is the busiest and liveliest, Pigeon Island is the most picturesque, as part of a national park, made up of two beautifully sheltered strips of golden sand. Anse Chastanet, on the other hand, is known for its 200 metres of dark sand, spectacularly backed by jungle undergrowth - the most untouched and unspoiled of them all! And these are just my highlights; St Lucia has many more beaches to explore!
Beyond the natural beauty of its breathtaking beaches, St Lucia has plenty of wilderness to admire and discover. You have protected parks such as Pigeon Island, a national landmark and living museum, and virtually deserted paradises such as the Maria Islands, a pristine nature reserve with over 80 plant species and five endemic reptile species (including the world's rarest snake). You also have dramatic waterfalls to refresh yourself in such as the Diamond Falls, energetic hiking routes to climb such as Mt Gimie, the highest point in the island, offering the most jaw-dropping views from the top, and that all goes without even mentioning the world's only drive-in volcano, which make up the Sulphur Springs - an astonishing sight to behold!
Of course, all this lush, dazzling nature is perfectly backed by an abundance of colourful wildlife in the form of many species of tropical birds hovering above you, from the fregate birds in Fregate Island, to rainbow-coloured parrots, all easily spotted while walking along (they might even visit a tree close to your accommodation if you're lucky), or found in higher concentration numbers at the National Rainforest, home to numerours native species such as the St Lucia Parrot or "jacquot".
It's no secret to anyone that the Caribbean is a splendid place for snorkelling and diving down the depths of the ocean to admire flourishing corals, thriving marine life and several species of tropical fish of all sizes and colours. St Lucia is no different in this respect and you will find many an opportunity for having an upclose and personal encounter with the marine world below.
You could do scuba diving virtually anywhere in St Lucia, no matter which resort you stay at, which part of the country you choose for your escape, more than likely there will be a scuba diving centre offering underwater excursions near you. In fact, like most other places in the Caribbean, most hotels in St Lucia provide scuba diving as an extra in their list of water sports.
There are many wonderful reefs to explore on a holiday in St Lucia and one of the most popular is located in Anse Chastanet, home to the longest established diving centre in the island and offering the most amazing diving experiences.
Experiences and Activities
If you thought a holiday in St Lucia was all about lazing on the beach, indulging in epicurean delights at a decadently luxurious all-inclusive resort and gently exploring rainforest wilderness, well, you where only partly right, as there's many more opportunities for adventure and getting active than you imagine - and yes, I mean out of the water, beyond water sports and beaches.
You can choose from trekking, mountain-biking and even canopy zip-line your way along the verdant treetops of the rainforest. And if at any point you get tired of so much activity and seek a way to relax outside your resort and away from the beach, St Lucia is also home to some breathtaking beautiful golf courses with the most panoramic of views! If you want to be active in St Lucia, you will find more than one way to engage yourself in fun and adventurous pursuits.
Spa and Wellness
Yet another thing that St Lucia is very famous for, is its amazing health and wellbeing facilities, with numerous spas offering holistic approaches to balance your energy, soothe your body and enliven your soul. Most hotels and resorts in St Lucia come with a full-service spa offering world class treatments as well as unique local specials using home-grown ingredients adding to the overall authenticity of the experience of a holiday here.
If I'm ever in St Lucia I know I won't be able to resist the opportunity to re-awaken my senses at one of these beautiful relaxation havens. In fact, I've heard much about a resort here that's all about wellness and achieving the perfect balance of body, mind and soul - The BodyHoliday LeSport. It's unique in the sense that it's fully devoted to guests' health and wellbeing, so it's a resort I surely would like to experience at least once.
Just as you fell in love with St Lucia, how you fall in love with its people will be an instant and almost automatic process.
From humble fishermen to hardworking craftsmen, talented musicians and vibrant carnival dancers, St Lucians are decidedly lovable and an interesting bunch of people to meet and make friends with. For a deeper encounter with their culture, visiting during carnival season will no doubt add to your experience and will ensure you have some lovely memories to bring back home.
How to sum up St Lucia? It's not as easy a task as it looks. One could say it's a verdant tropical paradise teeming with unspoilt lush nature everywhere, or once could describe it as a blissfully heavenly and tranquil hideaway in a privileged, blessed region of this planet, or as the most utterly and naturally romantic place on earth...but neither would quite cut it. St Lucia is all that at once and more, I just hope I can discover it for myself very soon.