If you’re asked to think of the perfect island paradise, there’s a very good chance you’re picturing St. Lucia. With its crystal white beaches, calm, turquoise seas, and relaxed, welcoming lifestyle, it’s the kind of place that vacation dreams are made of. But is it all sea, sand, and sangria? Is there anything to do except lie on a beach and catch a tan? Yep, and then some. Regardless of how you prefer to spend your vacation, you’ll find enough to do on this enticing stretch of the Caribbean to keep you going for weeks. Still need convincing? Then check out our round-up of the ‘20 Best Things to do in St. Lucia for First Timers’.
20. Hike Mount Gimie
If you’re bored of lazing around the beach, put your leg muscles to the test with a hike up Mount Gimie. The tallest mountain in St. Lucia is studded with emerald forests, meandering streams, and acres of unexplored territory. Just bear in mind that some areas can be slightly challenging, and considering not all of the paths are well-marked, it’s best to hire a guide if your sense of direction goes the minute your iPhone loses charge.
19. Experince Beach Culture At Reduit Beach
US News and World Report ranks Reduit Beach as one of the highlights of St. Lucia. Take one glance at its crystal white sands and sparkling blue waters and we’ll sure you agree. But it’s not just the beach that’s the big attraction here: the close proximity to all the shops, restaurants, and nightlife on Rodney Bay makes it fabulously vibrant, while the walk from lazing on the beach to sipping cocktails at the bar is delightfully short. It’s also one of the best places on St. Lucia for water sports, so be sure to bring your surfboard and diving googles.
18. Bird Watch At Pigeon Island National Park
If you want to get knee-deep in nature, you won’t want to miss a visit to Pigeon Island National Park. Ranked by Trip Advisor as one of St. Lucia’s top attractions, it’s a scenic, tranquil spot that more than justifies the praise that’s been lavished on it by Trip Advisor reviewers. “Stunning views from the fort and points at the top (short walk although steep and rocky for the point itself). Excellent beaches and fantastic snorkeling available. The rangers were helpful and dotted around the island. For $10 US this is a worthwhile trip,” says one, while another offers the equally praiseworthy, “I wish my excursion from my cruise was at this beach longer so I could explore the park even more. I love all the old ruins, the waves crashing into the shore, the birds, the lizards and everyone I met seemed great! I found some coral along the Atlantic Side of the park and loved listening to the waves crashing into the shore. So different from the beachside as there were no waves and it was so peaceful and postcard looking. My family enjoyed swimming at the beach and enjoying a relaxing sit under huge palm trees. I would definitely come back here to hike to the top of the mountain and eat at some of the local restaurants”.
17. Soak Up The Rays At Vigie Beach
As triphobo.com notes, Vigie Beach is one part laid back beach paradise, one part party central. Lively, but with enough places to escape the crowds, it’s a great place to catch a tan and soak up some of that magical Caribbean spirit. The calm seas that lap the shore, meanwhile, are perfect for swimming or trying out some water sports. Just don’t forget to pack the sunscreen….
16. Visit The Immaculate Conception Church
Some people like to spend their vacations playing golf. Others prefer to stay by the pool. Still others like to visit churches. If visiting sacred sites is your idea of a good time, the Immaculate Conception Church is going to be right up your street (although even if you’re not usually into that kind of thing, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised). It's not air-conditioned so can get a little hot, but providing you don’t mind bringing a tissue to mop your brow, the interior’s beautiful mix of traditional and modern and gorgeously colorful murals are a sight to behold. Come on a Sunday to experience it at its best at a Sunday Mass.
15. Hike The Tet Paul Nature Trail
If all the lounging around the beach has given you stiff legs and the need to burn off some steam, pop your hiking boots on and hit the Tet Paul Nature Trail. Affectionately described as the "Stairway to Heaven” by locals, it’s a short but challenging 45-minute hike that takes in some great scenery along the way. The views over the southern side of St. Lucia, including the legendary Jalousie Bay, are nothing short of spectacular.
14. Watch A Cricket Game At Daren Sammy Cricket Ground
St. Lucian’s are mad on cricket. Whether you share the passion or not, watching a match at the Daren Sammy cricket ground comes highly recommended. Match day is always a lively, fun affair, regardless of whether it’s a friendly local match or a high-stakes international one.
13. Shop ‘Till You Drop At Castries Central Market
Castries Central Market is St. Lucia’s most vibrant, colorful market – and with a heritage stretching back to 1891, one of it’s oldest as well. Lined with vendors peddling everything from fruits and vegetables to handmade arts and crafts and handwoven beachwear, it’s got a little something for everyone. Even if you’re not in the mood to buy, you can’t help but be infected by the buzzing, vibrant atmosphere. Open daily from 7 a.m.–1 p.m., it’s at its best on Saturday mornings.
12. Admire The Art At Choiseul Art Gallery
Granted, St. Lucia might not be able to compete with the likes of Paris or New York when it comes to art galleries or museums, but that’s not say it’s completely devoid of cultural destinations. Take Choiseul Art Gallery as a case in point. Its great selection of exhibits showcases the talents of local artists to masterful effect, featuring a fabulous range of paintings, handmade furniture, jewelry, and wood carvings. Better still, most of the materials used in the pieces are sourced locally, giving you an outstanding insight into the local arts scene that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.
11. Tackle The Obstacles At Splash Island Water Park
If you’ve got the kids with you, you won’t want to miss a visit to Splash Island Water Park, the first open water Caribbean Water Park and one of St. Lucia’s premier tourist destinations. The fun-filled park comes complete with a trampoline, climbing wall, monkey bars, a swing, a slide, hurdles, double rocker, flip, and water volleyball. Lifeguards are in attendance at all times as a precaution.
10. Treat Yourself To A Banana Beer At Banana CounTree
Want to try a whole new take on the humble banana? Then why not take smartertravel.com’s advice and head to Banana CounTree to indulge in one of its legendary banana beers? If that doesn’t sate your fruity cravings, the rest of the banana heavy menu (which includes a too-die-for banana rum sauce) certainly should.
9. Party All Night Long At Gros Islet Street Party
If you’re of legal drinking age, you’re almost obliged to visit at least one Gros Islet Street Party while you’re in St. Louis. Party with the locals, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy some local delicacies (i.e. rum, rum, and rum, plus a little Piton beer on the side).
8. Snorkel At Anse Chastanet
If you’re going to St. Lucia, we’re going to take a stab in the dark and say you like the beach. In which case, you’re going to love Anse Chastanet. A quiet, less touristy alternative to the buzzing Reduit Beach (another one of our top picks), Anse Chastanet is a picturesque beach offering unspoiled ocean views and calm, clear waters. If you like snorkeling, you’re in luck: by all accounts, the amount of sea life around the shore makes it one of the best places on the island for diving.
7. Enjoy A Shower At Toraille Waterfall
Located just 2 minutes off the road is one of St. Lucia’s most stunning natural wonders - Toraille Waterfall. If you’ve ever dreamt of swimming beneath a waterfall, this is the place to make that dream come true. Despite being one of the island’s top spots, it’s rarely overcrowded, leaving you free to enjoy your cooling dip in peace.
6. Visit The Pitons
If you want to see one of the most iconic sights in all of St.Lucia, you’ll need to visit the Pitons. Raising sharply from the turquoise-colored seas, these two peaks are a kaleidoscope of brightly colored vegetation. The active among you are welcome to hike the peaks, but those who prefer to take it easy will get just as much of a thrill from taking a boat ride around their shores – just don’t forget to bring your camera.
5. Take A Dip At The Sulfur Springs
Ever fancied visiting the world’s only ‘drive-in volcano’? Then do as divergenttravelers.com suggests and head to the Sulfur Springs. The once-in-a-lifetime experience lets you drive right up to the (thankfully dormant) volcano crater, before stripping off and soaking up some Sulphury goodness in the warm waters of the passing river.
4. Explore Marigot Bay
Tucked away in the shelter of rolling, forested hills is Marigot Bay, an idyllic little corner of paradise that offers breathtaking ocean views, warm golden sands, and enough recreation to keep you busy for days on end. Whether you want to catch some rays on the beach, snorkel in the waters, hike the hills, or sample some fine local cuisine at one of the various top-notch restaurants, you’re guaranteed a memorable occasion.
3. Tour The Cocoa Plantations
Soufrière has no end of cocoa plantations, many of which offer guided tours to the public. The 18th century Morne Coubari is one you really shouldn’t miss– as well as offering a full guided tour of the plantation (which includes a replica 18th-century village, gorgeous gardens, live demonstrations, and the chance to try some fresh cane juice) there’s a working mill to explore, horseback riding and even Ziplining.
2. Party All Night Long At A Friday Night Fish Fry
No visit to the Caribbean is complete without experiencing at least one Friday night fish fry. Experience St. Lucia like a local by heading to the charming fishing village of Anse la Ray on the western coast of the island for a night of reggae, dancing, and, of course, some first-class seafood. Children are welcome and will likely love the laid back vibes as much as you (although they might have less good things to say about the barbequed lobster) – just be aware the music is loud and the drinks are free-flowing if you let yours tag along for the ride.
1. Stroll Around the Saint Lucia Botanical Gardens
Saint Lucia Botanical Gardens (or the Diamond Botanical Gardens, as some people prefer to call them) are the oldest set of cultivated gardens on St. Lucia. Located in the bustling Soufrière area of the island, they’re a great place to experience the many different varieties of exotic flora that St. Lucia boasts. As you stroll around, don’t miss the Diamond Waterfall – the high content of copper sulfate, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, iron, and other minerals in the water gives it a dazzling rainbow effect that’s worth at least a reel of camera film.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn