St. Lucia is located in the Eastern Caribbean offering a wide range of activities from hiking its dramatic mountains (the Pitons), rain forests and waterfalls, sun bathing on the powder white sandy beaches, and pure relaxation for those of you in search of some serious “R&R with views”.
Much of the island’s natural beauty is in protected parks and private plantations, and the knowledgeable locals are very helpful in providing tips and pointers for the best way to explore the island. There are several tour companies offering both group and personalized tours and the hotel concierge is best equipped with the local deals based on the season you are visiting.
We spent 4 days on the island and spent our time soaking in the great views from our gorgeous hotel, with a mix of some activities to keep us busy.
Top Things To Do in St. Lucia
1) Always our first! Relax at one of the luxury hotels –
Based on what you’re looking for; views, beach, snorkeling, spa, rain forest (and the list goes on) pick from any one of the several luxury hotels on the island. We picked Ladera well because…first it’s been on our list for quite some time for an incredible glamping experience and second, we were in need of some serious R& R with unparalleled view of the Pitons. It also has access/shuttle to the glamorous Sugar Beach resort which was just perfect for our much-needed beach fix.
Our room on the cliff just had an incredible view! For more on our hotel and what made us decide, read the post here
2) Hike the Tet Paul Nature Trail – (easy to Moderate; 45 min)
The Tet Paul Scenic trail is located in the southwestern part of St. Lucia and about a 10-minute drive from Soufrière. It is an easy hike with some steep steps and will take about 45 min to complete. A local guide walks you through the scenic trail and a small plantation while offering interesting tidbits and highlights of the St. Lucian culture. You will be amazed at the fertile soil of the island that can grow most anything, fruits and vegetables, medicinal herbs and some leaves that can be used as a natural soap/shampoo/detergent (pretty pretty cool). And of course, there were LOTS of papayas, bananas, pineapples and soursop trees.
The guided hike stops by a traditional house/hut showcasing some aspects of the daily life, and local utensils as part of the island culture.
The trail offers incredible views of Gros Piton and Jalousie Bay that truly take your breath away! Our guide was entertaining with continuous stories and offered to take some great pictures of us at all the main scenic stops 🙂
For more information on the nature trail, read here
3) Sulfur Springs Soak to look 12 years younger
A natural “mud bath” experience is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think St. Lucia (well, at least not to us!) The Sulfur Springs volcano is a dormant volcano on the island, and one you can actually drive up to for the baths. Skip the tour and make your way straight towards the area with the baths – just follow the smell, you can’t miss it! 😉
Pools of black mud with smoke coming off the pool, and a smell of rotten eggs (it’s the sulphur) will be what greets you here. Do not be afraid and head over for a rejuvenating experience. (Trust us!)
The black volcanic mud carries healing properties and helps to detoxify, tighten, and smooth your skin by scrubbing all over your body and face. It is recommended for problem skin with eczema, sun burnt or irritated skin and is actually quite cooling once applied.
Do wear a dark bathing suit as the mud can stain lighter clothing, and remember to scrub well after! The process: First take a short soak in the
warm hot mineral pool, you’ll feel like a boiling lobster at this point but stay with it as the next step will cool you down…I promise 🙂
Next, walk towards the middle area and apply the mud LIBERALLY! You may have to help each other for applying on your back. Once all covered with a thick layer, wait for a few minutes for it to dry. Use this time to take some funny gangsta pics! 😉
Finally, go back to the hot pool and wash it all off. By this time, your muscles will feel relaxed and the hot water feels a bit like a nice warm sauna. When you dry yourself, you’ll be as soft (and possibly a bit stinky) as a BABY’S BUTT! But will look shiny and 12 weeks younger …uhhh did I say “years” earlier? the 12 years part may need a few consecutive runs…
Cool off later in the waterfalls nearby. That’s another 15 min drive and is part of the package if you get a tour. For more on the tour, read here.
4) Pick Jungle Gems in Fond Doux Plantation Tour (1.5hr, $20 per person)
The Fond Doux plantation tour is a guided walking tour of the truly expansive property of the Fond Doux plantation & resort.
Fond Doux is spread over 135 acres and is over 250 years old! It has retained its character and charm of the early French colonial estates, and has groves of tropical and colorful flowers and fruits making for a really interesting and fun walk. The guide was extremely entertaining and resourceful in terms of explaining the large variety of local medicinal herbs and spices.
You can also sample some of the fruits (bananas, love apples, guavas, star fruits, cocoa beans, and coconuts) while on the plantation. And watch out for those bees and humming birds as you walk through the groves!
The plantation is filled with cocoa groves, and the guide will show you the complete chocolate making process, famous of St. Lucia. Learn about cocoa harvesting, cocoa drying, and even the famous cocoa dancing 🙂 which just about brings us to the 5th item on our list…
5) Transform a Cocoa Pod to a Chocolate Bar
There are a couple of different ways to see the chocolate making process; you can take a tour of the historic plantations (Fond Doux, or Morne Coubaril) that show you how it’s done, from the pod to the cocoa (for chocolate bar). OR, you could take the class at Hotel Chocolat (Boucan) that will offer a tour AND show/teach you the process to make the chocolate bar, right from the bean! This is a day long class and a bit pricey but worth the experience if you love chocolate 🙂 Check out their “Tree to Bean” and “Bean to Bar” tours here.
We opted for the Fond Doux tour that also showed us the process with the cocoa dancing!
Get the cocoa pod from the tree, and you may chomp on it like Mr. A if you like…they’re sweet and called “jungle gems” for a quick sweet snack.
The pods are fermented, and the beans are then separated and set out to dry
This is followed by the “grinding” of the beans into a thick paste, as the age-old procedure by men dancing on the beans in this cauldron! Oh, don’t forget to add some water to the beans to make ’em slimy …
The result…TA DA! cocoa paste to be used for the further filtration and chocolate bar process.
p.s. we did not taste the cocoa paste pre-filtration
Back at Hotel Chocolat (Boucan)…the next steps are a bit more scientific and clean
We wrapped up our tour with some snacks and sipped on rum punch at the restaurant.
6) Hit the Beach to cool off – Sugar Beach Resort
There are several good beaches throughout the island with lovely (and clean) stretches of golden sand and calm water, offering snorkeling and swimming and even some water sports for those of you in need of more activities. The famous ones are Reduit beach with lots of food and activities (certainly the busiest), Anse Chastenet for snorkeling, and Anse Des Pitons for its dramatic location nestled close to the Pitons with white sand. Since all beaches are public, you can visit any of the luxury hotels and relax at their beaches for free of cost! But of course, you will have to pay for renting a chair and umbrella based on the hotel prices.
We chose to spend time at Sugar Beach (Anse Des Pitons) and you’ll soon see why 🙂
Sugar Beach resort is a stylish viceroy hotel with powdery white sand along its shore. We stayed at Ladera and ourhotel offered a free shuttle to Sugar beach multiple times a day.
The Sugar Beach hotel has an incredibly delicious restaurant and bar so you can take in the scenery while grabbing a bite to eat – perfect way to spend the day at the resort.
we also went for a stroll around the beach and caught some beautiful views of the sandy stretch from across the dock!
7) Sunset views and Spectacular colors
Perched on a small cliff between The Pitons, Ladera Resort offers the most striking view of the two peaks, Gros Piton and Petit Piton. While it’s incredible to enjoy the views in daytime, sunset offers a spectacular view with enchanting colors. The hotel’s restaurant Dasheene and its bar makes for a great viewing spot. They also have live music on almost all nights making it perfect for spending an evening!
For a view other than the Pitons (although we can’t imagine how you’d get sick of this), we recommend The Mango Tree located at the Stonefield Resort. This was about a 15 drive from Ladera and offered incredible views of the vast ocean.
We grabbed a spot by this grand tree and enjoyed our drinks while they got our table ready.
8) Feast on Saltfish and Green Figs
Don’t forget to try the island’s local cuisine famous for “saltfish”, dried and salted codfish that’s cooked after soaking it overnight, then boiled and sautéed with onions, peppers, tomatoes, and spices. We really liked the saltfish fritters, a staple at almost all the restaurants we visited. The “green figs” seem to be the island’s national dish and is St. Lucian bananas (plantains) served as a side with most fish or meat dishes.
One of our other favorites of the local cuisine was the Caribbean Roti, a wrap bread filled with a curried mix of meat or vegetables, we tried both the chicken and the vegetable and was delicious!
We tried the Boucan restaurant a few times since it was so good! they have a bit of chocolate in every dish, and the dessert is to die for! chocolatey goodness 🙂
Restaurants we mentioned above: Dasheene (Ladera), The Mango Tree (Stonefield), Sugar Resort, Boucan (Hotel Chocolat)
9) The Pitons – Should we Climb or Admire from Far?
The volcanic peaks of the Pitons are a sight to behold, and an iconic image of the island! The twin peaks are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, and their forested slopes rise to a height of 2500 ft. Many of the hotels offer incredible views while sipping on delicious rum drinks.But if if a challenge and adventure is what you’re looking for…then you may like to climb Gros Piton. Not for the faint hearted, it’s well known to be a steep and slippery scramble to the top, but the views seem to be the best reward. There are several guided tours and the hotel concierges are best quipped to recommend a reputable one. Wear sturdy trainers, backpack and water and be well layered in warm clothes.
10) Still Got More time?
There are plenty of other activities that were recommended to us. We’ve listed the best ones for ya!
- Pigeon Island
- Diamond botanical gardens and waterfalls
- Sail away at Marigot Bay
Hope you can enjoy this island as much as we did! Now go plan that trip… 😉
xo, ~A&A ❤