Impossibly picturesque, her jagged, jungle-clad peaks rising from the sea like dragon’s teeth, stunning St Lucia is rightly feted as the Caribbean’s most romantic island. Accommodation ranges from rustic rainforest retreats and boutique beach hotels to some of the most staggeringly luxurious resorts in the entire region. It’s no surprise that St Lucia is a favourite for couples on their honeymoon, but a host of high-octane pursuits and watersports also make it a great destination for the more adventurous traveller, as well as active families looking for more than just a beach holiday.
Culturally, St Lucia is an intoxicating melange of English, French and African influences, tangible in everything from the exotic markets in the capital, Castries, to the lifting rhythms of Kweyol, The French creole spoken by the locals. Reminders of St Lucia’s colonial past can be found in the fortifications at Pigeon Island, while the ‘drive-in’ volcano at Soufriere in the south offers up clues to a more ancient history, when St Lucia’s otherworldly landscape, dominated by the towering Piton mountains, was hewn from molten rock. The volcanic nature of the island also means that some of the beaches on St Lucia are darker in colour than the classic Caribbean picture postcard, so make sure you let us know if you want to stay somewhere with guaranteed white sand.
Eating and drinking here is a real treat, whether you’re sampling haute cuisine at the hotel restaurants, tucking into tasty street food or enjoying a rum and coke at a local bar. St Lucians love to party too – for a slightly sanitised experience, try the Jazz & Arts Festival in May, or for the real deal, head down to Gros Islet on a Friday night and dance with the locals and the yachters to the thundering sound systems set up on the street corner. A word of warning – go easy on the rum punches – they’re strong!