St. Lucia is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean that offers a huge range of attractions, including the dramatic Pitons, and a dormant volcano that you can drive in. There are healing sulfur spas, lovely sandy beaches, and dense rainforests with trails that take visitors through the lush forest of native plants and trees full of wildlife and birds.
1.Pigeon Island National Park
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Pigeon Island National Historic Park is located in Rodney Bay a few miles from Calabash Cove. This lovely 40-acre islet and reserve was once a separate island, but was connected in the 1970s to the mainland by a narrow sandy causeway. Pigeon Island is the result of a long dormant volcano. It is cooled by pleasant northeast trade winds, and is fairly mountainous and receives quite a lot rain, giving the slopes of the hills a lush cloak of vegetation. The highest hill is Signal Hill, at 359 feet. A roughly 20-minute hike through the vegetation and up the second highest hill on the islet will take visitors to the remains of Fort Rodney. Most of the fort has been destroyed by hurricanes, but there are still some original old cannons. The view is spectacular and worth the climb. The rocky coastline of the islet is full of small coves and has two lovely beaches. Bring a picnic or check out the Jambe de Bois restaurant overlooking the clear blue waters.
2.Sulphur Springs Drive-In Volcano
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St. Lucia’s dormant Soufrière Volcano is an impressive attraction which you can drive straight into. The volcano is a popular tourist attraction known as Sulphur Springs. As you drive through the crater, you will be assaulted by a strong smell of rotten eggs, the sign of the presence of sulfur in the water and the boiling mud. The last volcano eruption happened in the 18th century and it is considered dormant, but it does not look dormant as you walk very close to the crater and watch the steam coming out of the Earth. A little below the crater, the stream that runs out feeds mud baths and hot springs that are full of minerals and are considered therapeutic.
3.Diamond Botanical Gardens
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Diamond Botanical Gardens are located in a deep gorge at the foothills of the Pitons on the west coast of St. Lucia, not far from the town of Soufrière. It is the oldest botanical garden on St. Lucia and one of the most beautiful spots on the island. The gardens are part of the 2,000-acre Soufrière estate, a grant by French King Louis XIV to the Devaux family. It is still owned by the family. These lush tropical gardens are bursting with life with massive ancient trees towering over blooming bushes and vines. A narrow path takes visitors to the natural gorge, where water bubbles from a sulfur spring that, on the way down the cliff, forms the Diamond Waterfall. The path continues to the dormant Soufrière Volcano, also called the Sulphur Springs, which feeds thermal baths that have been around since 1784. Along the way through the lush gardens, visitors can see an old mill and a waterwheel, built in 1765.
Soufrière Estate, St. Lucia, Phone: 758-459-7565
4.Splash Island Water Park
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Splash Island is a popular family amusement park located on Reduit Beach on St. Lucia’s northwestern coast. It is the first Caribbean open-water sports park, offering a range of inflatable obstacle courses. Young guests can enjoy a climbing wall, trampoline, swing monkey bars, double rocker, slide, rocker flip, hurdles, and a court for water volleyball. The guests have to be at least 6 years old and minimum of 3.5 feet tall, and have to wear life vests regardless of how well they swim. While all activities are considered safe, there are well-trained life guards on duty. The water park was opened in 2015 and is located close to the Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa.
Reduit Beach Ave, St. Lucia, Phone: 758-457-8532
5.Tet Paul Nature Trail
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Located in the southwestern part of St. Lucia, about a 10-minute drive or a 40-minute walk from the town of Soufrière, the Tet Paul Nature Trail is a beautiful way to discover the natural wonders of this lovely island. The hike itself takes about 40 minutes and is considered easy to moderately strenuous. The trail runs through magnificent nature and passes by working farmlands, with views of Gros Piton and Jalousie Bay that take your breath away. To really enjoy the view, you will have to climb a set of steep stairs, but it really is worth it. The hikes are guided and your guide will use the opportunity to share with you stories about the island culture, history, and exotic plants you will be passing by.
6.Edmund Forest Reserve
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Mount Edmund Forest Reserve is located high up on the island uplands, near the Enbas Saut Waterfalls Trail. The hikes through the reserve are guided by rangers from the Forest and Lands Department, who are in charge of its maintenance and can point out the exotic plants you see or birds that you hear, such as the Saint Lucia parrot. The hike, which is about 7 miles long and takes about 3 hours each way, will take you through the Quilesse Forest Reserve, ending at the Des Cartiers Rain Forest Trail. The trail is surrounded by a tunnel of huge trees and you will be passing through verdant valleys and towering waterfalls. The tropical forest is rich in orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. The path feels spongy and soft, full of decades’ worth of decomposing wet leaves. There are hanging vines everywhere with colorful beautiful blooms. Take your time and enjoy the rainforest in all its glory.
7.Maria Island Nature Reserve
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Located just off Saint Lucia’s east coast, about half a mile from Pointe Sable, the two beautiful Maria Islands are the jewels among the country’s magnificent natural treasures. With more than 80 species of plants and five endemic reptiles that do not exist anywhere else, the islands have been declared a nature reserve. This lush environment is a major nesting ground for the migratory birds coming from Africa every year. During their visit, the islands are closed to visitors to give the birds and their babies some peace and quiet. But the rest of the time, the islands are a wonderful place to spend a day for people who like going off the beaten tourist path and enjoying the Maria Islands’ beautiful sandy beaches. Hiking through the jungle and observing wildlife is a very special experience. The trail ends at the observation spot, which offers magnificent views of the Pointe Sable area, the town of Vieux Fort, and the Pitons. The only way to reach the Marias is by a fishing boat.
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Located on the Atlantic side of St. Lucia, near Mon Repos along the Micoud Highway, are 12 acres of the lush green Mamiku Gardens. On the hilltop in the heart of the gardens are the ruins of the historic Micoud estate. Stroll through the narrow paved path and you will come across the Mystic Garden, with the species of laurels and a riot of colors from the many species of orchids from all over the world. A set of stone steps, in the deep shade thrown by tall trees, will take you to the Secret Garden, with its magnificent display of colors, fragrances, and blooms. Birds and butterflies are flying everywhere. It is hard to believe that the estate on which the gardens grow were the site of some fierce battles between the French and the British, and were at some point burnt by the slaves.
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9.Enbas Saut Rainforest Trail & Waterfalls
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About 6 miles east of Soufrière, at the foothills of the island’s highest mountain, Mount Gimie, is Enbas Saut, a magnificent 19,000-acre Central Rainforest Reserve. There is a well-maintained 2.5-kilometer hiking trail going through the lush rainforest, which is wild, remote, and incredibly scenic. The trail runs through a mix of dense rainforest, cloud forest, and elfin woodlands, full of vibrant wildlife. The most common birds you will see, or most likely hear, in the area are the St. Lucian parrot, the blue-hooded euphonia, the St. Lucia black finch, and the mountain whistler. The view in the clearings is dominated by looming Piton Canarie, Piton Troumassee, and Mount Gimie. Enbas Saut means "below the falls," and you will understand why when you come to the two spectacular cascading waterfalls that end in deep pools at the Troumassee River. The trail alternates with a series of wooden steps that go down the cliff before arriving at the base of the waterfall. The cool and refreshing pool is a popular swimming place. The hike takes about 1 hour one way.
10.Millet Bird Sanctuary
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If you are a bird watcher, coming to St. Lucia is your unique opportunity to see some birds that do not live anywhere else. Head to the Millet Bird Sanctuary, in the Millet Forest Reserve at the heart of the island, where more than 30 species of birds live in an magnificent, ancient primary forest. There are five endemic species, namely warblers, blackbirds, orioles, and flycatchers as well as the St. Lucia parrot. The forest trail is fairly well maintained and climbs to 300 meters above sea level, where you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is 2.8 kilometers long and it takes about 2 hours to finish. Along the trail you will see observation towers and many bird feeders. At the trail head you will find a nice, welcoming reception area and restrooms. The facilities were developed by the Ministry of Forestry of St. Lucia and their staff offer guided hikes.
Millet, St. Lucia, Phone: 758-450-2231
11.Rhythm of Rum Tours
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Every Caribbean country is proud of its special and unique brand of rum. In St. Lucia, there is only one rum distillery left and visiting it will show you not only the process of making rum but also the history of rum production on the island and how it shaped the island’s history. St. Lucia Distillers Group of Companies is the last of the island’s rum distilleries and is located in the picturesque Roseau Valley, not far from Marigot Bay. The distillery was created in 1972 when the two remaining distilleries joined forces. Today, it produces more than 25 rums and rum products. They offer 1-hour tours of the distillery that end in a free tasting and an opportunity for visitors to buy a few bottles as a special souvenir.
Castries, St. Lucia, Phone: 758-518-8275
12.Soufriere Hot Wire Rides
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Visiting Morne Coubaril Historical Adventure Park means a nice combination of enjoying lush local nature and adrenaline-filled zipline adventures with the reputable Soufrière Hotwire Rides Inc. Their eight zip lines will take you safely high above the estate, offering breathtaking views of the dense canopy of old banyan trees, coconut palms, and plums and mango trees, above a small pond and a deep, shadowy bamboo-filled gorge. Wherever you look, the views compete in their beauty – the Piton Mountains and the town of Soufrière on one side and the endless ocean on the other. You will feel like it ended too fast, but when you land on the ground you can go horseback riding on the beach or enjoy a delicious Creole lunch in the old Plantation House restaurant.
Morne Coubaril Estate, Soufrière, St. Lucia, Phone: 758-459-7340
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13.Atlantic Shores Riding Stables
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Atlantic Shores Riding Stables are located near Honeymoon Beach in an area that hasn’t been touched by development and is still as tranquil and natural as it was centuries ago. For people who love horses, it is a very special experience to take a ride on sandy beaches along the ocean shores, through the rolling hills of the sleepy countryside, or along steep, dramatic cliffs on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The guides who lead the tours will tell you the stories of the history of the area and the centuries-old cultures that mixed and blended to make the St. Lucia of today. The memories and photographs you will take with you will last you a lifetime.
Micoud Highway, Vieux-Fort, St. Lucia, Phone: 758-285-1090
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If your cruise ship brought you to St. Lucia’s Castries port, you will want to see as much of this beautiful island as possible in a short time. Let Rainforest Adventures show you around and introduce you to the island’s magical rainforest, where you can combine your love for adventure with a pure pleasure of being surrounded by spectacular nature. Their zipline tour starts with a short walk through the floor of the tropical rainforest, before they hitch you to a safety harness and send you flying above the tree canopy along a series of cables, from platform to platform. If you are a daredevil, you might want to swing from the line into a net or hike along the forest floor to the next platform. For the less adventurous, there is the Aerial Tram Tour, which brings visitors from the city to the high area in the rainforest in large 16-people open gondolas, which glide silently above the forest, offering spectacular views. Once you arrive at the forest, you will take a slow hike through the jungle path and enjoy many flowering plants and noisy colorful birds.
St. Lucia, Phone: 758-458-5151
15.Off-Road Segway Adventure
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There are so many ways to explore St. Lucia: by bus, car, boat, bike, or on foot. Or you can try something new and glide along on the guided Off-Road Segway Adventure. After a short introduction on how to ride this interesting, quiet, and totally environmental vehicle, you will first go on a Segway practice track, after which you will continue along the well-maintained nature trail up Mount Pimard and along the dramatic steep west coast of the island. Your guide will point out the plants, birds, and butterflies you encounter and will tell you the stories of the bloody battles French and British fought over the beautiful island. The tour takes about 2 hours to complete.
St. Lucia, Phone: 758-724-8200
16.Treetop Adventure Park
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Treetop Adventure Park is located deep in the lush St. Lucia rainforest and offers a different experience of the island for those who like to challenge themselves and get their adrenaline flowing. You can view the treetops 150 feet above ground from their 12 super-safe world-class double cable ziplines. You can hike or bike high up to the Errard Waterfall, the highest on the island. New Canopy Walkways offer a view of the jungle and birds from the hanging walkways among the trees. All around you, colorful blooms and verdant trees and vines offer home to many birds such as parrots and hummingbirds. You can also visit the greenhouse, where gardeners tend to new species of plants and trees before planting them around the park.
Errard Road, Dennery, St. Lucia, Phone: 758-724-7256
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16 Best Things to Do in Saint Lucia
- Pigeon Island National Park, Photo: Courtesy of David Woolfenden - Fotolia.com
- Sulphur Springs Drive-In Volcano, Photo: Courtesy of drmgillan - Fotolia.com
- Diamond Botanical Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of rudiernst - Fotolia.com
- Splash Island Water Park, Photo: Courtesy of dream79 - Fotolia.com
- Tet Paul Nature Trail, Photo: Courtesy of aceshot - Fotolia.com
- Edmund Forest Reserve, Photo: Courtesy of claire - Fotolia.com
- Maria Island Nature Reserve, Photo: Courtesy of pauws99 - Fotolia.com
- Mamiku Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of Becky - Fotolia.com
- Enbas Saut Rainforest Trail & Waterfalls, Photo: Courtesy of Juhku - Fotolia.com
- Millet Bird Sanctuary, Photo: Courtesy of Ken Marshall - Fotolia.com
- Rhythm of Rum Tours, Photo: Courtesy of sergantstar - Fotolia.com
- Soufriere Hot Wire Rides, Photo: Courtesy of Lucy Maynard - Fotolia.com
- Atlantic Shores Riding Stables, Photo: Courtesy of Atlantic Shores Riding Stables
- Rainforest Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of Ammit - Fotolia.com
- Off-Road Segway Adventure, Photo: Courtesy of marketlan - Fotolia.com
- Treetop Adventure Park, Photo: Courtesy of wollertz - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Tony - Fotolia.com