With its staggering natural wonders, vibrant marine life and mouth-watering Caribbean food, you’ll never be short of things to do St Lucia. While it can be tempting to spend all your time kicking back on its stunning white beaches, we’d suggest adding a few of these experiences to your St Lucia villa holiday, allowing you to soak up all that the Caribbean has to offer. From snorkelling and hiking to market haggling, there’s something here for every type of traveller.
1. Hike Gros Piton
The safest and most commonly climbed of St Lucia’s iconic twin peaks, Gros Piton is great for getting a little active on your St Lucia holiday. There are many guided tours available and, if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll take a four-hour climb to nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. The reward? Unbeatable views across Soufriere, Vieux Fort and other Caribbean islands beyond St Lucia.
2. Go on a snorkelling excursion
Pack your flippers and head to Anse Mamin, Jalousie Plantation Beach or Anse Chastanet for some of the best snorkelling in St Lucia. The water here is super-clear, and the reefs are bursting with all sorts of marine life to discover, from octopus and turtles to moray eels and puffers. If you’re keen to take a PADI course and get fully trained up, check out Scuba St Lucia to start the process.
3. Explore Castries and its vibrant market
Take yourself over to Castries, the capital of St Lucia, to get a taste of local life. See Derek Walcott Square, named after the Nobel Prize-winning author, and step inside the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to soak up some culture. Then, head to Castries Market to feast your eyes – and eventually stomach! – on a glorious array of local produce, from coconuts and soursop to Dasheene and plantain. The craft market is also a great place to pick up souvenirs, local cocoa and spices for experimenting with back home.
4. Visit the island’s oldest cocoa plantation
Whether you like to tuck into a sugary bar daily or prefer your chocolate in hot cocoa form, a visit to Rabot Estate is a must. Book Hotel Chocolat’s Tree-to-Bar tour to explore the plantation and learn about St Lucia’s revered cocoa bean. You’ll then enjoy their full Bean-to-Bar experience as you to try making some St Lucian chocolate for yourself. At the Boucan restaurant, cacao gazpacho, cacao nib-infused chicken and indulgent desserts like the Rabot Chocolate Lava all feature on its delectable menu – come hungry!
5. Enjoy the view at Pigeon Island
Set off early and walk to the lookout point of Pigeon Island National Park, a ‘living museum’ of St Lucia’s military history. Now separated from mainland St Lucia via a causeway, it was once inhabited by the Arawaks and Caribs but was later occupied by the French settler ‘Jambe de Bois’ in the 1500s. Today, you can discover the ruins of Fort Rodney, a strategic fort built by the British in the 18th Century, before taking in jaw-dropping panoramas from the peak.
6. Experience the world’s only drive-in volcano
Book a day trip exploring La Soufriere Volcano, one of the few ‘drive-in’ calderas in the world. It’s surrounded by the scenic National Heritage Park and during your visit, you’ll not only see bubbling sulphur springs and steam shooting up from the earth, you can also take a dip in hot mineral pools and cover yourself in ‘healing’ mud at the sulphur springs volcanic mud baths. If you want to arrive in style, book a Catmaran tour and explore the volcano as part of a jam-packed itinerary, including a visit to the Toraille Waterfall and a buffet lunch!
7. Party with the locals
Liven up your Friday night by heading to the ‘Jump Up’ in Gros Islet. This local street party on Bay Street is a key event that many locals look forward to each week, seeing the streets lined with rum shacks and stalls selling freshly barbecued meat. Go early to enjoy the best St Lucia food, and stay late to join the most serious partygoers – the DJs really get going after 10pm, entertaining the crowds into the early hours.
8. Take a helicopter ride
If you’re looking for a VIP experience while on holiday in St Lucia, book a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter tour. St Lucia Helicopters offers various flight routes that offer birds-eye views over the island’s most impressive sights, including Pigeon Island, Soufriere Volcano and hidden rivers and valleys. The company also offers transfers from Hewanorra International Airport.
9. Eat delicious St Lucian food
Caribbean food is some of the most vibrant in colour and flavour, but our favourite spot to eat like the locals do is at Jambe de Bois in Pigeon Island National Park. Named after the eponymous Norman pirate, this characterful restaurant is nestled on the waterfront and serves up delicious St Lucian food. Typical dishes include curried lamb, callaloo soup and mouthwatering fish roti. Wash it down with a freshly-chilled Piton beer – in the heat of the Caribbean sun, it’ll be just what the doctor ordered.
10. Go zip-lining through the jungle
If you and your fellow travellers want a taste of adventure, book yourself a ziplining experience at Treetop Adventure Park. With various canopy walkways to wander and 12 ziplines to zoom down, it’s one of the top things to do in St Lucia for thrill-seekers. It’s also a fantastic way to explore the indigenous flora and fauna – GoPro at the ready!
Ready for your relaxed, rum-cocktail-filled, photographer’s dream of a holiday to St Lucia? Check out our St Lucia villa holidays collection, and then speak to our concierge team to get the planning process underway.