Things to do in Saint Lucia
Life’s a beach
Unlike many Caribbean islands, Saint Lucia’s beaches are open to all – even if they are in front of a hotel – so take advantage and explore as many as you can. The island’s volcanic nature means some beaches have striking black sand, whereas others are postcard-perfect white with swishing palms. The west coast is sheltered in the calm Caribbean – ideal for families, while the trade winds that whip the east coast, particularly the long stretches at Anse de Sables and Cas en Bas, mean these waters are not suitable for swimming, but are perfect for wind and kite surfers. Tough access (long, rough roads or forest hikes) mean these beaches are frequently deserted. The same can’t be said for the northwest of the island, which is heavily lined with resorts and hotels, so you are unlikely to find secluded spots.
If you want to get some diving or snorkelling in, Saint Lucia also has plenty of reefs to explore – try Anse Cochon, on the west coast (accessible by boat), and Anse Chastanet in the south, which leads out to the Maria Islands Nature Reserve.
Our Saint Lucia Holidays
Walking in Saint Lucia is not about getting from A to B. It’s about being immersed in some stunning surroundings – and learning about them along the way. The most famous trek is to the top of the iconic Gros Piton – a four hour round trip whose main challenge is the heat and humidity. But the island’s inland forest reserves offer a variety of hikes – from one hour to the best part of a day, with local guide to interpret the exotic plants, spot nervous birds and find reptiles.
Paul Sawyer, from our supplier and walking specialist New Experience Holidays, explains more: “It’s all about experiencing the jungle. We have our own guide, Murray, who’s a wonderful chap – we call him the Gentle Giant because he’s enormous. He walks around with a machete which does spook a few people – but he’s really nice and gentle, and he’s an expert in the flowers and herbal medicine, so he explains what all the plants are. His father was a herbal medicine doctor, and Murray’s learned that from him. So you go through the jungle and you see things that you don’t see elsewhere – plants, animals, insects – and that’s what it’s all about. You’ll pass a waterfall or a river as a focal point, and we can offer circular trails so you aren't retracing your steps.”
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With 167 species - including six endemics - inhabiting this 43km-long island, Saint Lucia promises brding bliss.
Not only are you spoiled for choice when it comes to species, but also with birding trails. Millet Bird Sanctuary is probably the best known; its 30 species include the sought-after Saint Lucia Parrot, recently brought back from the brink of extinction. Des Cartier Rainforest Trail and the Vieux Fort Wetlands are also superb – but with a range of routes and expert local guides, birders could stay for a fortnight and not exhaust all the birding possibilities.
More about Saint Lucia
Spring into early summer is the best time to visit Saint Lucia - missing peak season as well as the annual rains.
Six endemic bird species, UNESCO-listed landscapes, thriving Creole culture and vivid tropical reefs mean that Saint Lucia is firmly placed on people’s holiday wishlists - and not just for honeymooners.
Saint Lucia may be a small island, at just 43km and 23km wide, but there’s plenty here to keep you occupied, from white sand beaches to chocolate farms to frolicking dolphins to sailing along with the trade winds - take a look at our interactive map to see out top Saint Lucia highlights.
When it comes to avian experiences, this tiny Caribbean isle is a tropical treasure trove of tweeters, thanks to its thick forests, wetlands and coastline.
Saint Lucia family holidays introduce children to quite a different way of life - full of outdoor adventure, tropical nature, and welcoming hosts.
Our experts have shared their Saint Lucia travel advice for hikers, sailors and those in search of creole culture; hint: a rum shop is a good place to start! We've added in some health and safety tips to help your trip run smoothly, and our travellers have added in some advice of their own in our holiday reviews.
There is much to be commended when it comes to responsible tourism in Saint Lucia, with local initiatives helping to save sea turtles and reserves and bird sanctuaries helping to protect the island's incredible biodiversity.