Cruising Stunning St. Lucia

Striking natural beauty is just the start of this Caribbean island’s tremendous appeal.

St. Lucia
Big fun in a relatively small package: St. Lucia measures only 27 miles long by 14 miles wide. [eqroy]/

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Long a top honeymoon destination, St. Lucia has lots to love for all visitors. Its lush, natural beauty, rich history and culture, delectable food scene and welcoming atmosphere beckon cruisers to drop anchor and linger awhile in this lovely and laid-back Caribbean port of call.

The Pitons

The twin peaks of the Pitons are the beloved symbol of St. Lucia and the island’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formed 30 million to 40 million years ago by a volcanic eruption, these iconic peaks are now blanketed with a lush tropical forest that’s home to 27 bird species and many rare plants. The shorter, steeper Petit Piton (2,438 feet) is a realm for professional climbers only. But the taller Gros Piton (2,619 feet) is popular for its guided day hikes.

Castries Central Market

Replenish your provisions at the colorful Castries Central Market, opened in the heart of St. Lucia’s capital in 1891. The produce and spice vendors are considered the highlights among the 100 stalls, but you’ll also find handicrafts and souvenirs. It’s busiest on Friday and Saturday mornings, and closed on Sundays.

Diamond Falls Botanic Garden and Mineral Baths

This 6-acre retreat checks all the boxes for a relaxing afternoon. Hummingbirds flit between the hibiscus, heliconia and other beautiful tropical blooms filling the flower gardens. Stroll along the winding path to the 55-foot-tall Diamond Falls, its surrounding rock face a kaleidoscope of colors. And, naturally, follow in the centuries-old tradition and take to the therapeutic mineral waters, choosing between a public or private soak. Guided tours are available, but this is a place where a leisurely wander can be equally rewarding.

Pigeon Island National Landmark

Once the lair of a 16th-century French pirate nicknamed Wooden Leg, Pigeon Island now attracts a variety of visitors for far more legitimate reasons. The trails crisscrossing this 44-acre national landmark off St. Lucia’s northwest tip lead up to the remnants of Fort Rodney, an 18th-century British garrison, as well as to the museum and interpretive center, which provides context for the island’s ecological and historical significance. The island’s two small, calm beaches are considered among the top beaches on St. Lucia and are popular picnicking spots. (A pub and a restaurant are on-site too.) The island is at its liveliest every May when it welcomes music lovers from around the world for the wildly popular St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival.

Big Chef Steakhouse

For an indulgent dinner out on St. Lucia, reserve a table at Big Chef Steakhouse in Rodney Bay Village. Since 2007, chef Rosie Joinville and her husband, Marc, the manager, have served up mouthwatering steaks and seafood, wickedly rich desserts, and well-curated cocktail and wine selections.  

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