Long considered one of the Caribbean’s most romantic islands, scenic Saint Lucia also packs a punch in the beauty department. From the iconic twin peaks of the towering Pitons to the lush banana plantations and idyllic beaches scattered around the mountainous island, the country is the kind of place that was made for photography. Here are some of the best St Lucia excursions that are sure to make shutterbugs happy.
Things to do in Castries
The colourful capital is a hub of activity, particularly during the lively Saturday street market or when there are cruise ships in town. Day trippers typically make beelines for the beach or a fun excursion, but it’s definitely worth spending some time wandering through Castries’ narrow streets to get a taste of what everyday life is like in Saint Lucia. There are plenty of great hillside perches to photograph the former naval port from, including at the Morne Fortune lookout across from Governor General’s mansion.
Castries may be the capital, but Rodney Bay is where most of the fun happens. Many Saint Lucians live in or congregate in this northern part of the island, inspiring some to joke “if [Saint Lucia] was a floating barge, we’d sink!” The town is the country’s entertainment hub, home to a casino, bars and nightclub. The charming streets are lined with pastel-hued shops, leading towards a bustling harbour where the well-heeled crowd docks their boats. Nearby, both Reduit Beach and Pigeon Island are popular beach spots with locals and tourists alike, framed by the hills of Pigeon Island National Park.
Pigeon Island National Landmark
Formerly serving as a military staging point during battles between the English and French for control of the island, this picturesque landmark is now like a living museum. Found in Gros Islet on the northern tip of the island, the crumbling barracks are surrounded by 44 acres of protected reserve, framed by two beaches and the sparkling sea.
Those who don’t mind working for the perfect shot will want to hike up to the lookout point at the top of the fort, which affords unobstructed views of the coastline and one of the best beaches in St Lucia.
Mandele Lookout Point
Located along the main road near the airport, the Mandele Lookout Point is typically where St Lucia sightseeing starts since it’s the first place most visitors catch a glimpse of the island’s vantage points. Situated on a bluff along the east coast, this spot overlooks Dennery, a colourful fishing village framed by the shores of the turquoise Caribbean Sea.
Jade Mountain: Incredible St Lucia accommodation
A long windy, dusty road leads up the hillside towards Jade Mountain and its sister property Anse Chastanet, and persistence pays off for for those who make the trip. Jade Mountain is truly one-of-a-kind, and an architectural feat where each suite is accessed by a private walkway leading into huge, open-concept rooms with gorgeous vaulted ceilings, canopy beds and sparkling infinity pools. Their most notable feature at this five-star resort is that there are only three walls, allowing for sunshine and fresh air to stream in and making guests feel at one with nature from the privacy of their sanctuary.
Shutterbugs will love photographing the multi-level stone walkways framing aqua-marine pools, koi ponds and vibrant tile displays. The rooftop terrace and open-air restaurant offer some of the best vantage points, serving up panoramic views of the lush foliage, dazzling sea and the famous Pitons. With that backdrop, it’s no wonder this spot ranks high on the list of things to see in St. Lucia.
Visitors to the island who aren’t staying at Jade Mountain are still welcome to visit the property, either through a guided tour or by booking a reservation at the restaurant.
Tet Paul Nature Trail
Climbing up Gros Piton guarantees epic views, but the gruelling hike isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’re not up for the hours-long steep trek, head to the Tet Paul Nature Trail instead which has equally gorgeous panoramic vantage points but only takes about an hour round trip.
The pathway leads past a farming community where food including cashews, guava, avocados and pineapples are grown. There are numerous lookout points along the way, granting unobstructed views of the towering Pitons and postcard-worthy beaches, as white sailboats leave trails in the waves as they zip around the outskirts of the island. Those who venture up the so-called Stairway to Heaven are rewarded with 360 degree views, and on a clear day visitors can even see the neighbouring islands of Martinique and St. Vincent.
Tip: Be sure to stop in at the traditional house located near the end of the pathway, to get a glimpse of what life in Saint Lucia was like in centuries past.
Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens
Wandering through the St Lucia Botanical Gardens feels like you’ve stumbled into a secret garden—especially if you beat the tour groups by arriving before 11 AM and get the whole place to yourself. Located near Soufriere, the gardens are spread out over six acres and are part of the original two-thousand acres of land given to the Devaux family by King Louis XIV of France. The king himself funded the construction of a dozen stone baths, so people could bathe in the therapeutic waters that stream down from the Diamond Springs. The baths have been restored a couple of times since, and are now open to the public.
The gardens are overflowing with lush, tropical blooms, thick ferns and towering palms that stretch toward the sky. Admire them as you follow the path toward the pièce de résistance: the Diamond Falls Waterfall.
Anywhere you can watch the sunset
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a light breeze blowing through your hair, as you sit back and watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand. Saint Lucia truly shines during the golden hour, and is the perfect place to capture the vibrant hues of the Caribbean canvas as the sun disappears over the horizon, casting an enchanting glow over the island.
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