St. Lucia

St. Lucia, the largest of the English speaking Windwards, is mountainous and lush, with many beautiful white sand beaches. Tropical rainforest covers the steep slopes of the center and gives way to cultivated agricultural land around the more moderately sloping coastal fringe, where bananas are still a major crop. For sheer physical beauty, the area around Soufriere and the Pitons is outstanding. 

St. Lucia offers excellent sightseeing and hiking. You can see most of it by taxi, bus, or rental car. Adventurous travelers willing to combine driving with hiking will want to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle and explore some faraway corners such as Grand Anse or Anse Louvet on the windward shore. Any taxi driver will be delighted to take you on a tour. St. Lucia has several zip lines on which you can fly through the countryside. If that is too energetic, you can take an aerial rainforest canopy tram.

Those interested in nature should contact the National Trust (454-5014), which runs tours to Frigate Island and the Maria Islands and sometimes offers turtle-watching tours. It is worth calling the forestry department (468-5634) about rainforest tours. They can supply knowledgeable guides. 

There are many marked trails in St. Lucia that you can follow on your own, including rainforest hikes at the height of land as you drive across the island on the main road to the airport.

Cocoa Sainte Lucie is a new, small organic chocolate factory based in Canaries. They recently completed a new building to house both the factory and a restaurant [closed Saturday]. As you climb the hill from Canaries going towards Soufriere it is on the left (east) side of the road. It is run by Maria Jackson, and her chocolate is excellent; her “spice” chocolate is special. You can take a tour of the factory or get more hands-on with a chocolate-making workshop. The restaurant has a cocoa-inspired menu and is open for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea. If you want more details, call her at 459-4401. Otherwise, look for Cocoa Sainte Lucie chocolate in Massy Gourmet and Sea Island Cotton in Rodney Bay Village.

St. Lucia has an excellent, full-service marina with a haul-out in Rodney Bay, and a smaller marina in Marigot. The choice of restaurants is the best in the Windwards. St. Lucia is a major charter destination, with several charter companies in Rodney Bay including The Moorings, Sunsail, and DSL.