With lush rainforests, undulating agricultural landscapes, unspoilt beaches and trade winds keeping temperatures on the right side of hot, St Lucia is a beautiful island. So far, so Caribbean. There are a host of natural wonders here, from the UNESCO heritage site of the Pitons, the rainforested twin peaks that herald visitors in the south, to the Qualibou volcano with its boiling sulphur springs, as well as tropical flower-lined roadsides. The gorgeous landscape and relatively low key vibe of the island is one of its major draws and makes St Lucia a popular spot with many travellers, honeymooners in particular.
Still, what sets St Lucia apart from most of the other Caribbean islands is the sheer range of activities on offer. Other islands may have the sand and the sea views but beach lovers beware, for you might find yourself tempted out of that sun lounger and into the ocean – St Lucia’s coastline boasts coral reefs and a plethora of marine life, making scuba diving and snorkelling popular things to do, and there are plenty of watersports such as kiteboarding and windsurfing on offer too.
Alternatively, head away from the sea completely and venture into the island’s interior instead. Go hiking through the lush mountains, ziplining through the rainforest canopy, and visit a volcano, all in a days’ work. And if you’ve still got the energy to go looking for some night life, there are also regular Friday night parties in the north of the island, where visitors can partake in the wonderful local cuisine, as well as the islanders’ friendliness, hospitality and leisurely lifestyle.
Aside from the activities on offer, the other factor that entices tourists is the island's unique cultural heritage, which has a considerable British and French influence still felt today - the island changed hands between Britain and France no fewer than 14 times between 1660 and 1814. The British maintained control until 1979, when St Lucia became independent but this cultural diversity is still evident in St Lucia, from the colonial-style plantations dotted about the island to the French influence felt in the patois spoken throughout the country. The result is an island that will captivate visitors, long after those emerald green peaks disappear over the horizon.