Anse is the French word for beach, which is why many of the beaches have the word “anse” in their name. All of St Lucia’s beaches are public, forming part of the Queen’s Chain, even if they are located in front of a hotel. Some hotels do make access to their beach difficult, but there has to be a public path by law. Alternatively you can access the beach you want to visit by boat. The beaches of St Lucia have white, golden or black volcanic sand. Many beaches are used by turtles as a nesting site. The best St Lucia beaches are to be found to the north of Castries, which is the principal resort area. At certain times of the year the sea can be choppy in the North, particularly around Christmas time. Some bays do have currents, so always be aware when swimming and pay heed to any warning flags.
Reduit is a lovely St Lucia beach with clear blue waters, dominated by three hotels. It can get crowded here as it is popular with the locals. It connects with Pigeon Point, although you can only walk as far as the marina. The beach is nearly a mile long.
Anse de Sables beach is great for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
The Atlantic east coast beaches tend to be difficult to get to and are not generally suitable for swimming. They are however, the best place for wildlife spotting.
Donkey Beach is wild and windy and worth the hours trek from Gros Islet.
Dauphin Beach has some Indian stone carvings, but is only accessible by jeep.
Anse Loubet is only accessible on foot. There is a spectacular blowhole and waterfall here.
Jalousie did have black volcanic sand, but the Hilton imported white sand to cover it up!
Anse des Pitons, is a crescent shaped St Lucia beach at the foot of the Pitons and well worth a visit for the spectacular backdrop of scenery alone.
Running parallel to the airport runway is Vigie beach. This is a lovely stretch of sand with plenty of shade. Popular with locals, there are a few hotels here too.
Labrelotte Bay is a lovely sandy beach which you can find between Windjammer Landing and the East Winds Inn.
Marigot Bay is a haven for yachts, but further in you will find a very secluded St Lucia beach. Only accessible by boat.
Choc Bay is a long stretch of golden sand with calm waters and coconut palms. Popular with families, it is close to some large hotels and the Gablewood Shopping Centre. There is a bar and there are watersports available here.
Take care if you visit St Lucia beaches south of Castries as they are not generally used by tourists and can therefore suffer from a lack of sanitation.
Pigeon island is one of the main tourist attractions and also has several beaches to enjoy, with a beach bar and watersports available.
A 20 minute walk south of Soufriere will lead you to Malgretout. This quiet undeveloped St Lucia beach is fantastic for snorkeling and also offers the opportunity to shower in the warm volcanic waters of the Pitons Waterfall.
Some of the beaches on the southwest coast of St Lucia are only accessible by boat.
Anse Cochon on the South coast of St Lucia has black volcanic sands and calm waters with shallow reefs good for snorkeling. It is best accessed by boat, although those staying at Ti Kaye Village can get to it by road.
The marine reserve off of Anse Chastanet makes this a great beach for diving and snorkeling. The dark sand makes this a very attractive St Lucia beach.
The beach just north of Soufriere offers wonderful views of the Pitons. Mostly frequented by locals.
Cas En Bas – is one of the best St Lucia beaches for windsurfing. Protected by a reef, it is popular with locals at the weekends.
For a truly luxurious vacation there are a number of resort style St Lucia hotels where your every need can be catered for. A few examples include:
Windjammer Landing, situated north of Castries, this beautiful villa beach resort enjoys an isolated hillside setting. The accommodation consists of Spanish style villas ranging from one to four bedrooms, dotted throughout the grounds with all of the facilities you would expect of a luxury hotel available to you. Families are well catered for here, with a Fun Club for the children, babysitting services and a Teen club. There are 2 children’s pools, a children’s playground and a children’s menu. Weddings and Honeymoons can be arranged here, there is an on-site wedding coordinator who can help realise your dream wedding day! Honeymooners can enjoy a private villa with its own plunge pool. During your stay you can enjoy a variety of watersports including aqua-fin club-sailing, windsurfing, hobie cat sailing, banana rides, kayaking and snorkeling from the crescent shaped white sand beach. There are tennis courts, a well equipped gym, as well as daily organised sports and fitness activities. The hotel has a good reputation for its food, with a choice of five restaurants as well as the opportunity to enjoy in-villa dining.
For a romantic honeymoon destination, Ti Kaye Village just south of Anse La Raye on the west coast of St Lucia is a popular choice. Ti Kaye means “little house” in Creole, and the resort is so named because the white wooden cottages, which guests stay in, look like a village of little white houses on the hillside. The cottages have their own large verandas and some have their own plunge pools. The owner designed the layout and has tried to blend a rustic feel with all of the comforts of modern living. The resort has a spa, pool and gym and offers watersports on the beach. There is a restaurant (Kai Manje) as well as a beach grill (Ti Manje) and meal plans are available.
The Anse Chastanet resort at Soufriere offers the best scuba diving on the island. One of the best renowned St Lucia hotels, the hilltop, hillside and beachside suites at this hotel offer something really special with local woods and fabrics being used for the room decor and furnishings. Anse Chastanet has three restaurants offering a choice of Caribbean Fine Dining and vegetarian cuisine, utilising the best local produce. The Kai Belte Spa offers a wide range of treatments and therapies using products made especially for Anse Chastanet. There is an onsite fitness instructor and yoga teacher and you can enjoy various watersports, or of course relax and do absolutely nothing!
Jade Mountain is situated above Anse Chastanet and guests can enjoy all of its facilities. The special thing about Jade Mountain, as a hotel, however, is that the accommodation consists of 24 “infinity pool sanctuaries” – spacious suite accommodations which open out onto an infinity pool with stunning views of the sea and mountains. The resort boasts an award winning chef who served so called “Jade Cuisine” using only the best local produce. Guests can enjoy an array of treatments at the boutique spa, including special treatments designed for couples. This is one of the newest St Lucia hotels.
These are just a few of the wonderful luxury hotels that St Lucia has to offer. Other choices include tiny, award winning Ladera, Body Holiday at Le Sport on the North coast, The Royal St Lucian – all suites and very sophisticated, East Winds – one of the oldest and most established resorts on St Lucia, and The Inn on The Bay which overlooks Marigot Bay.
No matter which of these luxury St Lucia hotels you decide upon, you can look forward to a world of relaxation and pampering St Lucian style!
There are more than a dozen airlines which operate flights to St Lucia.
Flights to St Lucia are operated by various airlines from several cities across North America. US Airways, American Airlines and Delta all operate flights to St Lucia, some direct and others connecting in Antigua, Barbados, Montego Bay or via San Juan in the case of American Airlines. Air Canada flies direct from Toronto four times a week. Westjet also operates flights to St Lucia 3 times a week from Toronto.
Flights to St Lucia are available daily from Miami and New York direct with American Airlines/American Eagle. US Airways fly direct every Saturday from Philadelphia and Charlotte during the winter, reducing to one flight from Charlotte during the summer and Delta flies to St Lucia from Atlanta. This service is daily, with two flights on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Air Jamaica fly from New York daily, and four-weekly from Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Orlando, Phoenix and Philadelphia. You can purchase a through ticket with Delta from anywhere in the USA for Air Jamaica flights to St Lucia.
BWIA fly twice weekly from New York and Miami.
Apple Vacation fly once a week from Chicago.
For visitors from the UK, British Airways operate scheduled flights to St Lucia three times a week from London Gatwick on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Virgin Atlantic operates 4 flights to St Lucia on a weekly basis – Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. BWIA operate two weekly flights from London. Air Jamaica also fly direct from London.
Most visitors from other parts of Europe travel via London, with British Airways offering connecting flights to St Lucia from many cities.
During the busy winter months, several tour companies operate charter flights to St Lucia from various parts of Europe and North America.
LIAT operates regional flights to St Lucia from other parts of the Caribbean, with some connections to international destinations.
There are two airports in St Lucia, both of which are operated by the St Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA). Hewanorra International Airport, (UVF), situated near Vieux Fort, around 40 miles south of Castries – is a large and modern facility, and is where you are likely to arrive if you are flying to St Lucia from the US, Canada or Europe, as it has a longer runway more suited to handling large international flights. The airport has a bank with bureau de change, several restaurants and a selection of shops including a pharmacy. The shops in the departure lounge are Duty Free. There are no left-luggage facilities.
There is also George F Charles Airport (SLU) , to be found on the outskirts of Castries, which is mainly used for inter-island flights. It takes approximately 45 minutes to travel between the two airports, so you need to allow enough travelling time if you are transferring to a connecting flight. Helicopter transfers are available between the two airports.
Example durations of flight times to St Lucia would be from Miami, three and a half hours, New York – 4 hours, Toronto – 5 hours, London – 9 hours.
There is an applicable departure tax of EC$68 (approximately US$26/£18) which is added to flight tickets at the time of purchase for all passengers over the age of twelve.
Most visitors from the US, Canada and Europe do not require a visa to visit St Lucia, just a valid passport.
Upon arrival at Hewanorra, taxis are readily available for your onward transportation. Public transport can be found by walking up to the main road with your luggage. If you are vacationing in the North of the island we would heartily recommend a helicopter transfer! The taxi transfer can be long, hot and sticky. The helicopter transfers are available from St Lucia Helicopters.
Flights to St Lucia can be booked via good travel agents or directly with the airline itself.
St Lucia is one of the Windward Islands and proves popular both as a destination for family vacations as well as romantic honeymoons. The island has some wonderful beaches, some of traditional golden sand and others with black sand. Some beaches are famous for being turtle nesting sites. Its most famous landmark is the Pitons which are considered to be the symbol of St Lucia.
The waters surrounding St Lucia are excellent for diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and other watersports, with part of the west coast being designated as a marine park. One of the best marinas in the West Indies can be found at Rodney Bay. The interior of St Lucia is mountainous and quite beautiful, with several areas of forest reserve which helps to protect the wildlife of St Lucia, which includes the St Lucian parrot.
There are wonderful sightseeing opportunities such as sulphur springs, colonial fortifications and old plantation houses. The heritage of St Lucia is diverse and draws on a history of French and English colonists and African slaves. Many artists and writers hail from St Lucia, including 2 Nobel prize winners.
It is easy to get to St Lucia, with direct flights from North America, Europe and other parts of the Caribbean. There are two airports, Hewanorra which serves international flights, and George Charles which is a regional airport connecting St Lucia with the rest of the Caribbean.
The capital of St Lucia is Castries, which is built on a natural harbour and surrounded by mountains. The city has been extensively rebuilt after suffering four major fires during its history, the most recent in 1948. Although the buildings are mostly modern, there are a few examples of 19th and early 20th century French style wooden buildings remaining. The tallest building in the city is the seven-storey Financial Centre which features a sculpture by Ricky George, a local artist. Ceremonial occasions take place in Derek Walcott Square, in the center, of which you will find a 400 year old Saman Tree.
Other places worth a visit include the Rain Forest Sky Rides at Babbonneau, a gondola ride above the rain forest, Pigeon Island; managed by the National Trust and considered to be of considerable archaeological and historical importance. Dennery, which hosts a “fish fest” every weekend – a street party where you can enjoy music and dancing whilst enjoying freshly caught fish. Marigot Bay is beautiful, the 1967 Dr Doolittle film was shot here. It is a natural harbour whose marina is a popular choice for yachts looking for a place to rest. Elsewhere on the west coast, the town of Soufriere sits in the most picturesque part of the island. The town dates back to 1713 and consists of lots of French colonial style houses. A short distance from Soufriere is the marine park at Anse Chastanet. If you enjoy snorkeling this is an absolute must.
St Lucia is also home to the worlds only “drive-in volcano” – you can smell it well before you see it, as there are sulphur springs here. The Pitons are volcanic plugs and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you want to get away from it all, it might be worth paying the west coast a visit. The beaches are much more isolated and so create perfect nesting sites for wildlife. The Forestry Department maintains a network of trails throughout the island.
Sailing is a popular past time, with boats readily available to hire with or without crew. Some of the best views of the island can only be seen from out at sea, so it’s well worth taking at least one boat trip during your stay.
The local food is Creole style and includes local specialities such as Accra – a deep fried fish cake. To wash it down there can be nothing better than an ice-cold Piton beer (the local brand) or a cocktail made from some local rum.
Nightlife tends to be hotel based, although you can venture out to a number of clubs and bars around Rodney Bay, or to a local “jump up” a kind of ritual street party where you eat local food, and dance to music in the street.
St Lucia offers a wide selection of places to stay to suit all tastes and budgets, including luxury hotels, small guesthouses, apartments and private villas. Many airlines offer package tours which include your flight and accommodation.
The local currency of St Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar although the US Dollar is also widely accepted.