Saint Lucia

Joanne Cowdery on 21 June 2012

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I was selected to attend a Wedding & Honeymoon educational trip to St Lucia with the St Lucia Tourist Board. The main aim of the week was to view hotels for the Honeymoon market and to look at some of the many lovely Wedding venues the island has to offer. It’s becoming more and more popular for couples to get married abroad, so it was a wonderful opportunity to see first hand why so many couples choose St Lucia for their Honeymoon or Wedding. During the week I visited 21 different hotels in the North & South of the Island and as it was a trip organised by the St Lucia tourist board we were also very lucky to get out & about and see what draws people to the island.

St Lucia lives up to the ideal of a Caribbean paradise, the island’s feel remains decidedly laid-back, with little of the jaded hustle that can mar more established Caribbean destinations. It all makes for a relaxed, friendly and incredibly beautiful place to visit. The island is endowed with spectacular natural scenery and a varied geography. There are iconic mountain peaks; lush, uninhabited rainforests; waters teeming with marine life; remnants of a violent colonial past, evocative and picturesque in their ruin; and plenty of postcard-perfect beaches on which to while away the day.

There is the bustling capital city of Castries with its lively central market and duty-free shopping malls. Rodney Bay is the hub of St Lucia’s tourist activities, with a strip of restaurants, hotels, bars and a gorgeous golden sandy beach. Nearby the quiet fishing village of Gros Islet hosts the wildly popular Friday night Jump Up street party where locals and tourists mix as they take in the music, food & liquid refreshments which are on sale in the street.

The central interior of St Lucia contains mountains, rainforest, cloud forest and elphin woodland. Its vast, inhabited forest reserves offer numerous hiking trails boasting arresting scenery accented by exotic flora and fauna. Options range from steep mountain treks to easy jaunts through the woods or along coastal paths. Many hiking paths lead to picturesque waterfalls, where you can cool off in the clear mountain water. The twin peaks of the Pitons dominate St Lucia’s southwest coast and loom over the old town of Soufriere, filled with narrow streets and balconied wooden houses. Waterfalls, botanical gardens, hiking trails and good diving and snorkelling spots make up the area’s numerous natural attractions. Pigeon Island, once a pirate hideout, then an eighteenth-century British fort. Today Pigeon Island is a well-preserved historical site offering relaxing beaches, scenic hiking trails and stunning views.

Rum making continues to be a major contributor to the island’s economy as well as acres of fertile banana plantations and cocoa plantations.

After all that if you can rouse yourself out of a hammock or beach lounger, St Lucia offers a myriad of exciting ways to spend the day – mountain biking, horseback rides along the beach, helicopter tours, boat cruises to name a few! When to visit? – the most frequently asked question! St Lucia’s tropical climate is classically Caribbean. During high season (Dec-April), the island is pleasantly hot, with little rain and constant north-easterly trade winds that keep the nights cool. Temperatures rise even further during the summer months, which can also be wet: the rainy season lasts from June to October, with the hurricane season at the tailend, roughly from late August to October.

My Top 3 Tips – 1) When you land after your flight from the UK do a helicopter transfer to your chosen hotel as the views over the island are outstanding and it takes roughly 15 minutes to fly from the South of the Island to the North of the Island, where as if you go by road it takes about 1 ½ hours on windy mountain roads. It’s well worth considering doing this transfer for either your arrival or departure transfer.

2) Take Eastern Caribbean Dollar although US dollars are widely accepted.

3) No sunset weddings are allowed. 5 pm is the latest Wedding time.

Go & enjoy

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