This stunning island, with its famous forested peak, combines the best of what the Caribbean has to offer: the scenery, the sites, the sand and the super hotels and restaurants.
Water babies will love it here — St. Lucia has some of the best diving in the Caribbean, with natural coral around the underwater volcano that surrounds the island as well as artificial sites grown from shipwrecks.
The perfect place to head underwater is Anse Chastenet beach, in the middle of a marine park with a fish-heavy reef just ten metres from the sand. Book through Scuba St Lucia (scubastlucia.com).
From mid-March to the end of July, St Lucia has some shy and rather elusive visitors — turtles. They’re most likely spotted on the wild sweep of Grande Anse beach.
If you’re keen on sightseeing, you can drive right up to the belching, bubbling Soufrière Volcano — a reminder of the island’s origins and the reason its beaches come with black sand (admission $1.25). But it’s the surroundings that make the trip. This part of St Lucia is stunning, with the peaks of the Pitons rising from the coast, and a maze of inland roads hemmed by old plantations and sleepy, pastel villages.
The potholed, meandering roads of this island mean you’ll soon want a break from driving. Consider swapping four wheels for four legs on a trail round crumbling Morne Coubaril sugar plantation (every day 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., $10): a horseback tour here takes in the dramatic sweep of beach at its very edges, the old mansion at its heart, and the various methods with which they cultivate coca, copra and manioc.
Party time comes at the end of the working week in St Lucia, with casual Friday night parties in small villages and towns. In paintbox-coloured Anse-La-Raye towards the south of the island, Fish Friday marks the end of the week with stalls of fresh seafood laid out by the residents, and music throbbing from soundsystems strung high above the pavements.