St. Lucia

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Photos courtesy of St. Lucia Tourist Board

St. Lucia is one of the several volcanic islands in the Caribbean chain, near the southern end between Martinique and Grenada. This volcanic nature gives St. Lucia its very unique and entirely appealing appearance and personality.

At the north end of the island, the topography is only hilly, with some land for golf courses, and numerous beaches for all kinds of interesting hotels and resorts. Moving south, though, the terrain quickly becomes mountainous all the way to the southern end of the island. At the southern town of Soufriere, the landmark Pitons are picture postcard beautiful, the most famous features of St. Lucia; they tower over the town, and an exotic resort, Jalousie Plantation, lies just between them. The entire area around the Pitons has been designated the Pitons Management Area and granted World Heritage Site status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

This means there are many opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, and general ecotourism. St. Lucia boasts the only “drive in” volcano in the Caribbean, and the botanical garden at Soufriere dates back to the time of Napoleon.

St. Lucia changed hands thirteen times during the French and British wars for control of the Caribbean, and while the British ended up with possession, France actually held the island longer over the years, and St. Lucia is very happy to have a strong cultural attachment to both France and Britain to this day.

Resorts include several very special places, including the aforementioned Jalousie Plantation; Windjammer Landing Villa Resort; Ladera Resort, high on the mountainside over the Pitons; and Anse Chastenet, hillside cottages overlooking one of the best dive sites on the island. Others include three of Sandals’ all-inclusive resorts; The Body Holiday at LeSport, for deluxe spa retreats; Rendezvous deluxe all-inclusive for couples; and the Rex St. Lucian, Royal St. Lucian, and Papillon all-inclusive resorts.

Not To Be Missed – The Friday night street party at Gros Islet, at the extreme north end of the island, has been recognized by UNESCO as a truly unique World Cultural Heritage Event.

Click here to read an extended report about St.Lucia…

I didn‘t find any restaurant which I could say were much better than average, with two exceptions. One was the Mango Tree, at Windjammer Landing and the other was the Coal Pot in Castries – and, I want to rave about the food and atmosphere at the Coal Pot.

They offer a good selection of fresh fish daily (try the barracuda) along with your choice of sauces. Reservations are strongly recommended, especially in season. The Coal Pot is owned by chef Xavier Ribot and his wife, Michelle Elliott.

Ms. Elliotts is an accomplished artist whose works exude the color and beauty of the locale and her husband’s native France. Her work is available for purchase, so if you are looking for a superb meal to enjoy for the moment and some artwork to enjoy for life the Coal Pot is a must.

ACCOMMODATIONS Anse Chastenet: Located on the southern part of the island, this is a very intimate property perfect for honeymooners or those looking for a relaxing time away from it all. Accessible from Soufriere only by water taxi (or by road if you have a half hour and bones which cannot be rattled), this is a small property which offers some of the best vistas imaginable anywhere. If you are here, you must reserve on of the hillside rooms. These are open on one side and offer views which are incredibly beautiful. The premium hillside rooms have views of the Pitons which you’ll will never forget. The property is owned by the architect who designed it and the rooms are beautifully done up. Each has its own artwork which along with the wooden floors and treatments give them an intimate feeling of home. There is a short walk down to the restaurant and beach where you can partake in some of the best snorkeling and diving on the island. If fact, Anse Chastenet is a marine park and is a must dive site even if you do not stay here.

Ladera: Another small property on the southern part of the island, Ladera offers views which rival Anse Chastenet’s. Ladera is higher in the hills and it is necessary to take a taxi or one of the twice daily shuttles to the beach. However, if you are looking for some time alone to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery this property deserves serious consideration. There are a little over 20 rooms here where you can relax in your Jacuzzi which overlooks the hills of St. Lucia. There are some villas here which offer multiple bedrooms which are ideal for families or friends traveling together. Instead of going to the beach, you can enjoy the pool which overlooks the Pitons and take in the seclusion.

Jalousie: Hilton has reopened this full service spa in the southern part of St. Lucia and this is the perfect place to go to be pampered. Situated on the beach and between the Pitons, Jalousie offers some of the creature comforts one would expect from a Hilton property. There is a restaurant, pool, water sports and a kid’s club on the beach area. The rooms are done up in a Caribbean motif and some share a small plunge pool. This is a property to visit which offers a great mix of the beauty of St. Lucia and the comfort of a resort.

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