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Hike Gros Piton

Gros PitonIf you're a hiker, be sure to trek up one of the Piton Mountains—the island's best known landmark. As it turns out, the taller peak is the easier to climb. Yes, you will need a guide, but if you arrive at the site's headquarters between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., you'll find a tour you can join.

The gentle trail tops out at 780 metres above sea level. Walk through three ecosystems that end in a cloud forest. Along the way, you'll pass through an ancient base camp for runaway slaves.

The real highlight is the sweeping views of the Caribbean. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the site of the 200-year-old mango tree. This landmark represents the last leg of the climb.

For this hike, you need to be comfortable travelling across rocky terrain since there's a fair bit of tricky footwork involved. But hey, if 150 people a month are up to the challenge, you surely are too!

Soak in the Sulphur Springs

Sulphur SpringsA 15-minute drive from Soufriere takes you out of the lush jungle into a lunar-like landscape. In fact, the area bills itself as the world's only drive-in volcano! This is a mysterious spot where geysers hiss and steam rises from either side of the road.

Carry on through this open pit-like setting and you'll be led to a tiny bathing area where you can dip in the warm sulphur springs and coat yourself with the therapeutic mud. The best time to come is first thing in the morning at 9 a.m., before the crowds arrive.

Set sail on the Brig Unicorn

Board the 42.7 metre-long Brig Unicorn at Rodney Bay Marina and sail down St. Lucia's West Coast. This ship has been featured in several movies, including Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean.

Enjoy the beautiful sunset on the horizon and the magic of the backdrop that is St Lucia, while sipping champagne and listening to the sounds of the Caribbean. It's a great way to end the day.

Discover the history of Pigeon Island National Park near Rodney Bay

Fort RodneyPigeon Island National Park has a spicy past that dates back to the 1550s, so what you'll find here today is an intriguing interpretive centre set in old Fort Rodney. There are plenty of stone ruins, lime kilns, soldiers' barracks, three rusty cannons on the top of Fort Rodney Hill and a forest of pathways to explore.

One of St. Lucia's best explanations of history—from the arrival of Amerindians to the see-sawing power of the Brits and French to the arrival of African slaves and then their release in 1794—is explained in this one-room exhibit hall. Look for simple plaques, renderings and mini-displays, and more interpretive signs and explanations strategically placed at each viewpoint and landmark.

From here, you can see all the way to Martinique. Stop by the Captain's Cellar, built in the late 1700s as a storage area, it's an excellent spot for a roti, local Piton beer or bangers and mash.

Snorkel or dive at Anse Chastanet

It doesn't get any easier than checking into Scuba St. Lucia's Dive Centre, the oldest on the island. Knowledgeable staff will set you up with a locker, great gear and as much instruction as you'd like.

Slip on your fins and walk backwards off the beach into one of the most accessible marine parks in the Caribbean. Within minutes, you can be trailing a Hawksbill turtle, making eyes at schools of parrot fish or needle fish and watching the antics of sergeant majors.

We recommend only snorkelling and diving when the water is calm. Join a diving party and head out by boat to numerous deep sea walls, a wreck and other nearby marine marvels. If you've always wanted to get your PADI certification, you can do it right here in St. Lucia while on vacation.

Admire the architecture at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Castries)

Built in 1897, this stone structure is a tribute to the island's patron saint, St. Lucia, who can be seen directly above the altar. Spend a few moments studying this cathedral's eclectic interior and notice the Black Madonna and child, the bright Rasta tones of red, green and yellow, as well as the dainty trompe l'oeil columns and detailed biblical scenes.

Wander around the Derek Walcott Square where the cathedral sits, and explore this great example of 19th-century wooden buildings, complete with gingerbread bric-a-brac trim and a Victorian-style library. Oh, and that odd-looking monkey pod tree on the east side of the square—it's said to be 400 years old!

Enjoy the sunset with drinks at Marigot Bay

Marigot Bay is filled with sailboats and flanked by rugged cliffs. The few resorts snuggled against the towering pines make it an obvious hideaway for discerning yachties. Outsiders first discovered this picture-perfect place in 1967 when the Hollywood musical Doctor Doolittle was filmed in the bay.

Two of the most popular spots to watch the sundown are the decks at Dolittle's Restaurant & Bar and the Pink Snail Bar.

Get back to nature on a Rainforest Sky Ride

This open-air tram ride glides from the floor of the jungle to the canopy of the rainforest in a one-hour loop. Expect the energetic, well-versed guides to entertain you with their bizarre tales of Heliconia plants and Gommier trees. The guides also share facts about the 800 parrots that inhabit St. Lucia, the eight species of plants found nowhere else on earth, and why bamboo plants only flower once in their lifetime.

Stroll through the Diamond Botanical Gardens

Just 2 km east of Soufriere sits a 790-hectare mass of land that may look familiar. This is the garden waterfall where Superman II fans will remember Superman plucking an orchid for Lois Lane.

Stroll around the grounds and you'll discover this place had star power long before Hollywood got here. Well, since 1713—that's when King Louis XIV presented this piece of jungle to the three Devaux brothers from Normandy in reward for lending their services to France. In fact, this estate is still owned by their descendants, the Du Bouley Devaux.

Among the flower-framed pathways, underground sulphur springs tumble down to create the Diamond Waterfall. Near the falls area, you'll find mineral baths that were destroyed during the French Revolution which have recently been fully restored.

Try kitesurfing at Coconut Bay

Two natural "speed strips" frame Coconut Bay Resort in the southern part of St. Lucia, just north of Vieux Fort. Along these beaches, winds can howl and holler at force 4 (11 to 16 knots)! Join the other spectators by relaxing on the beach and watching the speed demons rip up the sky and the sea.

If you want to try kitesurfing yourself, Coconut Bay Resort can organize lessons for you through its activity centre, as will other hotels nearby. If you want more than an introductory lesson, numerous camps also run throughout the year offering three- and five-day courses, with the best known outfit being Reef Kite & Surf.

Even if you have no desire to harness Mother Nature, take a walk along this beach to the kitesurfing shack, and slip into a hammock with a frosty Piton in hand.

Take fantastic pictures while wreck diving

If you're aching for a Jacques Cousteau-inspired adventure, a dive at the Lesleen M in Anse Cochon delivers, fins down. It's ranked an easy dive and offers perfect photo-ops and especially excellent photography.

This 49.5 metre-long freighter was sunk in October 1986 by the Department of Fisheries as part of a project to grow artificial reefs. Today, you'll find it jeweled with hard and soft corals, sponges and hydroids. You can easily dive into the wreck's hold and engine room—the deepest point is just 19.5 metres underwater. But keep your mask clean so you can spot the turtles, barracudas, sea horses and black bar soldier fish who frequent these clear waters.



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All-day adventures

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If you’re a duty-free fan, head to Castries, where shops along William Peter Boulevard and Bridge Street sell bone china, jewelry, perfume, watches, liquor and crystal. Also in Castries is Pointe Seraphine. This shopping area, featuring 30 duty-free shops was originally built just for cruise passengers. Today, these stores are open to all island visitors.

Ethnic dollsFor colourful local goods, make a beeline for Castries’ 100-year-old central market. Here you can walk away with unique, reasonably-priced batik placemats, silkscreen scarves, local hooch (“the spice”, as it is known), worry dolls and baskets galore.

Bags of cinnamon bark, fresh nutmeg, vanilla extract, rum extract, coconut extract and every other imaginable extract are also sold here—but be aware that quality varies widely with homemade extracts. Baron’s is the most popular brand of spices and bottled fiery sauces. Its top seller is the neon orange banana ketchup bottled right on the island in Vieux Fort.

Choiseul Arts & Crafts Center, the Eudovic studios in Goodlands, Rodney Bay Marina and the new Baywalk Mall are other good shopping spots. With big name shops such as Nine West, United Colours of Benetton and Lacoste, the Baywalk’s cluster of pastel storefronts pop out of the landscape.

Serious art lovers should make an appointment to visit the Cap Estate studio of St. Lucia’s most famous artist, Llellyn Xavier who has works in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and The Smithsonian!

Best buys: Bring home bottles of Baron’s hot sauce. Chairman’s Reserve Rum and Bounty’s Ginger Rum are also phenomenal. Pick up rum or sauce at a local market or grocery store and pack it carefully in your checked baggage. A hand-painted piece of pottery by Michelle Elliot also makes for a memorable souvenir.


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The Coal Pot (Seafood, $$-$$$)

Right on the shores of a little inlet in Vigie (part of Castries), this family-run seafood joint boasts a huge menu that blends French cuisine with Caribbean fare. Since it opened in 1968, the oldest restaurant in Castries has preserved its local beach shack vibe. Chef Xavier Ribot, who hails from Avignon, creates tasty St. Lucian favourites made with local ingredients such as callaloo (a bit like spinach), small-fisted scallops and jumbo prawns.

Portions are massive, so it’s a good idea to split a couple of dishes such as the signature appetizer, stuffed crab-back, and calamari Creole. Then, move on to the pan-fried barracuda or sautéed steak with your pick of yummy sauces, including red-wine peppercorn, ginger, Creole or coconut-curry.

Tao (Fusion/Eclectic, $$$$)

Maybe it’s the second-storey perch above the ocean that leaves you feeling closer to some culinary heaven, or perhaps the golden touch of the chef’s wizardry. Either way, time and time again, visitors swoon over Le Sport’s signature restaurant that deftly marries Asian tastes with distinctly Caribbean touches.

For starters, try the mango-laced sushi and an eggplant timbale. For mains, you can’t go wrong with the Trio of Duck. The dish is an elegant stack of grilled duck breast layered on a thin wedge of duck-and-potato crush, topped with a sweet duck ravioli and chili barbeque sauce.

Couple the soft ocean breezes that blow through this triple-A Diamond restaurant with one of the most extensive wine and rum lists on the island, and you’ll know why you need to reserve a table here long before you leave home.

Friday night fish fry (Seafood, $-$$)

The sleepy little fishing village of Anse La Raye has a party every Friday night. Boom boxes are wheeled into the streets with makeshift bars and food stands. Choose a stall, grab a plate and you’ll soon have a mound of fresh-from-the-sea grub that changes with the week’s catch.

Spiny sweet lobster and curried shrimp may be one week’s specials, only to be replaced by poached red snapper, conch and Greenshell mussels the next. Salads, rice and deep-fried fish Johnny-cakes are always a staple. And that bottle of neon pink syrup? That’s the island “spice,” a potent concoction of rum marinated with home grown roots, bark and berries such as cinnamon, vanilla, habaneros and other secret ingredients.

Anse Chastanet (Caribbean, $$)

If you’re searching for the quintessential St. Lucian beach experience, head to this tiny, cliff-cradled beach that not only offers sheltered waters ideal for a dip, but a marine park that’s 30 metres off the beach.

Stay here, spa here and get wined and dined at the uber-swank and popular Jade Mountain (the same one featured in The Bachelor). But don’t miss the humble beachside restaurant. Many claim it serves the best chicken roti on the island. A soft pliable naan-like shell wrapped around big chunks of juicy chicken smothered in a creamy curry is enough for two.

The Great Room in Jalousie Plantation Resort (European, $$$$)

When someone imagines a resort on St. Lucia, the Jalousie Plantation Resort is much like what comes to mind. It’s location on an isolated cove of powder-white sand features villas discreetly poking out among the palm trees, with the peaks of the Pitons framing the scene.

The view is spectacular from the Great Room, an elegant plantation-style, fine dining restaurant that offers what you’d expect from a swanky establishment. With old world charm, the tasting menu delivers the freshest local ingredients beautifully paired with an extensive wine list.

Golf and spa

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St. Lucia Golf Resort & Country Club

Intermediate and serious golfers will love St. Lucia Golf Resort & Country Club. This semi-private golf club features lush greens and incredible views of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It’s also the only 18-hole course on St. Lucia and home to the International PGA.

At 6,685 yards, this par 71 with multiple elevated tee boxes is quick to get around. But with its narrow fairways and fast greens, this course will prove challenging for even the experienced golfer. In fact, from the blue tees, the course is rated at a tough 74.3 and has a slope of 138.

If you’re looking to brush up on your technique, take a lesson at the range with one of the course’s Nicklaus Academy-trained professionals for US$50. Or, sign up for one of the Nicklaus Academy of Golf clinics, where you’ll learn how to put Jack Nicklaus’s world-renowned golf philosophy into practice.

Built in 2001, the course is located on the northernmost point of the island on the former sugar plantation hills of Cap Estate. For your convenience, the course offers free shuttle transportation to all hotels north of the town of Castries. As of April 2011, green fees are US$120 to US$145 for 18 holes and include mandatory cart rental.

The Golf Club at Sandals La Toc

At 3,141 yards, this 9-hole course with tightly-framed, tree-lined holes requires both skill and precision. Even seasoned golfers will find the layout of La Toc keeps them on their toes. The thick, jungle-like vegetation surrounding the course also helps keep things interesting.

Complimentary golf clinics are offered weekly to resort guests and private instruction is available. On the course, caddies are required for all groups and golf carts are available, but not mandatory. This course is free for guests, and caddies are just US$17 for 18 holes. Golf carts are US$30.

For your convenience, transportation to and from the course is offered free to guests staying at any of the three Sandals resorts on the island.


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Splash Island Water Park (6 and up)

The long anticipated opening of Splash Island Water Park St. Lucia took place on August 1, 2015 and so far the Caribbean's newest attraction has lived up to expectations. Locals and visitors alike are raving about this fun new addition to Reduit Beach in Rodney Bay Village, St. Lucia. The Caribbean's first floating, inflatable sports park features over a dozen attractions including monkey bars, The Ice Berg XXL, The Action Tower and climbing wall, the Cliff, a trampoline, volleyball court, hurdles, wiggle bridge and favorites such as The Spinner and The Double Rocker. The Water Park is staffed by a team of certified lifeguards and operates daily between the hours of 9:00am and 6:00pm. All users of the water park (who must be 6 years of age and older) are required to wear life vests.

Jungle bike (Tweens to adults; bike carriers for toddlers also available)

Riding a bike is a great way to explore St. Lucia with the whole family. Here you’ll find mountain bikes, helmets and clip-on shoes of all sizes. A guide takes you on a 40-minute introductory spin and then lets you loose among the 20 km of well-marked graded trails.

Advanced riders will love the burly black diamond track designed by world champion, Tinker Juarez. But with so many trails, anyone comfortable on two wheels will find trails they love.

If you’re interested in seeing a little piece of history on your ride, cycle down the Main Street and Fig loop, which spins you through an old stone sugar plantation from the 1700s. You’ll pass by the shed where the ruins of gigantic metal pots, once used to boil the sugar into syrupy molasses, remain. You’ll also zip by the perfectly preserved rock reservoir.

Your guide will also stop every seven minutes to tell you terrific facts about the seven-year cycle of a coconut (that’s how long it takes for a coconut to lay roots), how the slime inside a cocoa bean can double as vinegar and how to carve a calabash.

Fish fry (good for all ages; young families should come earlier)

One of the most authentic cultural experiences you can have on St. Lucia is at the weekly fish fry, or “jump-up” as it’s known. Every Friday night in the tiny fishing village of Anse La Raye, trucks pull up with trays of homemade seafood and rice dishes and the party begins.

Get to the beachfront street anytime after 6 p.m. with cash in hand for a feast of curried shrimp, boiled lobster, stuffed crab backs, turtle stew, poached red snapper and deep fried fish Johnny cakes (similar to bannock). There’s no better culinary bang for your buck on the island and it’s a great place to share a table with a friendly group of locals.

Things really get rocking after 9 p.m., so once the kids hit curfew, parents can check out the pop-up bars on the tops of coolers that sell everything from local rums to local beer.

Rainforest Sky Ride (12 and older)

Teens and tweens will love zip-lining. With 10 lines crisscrossing the rainforest, this spot offers great value for Tarzan wannabes. You can actually hear people of all ages thumping their chests as they swing from beginner cables to long bouncy lines. We dare you to try the “drop of doom.” Although you’re safely snapped into a harness, it’ll feel like you’re freefalling when you plunge through the hole in the platform and swing 30 metres to the ground.

Apart from being an adrenaline rush, zip-lining is a superb way to experience a rainforest, from the upper canopy to the leaf-matted floor.

Horseback riding at Trim’s Riding Academy (8 and up)

You’ll see the occasional horse galloping along the beach in St. Lucia, but the centre that gives families all sorts of horseback riding options is Trim’s Riding Academy in Cas-en-Bas. Choose a one-hour beach trot or a two-hour ride that includes a gallop in the ocean.

Fond Doux Estate (any age)

Grinding cocoa beansNot far from Soufriere is a 250-acre estate that gives you a peek into the plantation world that dominated St. Lucia for centuries. Before the days of tourism, St. Lucia relied on manufacturing sugar cane, coconuts and cocoa beans.

At the Fond Doux Estate, a tour guide greets you in period costume and takes you around the property. See big screens of cocoa beans roasting in the sun next to gigantic pots and watch staffers roll and mash beans with their feet, turning them into a paste.

Fond Doux Estate is also one of the few places where you can rent a renovated plantation cottage (check out the “Treehouse”) and sleep in the middle of a UNESCO site.


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Captain’s Quarters (Fort Rodney, Pigeon Island) (Pub, $)

This British pub looks like it’s been pulled off a set from Sherlock Holmes. You can get everything from crisps and white-bread toasties topped with canned beans to rotis here. There’s nowhere else on St. Lucia where a tall, frosty Piton beer will slide down better.

The Piano Bar at The BodyHoliday/Le Sport Resort (Jazz & Blues, $$)

This is the kind of bar every neighbourhood should have. It’s remarkably cozy and you’ll find guests singing and swaying around a white baby grand.

Treehouse Bar at Anse Chastanet (Lounge, $$)

DrinksYou’ll find divers swapping stories about seahorses, sharks and some of the 150 species of fish that swim in the waters at Anse Chastanet. Framed by palm trees, this unassuming treehouse-like bar above the beach goes by the same name. It’s a great place for a Piton beer, but one of their signature drinks is non-alcoholic. Try a Bentley before you move on to the cocktails.

Jammer’s Beachfront Bar at Landings Resort (Casual bar, $$)

Belly up to the long beachfront bar in the Landings Resort and order their signature drink—the “14 by 61”—named for the precise longitude and latitude of St. Lucia. This sweet smoothie of coconut cream, white rum, banana and pineapple juice ties for first place with the Jammer’s Special Rum. At 151 per cent proof, this pink syrup is a blend of almonds, bay leaves, cinnamon, anise seed, grenadine and, of course, rum. It’ll likely knock your socks off— that is, if you were wearing any.

Wine bar at Ti Kaye (Wine bar, $$)

Take in sweeping views of coral reefs and yachts bobbing below. This new, ultra-stylish wine cellar is perched 24 metres above the Caribbean and is all about wine. Having combed Old and New-World cellars, owner Nick Pinnock blasted a 9-metre tunnel from the spa to the edge of a cliff and then added a glassed-in bar. Featuring intimate little tables and a stand-up bar, the panoramic view you’ll see while sipping a crisp Pichon Lalande Pauillac 1983 is nothing short of spectacular.

Ladera Resort (Clifftop bar, $$-$$$)

Even if you’re not staying at Ladera Resort, you can still visit and splurge on a drink. Although you’re removed from the ocean, the jaw-dropping views of the Pitons are even sweeter with rum punch and a shimmering sunset at your feet.

All-day adventures

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St. Lucia is packed with unusual diversions and fascinating people who make this island so unique. Whether you’re hoping to see leatherback turtles or the rare Jacquot parrot, you’ll discover local guides who know the land and wildlife like the back of their hand.

Want to venture out on your own? Rental cars are easy to arrange with the help of your hotel concierge and most of the roads on this island are in excellent shape. But don’t let the short map distances fool you. St. Lucia is a mountainous country, so driving often takes longer than you’d expect.

Take a rainforest hike through the Edmund Forest Reserve

There are plenty of forests to stroll through at the Edmund Forest Reserve, home to every imaginable shade of green. Some 22,971 acres in total have been saved from logging or land-clearing for agriculture. This means the beautiful and lush environment is still intact, providing lots of opportunities for you to see wildlife in their natural setting.

The Edmund Forest Reserve, which straddles the highlands above the village of Fond St. Jacque, is home to the Jacquot parrot, Lesser Antillean crested hummingbird and the mangrove cuckoo bird. If you want a full-service trek, Jungle Tours offers rainforest hikes that include a buffet lunch!

Catch a sighting of the Jacquot Parrot

ParrotSt. Lucia’s national bird is the native, crimson, yellow and green-hued Jacquot parrot. Today, about 1,000 parrots live among the island’s rainforest canopies, and there’s a national conservation effort to protect them through public education, captive breeding and habitat protection.

To eliminate hunting of the rare bird, the government even commissioned the writing of a song to celebrate the Jacquot, effectively making harming one an act of treason. Hike the Millet Bird Sanctuary Trail and other forest reserves for an up-close look at this beautiful species (you can arrange a tour with the St. Lucia Forestry Department).

See leatherback turtles nesting on Grande Anse Beach

The life of the leatherback turtles that nest on St. Lucia’s beaches is a cat-and-mouse game of survival. Every two to three years, female turtles head toward the soft sands of Grande Anse Beach on St. Lucia’s northeast coast to lay eggs. For years, larger animals and poachers preyed on these vulnerable creatures.

Today, visitors can help save the leatherback turtles by joining local guides with the Des Barras Sea Turtle Watch Project. This joint venture between the St. Lucia National Trust and the government is a testament to their belief that conservation works best when local livelihood is tied to it. Prime time for visitors keen to see these nesting sea turtles is between March and August.

Experience local culture in Castries

If you’re a traveller who tires of hanging out with the cruise-ship crowds at the Castries waterfront, there are still a few options for unique and authentic St. Lucia experiences minus the crowding.

Get back to basics at Lushan Country Life, a homegrown operation that invites visitors onto the Anthony family’s property in the undulating hills above Castries. The estate is a living, breathing exhibit of local plants and animals, home to 30 species of birds and trees, like white cedar and mahogany. These woods are a staple of local boat and furniture makers.

The estate is also home to trails that meander through the forest, with herbal gardens spiked with the scents of turmeric, cinnamon and ginger.

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Melt away tensions at some of St. Lucia’s best spas. Enjoy treatments filled with ingredients from the island’s own rainforest. Over the past 20 years, mangoes, pineapples and bananas have been used to soothe the stressed. Professionals from around the world have come to St. Lucia to offer massage therapy, skin treatments, ayurvedic methods, fitness classes—you name it. The result? St. Lucia is now one of the Caribbean’s undisputed spa capitals. Although we highlight only a handful, you will find sanctuaries of bliss at almost every resort.

The BodyHoliday/LeSport (North of Rodney Bay)

Come see why Conde Nast Traveller repeatedly ranks The BodyHoliday on its Top 10 list of spa retreats. The transformation begins in the lobby where postcards hang, reading “Give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind.” Count on The BodyHoliday to deliver as it is the granddaddy of St. Lucia’s wellness movement that began some 23 years ago on this silky cove of sand.

When you book a vacation at The BodyHoliday, you get meals, drinks and sports activities taught by highly qualified experts from around the world. Not to mention a 50-minute spa treatment every day of your vacation. Lime and ginger scrubs, hot stone therapy, massage treatments, skin treatments, ocean wraps, hydrotherapy—they’re all factored into your bill.

If you pop into the 8 a.m. meditation class, you’ll be instructed by a Brit who spent the past four years living in Thailand. It’s common to see every cushion and towel occupied. Plenty of keeners arrive for the 9 a.m. yoga class, followed by the 10 a.m. golf lesson as well.

Looking for more activities to keep you busy? Scoot off to scuba at 1 p.m., sailing at 2 p.m., and in between, try kayaking, tennis, archery or fencing. Or simply relax and look out at the gorgeous scenery.

Kai Koko Spa (Ti Kaye Village, north of Soufriere)

Small, intimate and a little bit funky, Kai Koko is built on stilts. In any of the three treatment rooms, ocean breezes waft through open walls of sliding-glass windows. Take in the jaw-dropping views of the silvery sands of Anse Cochon. Even as you lay face down on a massage table, you’ll find a little mirror angled on the floor underneath to help you continue marveling at the ocean view while someone works magic on your back.

Be sure to try an exotic treatment here, like the bamboo stick massage where the masseuse uses a series of smooth sticks the size of thin rolling pins. If your back is packed with knots, this massage will leave your body feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. When your hour is up, there’s no need to hustle away. In fact, the sarong-wrapped staff suggest you relax some more with a mug of lemon grass tea in the hot tub.

Calendar of events

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Independence Day (February)

DancerFebruary 22 marks the day St. Lucia gained independence from Britain and became a constitutional monarchy in 1979. Join in celebrations held across the island and don’t miss the events in Castries, where streets are jammed with colourful parades and concerts all day long.

St. Lucia Jazz Festival (May)

During the first week of May, the world’s top jazz and R&B musicians perform in a stunning area known as Pigeon Island. Since the festival first began in 1991, big-name acts such as Dionne Warwick, Isaac Hayes, Anita Baker, Branford Marsalis, and George Benson have all performed.

Carnival (July)

Unlike other Caribbean carnival activities, St. Lucia holds its two-week “jump-up” in July. You’ll find most festivities held in Castries where countless parades, Mas bands, calypso band competitions and mock coronations for the Calypso King and Queen are just a few of the Carnival traditions.

Emancipation Day (August)

During the first week of August every year, St. Lucians celebrate this national holiday marking the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean islands. Locals mark the date with parades, street jams, fashion shows and entertainment for all.

Jounen Kweyol or Creole Day (October)

On the last Sunday of October, locals celebrate all things Creole and haul out their gips (three-piece national costumes with a distinct headpiece that’s tied in two symbolic peaks). Witness special activities that include preparation of traditional foods, exhibitions of traditional items, music, games, craft fairs and folklore.

Festival of Lights and Renewal (December)

St. Lucy, the patron saint of light, is honoured on December 13 in her namesake country. Look for brilliant displays of twinkling Christmas lights and lantern-making competitions held around the island.