St. Lucia. My Guide to Luxurious Must See Excursions and Beaches When You Have Limited Time
Watch my video tour of St. Lucia, with commentary and suggestions..
Tourism is the main source of income for St. Lucia. Greater than agriculture, which for centuries had been the staple of St. Lucia’s economy. Like most of the Caribbean, the collapse of the sugar industry has forced it to rethink how it builds and grows its economy.
“Discovered” by Christopher Columbus in 1502, as with many of the other islands in the region, the French and British battled over the island constantly. It changed ownership 14 times through its history. In 1979 St. Lucia became an independent country from Britain.
Although St. Lucia is a popular cruise destination, it has a very developed resort and hotel based tourism base. There are many direct flights from Europe and the United States and so while the cruise industry is important, it is probably less reliant on this trade than some of the other Caribbean islands. During the main cruising season, which is the winter in the region, it is fairly common to have a two or three ships filling the docks in pretty Castries port and at least one large cruise ship docked at sea and tendering passengers in.
As a result of this huge focus on tourism, there are many excursions and varied tour options for anyone visiting the island. Many are designed to work well with the nature of the passing cruise ship trade, and so designed to last a few hours. St. Lucia has more tour options than any of the other islands I have ever been to!
On my most recent trip, we did an ATV/ Quad bike tour for something different to do. This excursion is in the north of the island, where the Atlantic hits the island – versus the areas that face the Caribbean Sea.
Lasting about 3 hours from the port and return, after a short safety briefing you roar along very rocky roads, stopping to be given some information about the lush forests. You then get great views of the very unspoilt, and quiet, Atlantic facing side of the island. This is a much less developed part of the St. Lucia, as most of the development is more in the south and around the Castries and Caribbean Sea parts of the island. You also get a chance to speed along empty beaches, and have a swim in the sea. It is warm and more robust than the Caribbean Sea. It is pretty special as this part of the island is very unspoilt and empty. You feel like you are on a deserted island. The video above shows more.
You can spend the rest of the day exploring the Castries market at the dock selling fruit, spices, batiks, pottery and basketware. Although many people prefer getting a taxi to one of the beaches like Anse Cochon or Marigot Bay (where the original Doctor Doolittle film was made). On our last trip we had booked a trip that allowed you to go to one of the Sandal resorts beaches (click here to read more) which is not something I would recommend.
St. Lucia has a reputation of being a very lush and special island. I have a more mixed view about it. It is a busy island, and can have a lot of traffic. But getting up to the more unspoilt Atlantic side of the island did give me a new view and impression.
Other popular excursions when in St. Lucia worth considering, if the ATV Quad Bike sounds a bit unappealing are:
• Catamaran tour to the Pitons. Two large mountain peaks created by volcanic activity. This is probably the most popular activity that people do.
• Aerial Tram. Takes you some 2,000 feet through the forest canopy, huge hills and over villages.
• Zip lining (very popular!). You drive to the Rainforest Adventure Park and then zoom from platform to platform, with a big drop down to ground at the end.
• Chocolate experience, the UK based Hotel Chocolat owns an estate here that grows the cocoa they use. You can see how they convert the beans and make chocolate.
• Sports activities like golf and fishing. Both are well catered for on St. Lucia.
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