Explore St Lucia article

On the move – exploring St Lucia to top from toe

Explore St Lucia article written by Travel Writer & Author Adam Jacot de Boinod

To get a proper sense of the Caribbean island of St Lucia, and the best way to explore St Lucia it seemed, was to work my way up the island by road and by boat.

More than anywhere St. Lucia is best visited by being on the move. I soon realised that changing hotels every few days was the thing to do. For all its beauty and fecundity the island can be quite restrictive, especially if you want to stretch a leg, as the beaches are small and the hillsides are steep. Each cove (which the French called anse) is a hideaway and hotels vie to offer the most romantic setting. Not a surprise then that St Lucia wins the award for ‘Honeymoon island of the Caribbean’ year after year.

Starting from the international airport in the south I reached Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort. I descended steeply down from hills still stricken with their trees deracinated from a recent storm. This high-end American hotel has surely secured the choice location of the island – it’s between the famous twin peaks of Gros and Petit Piton. These upright, precipitous mountains reach over 2,000ft in height and are the consequence of an historic earthquake balancing its neighbouring sea with equal depth. They gave me a sense of being grounded with their majestic presence dwarfing all below. I needed to see them panoramically, from the sea as well as the land. At different angles they alternate between one being a pyramid and the other a multi-faceted shape.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

Aerial view Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort St Lucia - Active Caribbean hotels explore st lucia
Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort reception - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
Sugar Beach pool, A Viceroy Resort - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
Palm Court lounge at Sugar Beach A Viceroy Resort - Active Caribbean explore st lucia resorts

At the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens I came across a beaten track to a 50 foot waterfall with the water free-falling every second for eternity. I learnt even more about nature from the 250 year old ‘Sulphur Springs’ still bubbling away, emitting noxious fumes that gave its name to Soufrière. St Lucia’s second town is further north and is small and jolly with shops behind the seafront and houses that recede up into the valley.

Then on to Capella Marigot Bay – overlooking its marina, this hotel couldn’t be located in a more idyllic location. Here I got a strong sense of the nautical character of St. Lucia as I looked around at the berthed premier yachts from all over the world. Positioned on the protected west side of the island, the bay is known as ‘hurricane hole’. It is surrounded by mountains and experiences minimal tidal changes. Yachties tinker with their equipment and there’s a serenity in this secluded and secure haven… a serenity reflected in the philosophy of the hotel.

Capella Marigot Bay

Capella Marigot Bay - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
Capella Marigot Bay library - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
Capella Marigot Bay observation deck - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
Capella Marigot Bay lounge area - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels

As I moved up the island the vegetation changed and the sand got whiter. Next came St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, beautifully set within the sound of lapping waves with views of the sea offering stunning sunsets, and where the rooms have double balconies from which to enjoy them. For visitors who prefer organised entertainment this is the place to be. After one lesson on a sailing catamaran off I went – how liberating – and, with their rescue service, how reassuring! There’s a spoiling range of six restaurants to choose from and always somewhere open to eat – Le Jardin is for fine dining, while the Bamboo offers fabulous seafood salads.

St James’s Club Morgan Bay

St James Club - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
St James Club Morgan Bay jazz - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
St James Club Morgan Bay beach barbecue - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
St James Club pool - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels

Next, on past Castries the capital, I headed to Cap Maison Luxury Resort & Spa – a classy boutique villa resort which has a Mediterranean feel where Spanish meets Moroccan. Once a private house it has been cleverly extended. It is located on the northernmost tip in Cap Estate, a highly exclusive area. Walking beneath crenelated roofs, past trickling fountains, under vaulted brick corridors and through inner courtyards with birds twittering, I half expected to be responding to peeling church bells.

There’s dramatic cliff scenery with the tranquil waters of the Caribbean Sea on one side and the brisk Atlantic Ocean to the other. The grounds are tropically landscaped with carpet-mossy grass, and the rooms feature Manuel Canovas fabric cushions. Chef Nico for the Cliff at Cap restaurant offers delicious seafood chowder, and champagne is delivered in a basket to diners fifty feet below via a zipwire. How very James Bond! And with zipwire excursions dotted across the island… how very St Lucia.

Cap Maison Luxury Resort & Spa

Cap Maison luxury resort spa courtyard - Active Caribbean explore st lucia hotels
Cap Maison st lucia spa resort - Active Caribbean st lucia hotels
Cap Maison luxury st lucia resort - Active Caribbean travel articles
Cap Maison spa luxury st lucia hotel - Active Caribbean hotel reviews

I took a trip to Pigeon Island. It is like a miniature version of the Pitons with her two humped hills. It was joined to the mainland in the 1960s by a causeway that is now a picturesque tree-lined avenue. It’s the best spot for snorkeling and I discovered great for hiking – I climbed up the proudly kept nature reserve to its natural look out point.

Pigeon Island thankfully doesn’t have a hotel but has been preserved for the common good. While Lord Glenconner of Mustique fame sold the land between the Pitons to a hotel, no money would allow another scenic part of the island to pass hands. This is a northern cove nicknamed ‘Five Dollar Beach’, which is what the 90 year-old owner charges each visitor to enjoy his unspoilt coastline which boasts the biggest of fish and whitest of sand. No number of multiple dollar offers has managed to take it off his hands.

I returned back down the Atlantic coast to the accompaniment of the brightest rainbow I had ever witnessed. What a magnificent send off to the colourful island of St Lucia, best explored to top from toe.

About the author of this Explore St Lucia article:

Adam travelled courtesy of The Holiday Place which has been creating award-winning experiences for over 30 years’. Their holidays range from luxurious to adventurous and cater for all budgets and requirements. Adam travelled via the Gatwick Express from London to Gatwick Airport. Travel in St Lucia was supported by the St Lucia Tourist Board.

Images on this Explore St Lucia article page are courtesy of Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, Capella Marigot Bay, St James’s Club Morgan Bay, Cap Maison Luxury Resort & Spa