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Getting around St Lucia and where to stay

St Lucia sits in the sparkling Caribbean Sea, northwest of Barbados and neighbouring Martinique and Saint Vincent.  Being a Caribbean island, St Lucia has a tropical climate and is warm year round; dry season is December to May.  With a diverse landscape it is one of the most mountainous of the Caribbean islands.  The highest point of this volcanic island is Mount Gimie at 950 metres.  The Pitons, impressive landmarks on the southwestern coast are twin volcanic plugs named Gros and Petit Piton and are a World Heritage Site.  They can often be seen on a clear day flying over the island and on nearby walks, you can even climb them.  St Lucia has a lush green interior with rainforests galore and the all-important pristine white sand, palm lined beaches.

You’ve decided on your tropical paradise now onto how to get there.  With a flying time of around 8 hours and 30 minutes, British Airways fly direct to Hewanorra International Airport situated at the southern end of the island with seven flights a week.  From the airport it is easy to get to many of the resorts.  Coconut Bay has to be the nearest to reach, with a transfer time of 5 minutes you can be on the beach or sipping a rum punch in not time at all.

Most of St Lucia’s hotels can be found on the west coast.  There are plenty to choose from around the Pitons and Anse Chastanet Marine Preserve area and all the way up the coast, past the capital Castries to the northern tip of the island.  To reach the northern end of the island transfer times by road are around 1 hour and 30 minutes, for the Pitons and Anse Chastanet Beach area around 45 minutes.  It’s a great start to the holiday transferring by road as the scenic uphill journey gives you a chance to get acquainted with the tropical landscape and get into the Caribbean vibe.

The idyllic beach location of Rendezvous will take your breath away; step straight onto Malabar Beach from the hotel grounds of this boutique couples only retreat.  Located near Castries and St Lucia’s domestic airport make it an ideal base for twin centre island hopping.  Plus if you don’t fancy the long transfer by road there is the option to transfer by helicopter.  What a fantastic way to see the island and start your holiday in style.

St James’s Club Morgan Bay is a luxurious All-Inclusive beachfront resort located along the northern coast of the island between Castries and Rodney Bay, both of which are only a 15 minute taxi journey and good for restaurants and shops.  Wake up in paradise in the ocean, pool or garden view rooms.  With four pools and a beautiful private beach there is plenty of choice for sunbathing.  For ultimate relaxation treat yourself at the spa.  The resort boasts a variety of restaurants, head to Morgan’s Pier to enjoy a cocktail or two as you watch the sunset over the ocean or for a quiet drink with stunning views try Tommy’s Hilltop Bar.  This resort is the perfect place for a family holiday or a romantic honeymoon.

Although the transfer time by road to the northern end of the island maybe slightly longer, it is definitely worth making the journey as this area is home to two very luxurious resorts.  The heavenly Cap Maison brings a whole new meaning to the word paradise.  Perched on a cliff top overlooking the sparkling Caribbean ocean ad surrounded by tropical gardens it is truly a picturesque setting.  Besides sunbathing and swimming in the ocean or pool, Spa Maison is a good place to continue the relaxation with an indulgent massage or treatment.  Cliff Bar is the place for sunset cocktails.  For a romantic evening for two with a twist, Rock Maison is a must. Panoramic ocean views and drinks via a zip line to your table make this the ultimate dining experience.  For those looking for an active escape The BodyHoliday is the answer.  Gaze at the shoreline from the pool, or visit the Wellness Centre for an impressive array of treatments to wash all your worries away.  Daily activities range from yoga to tai chi, along with watersports, tennis courts, archery and a golf academy there is something for everyone to enjoy.

A catamaran tour is a glorious way to see the island from a new perspective and a great day out.  Sail along the coastline and experience the warm Caribbean waters.  Trips go from key locations such as Rodney Bay Marina, Marigot Bay and Castries.  There are a variety of trips to choose from including full day tours, half day and sunset cruises.  Many day tours combine with a cocoa plantation visit and a soak in the mineral or Diamond Baths.  A buffet lunch and drinks are often included as are snorkelling and beach stops.  Many sail near the Pitons offering a fantastic opportunity for photos.

The west coast is a stunning area to base yourself with resorts such as Anse Chastanet, Jade Mountain and Ladara Resort all offering dazzling views of the Pitons along with the chance to snorkel on incredible reefs full of colourful marine life.  A little further up the coast is Capella Marigot Bay, built into to the lush hillside overlooking the tranquil marina of Marigot Bay.  Features of the hotel include two infinity pools, spa, complimentary beach shuttle and the Rum Cave, showcasing over 200 hundred different rums.

Soufriere also on the west coast is easily accessible either on an organised trip, by taxi or hire car.  It is an incredible place to explore with its unique drive in volcano, here take a refreshing scrub in the mud baths and then wash off in the hot springs.  Visit the beautiful Diamond Falls at the Diamond Botanical Gardens, which fall directly from the volcano, take a tour of the gardens and relax in the hot pools.  New Jerusalem Mineral Baths, also nearby Soufriere are said to be perfect for rejuvenating sore and tired muscles.  There are also cocoa plantations in this area.  Morne Coubaril Estate offers plantation tours, discover how cocoa beans are processed and even try one.  An exciting add on to this tour is zip lining, whizz through rainforest, and take in the beautiful views of Soufriere, the ocean and the Pitons.  This adrenaline pumping activity is definitely a different way of seeing the island.  The Rabot Estate, owned by the famous British chocolatier is a chocoholics delight.  At this cocoa plantation you can tour and make your own chocolate following the process from choosing your own ripe cacao pods straight from the tree all the way to creating your own bar of chocolate.

A trip to St Lucia would not be complete without attending the Friday night ‘Jump Up’.  This is a street party like no other held in the fishing village of Gros Islet, not far from Rodney Bay.  Join the locals and party in true Caribbean style, Reggae, street food eaten from paper plates, Piton beer, plenty of rum and dancing in the streets West Indies style.  Rodney Bay is also a buzzing place for nightlife and is a 25-minute drive from Castries.  To be near to the action the boutique Coco Palm hotel provides a personal concierge service and is found in Rodney Bay Village.  Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, is a good choice for those wanting to combine relaxation and beautiful beaches but also be in the heart of Rodney Bay for shopping, bars and dining.

However you choose to get around St Lucia, be it by road, air or sea and whichever part of the island you choose to stay on, from the pristine beaches to the tropical interior it is sure to be a memorable break in paradise.


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