St Lucia is famous for being one of the most romantic destinations on the planet and very popular among newlyweds and honeymooners, offering beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and dramatic mountains. Whether you prefer hiking or relaxing by the pool with a cocktail, this gem of the Caribbean really does have something for everyone.
When to visit
St Lucia is quite close to the equator, so it doesn’t have very well defined seasons. One thing you can count on though, is that it will always be hot. June to November are generally the hottest months, reaching temperatures of up to 30°C, with January & February being the coldest months in the early-mid 20s, which is much more my speed! We went at the beginning of June which is just at the start of their rainy season, and not only was it hot, it was so sticky and humid. It was fairly cloudy, which didn’t make for the best photos but it did provide some relief from the sun’s heat, and the occasional tropical downpour which was also very welcome. One advantage of visiting during the rainy season was that it was very quiet, and it was nice not having to go down to the pool at 6am to reserve sun loungers. When speaking to one of the reps at the hotel he told us they were at 100% capacity over New Year’s, so if you want to go when it’s quiet then anytime between June and November is your best bet.
Getting there & getting around
St Lucia’s main airport is Hewanorra International Airport which is located at Vieux Fort at the south of the island. From the UK the flight is just under 9 hours. (If you can, try and sit on the left side of the plane, as you fly down the west coast of the island before you land, with a stunning view of the Pitons). As you’d expect, St Lucia has no form of tube or metro system, so the only way to get to where your staying is by a private transfer, or hiring a car for the duration of your stay. Some hotels and resorts offer a private transfer service, but if not, a quick google search will provide you with loads of different options (including helicopter transfer!). There are some buses in the more populated part of the island like Castries, but in the more isolated parts you’d definitely need a taxi or car to be able to get anywhere.
Where to stay
On the way from the airport to our hotel, one thing became very clear – the pictures of St Lucia you see in magazines and on Instagram aren’t an accurate representation of what the island is actually like. The majority of the island is very poor, with only a small percentage being very rich, and no in-between. I just remember sitting in the car on the drive from the airport to the resort through shanty towns filled with huts, and I was thinking “This is meant to be the most romantic honeymoon destination? Really?” Before we went, I did a hashtag search on Instagram to figure out the places I wanted to visit, and I was surprised to see that there weren’t many nature photos of the different places floating around, but after seeing St Lucia as a whole, I now realise why.
Most of the luxury villas and resorts are on the west coast of the island, as that’s where the more beautiful parts of St Lucia are, and of course, the glorious sunsets. We stayed at St James Club Morgan Bay which was wonderful (I’ll do a separate review of our resort soon). It’s in its own little cove towards the north of the island, and with the amount of entertainment, activities, and excursions, we only left the hotel twice in 12 days. There are a couple of Sandals resorts too, one in Castries and one in Rodney Bay, and the luxurious Jade Mountain, which is set further south with a spectacular view of the Pitons from the private infinity pool in every room (I know right!?), and apparently the entire hotel is made out of marble, which is just all the instagram goals – NEED to stay there! There’s also Sugar Beach Viceroy Resort which is set in-between the Pitons, we visited their beach on one of our excursions and it looked so stunning. If you’re looking for something different, there are plenty of beautiful villas available for rent along the west coast, but obviously you’d need to rent a car and cook for yourselves.
Things to do
In pretty much any picture you’ll see of St Lucia you’ll see two steep volcanic mountains, called the Pitons. The Gros Piton is 771 metres (2,530ft) high, and the Petit Piton is 743 metres (2438ft) high. If you are adventure-inclined, hiking Gros Piton is a must for you when you’re in St Lucia. There are many excursions offered by resorts for this, but you can also hire out your own tour guide at the base of the mountain. My husband did want to do this initially, but we were so chilled at our resort he didn’t end up doing it. The reviews I’ve seen online say that it’ll take around 4 hours to get up and back down again, and be warned that it’s quite a strenuous climb with scrambling over steep rocks at times towards the top, so I’d only recommend this is you’re of a good fitness level. I didn’t manage to get many good photos of the Pitons, as it was very cloudy on the day we went there and the photos I did take just didn’t do them justice at all.
I’m unsure if there is a way to visit Marigot Bay by car, as both times we visited by boat. Marigot Bay seemed to offer mainly hotels, private villas (a few owned by celebrities), and boats. One hotel we saw was stated as a 5* hotel, but it has no beach, and you have to get the ferry over to the other side of the bay to a small beach. I’m sure the hotel was lovely inside, but I don’t see how it could be a 5* without having it’s own beach. Marigot Bay is actually a hurricane hole, so when a hurricane hits the island, Marigot Bay is used to store boats so they aren’t affected by the winds.
Similar to Marigot Bay, Rodney Bay is basically just a marina. There are a couple of resorts and some luxury villas there. It was nice to say we’d been but I didn’t see a whole lot to do there.
Waterfall & Volcanic Mud Bath – Joy’s Cruises
At our resort, there were some reps from a cruise company selling their services. They were from Joy’s Cruises, which was a trip to the volcanic mud baths, waterfall, and snorkelling among other things. He told us that it was rated the #1 cruise on TripAdvisor, priced at $75pp which was very reasonable compared to what the hotel was offering, so we booked. Now, the account of this trip will depend on who you ask – my husband loved it, but me….not so much. We left at 8.30am and boarded the speedboat down the west coast of the island to Soufrière. I’m normally fine with boats, in fact it’s usually my preferred form of travel, but I absolutely hated the speedboat. It was very fast, and bumpy, and genius here decided to sit at the front of the boat where most of the impact hit. We then took a cramped and non-AC’d minibus to the mud baths, which were actually quite good, but they were quite crowded so we couldn’t spend as much time there as we wanted to. Also if you have sunburn it kills like a bitch. The mud is supposed to make you look 10 years younger, and although it’d be kinda weird if I came out looking 17, it did make my skin feel very soft. We then went to wash the mud off at a waterfall. Controversial opinion: the waterfall was a bit meh. Like, yeah it was pretty and all, but the ticket booth made it seem much more commercial, and again it was quite crowded, and honestly – I’ve seen better in the Lake District. Oh and when we left some of the locals tried to sell us drugs. Brill. We then went to Joy’s house for a buffet lunch which was lovely. After that we took the boat again down to the beach in between the Pitons where my husband did some snorkelling – he said that that was his highlight of the entire trip. I wasn’t into that, so I did some sunbathing on the beach. We were there for an hour, then we sailed back to the resort. On the trip back, the crew brought out the beers and rum punch, and I’ve honestly got no clue how people were like “oh yeah let’s chill with a beer” when I was there clutching on for dear life. I wouldn’t do it again, but my husband absolutely loved it, so if you get quite anxious and aren’t really into activities and excursions with a group of people you don’t know, it’s probably not for you.
We also did a sunset cruise with our resort which was probably my favourite part of the whole trip. The resort own a catamaran called The Calypso Cat, which sailed from Rodney Bay down to Marigot Bay, then on the way back up we saw the most spectacular sunset of the whole holiday (pictured below). Many resorts offer excursions like this so if you’re looking for a bit of romance on your visit to St Lucia I would highly recommend taking one of these trips. (And it’s a bit slower than a speedboat!)
See you soon!