15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in St. Lucia
Crowned by the towering twin volcanic peaks of the Pitons, St. Lucia is the beauty queen of the Caribbean. Crescent-shaped beaches, small fishing villages, rainforests, reefs, waterfalls, geothermal attractions, and lush mountains are just some of St. Lucia's many attractions.
Castries, the island's capital and cruise ship port, offers a colorful slice of St. Lucian life. Shop at its lively market, and stop to snap some photos of its fascinating historic landmarks. At Morne Fortune and Pigeon Island National Park, you can learn about the history of the island's many battles between the French and English, who fought savagely for its possession.
Adventure seekers will find plenty of things to do on St. Lucia. Ziplining, climbing the Pitons, hiking the many marked nature trails, horseback riding, sightseeing cruises, and exploring the island's active volcano are popular island activities. Diving is excellent on the west side of St. Lucia, with a rich diversity of corals, sponges, and reef fish.
After all the action, you can relax under rustling palms on St. Lucia's golden beaches or soak in the island's healing hot springs. For more ideas on beautiful places to visit on this idyllic island, read our list of the top attractions and things to do in St. Lucia.
1. The Pitons
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons Management Area, the Pitons are St. Lucia's twin towering peaks and prime topographic features. These distinctive peaks soar out of the sea to great heights. The Gros Piton (large piton) to the south is 798 meters high, and the Petit Piton (small piton) is 750 meters high.
Formed by volcanic activity about 200,000 to 300,000 years ago, both the Pitons are considered difficult climbs. If you're a diver, you can explore them as underwater cliffs. However, most visitors simply view them from afar for their scenic beauty.
Wondering where to catch the best view of the Pitons in St. Lucia? The colorful fishing village of Soufriere affords a panoramic vista of the twin peaks – especially from the Tet Paul Nature Trail.
Some hotels also boast breathtaking views of them, including the luxurious Anse Chastanet and adults-only Jade Mountain Resort.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in St Lucia
2. Marigot Bay
Marigot Bay is arguably the most beautiful bay on St. Lucia. It is best viewed from a vista point on the road between the main Caribbean coastal route and the bay itself. Lush hillsides plunge to the pretty palm-fringed beach, and yachts bob on the bay's blue waters.
The harbor is so deep and sheltered that the British fleet supposedly hid here from the French by covering their masts with palm fronds.
Marigot Bay was also the setting for the 1967 film Doctor Doolittle, a claim to fame that has left a permanent mark on the names of some of the local establishments.
Water shuttles ferry visitors across the bay to St. Lucia hotels on the opposite side. If you want to base yourself here, the luxury Marigot Bay Resort and Marina has lovely views of yachts bristling in the bay amid the green hills.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Marigot Bay
3. Snorkeling and Diving in Anse Chastanet Marine National Park
Anse Chastanet coral reef harbors a treasure trove of sea life. On a plateau of two to eight meters, divers can see colored sponges, soft corals, boulder coral, and brain corals. Frogfish inhabit a large nearby cavern, and divers may spot many varieties of fish in the coral gardens, including parrotfish, goatfish, wrasse, chromis, and barracudas.
The edge of the plateau is a wall that drops 46 meters to a lace coral ecosystem inhabited by lobsters, crabs, and eels. Plate coral starts below 30 meters.
Above the surface, Anse Chastanet is a sheltered beach with beautiful views of the Pitons.
About a 10-minute walk from here, Anse Mamin is less crowded, with a lovely secluded feel and great snorkeling.
4. Hiking the Tet Paul Nature Trail
Looking for a break from the sun, sand, and sea? Thanks to the island's dramatic topography, hiking in St. Lucia can be especially rewarding, and the Tet Paul Nature Trail, near Soufrière, offers some of the most spectacular views in southern St. Lucia.
Winding through tropical forest in St. Lucia's World Heritage-listed Pitons Management Area, this easy to moderate hike takes about 45 minutes. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Martinique and St. Vincent.
Along the gentle trail, you can learn about medicinal plants and trees, sample exotic tropical fruits, and discover the traditional Amerindian art of cassava production. You'll see plenty of pineapples growing along the way as well. The highlight is the "stairway to heaven," steep steps leading up to a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
Note that you have to pay a small entrance fee to hike the trail.
Guarded over by the towering Pitons, the colorful fishing village of Soufrière wraps around a beautiful bay. This quintessential St. Lucian village lies about an hour's drive south of the capital, Castries, and makes a great base for a couple of days to explore the nearby attractions.
Founded in about 1745, Soufriere has an interesting history. Its main claim to fame is that Josephine, the wife of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, was born here in 1763. But Soufriere's history also has a grisly side - the town square was the site of the guillotine erected during the French Revolution in 1780, and many plantation owners and their families were executed here.
If you're headed out on a sightseeing tour, be sure to stop by the town square and see the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with its striking azure accents. You'll also notice many colorful buildings in town with filigreed balconies and tin roofs.
Other things to see and do around Soufriere include hiking the spectacular Tet Paul Nature Trail, visiting Sulphur Springs Park, and strolling through the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens. If you prefer something a little more laid-back, you can bask on the pretty palm-lined Anse Mamin beach.
Soufriere is also the best base if you want to tackle the tough hikes up the Pitons - the Gros Piton Nature Trail or the Petit Piton Trail.
For a beautiful view over Soufriere and its deep blue bay, head to the overlook on the main road to Vieux Fort.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Soufrière
6. Morne Coubaril Historical Adventure Park
Overlooking Soufriere Bay, Morne Coubaril Historical Adventure Park is a popular stop on the tourist circuit. True to its name, this 18th-century estate offers a mix of history, culture, and adventure.
Cocoa, coconuts, and manioc are grown here, and you can take a tour around this working plantation, its tropical gardens, and a replica of a traditional village. Guides demonstrate the processing of coconut for food products and show how sugar cane syrup, cocoa, coffee, and manioc are produced. After the tour, you can enjoy Creole food at the plantation's restaurant.
Looking for something more adventurous? Ziplining in view of the Pitons is the most adventurous activity on offer, and plantation tours on horseback are also available. You can also opt for a horseback ride through the rain forest, to the volcano, and along a nearby beach.
Location: Opposite Jalousie Entrance, Soufriere, St. Lucia
Official site: https://mornecoubarilestate.com/
7. Sulphur Springs Park Scenic Drive, Mount Soufriere
Named for the sulfur once mined at this site, Mount Soufriere (also known as Sulphur Springs Park) is the most active geothermal area in the Lesser Antilles. A road traverses the edge of the 274-meter crater making it possible to actually drive in a volcano - one of the most unique things to do in St. Lucia.
Though the last major volcanic eruption in St. Lucia occurred about 40,000 years ago, this volcanic pit continues to vent sulfur into the air, and heat pools of water above boiling.
You can view the bubbling pools and hissing fumaroles from observation platforms. After exploring the park, you can soak in some nearby therapeutic springs and take a mud bath. Make sure you wear an old swimsuit!
8. Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens, Waterfall & Mineral Baths, Soufrière Estate
The Diamond Falls section of the Soufrière Estate offers three popular attractions: well-conceived gardens, a beautiful waterfall colored by mineral deposits, and healing mineral hot spring baths originally built for the troops of King Louis the XVI of France.
The gardens were planted among coconut, cocoa, mahogany, and red cedar trees, with shrubs and tropical flowers from around the world, including orchids, heliconias, hibiscus, and anthurium. You'll also see educational displays of local fruits & vegetables, such as christophine, soursop, and dasheen.
For a small fee, you can also use the soothing outside pools or private bathhouses.
Another attraction of this historic estate is the Old Mill Restaurant, where visiting groups are served a Caribbean buffet.
Official site: https://diamondstlucia.com/
9. Pigeon Island National Park
Across from Rodney Bay, Pigeon Island National Park is one of St. Lucia's most important historic attractions. Strategic lookouts on the island allowed the British to monitor the movements of French troops in Martinique during their struggle for control of St. Lucia.
Today, a causeway connects the island to the mainland, and you can hike up to the lookout point and enjoy panoramic views of St. Lucia's northwest coast.
Also on the island are the ruins of the military buildings used during battles between the French and English, an interpretation center describing the island's fascinating history, a small restaurant, and two white-sand beaches.
You can access Pigeon Island via taxi or, if you're staying at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian, the island is only a seven-minute stroll away.
10. Rodney Bay
On the Gros Islet northern end of St. Lucia, Rodney Bay is a tourist hub. Beach lovers can bask on the man-made crescent-shaped beach, and this is also where you'll find many St. Lucia resorts, restaurants, and shops. After dark, Rodney Bay Village turns into a hot spot for nightlife.
Enclosed to the north by Pigeon Island National Park and to the south by Labrelotte Point, this sheltered bay is also a popular spot for mooring. The Rodney Bay Marina is one of the best equipped in the eastern Caribbean with many water sports on offer. Impressive homes dot the hills surrounding the bay, and St. Lucia's biggest shopping mall is in the area.
Nearby Reduit Beach is one of the best St. Lucia beaches.
Accommodation: Where to Stay near Rodney Bay
11. Hiking the Enbas Saut Waterfall Trail: Edmund Rain Forest Reserve
Accessed at Edmund, above Soufriere, the Enbas Saut waterfall trail lies on the lush slopes of Mount Gimie, St. Lucia's highest mountain. The well-maintained trail circles through dense rainforest to a waterfall, which has eroded its way into volcanic rock.
The trail takes about two hours 30 minutes and requires suitable hiking shoes. Be prepared to work your calves by walking up and down many steep steps.
Birders with sharp eyes are in for a treat. Keep an eye out for the St. Lucia parrot, St. Lucia oriole, Semper's warbler, and St. Lucia wren. The park also harbors exotic plants, such as the blue mahoe and Honduras mahogany.
Most visitors access the trail in 4WD safari vehicles along a rough and rocky road that also affords one of the best vistas of the Pitons.
12. Morne Fortuné
From 1803 to 1844, the British made St. Lucia's capital, Castries, a major naval port and built fortifications on Morne Fortuné, the mountain overlooking the harbor. It was here that some of the most brutal battles between the French and English took place.
Today, Morne Fortuné, meaning "Hill of Good Luck" still offers stunning views of Castries and the harbor from its scenic overlook. Walking up here to snap some photos is one of the most popular free things to do on St. Lucia. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Martinique. The original fortifications still stand, and you can visit a monument, as well as old military buildings and cannons.
The northern side of Morne Fortuné is home to Government House, the official residence of St. Lucia's Governor General, set amid beautifully landscaped private gardens.
13. Shopping at Castries Market
The colorful Castries market, at the easternmost point of Castries harbor, is a great place to visit to experience a slice of local life on St. Lucia. Merchandise ranges from handicrafts to locally grown fruits and vegetables. Shoppers can buy batiks, woodcarvings, gift baskets of spices, banana ketchups and oils, hand-made brooms, hot-pepper sauces, and the usual souvenirs.
While the market is open every day, the most active day is Saturday.
14. Mamiku Gardens
Located on the island's east coast between the towns of Mon Repos and Praslin, this lovely garden features five separate tropical garden areas, each with its own theme. Among these is the medicinal herbal garden, where you can learn about how African slaves discovered them on the island and shared their knowledge about the uses of native plants.
Bird-watchers will be particularly happy here, where the huge variety of flowers lure endangered and rare birds. Among birds commonly spotted are the golden oriole, the black finch, white breasted thatcher, and several varieties of hummingbirds.
You can explore the property on your own, or take one of the guided tours with options to focus on bird-watching, the gardens, or the old plantation's history. The plantation tour includes a hike to the coast, while the garden lover's tour provides more information on the plants and their habitat. Among the gardens' most popular flowers are its many orchids.
The property was once a plantation in the early 18th century, and today you can see not only the gardens but the archaeological digs and the treasures uncovered. If you make the hike to the archaeological dig site, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the coast and Praslin Bay.
Parts of the garden and facilities are wheelchair accessible, including a balcony that overlooks most of the gardens.
Address: V39X+GCF, Mon Repos, St. Lucia
Official site: www.mamikugardens.com
15. Derek Walcott Square
Named after St. Lucia's Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott Square is a great starting point for a walking tour of the capital, Castries. Its most famous landmark is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The cathedral exemplifies a Victorian variation on a Romanesque design and features an Italianate-style clock tower centered on the square.
Opposite the cathedral sits the restored public library and a series of brightly painted gingerbread colonial buildings with verandahs overhanging the sidewalk.
Best Time to Visit Saint Lucia - Historical Climate Averages
|Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Castries, Saint Lucia in °C|
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|Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Castries, Saint Lucia in °F|
|82 76||82 76||83 77||84 78||86 80||85 81||85 80||86 80||86 80||86 79||84 79||83 77|
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Where to Stay in St. Lucia: St. Lucia hotels and resorts are just as appealing as the island itself. If you're looking for a no-fuss romantic getaway, you'll find one of the best luxury all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean on St. Lucia: adults-only Jade Mountain. Looking for a hideaway with stunning views or a beachfront property? Check out some other options in our article on the top-rated resorts in St. Lucia.