10 things to see and do
Seven days in the sun
St Lucia: 238 square miles of rainforest, vibrant nightspots, mouthwatering cuisine and endless beaches. Where do you start when confronted by paradise? Daniel Brigham picks 10 things you must see and do before you leave...
Let’s face it, if the Caribbean is your chosen holiday destination, it’s quite likely you’ll be looking to spend a decent amount of time on the beach. And why not? St Lucia’s beaches are all open to the public, many are secluded and others are hives of activity, and it’s the perfect way to kick off your stay. From Marigot Bay to Pigeon Island and Cas-en-Bas to Rodney Bay, you’re never far from the chance to indulge in a spot of sunbathing, paddling or, for the more adventurous, snorkelling, diving or horse riding.
3. Pigeon Island
The Caribbean is almost as famous for its beautiful golf courses as its beaches, and St Lucia Golf Resort and Country Club fits perfectly into the stereotype: lush fairways, perfect weather, stunning views and the occasional sighting of rare wildlife. Situated on the coast just north of Rodney Bay, the 18-hole championship course is perfect for both serious golfers and those who spend a lot of time admiring the bunkers; a driving range and golf lessons will help remove any rustiness. The restaurant and bar (open to nonmembers) will help you forget about the triple bogeys. It often attracts big names, from Bill Clinton to Tony Greig and Kenny G. After hosting a successful Viv Richards Golf Day in 2005, they are already planning an open-day for the England cricketers just before the World Cup. It may be the only chance to see Michael Vaughan hit a straight one. So, after a day of relaxation, how about a spot of climbing tomorrow ...
Halfway up a bloody big mountain, legs redder than Angus Fraser after seven overs on the trot, face submerged in sweat, it’s a case of “Thank God the view is so damn incredible.” Maybe I’ll just stay here. After all, is there any real need to get right to the top? The compulsory guides get this kind of attitude a lot, and they’re well aware that it really is worth it. In an island stocked-up with heart-stopping views, this one tops them all; the Brian Lara of panoramas. Gros Piton and Petit Piton (I’m climbing the big one) are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which also includes the Sulphur Springs (see below), and the never-ending expanse of rainforest that surrounds the town of Soufriere in the south of the island.
The twin peaks are St Lucia’s defining image – an epic gateway to the island. The trek to the top takes around two hours, the mosquitos are out in force, it does get steep and a certain degree of fitness is needed, but it is massively rewarding. It has to be done. Long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts are advisable, as well as a decent-sized bottle of water. Most importantly, though, pack a camera.
The descent from the Pitons takes another two hours, and there is no better way to recuperate than heading for the nearby Sulphur Springs, situated in the heart of the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano. The hot springs belch out steam – too hot for having a dip – but you can bathe in the mineral-enriched, warm river. Bones no longer ache, bites no longer itch. Then, if that wasn’t enough, Toraille waterfall and the Diamond Botanical Gardens and Waterfall are within touching distance. Of course, for those action men and women who think that spending an afternoon bathing is for wimps, you can indulge in a spot of jungle biking just up the coast at Anse Chastanet. It’s a superb way to take in the local plantations, French colonial ruins, orchids and forests. Trying to to bike up the Pitons, however, is not advised.
7. Gros Islet Street Party
and Fish Friday at Anse La Raye
Fish Friday is one of the highlights of any stay on the island; of all of the things I bored my friends in England about on my return, this one comes top of the list. Lobsters, shrimp, lambi, whelks and much more all simmer in the warm sea breeze, creating such an enticing, tangy smell that I’m surprised you don’t see people drooling. Leaving these delights behind, I head to the Gros Islet Street Party – the epicentre of party-time on a Friday night. Only a small village 20 years ago, Gros Islet has grown enormously on the back of its carnival reputation, which goes on to the early hours of Saturday morning. Open-air music, barbecued fish and chicken and a whole lotta dancing is what Gros Islet does best. Like Anse La Raye, the aroma is thoroughly enticing and can stay with you for days, a perfect reminder of a perfect Friday night in St Lucia. Be prepared to test your stamina (and your appetite for alcohol), as it will be needed to last the distance, and a day on the beach is probably the best way to recuperate.
If you like to sail, then Marigot Bay is the place to head for on the island. Or, if you just like beaches shaded by coconut palms, fabulous restaurants (see pages 18-19) and views that make you forget to carry on walking, then Marigot Bay is also the place for you. The harbour is teeming with yachts and, with a new hotel opening in the summer that promises to offer unparalled accommodation, there are few better places to set up anchor. The location inspired the filmmakers of the original Dr Doolittle (1947) to set much of the film there. The giant pink snail that Doolittle sails away on at the end of the film was left by the crew and was a permanent reminder of the film, until it went missing, never to be found again. No one knows just how a giant pink snail goes missing overnight, but the locals love telling the story.
9. Diving at
10. St Lucia Jazz
Dan Brigham is editorial assistant of The Wisden Cricketer
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