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Top 25 Reasons to Visit Saint Lucia

Everything about this Eastern Caribbean island will astonish you with its unique beauty — the blues of the ocean, emerald rainforests, colorful coral reefs, majestic Pitons and friendly people.
By Patricia Wuest | Created On December 13, 2023
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Top 25 Reasons to Visit Saint Lucia

If you’ve booked a window seat on the left side of your plane for flight into Saint Lucia, you will be treated to a magnificent sight: the spectacular twin peaks of the Pitons slowly coming into view as your plane begins its descent. It is an unforgettable introduction to an island that knows how to make an appearance. Nestled in the Eastern Caribbean, Saint Lucia is a sparkling jewel crafted by nature, a perfect island of emerald-green rainforests, the turquoise-blue waters of the sea, shimmering waterfalls, and beaches that glitter with unique colors — black, orange and white — evidence of the island’s volcanic past. These views have helped the island achieve its status as the Caribbean’s most romantic getaway.

It’s a destination that seems straight out of a travel brochure designed to get you all dreamy about planning a vacation. Ask any travel writer what it is about Caribbean islands that makes them passionate about visiting, and you will hear cliché phrases such as “tropical haven,” “a place rich in culture and experiences,” and “a paradise of sun, sand and sea.”

It’s a destination that seems straight out of a travel brochure designed to get you all dreamy about planning a vacation.

St. Lucia Tourism Authority

These travel-brochure platitudes are lovely, but they fail to capture the true essence of an island. Yes, Saint Lucia is a beautiful tropical paradise of sun, sand and sea that is rich in culture and experiences, but that barely scratches the surface of what this West Indies island country has to offer. To help you get a fuller sense of what a dive vacation is like on Saint Lucia, we decided to trust our readers, who voted Saint Lucia to multiple top 10 lists in our annual Readers Choice Awards survey. Though the diving is truly special on Saint Lucia, there are loads of reasons for visiting this extraordinary island. After all, you’ll have lots of surface intervals. Here are 25 reasons — both underwater and topside — our readers fell in love with the island.

There are loads of reasons for visiting this extraordinary island.

St. Lucia Tourism Authority

1. Capturing the Hearts and Minds of Divers

In the 31 years we’ve been conducting our Readers Choice Awards survey, we’ve learned to trust our readers’ votes and reviews. The 2024 results had the usual number of favorites and surprises, but in Saint Lucia’s case, the island experienced an overwhelming number of votes in 10 of the survey’s 13 total categories. More than 13,000 readers and website voters ranked the island in the top 10 in the Caribbean/Atlantic region for Best Overall Dive Destination, Healthy Marine Environment, Wall Diving, Wreck Diving, Shore Diving, Macro Life, Snorkeling, Underwater Photography, Beginner Diving and Advanced Diving. That’s a remarkable accomplishment.

2. A Dive in the Park

There’s a good reason — or reasons — for receiving so many scuba diving awards. Saint Lucia is blessed by geography, natural resources and a favorable climate — and St. Lucians have taken measures to ensure a sustainable future. The warm waters of the Caribbean Sea that bathe Saint Lucia’s western coast are protected by the Soufriere Marine Management Area and Canaries & Anse La Raye Marine Management Area. The area is not only remarkable for its vibrant coral reefs but also its rich diversity of natural resources, including the mountains, rainforest and rivers. The island’s ancient volcanic origins forged the mountainous interior of the island, as well as the fascinating formations underwater, and created the foundation for the lush rainforest and coral reefs. It’s a destination made for the kinds of postcards that truly make people jealous they’re not there with you.

3. Diving Diversity

Not all islands have coral reefs, though, but Saint Lucia has nearly two dozen dive and snorkel sites located close to shore, and there are multiple options for every skill level. Anse La Raye Wall — one of the most beautiful drop-offs in the Caribbean — is blanketed by an array of delicate sea whips, feather dusters and soft corals and is in depths that range between 60 and 100 feet. Beginners will delight in endless bottom time and spotting frogfish at the 25-foot-deep Anse Cochon South. Nearby is the beautifully encrusted wreck Lesleen M, a 165-foot former freighter that attracts all manner of marine life.

Farther south, Piton Wall is an underwater extension of Petit Piton. It starts at the surface of the bay and then drops off into the abyss. Pack a macro lens for your underwater camera — the sea whips, gorgonians, soft corals and feather duster worms are home to smaller marine life. You’ll feel as if you’re diving the Pitons underwater at Keyhole Pinnacles, four extraordinary seamounts that soar from the ocean floor. Experienced divers will go with the flow at Superman’s Flight, a thrilling drift past immense barrel sponges and corals.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an island that delivers as much as Saint Lucia does.

St. Lucia Tourism Authority

4. Snorkeling Surprises

If there are snorkelers in your group, they’ll discover that nearly every dive site can be explored with only a mask, fins and snorkel, including Anse Chastanet, Anse Cochon, Sugar Beach and Piton Wall. One popular site at the base of Gros Piton — Coral Gardens — offers aquarium-like conditions and loads of tropical reef fish. And who knows — maybe after snorkeling, they’ll want to try a Discover Scuba course offered by local dive operators.

5. Sensory Overload

OK, this reason is another travel cliché, but in terms of describing Saint Lucia, it is an apt one. You will be immersed in scents, colors, tastes, sounds and views, including the jade-green peaks of Mount Gimie, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, the blues of the Caribbean Sea, locally grown chocolate and locally made green figs and saltfish, colorful markets filled with art, woodcarvings and straw baskets, and a fusion of reggae, calypso, soca and other musical genres. No matter where you are, the island is a feast for all five senses. All you have to do is plan your trip and pack your sense of adventure and curiosity.

6. Chasing Waterfalls

You can sign up for group tours or create your own adventures at a number of waterfalls on the island. Errard Falls is just one example — it is one of two waterfalls found on the east coast of St. Lucia and is a scenic, 60-foot drop that will welcome you at the end of a short hike through the rainforest. The central part of the island is home to various forest reserves, including Edmund Forest Reserve. Here, you’ll hike past waterfalls and rushing streams to reach some of the best views on the island.

7. Beach Life

Though the beaches are all public (even resort beaches are open to everyone), they’re also quiet, making them ideal for those looking to read, nap or enjoy the water. In some cases, they’re the entry point for some walk-in shore diving. Anse Cochon North and South are both beach dives — look for seahorses, cleaner shrimp and other macro gems of the reef.

8. A Little Romance

Divers aren’t the only ones bestowing awards on the island. Named the “World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” by the World Travel Awards, Saint Lucia is perfect for a wedding, honeymoon or romantic getaway. It will be an occasion that you will cherish for a lifetime.

9. Rainforest Hiking

Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple or with your family or a group, don’t miss a hike into the rainforest. An eco-trek gives you a chance to see some of the brightly colored birds and plants native to the island and understand this remarkable ecosystem. There are endless possibilities, for all skill levels, from an advanced ascent on Gros Piton to a tamer, sea-level hike on the Eastern Nature Trail along the Atlantic Ocean coastline.

10. Fare for Foodies

The island has become a hub for culinary enthusiasts who are eager to explore the many restaurants or learn the roots of popular Creole dishes. Whether you’re a foodie looking for a five-star restaurant, grabbing lunch from a street vendor or relaxing with grilled fare served on the beach, you’ll find what you’re looking for no matter where you’re staying.

Saint Lucia is a sparkling jewel crafted by nature.

St. Lucia Tourism Authority

11. Experiencing Town Life

North Saint Lucia is home to the town of Rodney Bay, which has some of the top Saint Lucia beaches as well as popular nightlife spots. The south part of Saint Lucia island is also one of the most historic places, Vieux Fort, which still has rusty canons and old bricks scattered around. You’ll want to tour the town of Soufrière, the original capital of the island and a picturesque fishing village nestled on the island’s west coast.

12. Natural Healing

St. Lucia is home to the world’s only drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs, where you can try a mud bath experience. You’ll notice a rotten-egg smell — that’s from the sulphur, which is known for its beneficial effects on the skin. Soufrière Estate – also known as Diamond Estate — is an old colonial estate that is home to a botanical garden, sulphur baths and Diamond Falls.

13. Just for Chocolate Lovers

The island’s chocolate legacy dates back to the cocoa industry of the 1700s. Many of the hotels and resorts celebrate this heritage with cocoa farm tours and chocolate-making experiences, including Fond Doux Estate, you’ll find a working plantation where cacao is still processed. Another experience is at Howelton, one of the oldest houses on the island that has stunning views of the village of Castries. This is a bean-to-bar experience under the guidance of the house chocolatier that concludes with each participant having hand manufactured a scrumptious dark chocolate bar.

14. Festivals Galore

The island celebrates Carnival in July, with the season culminating in a joy-filled, two-day street parade of live bands and DJ music, stunning costumes and the energetic revelry typical of Caribbean carnivals. In September, Saint Lucia will host the annual Dive Fest, highlighting the Saint Lucian dive experience.

15. Adventure Sports and Family Fun

Head to Cas en Bas beach on the island’s northern end, and check out Kitesurfing St. Lucia. November through April, the warm trade winds make the spot popular with kiteboarders. Lessons are available for beginners. Or head into the rainforest canopy for a ziplining excursion or rope bridge walk. Saint Lucia has loads of activities besides diving.

16. Fish Fry Parties

The Anse La Raye Fish Fry and Gros Islet Friday Night feature food and street parties. These events are both usually well attended by locals and visitors and are the perfect opportunity to try the local beer, Piton beer. Depending on where you’re staying on the island, you’ll find a nearby hotspot for nightlife.

17. Music and Dancing

At night, most villages such as Rodney Bay Village, Gros Islet and Dennery have dance halls and clubs where you can dance to music that’s been influenced by the many rhythms of the Caribbean, including reggae, calypso, soca and zouk.

18. Visiting Pigeon Island

If you’re a history buff, visit Pigeon Island National Landmark, where you can the ruins of this historic military base and dive from either of the island’s two secluded beaches. Easy access is via the causeway between it and the main island.

19. Kicking Back with Cocktails

Almost all of the bars in Saint Lucia offer Chairman’s Reserve, the locally made rum. The small waterfront bars in Gros Islet specialize in serving their version of tropical punch, while in Castries and Soufriere, you’ll find fun-loving bars that overlook the water where you can toast the sunset.

20. Gros Piton and Petit Piton

There are multiple ways for visitors to explore these iconic landmarks. You can hike around them or you can sail around them to see the Pitons from the water. Either way, you will be captivated by these dormant volcanoes.

21. Eden on Earth

With over 1,300 different species of wild flowering plants and 150 species of fern growing on the island, Saint Lucia is a botanical paradise. Diamond Botanical Gardens is a six-acre park that’s a peaceful sanctuary filled with vibrant foliage, including hibiscus, ixora and heliconia. It’s a feast for the eyes.

22. Mind, Body and Spirit

There are an ever-growing number of fitness and relaxation classes such as yoga, pilates and tai chi available in hotels and standalone centers, often offered at sites that have stunning views of the Pitons, the sea and rainforest. You can start the day with yoga at sunrise on the beach or end it at sunset.

23. Seafood Fiesta

The village of Dennery is on the east coast of Saint Lucia, and on Saturday nights, the beachside community is a hangout for locals and visitors — you’ll find street stalls serving fresh-caught seafood, cocktails and a DJ playing music. The vibe is laid-back, friendly and authentic.

24. Shop for Local Handmade Crafts

Castries is the capital of Saint Lucia and its open-air market is a great place to pick up crafts made by local artisans, spices, small trinkets and souvenirs. On market days, there are more than 300 vendors selling their goods.

25. A Host of Accommodations

Accommodations on the island cater to scuba divers and those looking to learn how to scuba dive. choice for honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic getaway. Of course the island is so gorgeous it’s the perfect choice for honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic getaway. A good deal of the credit, though, should be given to the island’s resorts and hotels. Anse Chastanet Resort, for example, has accommodations that boast three-walled rooms with plunge pools and luxurious amenities.

Saint Lucia is a beautiful tropical paradise of sun, sand and sea that is rich in culture and experiences.

St. Lucia Tourism Authority

What Are You Waiting For?

Have you been researching where to go on your next dive vacation? You’d be hard-pressed to find an island that delivers as much as Saint Lucia does. Just ask the thousands of Scuba Diving readers who voted in the magazine’s 2024 Readers Choice Awards.

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Know Before You Go

  • George F.L. Charles Airport handles regional flights and can be an option for those connecting from other Caribbean islands. The majority of international visitors fly into Hewanorra International Airport.

Know Before You Go

  • Carry a small amount of cash when you’re out and about. Most places accept credit cards, but for those that don’t you’ll need cash. Most places accept U.S. dollars, but you may receive change in the island’s local currency, the Eastern Caribbean dollar.

Know Before You Go

  • Want to explore on your own? Rental cars are available, but most are stick-shifts. Also, the steering wheel will be on the right and driving is on the left-hand side of the road.

Know Before You Go

  • Book a window seat on the left side of your plane so you can see the magnificent Pitons slowly come into view.

Know Before You Go

  • If you need a local SIM card, pre-paid mobile phone cards are available island-wide at telecommunications companies.