Explore Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia – Family holiday guide

Saint Lucia packs a lot into a very small space and does everything with enough enthusiasm to fill a country three times its size. The island loves to celebrate and any occasion from Mardi Gras to Christmas is an excuse for music, dancing, cooking and all-welcome partying. Saint Lucians are warm and welcoming, delighted to have children making full use of their wild and beautiful home for everything from sailing and diving to rainforest zip-lining and whale watching.


Why go on holiday to St Lucia

  • Direct flights from London to Saint Lucia all year round with flying time of just under nine hours.

  • Tropical island, close to the equator with average temperatures of 29˚C. Wettest between June and November but mainly in the mountain rainforests.

  • One of the greenest and most mountainous Caribbean islands, Saint Lucia’s ringed by white sand beaches which are all public.

  • Saint Lucia’s definitive landmarks, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, have UNESCO World Heritage status.

  • The country’s culture and customs are a mix of Caribbean, African, French and British. English and French Creole are the main languages.

  • The Festival of Light and Renewal on December 13th each year is lovely and marks the start of Saint Lucia’s colourful Christmas celebrations.

  • Sulphur Springs on the island’s south west is a natural wonder and the only volcano on earth you can drive through.



Where to go

Natural beauty and glorious weather are irresistible here but, miraculously, Saint Lucia’s very unspoiled. Rodney Bay Village is the only holiday town, and most of the island hotels are beach front and quietly luxurious or exquisite villas tucked into dense tropical gardens. Several lovely areas have family resorts with imaginative seaside clubs to keep younger kids happy and outstanding water sports, activities and wild outdoor adventure for teenagers.

Castries

The island capital is about as close to a heaving metropolis as it gets on Saint Lucia. The majority of islanders live and work in the city and it’s also the main cruise port, shopping centre and home to the all-important post office: Saint Lucia doesn’t really go in for street addresses so most people pick up the mail at their PO Box in Castries.

  • Castries morning markets are interesting and plenty lively.
  • Most of island’s businesses are based here along with restaurants, bars, cafés and stores.
  • The city’s close to quite a few family resorts and within easy reach of fabulous beaches like Vigie, Malabar and La Toc.

Rodney Bay Village

Home to most of the island’s family resort hotels, good restaurants and a very pretty marina, which prides itself on tales of past piracy, Rodney Bay Village is the holiday heart of Saint Lucia.

  • Best for kids’ activities, beaches and safe swimming in the manmade lagoon.
  • Easy going, beachy atmosphere, good for bars, music and local food.
  • Bay Walk is one of Saint Lucia’s prettiest shopping malls.

Grand Anse Beach

Flawless and particularly peaceful sands on the island’s north east coast are a favoured nesting site for Leatherback Turtles from early spring to late summer. You can arrange to camp overnight on the beach between March and August and, possibly, witness the miracle under the watchful gaze of friendly, local turtle experts.

Gros Piton

No landmarks identify Saint Lucia more clearly than the twin pitons, Gros and Petit. Sitting the island’s south west at Soufrière, they can be admired all along the coast. Or you and the kids can strap on your boots and climb the larger of the two cones. Gros Piton trail takes about 4 hours and the view from the top is worth every minute.

Pigeon Island National Park

Pigeon Island is small by comparison to most national parks and loved immediately by anyone who sets foot here. It’s utterly tranquil, green and enchanting making it hard to believe it was once military stronghold when the French and English were tussling over ownership of Saint Lucia in the 18th century. Visit the little museum and have a look at the forts and bunkers if you need proof. Alternatively you could just bring a picnic and admire the ocean or come along in May when Pigeon hosts the annual Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival.

Soufrière

The south coast town of Soufrière is where you’ll find the start of the Gros Piton trail. It’s sleepy and quaint, completely dwarfed by extravagant natural grandeur but interesting to explore for the 18th century French plantations and associations with Joséphine de Beauharnais, future first Empress of France, who lived here as a child.


What to do

  • Saint Lucia Zip-Lining, Soufrière
    If the history of 18th century plantations leaves kids cold, they can harness up and zip-line around Morne Coubaril Estate’s lush treetops instead.
  • Sulphur Springs
    The world’s only drive-through volcano might be an oversell, but this is the most active geothermal area in this part of the Caribbean and the guided tour is well done.
  • Tet Paul Nature Trail, Soufrière
    Guided tour of the Tet Paul area in south west Saint Lucia, very friendly and full fascinating local insights and glimpses of everyday island life.
  • Tree to Bar Chocolate Experpience, Rabot Estate
    From the cocoa nurseries to the delicious end result this is a unique and hands-on day out with the master producers of the Saint Lucia’s sweetest export.
  • Rainforest Adventure, Rodney Bay
    Soaring over the sensational rainforest canopy in an eight-seater gondola lift is one of the most unforgettable island experiences.
  • Rainforest Mountain Biking
    Perfect family day out with friendly guides, great bikes and a huge waterfall to reward you at the end of a rugged, rainforest cycle.
  • Snuba Marine Adventures
    A cross between snorkelling and scuba diving (SNUBA), no experience necessary and all under very safe, expert supervision.
  • Sea Trek Helmet Diving
    Yet another fantastic underwater adventure that doesn’t need a single lesson and reaps marine rewards.
  • Endless Summer Day Cruise, Rodney Bay
    An idyllic cruise to the island’s loveliest locations and a chance to see Saint Lucia from a completely different perspective.
  • Diamond Falls Mineral Baths, Soufrière Estate
    Tropical botanical gardens and soothing mineral pools for family swims, this is highly recommended as an antidote to some of the more vigorous Saint Lucia activities.


Educational value for kids

  • Saint Lucia has several well-designed heritage parks where kids can see traditional industries and learn about island life and history.
  • The little museum on Pigeon Island tells all about Saint Lucia’s warring past.
  • Rodney Bay Marina is built on a famous pirate cove and has plenty of tales.
  • Water sports and diving lessons are a speciality on this friendly, beachy island.
  • Underwater exploration, rainforest tours and even plantation zip-lining are nature lessons..
  • Visit for carnival and kids can see where Notting Hill came from originally.
  • The sheltered waters round Antigua are ideal for diving lessons and the island has several excellent schools.
  • Spend the day at the English Harbour and put the British element of Antigua into context for kids.
  • Dickenson Bay is water sport heaven and almost everything’s taught by well-qualified local instructors.

 

Getting about with kids in St Lucia

Small island and filled with things to see and do, so hiring a car is a good idea – at least for some of your holiday. Bus services around the island and in Castries are excellent and taxis are best in the evening. Water taxis run right round the coast and to most resorts from Castries Harbour.



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