St. Lucia: Hiking the Pitons, a Champagne zipline and volcanic mud baths await

Travel

December 29, 2023



Travel to St. Lucia for a tropical island vacation that’s big on nature’s beauty. For more Caribbean travel ideas, browse our vacation guide.

by Michelle Boudin

St. Lucia is an island steeped in romanticism that honeymooners have been drawn to for decades. But even its history has a storybook flair: Locals say St. Lucia was colonized in the 1500s by a pirate named François Le Clerc, nicknamed “Jambe de Bois” because of his wooden leg. Over the years, the French, English and Dutch have all fought for control of this beautiful island that is just 27 miles long. Since 1979, St. Lucia has been an independent member of the British Commonwealth, but it is still very much a cultural melting pot with competing influences that only add to its allure.

The Pitons on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia

The island’s mantra is “let her inspire you,” and it’s easy to see why. From the Pitons — the twin volcanic spires that call to adventure seekers — to the lush jungles and beautiful beaches, there is much to be inspired by in St. Lucia. Whether you’re looking to unplug and unwind or prefer an active vacation, there is plenty to explore on this gorgeous Caribbean island.

EAT

Rock Maison at Cap Maison Resort and Spa offers one of the most memorable waterfront sunset dining experiences anywhere. Champagne is delivered via zipline in a wicker basket to the cliffside deck built exclusively for private dining. The candlelit table overlooking the Caribbean Sea is large enough for a small group or family gathering, and equally perfect for a romantic dinner for two. 

photographs courtesy Cap Maison Resort and Spa.

To get to The Naked Fisherman Restaurant and Beach Bar you must pass through a secret door and down a few dozen steps. If the name alone doesn’t intrigue you, the setting and the food will. You know you’ve arrived when your feet hit the sand. Perfect for lunch, this beachfront café offers fresh fish, fun cocktails and an easy vibe with seating that ranges from beach loungers to tables overlooking the ocean just steps away. 

For top-notch local fare, head to Orlando’s Restaurant and Bar in Soufrière. Acclaimed chef and owner Orlando Satchell cooks up a true Caribbean dining experience with a prix-fixe menu of small plates made from fresh local ingredients in a cozy setting. Foodies will salivate over the taste and presentation of each dish, and everyone enjoys the personal touch of Chef Orlando, who makes a point to spend time getting to know each guest.

PLAY

Hiking the Pitons, the twin peaks that inspired the country’s beer of choice, has become so popular the St. Lucia Tourism Authority recently launched a new experience: the Three Peaks Challenge. The goal is to climb the Pitons (Gros is taller and easier; Petit is smaller but more challenging) and Mount Gimie, the island’s highest peak, during a single visit to the island. Be warned: This challenge is for experienced hikers only. If the challenge seems too daunting, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the Pitons, including the Tet Paul Nature Trail, where you’ll find lots of perfect Instagram opportunities along a 45-minute guided hike.

For a slightly less taxing adventure, you can ride ATVs through the countryside, zipline through the jungle, or go snorkeling in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea. If relaxation is on your list, plan to soak in the volcanic mud baths at Sulphur Springs (and later wash off in the nearby waterfalls), take a tour of a working cocoa farm at Hotel Chocolat (and make your own chocolate bar), or golf at the newly opened Cabot Saint Lucia, a Coore & Crenshaw-designed course with stunning ocean views. “It could be one of the most beautiful golf courses on Earth,” Golf Digest proclaims. If you’re looking for nightlife, head to Rodney Bay for some club hopping.

STAY

Cap Maison Resort and Spa (home to Rock Maison and The Naked Fisherman) is a charming boutique hotel set on and around a private stretch of beach called Smugglers Cove. Recently chosen as one of Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 20 Caribbean resorts and named a Relais & Chateaux property, Cap Maison is a collection of suites and villas with two pools, including a centerpiece overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The resort features a variety of accommodations, most with a terrace and a balcony, some with private pools, and the option for ocean, courtyard or garden views. Be sure to check out the Walk In Wine Cellar for tastings or a private dinner.

photographs Courtesy Tet Rouge

For a more budget-friendly stay, Tet Rouge on the southern part of the island is near the Pitons and the volcanic baths of Soufriere and offers modest one-bedroom lofts (with kitchens) that are literally steps from the resort’s pool and swim-up bar. The six-suite resort is also set to debut three luxury villas in early 2024. Each villa will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, a full kitchen, a private pool, and decks overlooking the Caribbean. Guests can enjoy the resort’s newly opened restaurant, Soley Kouche (which means “sunset” in Creole). The Mediterranean-inspired menu borrows concepts from St. Tropez, Miami and Sicily with an emphasis on local seafood, fruits and vegetables and will eventually feature a chocolate lab. Make sure to take advantage of the spa services, including an oatmeal scrub and banana leaf wrap under the St. Lucia sun on your own front porch.

GETTING THERE: St. Lucia is a 4-hour, 23-minute nonstop flight from Charlotte.

Want more Caribbean travel ideas? Visit our guide.

Featured image: Cap Maison Beach. Photographs courtesy Cap Maison Resort and Spa; Saint Lucia Tourism Authority

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