Ever heard of Saint Lucia? It’s likely you haven’t. Saint Lucia is a small island in the Caribbean which has not been discovered by mass tourism yet. Worth planning your trip there before the crowds arrive.
This charming island (roughly the size of Singapore) has been seen as a prize of both the French and the British. Therefore Saint Lucia swapped ownership a dozen times between 1660 and 1814. Afterwards it were the British who prevailed. Therefore English is the main language still, but French (more likely Creole French) is still widely in use.
Saint Lucia gained full independence in 1979, but is still a member of the Commonwealth.
It is interesting to know that it is the only country to be named after a historic person, namely Saint Lucy of Syracuse, a martyr who lived in second century AD in Ancient Rome. What does she have to do with a Caribbean island? Well, the first French sailors got shipwrecked here on December 13, which is a feast day of Saint Lucy. Thanking for saving their lives, they named the island after her.
It is one of the more mountainous islands of the Caribbean with active volcanos (which are worth visiting by the way). The islands most famous landmark is a double peaked mountain called “Les Pitons”. You will see its reproductions everywhere, especially on local beers. 😉
Saint Lucia is known for its warm scenic beaches some of which are covered in black volcanic sand. The island’s pleasant climate, with temperatures averaging at 27 °C all year, make the beaches and the water all the more alluring and irresistible. Along with the good weather and the crystal clear water the island is inviting to many water adventures, from snorkelling to jet skiing to parasailing.
One of the tourist attractions we visited in Saint Lucia were the botanical gardens. They are located next to the town of Sufriere on the West coast of the island. The gardens were a paradise for nature lovers and I must admit, it was the place on the island we loved most. In the middle of the garden there is a huge waterfall which adds to the charm of the place. Don’t drink too much water though, cause its a mildly sulphured waterfall. 😉
We were not the only ones who seemed to be enchanted by the tropical garden. The creators of Superman 2 filmed paradise here, as you can see from this short clip of the film.
You might be surprised to discover, but the gardens are quite old. Baron de Laborie, a French Governor of St. Lucia in the 18th century, built the gardens as sulphur baths in 1785, using funds sanctioned by King Louis XVI of France. Troops and invalids used the baths for medicinal purposes, comparing the waters to those found at Aix-la Chapelle.
Saint Lucia offers also the only drive-in volcano in the world. Up until the mid-1990s, tourists were able to walk right up to the end of the tar-coloured pits. However, following an accident where a local tour guide named Gabriel fell through the crust into a pit and received second degree burns around his waist, the formation of what is now known as Gabriel’s Hole has been restricted to viewing from a platform a few meters away.
In our opinion
We must admit we really liked the island. It was lush green and offered scenic views. We were really unlucky that we visited it on a rainy day and have heard from the locals that this is quite rare. But as it was our honeymoon, the rainy weather did not bother us at all 😉
In Superman 2, Saint Lucia is considered a paradise destination. Surprisingly, much of the scenery for the film Dr. Dolittle was shot in Saint Lucia in 1967.
Where is it?
Bibliography & further read
If you want to know more about Saint Lucia’s volcano, it has a seperate site.