As soon as I step off the plane at the Saint Lucia airport, a wave of warm, tropical air engulfs me. I sigh, relieved to have left behind the frigid winter temperatures of my hometown and ready to relax and rejuvenate on this island known for its lush natural beauty and health-focused offerings.
Wellness, it seems, is integrated into every aspect of the Saint Lucia experience, from its light, yet flavourful cuisine and world-class spas to its array of outdoor adventure opportunities—like snorkelling its vibrant coral reefs, climbing the infamous Pitons (the island’s two distinctive, volcanic spires) and exploring the National Rain Forest.
Wanting to see the rainforest from an unconventional angle, I opt for an aerial tram ride and ziplining excursion with Rainforest Adventures and feel like a bird as I glide through the trees from one scenic platform to the next, taking in the flora and fauna below.
“Wellness, it seems, is integrated into every aspect of the Saint Lucia experience.”
Exhilarated, I balance that adrenaline rush with a soak in the mineral mud baths at Sulphur Springs in Soufrière Volcano. People from all over the world come here to bathe in the muddy water, which is said to detoxify the body and soothe aching joints. Like everyone else, I slather myself with slimy gray mud, then rinse off beneath the warm waterfalls. It’s invigorating—and just one of many therapeutic experiences available on the island.
Inspired by the natural bounty and healing plants of Saint Lucia, most of the resorts here offer spa treatments that incorporate locally harvested ingredients (from bananas and coconut to aloe vera and cocoa beans). At Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort set on the lower slopes of the Petit Piton mountain, I settle into a cabana perched in the trees and close my eyes while my therapist envelops me in local, fragrant herbs before a firm massage that incorporates bamboo—the island’s national plant.
Days later, when it’s time to go home, I am ready to face the colder climes, feeling healthier and more energized than when I arrived.
Local tip: “The hike up Gros Piton is a soul-enriching challenge. The views from the top are incredible, and there’s a tremendous sense of achievement when you’ve climbed it.” —Bodina Quereshi, spa manager at Sugar Beach
Getting there: WestJet flies to Saint Lucia twice a week from Toronto.