One of the first things visitors notice when they arrive on Saint Lucia are its two massive volcanic spires, known as Gros Piton and Petit Piton. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their rare and fascinating flora, the pitons aren’t the only attractions on this eastern Caribbean island. It also boasts lush rain forest, buzzworthy beaches, the world’s only drive-in volcano (Soufriere Volcano) and plenty of local charm.
Admire some art
The late Sir Dunstan St. Omer was a beloved local artist whose distinctive style is worth checking out. His murals can be found in many of the island’s churches, including the Church of the Holy Family in Jacmel (a half-hour from Castries City), where you can see his ultra-bold Holy Family Mural behind the altar. Fun fact: St. Omer also designed Saint Lucia’s national flag.
Go ziplining at night
Head to Babonneau, 20 minutes northwest of Castries City, to get the heart pumping and to experience the beauty of the island’s rainforest in the moonlight. Rainforest Adventures’ Adrena-Line LUNA tour is a nighttime ziplining trek where you’ll get to speed through the course’s 18 platforms, swing from a Tarzan vine and rappel into base camp like Indiana Jones.
Lime with the locals
While the Anse La Raye and Gros Islet fish fries are closer to the island’s main resorts, if you want to “lime” (or hang out) with locals, make tracks to the Dennery Fish Fiesta in the east coast fishing village of Dennery. This free and friendly community party is held every Saturday night, with local chefs selling hearty plates of grilled, steamed or fried snapper, shrimp, crayfish or lobster.
Visit a quiet beach
Located behind Gros Piton, laid-back Anse L’Ivrogne beach features plenty of black sand (due to the island’s volcanic history) and provides a quiet escape from some of the better-known beaches. Here, you can soak up the sun in a relaxed atmosphere and go snorkelling to see a colourful underwater world that includes trumpetfish, triggerfish and trunkfish.
Eat banana ketchup
Originally created in the Philippines in the 1950s, this sweet and spicy condiment was adopted by Saint Lucia in the 1980s thanks to the sweet and plentiful variety of bananas that grow here. Eaten everywhere and easily found in souvenir shops across the island, this memorable ketchup should be tasted on top of grilled meat, chicken or fish.
Five Places to Explore in Puerto Plata
The 16th-century city of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic is the perfect spot for travellers looking for a bit more than lounging on the beach. Get a bird's eye view of the city from the top of Mount Isabel de Torres, explore a historic fort at Fortaleza San Felipe and visit the many historical monuments in Puerto Plata's colourful downtown.