ST Lucia, Caribbean

 St. Lucia island in the Caribbean possesses a wealth of natural beauty—lush mountains, a steaming sulfur volcano, 19,000 acres of rain forest, charming black- and white-sand beaches, rare colorful foliage and exotic wildlife. Add to this mix the pleasant St. Lucia weather and the nice beaches, and you understand why it is a popular Caribbean destination.

There's plenty to do on this small island, take advantage of it. The rain forest is an ideal place for hiking, mountain biking, bird-watching or standing near a waterfall to soak up the mist from its spray. There's also whale- and dolphin-watching, snorkeling, kite-sailing, fishing and diving. 

Enjoy its charm and undeveloped feel, still found in some places, or to luxuriate in five-star waterfront luxury. Whether visitors stay in a deluxe, all-inclusive resort or a local inn or hotel, St. Lucia and its residents extend a warm welcome.

St. Lucia is stunning when seen from the water, so even cruise ship passengers who arrive by sea may want to take a boat trip to glimpse the Pitons plunging straight into the bay, or visit one of the picturesque coves that cut deeply into the west coast.

Land tours with the best sightseeing opportunities include the Soufriere area.  It features striking views of the Pitons. The surrounding countryside is astonishingly diverse and includes the island's highest peak, 3,118-ft Mount Gimie, Diamond Botanical Gardens and the bubbling sulfur springs of the drive-in volcano.

North of Castries, Rodney Bay is a tourist haven with restaurants, bars and Reduit Beach, which draws a lively crowd of watersports fans. A short drive to the north brings visitors to Pigeon Point National Park, location of 18th-century Fort Rodney. South of Castries lies Marigot Bay, a major yacht harbor and one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.

Nature lovers will want to visit the less developed east coast, which is battered by the wild Atlantic and serves as a habitat for a vast variety of plants and birds. Mamiku Gardens is a shady refuge filled with birds, orchids and medicinal herbs, and the Barre de L'Isle Forest Reserve offers a hiking trail with panoramic views.

3 Things You MUST See:

1. The mineral baths at Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens  

2. Black-sand beaches on the south end of the island 

3. The endangered parrot 

3 Things You MUST DO:

1. Dive and Snorkel in one of the best areas in the Caribbean

2. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the twin mountains: Gros Piton and Petit Piton

3. Visit one Botanical garden

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St Lucia, Caribbean