St. Lucia Sights

Except for a small area in the extreme northeast, one main highway circles all of St. Lucia. The road snakes along the coast, cuts across mountains, makes hairpin turns and sheer drops, and reaches dizzying heights. It takes at least four hours to drive the whole loop. Even at a leisurely pace with frequent sightseeing stops, and whether you’re driving or being driven, the curvy roads make it

a tiring drive in a single outing.

The West Coast Road between Castries and Soufrière (a 1½-hour journey) has steep hills and sharp turns, but it's well marked and incredibly scenic. South of Castries, the road tunnels through Morne Fortune, skirts the island's largest banana plantation (more than 127 varieties of bananas, called "figs" in this part of the Caribbean, grow on the island), and passes through tiny fishing villages. Just north of Soufrière the road negotiates the island's fruit basket, where most of the mangoes, breadfruit, tomatoes, limes, and oranges are grown. In the mountainous region that forms a backdrop for Soufrière, you will notice 3,118-foot Mt. Gimie (pronounced Jimmy), St. Lucia's highest peak. Approaching Soufrière, you'll have spectacular views of the Pitons; the spume of smoke wafting out of the thickly forested mountainside just east of Soufrière emanates from the so-called "drive-in" volcano.

The landscape changes dramatically between the Pitons and Vieux Fort on the island's southeastern tip. Along the South Coast Road traveling southeasterly from Soufrière, the terrain starts as steep mountainside with dense vegetation, progresses to undulating hills, and finally becomes rather flat and comparatively arid. Anyone arriving at Hewanorra International Airport, which is in Vieux Fort, and staying at a resort near Soufrière will travel along this route, a journey of about 45 minutes each way.

From Vieux Fort north to Castries, a 1½-hour drive, the East Coast Road twists through Micoud, Dennery, and other coastal villages. It then winds up, down, and around mountains, crosses Barre de l'Isle Ridge, and slices through the rain forest. Much of the scenery is breathtaking. The Atlantic Ocean pounds against rocky cliffs, and acres and acres of bananas and coconut palms blanket the hillsides. If you arrive at Hewanorra and stay at a resort in Marigot Bay, Castries, Rodney Bay, or Cap Estate, you'll travel along the East Coast Road.

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St. Lucia Sights

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Bounty Rum Distillery

  • Winery/Brewery/Distillery

St. Lucia Distillers, which produces the island's own Bounty and Chairman's Reserve rums, offers 90-minute Rhythm of Rum tours that cover...

Castries

  • Commercial District

The capital, a busy commercial city of about 65,000 people (one-third of the island's population), wraps around sheltered Castries Bay.

Castries Market

  • Market/Bazaar

Under a brilliant orange roof, this bustling market is at its liveliest on Saturday morning, when farmers bring their produce and spices...

Ft. Charlotte

  • Military Site

Begun in 1764 by the French as the Citadelle du Morne Fortune, Ft. Charlotte was completed after 20 years of battling and changing hands.

Government House

  • Museum/Gallery

The official residence of the governor-general—and one of the island's few remaining examples of Victorian architecture—is perched...

Marigot Bay

  • Marina/Pier/Dock

This is one of the prettiest natural harbors in the Caribbean. In 1778, British admiral Samuel Barrington sailed into this secluded bay-within...

Pigeon Island National Landmark

  • Historic District/Site

Jutting out from the northwest coast, Pigeon Island connects to the mainland via a causeway. Tales are told of the pirate Jambe de Bois...

Rainforest Adventures

  • Amusement Park/Water Park

Ever wish you could get a bird's-eye view of the rain forest? Or at least experience it without hiking up and down miles of mountain...

Rodney Bay

  • Marina/Pier/Dock

Hotels, popular restaurants, a huge mall, and the island's only casino surround a natural bay and an 80-acre man-made lagoon named for...

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