Tuesday, February 5, 2013

St. Lucia -- An Beautiful Beach Vacation Destination

Creative Commons photo: S. Luke

If you're starting to feel the winter blahs, it might be time to plan a trip to a private vacation rental on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. It's a bit different from the other islands due its varied landscapes. It's a volcanic island, so you'll see mountains draped in lush rain-forest jungles, black sand and white sand beaches, cocoa and banana plantations, luxurious marinas filled with million-dollar yachts and rustic Creole villages.

Beaches. Of course, St. Lucia offers miles of beautiful beaches perfect for swimming, sun bathing, parasailing, horseback riding, sandcastle building and any other fun-in-the-sun activity you desire. Reduit beach offers five miles of sand perfect for strolling. Jalousie beach is set between Gros and Petit Piton volcanic peaks. Snorkelers and scuba divers flock to Jalousie for the 1,800 foot drop off at the base of the peaks. Anse Chastanet also attracts divers with its sharp drop offs and coral reefs. Pigeon Island, on the north end of the island, is quiet and uncrowded. Grand Anse is set against cliffs.

This lovely 1-bedroom St. Lucia condo with a view can be
yours for as little as $105/night.
Explore the Rainforest. St. Lucia's rainforest covers 1,250 acres, including the Castries Waterworks Reserve.  You can hike along the trail and experience its natural beauty up close, soar above the canopy and enjoy a breathtaking view on gondola rides, or enjoy the thrill of zip line rides from platform to platform.

Diamond Falls -- Botanical Gardens & Mineral Baths. Diamond Falls is a confluence of tropical foliage, gorgeous blooms, and forest birds. Set on the site of a former cocoa plantation along a river ravine, a multitude of gardens display a variety of distinctive themes. Within this natural beauty are the Diamond Mineral Baths, steaming, relaxing pools of soothingly warm waters.

Turtle Watching. There are a variety of opportunities to watch these legendary sea reptiles in their natural environment without disturbing them. The beach of Grand Anse is an important nesting site for the continued success of these leatherbacks. Try an overnight stay in tents along the beach. You'll help patrol the beach to look for turtles. And if the season's right, you may even witness tiny hatchlings making their way to the sea for the first time.

Shopping. Once you've explored the beach and the rain forest, you'll want to spend some time shopping. You'll find plenty of great choices in Castries, along William Peter Boulevard and Bridge Street.  You can find duty-free prices at many of the stores.

Restaurants and Nightlife. Take in dinner at one of St. Lucia's many fine restaurants, then enjoy Friday night "jump ups," weekly street parties where islanders have fun. You'll also find lots of reggae and other island music, as well bars and clubs for good times throughout your stay.

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