St. Lucia

No need to fly to Hawaii for a mountain and beach getaway. St. Lucia, well known for its twin peaks, the Pitons, offers gorgeous views and adventures at half the distance. Situated a bit north of Venezuela, the island is a member of the Lesser Antilles and has a population of about 183,000. A larger island, with an area of just under 240 square miles, it was originally founded by the French, but came under British jurisdiction in the 1800s.

Photo by Ron Kroetz

St. Lucia has unique adventure tourism befitting its topography—the island is home to a large swath of rain forest, much of which is protected. Kids, families and couples alike will delight in the zip line adventures available at Treetop Adventure Park. Situated in the rain forest, the park offers hiking, biking and combination tours, as well, to get a true rain forest experience.

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If watersports are more up your alley, head to Anse de Sables. The beautiful, palm fringed stretch of beach looks gorgeous, but isn’t ideal for reading or sun bathing, due to breezy conditions. Those winds make it a great place to windsurf, kayak or kitesurf—with pretty stellar views. Those looking for a quieter beach experience will adore Labrellotte Bay, with a calm arc of sand around the bay. Families will find Smugglers Cove on the northern tip of the island to be ideal, with beautiful beaches and cliffs for shelter. It also provides watersports and a lifeguard.

Photo by Terri Needham.

Temperatures during the winter month are only slightly cooler than the rest of the year, with highs in the mid 80s and lows dipping to 68 degrees. While it might get a bit chillier this time of year, it’s the least rainy season on the tropical island. Humidity tends to be in the upper 70 percent.

Smugglers Cove//Photo by Mike Fleming.

Where to stay: Most of the resorts are along the western part of the island, with many concentrated at Rodney Bay to the north and Soufriere Bay to the south. The capital city, Castries City, is closer to Rodney Bay and the northern part of the island, while the Pitons are located near Soufriere. The island boasts world-class accommodations. For those looking for a little rejuvenation and reinvigoration, try The Body Holiday, an all-inclusive fitness and spa resort with extensive treatments and wellness options. Ladera is situated in the middle of the Pitons, offering outrageously beautiful views of mountain peaks and the blue ocean below and is best suited for couples. Another of the island’s top accommodations is Jade Mountain, located in Soufriere. Offering views, romance, wellness and more, the 600-acre resort has something for everyone.

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Don’t miss: Shopping at Castries Central Market; walk along the beautiful stretch of beach at Anse Chastanet, which also has great snorkeling; Seafood Friday, an open seafood market, at Anse La Raye.

Flight time: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Airports: Hewanorra International Aiport; George Charles Airport
Currency: East Caribbean dollar
Language: English; Creole French
Cost: $7,627

For more information, visit St. Lucia’s tourism website

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