Saint Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, but it packs in a load of options for visiting families. We visited recently with a tween and teen and discovered exciting activities for the entire family. (Saint Lucia begins a phased reopening to visitors on 4 June 2020. Get details from the official Saint Lucia travel advisory page.)
1. Get active on the beach
Saint Lucia’s beautiful beaches are also relatively calm – perfect for swimming and watersports. We did everything from kayaking to sailing to banana boating to waterskiing and jetskiing during our stay at St James’s Club Morgan Bay. Windsurfing is popular (and challenging) and you can even spot whales.
2. Take a catamaran trip
You get an entirely different view of the island, can peer at gorgeous beachside resorts and go sightseeing at Soufrière or other stops. Staff on our catamaran excursion not only provided commentary along the way, they expertly kept up everyone’s spirits, served drinks, cocktails and snacks, and instigated some high-energy dancing.
There are several notable spots (Anse Chastenet, Anse de Pitons) but Anse Cochon, halfway between Castries and Soufrière, has some of the best snorkeling on the island as well as diving if you’re certified. We loved arriving on a boat and jumping right into the clear, shallow water. You don’t even need to dive down to see blowfish, reef fish, intricate coral, eels, and more.
4. Make your own chocolate bar and plant your own cocoa tree
Hotel Chocolat runs a hotel on the island as well as the Rabot cocoa estate. Book the Tree to Bar experience to see how chocolate goes from a pod on a tree to a morsel you eat. Along the way, we got to graft our own cocoa tree plants and – with lots of arduous work with a mortar and pestle – make our own chocolate. Yum. Eat lunch in the open air Boucan restaurant afterwards, in the shadow of the Petit Piton.
5. Go on a plantation tour
Delve into the history of the island with a tour of the Morne Coubaril plantation, on the site of an 18th-century estate. It has a recreated farm workers’ village, demonstrations and kid-friendly experiences: You get to suck on fresh cocoa beans, pet a donkey, drink coconut water and watch a man dehusk a coconut on a spike — one of our trip highlights!
6. Zipline through the jungle
Soar through the jungle or past the Pitons on a wire at a variety of locations, including the Morne Coubaril Estate. TreeTop Adventure Park has not only 12 ziplines but also a mini zipline and challenge course for kids who don’t meet the height requirement for the full-fledged wheeeeee.
7. Take a rainforest tour
In the middle of Saint Lucia lies the rainforest, the dense leafy heart of the island. Take a tour with an expert guide to discover beauty, stillness and rich flora and fauna. When the drizzle turned to a downpour on our tour, our guide used his machete to chop off giant leaves that we used as umbrellas.
8. Admire the yachts in Marigot Bay
This hurricane hole is renown for its pretty affect, its stunning yachts, and mansions on the hills. It was the setting for the 1967 film Doctor Doolittle. The beach is cute but limited. Best to visit by boat and stop off for a bite at one of the resorts dotted around the bay.
9. Zoom around a dune buggy tour
Pile into an open-air dune buggy and explore the island in a convoy, around Castries, Soufrière or Vieux Fort. This is perfect with older kids as well as anybody who loves the feel of Caribbean breezes in their hair.
10. Heat up at the “drive-in” volcano
No visit to Saint Lucia is complete without a visit to the famous Soufrière Volcano, known locally as Sulphur Springs, for obvious reasons. Walk up to the edge of the volcano or bring your suit and take a dip in the mud baths. They’re hot! After a slooooow immersion, you rub yourself with mud brought up by guides from the volcano itself.
11. Douse yourself in a waterfall
Duck under one of the several waterfalls around the island for a brisk shower and a great photo op. Diamond Waterfall is set in the Diamond Falls Botanical Garden and Toraille Falls, which we visited, have a back-pummelling 50-foot drop.
12. Eat local specialties
At Waitrose you can buy Fairtrade Saint Lucian bananas. Here, you can eat them practically off the tree, along with breadfruit, fresh fish, shellfish, fried plantain, callaloo soup, and the national dish, green figs (actually unripe bananas) and salt fish. For a refreshing poolside drink, try Piton lager or Caribbean rum. The island has French and Creole heritage, which makes for tasty results.
13. Get your hair braided
Hair braiding is something of a cottage industry here, with many resorts offering the service. Choose your bead colours, decide between having a few plaits or a headful, and let an expert go to work. My tip: Do it in the first days of your holiday to allow for fuss-free swimming, beach fun and easy rinsing every night.
14. Drink cocktails/mocktails
Many resorts like ours, St James’s Club Morgan Bay, offer all-inclusive packages. What better reason to try all the different versions of cocktail or mocktail with the kids, especially when they include fresh banana or other fruits? Think of it as part of your, er, five a day.
Explore Saint Lucia for a family holiday:
Read the Jenography review of the beautiful St James’s Club Morgan Bay in St Lucia
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