Of all the islands in the Caribbean, one of the most spectacular vistas is surely that of St Lucia’s volcanic ‘Pitons’ rising from the ocean. These mighty volcanic twin peaks stand in a World Heritage Site on the south-west coast of St Lucia. The larger, Gros Piton is 771m in height; Petit Piton stands at 743m high. Viewed from the land the Pitons are majestic, viewed from the ocean they are positively mesmeric.
The Caribbean is blessed with an array of beautiful low-lying islands; all with spectacular palm-fringed beaches, azure waters and beautiful sunsets that live on in the memory.
But St Lucia is dramatically different. Unlike many of the Caribbean islands, St Lucia is volcanic and mountainous. The island is encircled with a coastline of beautiful beaches; but the interior of the island remains wild and dramatic.
Running down the heart of this island is a backbone of peaks and valleys, swathed in a blanket of lush rainforest – 19,000 acres of rainforest to be exact. Like a scene from a Jurassic Park movie, it would be easy to imagine dinosaurs roaming the valleys below…
Winding roads snake around the rugged terrain, flanked by a forest of tall trees and giant ferns, which descend into deep ravines and out towards the coast.
From higher ground, there are distant sea views across the island; and the zesty greens of banana plantations are clearly visible below the forest.
Bananas are huge business in St Lucia. Up close, they can be seen hanging from their branches in protective blue bags, to ensure a pristine harvest.
The verdant Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens of St Lucia are well worth a visit. Lovingly maintained, they retain a real sense of ‘wildness’, with plants (discreetly) labelled for the visitor. The gardens also have an impressive waterfall and natural mineral baths open to the public.
A peaceful stroll along the leafy walkways reveals a vast array of giant colourful leaves and tropical flowers; which entice birds such as hummingbirds and the rather stroppy-looking bananaquit.
With its spectacular scenery, abundant wildlife and perfect beaches; St Lucia is a tropical paradise just waiting to be explored…