Founded in 1703 by Peter the great, its name has changed three times: Petrograd (1914) Leningrad (1924) and then back to St Petersburg (1991). Many of the grand classical and baroque buildings, palaces and churches have been beautifully restored; the city reminded me of both Vienna and Venice - two...
Saint Lucia is a beautiful island with dense tropical vegetation and stunning beaches on the west coast. Much of her beauty lies on and around the twin volcanic peaks, Pitons, rising 795 meters straight out of the sea on the southwest coast. There are many banana plantations towards the east coast. The Jalousie Plantation Resort (now the Sugar Beach –see below) is built in a superb position between the Pitons. It is one of the most beautiful locations on the island.
Getting There – Accommodation – Dining Out
There are several direct flights to St Lucia each week flying from London. For an unforgettable arrival experience, a scenic helicopter transfer can be arranged on arrival. (30 minute helicopter scenic island tours at other times are also available).
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort occupies the most stunning location on the island, if not the most breathtaking location in the Caribbean. The resort was once an 18th century sugar mill estate and is set above a beautiful bay between the Piton Mountains. Ladera with its unique open walled suites is popular with honeymooners or romantics, with its breathtaking views of the Pitons and ocean (many clients combine this resort with a beach hotel). The smaller more intimate and efficiently run East Winds Inn on the north west coast has only 30 rooms and offers a very personal all inclusive experience and is noted for its outstanding cuisine and friendly hospitality. The BodyHoliday, situated on the north west coast, as the name suggests is for those wishing to energise, soothe and revitalise their body and soul! They also offer complimentary more energetic water sports and outdoor activities. The island has many more delightful properties to choose from, contact me for further details.
There is plenty of choice for dining out. Dasheene at Ladera is popular with its wonderful cuisine and stunning location. Another favourite is The Charthouse and Buzz in Rodney Bay for excellent steak and seafood. Others include The Cliff at Cap Maison (beautiful location at Gros Islet) and the stylish TAO at The BodyHoliday.
The capital Castries, rebuilt after a major fire in 1948, was named after a French naval minister. Marechal De Castries who helped the island’s economic development in the 18th century. Much of the rebuilding has been done in concrete. On Peynier Street, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception contains murals by local artist Dunstan St Omer. The main square (named after local writer Derek Walcott) contains the few 19th century buildings that escaped the fire. The best view of the town is from Fort Charlotte on Morne Fortune, ‘Hill of Luck’, 3 miles south of Castries, now used as a college. At the port is an air conditioned duty free complex named Pointe Seraphine.
Places to Visit
In the north there is a 1000 berth marina in Rodney Bay, formerly a US naval base for protecting the Panama Canal, and close by is Reduit Beach. Also nearby is Gros Islet a small fishing village. Connected to the mainland via a causeway is the Pigeon Island National Park with its many foot paths and beautiful beaches, The ruins here are of Fort Rodney, commemorating Admiral Rodney’s defeat of the French in the Battle of the Saints in 1782 near Guadeloupe. The northeast point is Pointe Du Cad.
Rodney Bay Village has great nightlife with its array of restaurants, bars, shopping malls and casino.
Eight miles south of Castries and Port Charlotte is spectacular Marigot Bay, passing Banana plantations en route (the 1966 movie Dr Doolittle was shot here). After many hairpin bends you come to Anse La Raye village (15 minute walk to waterfalls). Five miles further south you reach Soufriere with its old wooden buildings and fishing boats, with the peaks of Petit Piton (736m) and Gros Piton (795m) creating a magnificent back drop. Close to Soufriere is a marine park offering excellent snorkeling. South of Soufriere is the Sulphur Springs, the only ‘drive in’ volcano in the Caribbean. West of Soufriere is the Diamond Botanical Gardens presented to the plantation owners Devaux by Louis XVI. The Soufriere estate is still owned by the Devaux family; its restored water mill was used for producing electricity and crushing sugar cane. There are organised walks into the many rainforests in the ‘green heart’ of the island.
Other Activities on the Island
There is an array of activities available on the island – zip-wiring through the rainforest, mountain biking, whale, dolphin, turtle and bird-watching, jeep safari tours, snorkeling, scuba-diving, horse-riding and many more.
A popular attraction on the island is Our Planet, an eco technological centre look at this link for more details: http://www.ourplanetcentre.org/#!about-us
Culture and History
St Lucia, situated between Martinique in the North and St Vincent in the South, lies in an important strategic position. The Caribs successfully defended their island for years, the French arrived in 1650 and for many years the island changed hands between the French and British, becoming British for good in 1814. In 1979 independence was granted, while remaining with the British Commonwealth. The island still has French cultural influences, and although English is the official language, a melodic Creole patois, a mixture of French and English, is the mother tongue; 80% of islanders are Roman Catholic.
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
Photo: Piton near the Jalousie Plantation (SG) 95
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