Soooo diving and the Caribbean go hand-in-hand, but nothing has quite touched me like the beauty of the underwater world in St. Lucia! I had the opportunity to visit the destination last fall during their annual Dive Fest…
St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, and its a convenient, 4-hour, direct flight from New York. Being sequestered in quarantine has me thinking back to this amazing experience diving and exploring the island, and of course, I’m dying to go back!
The government of Saint Lucia announced earlier this week, reopening the island’s tourism sector in a “responsible manner”, beginning June 4th. You might be surprised by this early opening for tourists, but know that if you decide to plan a visit this summer, there will be advanced testing; daily screening; monitoring of staff and visitors; sanitization at various points throughout the travelers’ journey; and social distancing protocols in place. Whoa!
For accommodations on island, around 1,500 hotel rooms in Saint Lucia are being prepared to open in early June, pending completion of a new COVID-19 certification process.
If St. Lucia is on your bucket list for now or for a future travel date, be prepared to be blown away by the signature Piton Mountains (a UNESCO World Heritage Site); views of the tropical rainforest; dipping in the mud baths at Sulphur Springs Park; and experiencing a drive around one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes.
Here are my top 3 favorite experiences in St. Lucia:
#1. An underwater wedding
It was a privilege to be a part of a scuba dive-wedding that almost felt like I was crashing! I admit I have crashed a wedding or two in my life, but never underwater! Okay, since I was press visiting the island, it was expected that I be there, but it WAS my first time meeting Julie and Sean, the couple who decided to get married underwater at St. Lucia’s Windjammer Landing. This was St. Lucia’s first underwater wedding, so essentially, I was a part of history-making!
#2. The food, though!
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to try the local food. In the hills of St. Lucia (Located in Nolbert on the northern side of the island in Gros Islet), a woman named Magdalene sells creole bread for only $1. What is amazing about this experience is seeing how she bakes the bread inside an oil drum with margarine and baking powder, without the use of yeast!
Another top place to eat on the island was the Marigot Beach Club and Dive Resort. There, we ate at Doolittles Restaurant and Bar, and they are known for their oxtail stew and Jerk chicken wrap. For a great party, I recommend Friday night at Anse La Raye. The local fish fry has some popular places: Rhumbas (try the lobster) and sit back and chill with the afrobeats and Caribbean music by live DJ.
#3. Mud bath
St. Lucia has a volcano that they call “The Volcano”-easy! where locals have gone for generations with their families. Grandmothers have told their kids of the rash-preventing qualities of the mud baths. The first step is rubbing brown mud full of iron all over your body, and then dipping in the bath. The second step is rubbing down with the white mud which is full of calcium and sulfates and repeating the bath rinse. I felt so refreshed and detoxed!
Be sure to put St. Lucia down on your bucket list if you like adventure and wellness!