Peter Greenberg is the
winning travel editor
for CBS News and host
of The Travel Detective
on public television
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I HAVE always looked at St. Lucia as being somewhat blessed. Yes, it has turquoise waters, white
sand beaches and year-round, nearly perfect
temperatures, but there’s more. This island,
which was unaffected by the recent hurricanes,
offers a distinct culture influenced by its
African, French and English heritage.
First, there are the pampering options. St.
Lucia has everything, from all-inclusive properties to villas, boutique properties and luxury
resorts, with a mixture of family-friendly or
You can be one with nature—and luxury—at
Ladera Resort, an eco-lodge that eliminated a
wall in each suite to make the view of the Pitons
and the Caribbean Sea part of the room. The luxurious Jade Mountain resort also offers panoramic views of the Pitons, and is designed to
capture the beauty of its natural surroundings.
And nestled on the beach in Cap Estate on the
northern end of the island, the adults-only,
all-inclusive Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia
resort is ideal for a romantic getaway in an idyllic
If you can tear yourself away from your resort,
begin early on a weekday morning and go to the
public market in Castries, the island’s capital.
Browsing the market, you’ll find ;; varieties of
mangoes and a parade of local spices, including
fresh nutmeg. Then head to Sylvia’s Place, a
long-standing, family-run food stall. Don’t leave
without trying their curry soup and the fried fish.
The fruit juices are fresh.
My other hidden gem is The Coal Pot, a tiny
restaurant on the water, overlooking Vigie Cove.
Try the local specialty, callaloo soup, a traditional
dish made with local root plants and leaves, or
fresh seafood. But whatever you do, make sure
you order the fish served with one of the restaurant’s specialty sauces.
While English is St. Lucia’s official language,
St. Lucia is a unique pleasure
Creole, a form of French patois, is more influen-
tial. Creole culture is also dominant in the music
of the island. I’m a fan of the St. Lucia Jazz
Festival in the spring, the arts and heritage festi-
val in October and reggae any time of year.
And here’s a surprise: Country-and-western
music lovers will feel right at home. The islanders
developed a continuing affinity for C&W from
the presence of a U.S. Air Force base in the ;;;;s.
The place to be on a Friday night is the Gros
Islet street party, a ;;-year-old tradition. Street
vendors fire up barbecue grills, and a giant
sound system cranks up at the town center. It’s
located at the northern tip of the island, so make
a deal with your cab driver to pick you up for the
return drive later. And I mean later. While the
party starts around ; p.m., it really gets going
St. Lucia has worked hard to protect and
preserve the island’s colorful reefs and their
bounty of marine life by offering responsible
snorkeling and scuba diving. An easy way to
explore that underwater beauty is a shore dive
from Anse Chastanet, a ;;-room hotel that has
its own dive center.
And then there’s something called the “coral
spawn,” which usually occurs within a week of a
full moon in August. It’s what happens when
entire colonies of coral reefs take their cues from
the lunar cycle and the water temperature to
release their tiny eggs into the ocean.
If your timing is right, you will be rewarded
with a dazzling underwater blizzard.
A friend once described it as “like
watching pink Champagne being
poured into a giant glass, releasing
millions of bubbles.”
Other thrills await way above
the waterline. The twin peaks of the
Pitons dominate St. Lucia’s signa-
ture natural skyline. The huge cone-
shaped lava spikes rise abruptly from
the depths of the Caribbean Sea along
St. Lucia’s western coast and are part
of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Your hiking reward: tropical
bird sightings, gorgeous views of the
Caribbean and a sweeping vista of the
;;-mile-long, ;;-mile-wide island. C
O W Lovely Lucia
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Stunning views of the Pitons,
as well as the Caribbean Sea,
at Ladera Resort. Below: Jade