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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Saint Lucia journey information: the vivid jewel within the Caribbean crown

Final 12 months my spouse and I drove out of the Blackwall Tunnel in east London – certainly one of many least salubrious tunnels on the planet – and had been greeted by a huge poster engaging us to go to Saint Lucia.

Beneath a stunning image of the Pitons – two extraordinary, Unesco-listed volcanic peaks that burst out of the Caribbean Sea throughout a volcanic eruption tens of millions of years in the past – the caption learn: “She is ready for you.”

We had, in actual fact, booked a visit to Saint Lucia greater than two years in the past however couldn’t journey due to the pandemic, so had been glad to be taught that she was nonetheless ready for us. And she or he was definitely definitely worth the wait.

Saint Lucia is the rock star of the Caribbean, dripping with charisma, character and appeal. Wealthy in historical past, the island provides a lot greater than the stereotypical West Indian points of interest of solar, sea and sand. 

After a shutdown that devastated tourism – far and away an important business on the island – Saint Lucia could be very a lot on prime of Covid. After displaying our vaccination certificates and well being screening type on arrival, we had been introduced with a white wristband to put on throughout our keep. It featured the inscription: “St Lucia: Let her encourage you.”

Surrounded by nature

As we drove out of the airport, what grabbed us instantly was the sheer vibrancy of the colors. Wherever we went on the island, we had been continuously assailed by a stunning array of vivid hues, from the eye-catching purple bougainvillea tumbling down the partitions to the flamboyant pink of the felicitously named Flames of the Forest timber by the roadside.

The colors of the rainforest, which covers 8,000 hectares of Saint Lucia, are equally compelling. Who knew there have been so many alternative shades of inexperienced? The jungle has an elemental, Jurassic Park vibe. When an enormous fern rustled in entrance of us, it wasn’t onerous to think about {that a} T. rex was about to return charging out of the foliage.

The rainforest can also be astonishingly fecund. Locals say that even should you had no cash, you’d by no means starve on Saint Lucia since you may feast on the fruits within the rainforest. There are, for instance, greater than 50 species of mango on the island.

Hand holding mango on a tree

The place to remain

We stayed in two resorts on Saint Lucia. Jade Mountain, on the southeast coast, is an absolute showstopper. Hand-built into the face of a vertiginous mountain and formed like an ocean-going liner, it appears like one thing out of a James Bond film. It’s a assertion edifice merely oozing drama, a really visionary murals. 

However, should you can consider it, the outside of the 29-room lodge shouldn’t be even Jade Mountain’s most memorable characteristic. We had been met at reception by our private butler – howdy to the marvellous Davidson! – who led us to our room throughout our personal particular person bridge. 

Jade Mountain hotel

He paused on the door – drum roll, please – earlier than flinging it open to disclose a lodge room fairly not like something I had ever seen in 30 years of journey writing. There was no fourth wall, leaving the room fully open to the weather and hitting us with a shocking widescreen view of the aforementioned Pitons. The Blackwall Tunnel it isn’t.

Oh, and I virtually forgot to say, the room additionally featured its personal five-foot-deep infinity pool, the place we may swim (quick) lengths. 

The design of Jade Mountain, a part of a 240-hectare property, is an entire triumph. The “wow issue” is an overused phrase in journey writing, however I defy anybody to not make use of it after they behold this room. If this doesn’t knock your socks off, nothing will.

And should you’re questioning how we managed to keep away from getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, that is the actually intelligent half. The rooms at Jade Mountain solely use yellow lights, which don’t appeal to infernal nocturnal biters. So the one factor prone to preserve you awake at evening is the mild lapping of your pool. 

Jade Mountain hotel room

We had been additionally company at East Winds, a really nice old-world lodge north of the capital Castries. Comprising 30 pretty spearmint-coloured cottages scattered round a stunning backyard, this was a really tranquil place to remain, a world away from the “24-hour occasion folks” environment of larger resorts.

Outdoors every cottage was a feeder full of honey that attracted pleasant purple- and green-throated hummingbirds. And when our legs drained from wandering across the fairly gardens, we made use of the inviting hammocks strategically dotted across the property.

What to do

Rainforest Sky Rides is an unforgettable 800-metre cable automotive journey up via the cover of the jungle. Travelling 140 metres above the bottom and escorted by a really educated information, we ascended to 1,400 metres above sea stage the place we had been handled to a spectacular view of the west coast of the island.

En route, we took in all the things from huge 150-year-old coconut timber to the kind of vines Tarzan used to swing via the jungle on. They’re known as, er, Tarzan vines. 

Stunning view of the Pitons (Petit Piton & Gros Piton) from an elevated viewpoint with the rainforest and bay of Soufrière in the foreground

And Saint Lucia is bursting with as a lot tradition as wildlife. It boasts all the things from the 45-hectare Sulphur Springs Park (the one drive-in volcano within the Caribbean), to Fort Rodney, a dramatic, ruined, hilltop British fortification located within the Pigeon Island Nationwide Park.

In-built 1780, Fort Rodney has witnessed the turbulent imperial historical past of the island. Over 150 years, St Lucia was colonised 14 instances – seven instances by the French and 7 by the British, who occurred to carry dominion when the music stopped.

Verdict

In case you’re in search of a dreamy vacation to offer you a most fine addition after the doom and gloom of the pandemic, then Saint Lucia is the place for you.

Sure, the island has extra golden sands than you may shake a Tarzan vine at. However there’s a lot to do past the seashore. 

Nightly charges at Jade Mountain begin from £875 in a Sky Sanctuary based mostly on double occupancy. Nightly charges at East Winds begin from £239 per room per evening on an all-inclusive foundation. Additional data may be discovered at stlucia.org.

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