The Natural Beauty of St. Lucia
St. Lucia is an island in the Caribbean. Tourism is one of the main sources of income for many of the island residents. This little Caribbean gem is still relatively unknown to many throughout the world, but it is not likely to stay that way for long. The island is really a dream come true for many and one of the main reasons for this is all of the natural beauty that is found throughout the island.
St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands that is about midway down the Caribbean chain. It is located between St. Vincent and Martinique and is just north of Barbados. The island of St. Lucian is just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. The shape of the island resembles an avocado or a mango. The eastern shore lies near the Atlantic Ocean and the beaches on the west coast of the island are on the calm Caribbean Sea.
When it comes to its natural beauty it seems that St. Lucia was picked up from the South Pacific and then set in the Caribbean sea. The Pitons, which are the twin coastal peaks of the island reach 2000 feet up from the sea and provide shelter to the gorgeous rainforests. The rainforests on the island are home to giant firms, wild orchids, and many wonderful and birds of paradise are found all over. There are many wonderfully gorgeous plumed tropical birds throughout the island including the St. Lucia parrot, which is indigenous to the island and on the endangered species list.
There are breaks in the rainforest full of fields and orchards of coconuts, bananas, papaya, and mango trees.
The island of St. Lucia has been inhabited long before European colonies took it over. One of the cultural treasures of the island is its rich history and many different and fun traditions. The people of the island have earned a reputation for being extremely warm, welcoming, and simply charming. Throughout the island you will find many open air markets, small villages, as well as aged fortresses.
There are many exciting and even exotic activities found on the island of St. Lucia. The steep coastlines and beautiful reefs provide excellent areas for scuba diving and snorkeling. The rainforest preserves the mountainous interior of the island and provide a wonderful area for birdwatching and hiking. The island not only has wonderful natural beauty to explore, but there are also great golf courses and facilities for sailing, tennis, and other leisurely pursuits.
Topography and Environmental Protection
The island of St. Lucia has a ecology and topography that is simply stunning. This island has beauty that simply cannot be matched by any of the other islands throughout the Caribbean. One of the main reasons that the island remains gorgeous and maintains its natural beauty is because of the ongoing protective measures that the country has taken in order to keep it the way that it is.
The national rain forest, as mentioned above, is located in the mountainous interior of the island. The island has protected coastal sights including the miraculous peaks of Les Pitons.
There are many great tours, nature hikes, and other programs that have been developed in order to showcase all of the natural assets that the island has to offer. These programs and tours provide a wonderful way for visitors to the island to be able to enjoy all of the natural beauty of the island without causing harm to the fragile and complex environment of the island.
The environmental philosophy of the island extends to the coasts off of the island as well. Measures have been taken in order to protect the gorgeous coral reefs along with the diverse sea life that live there. There are 4 preservation areas that were created by the island. Each of these encompass the outstanding reefs. Watersport enthusiasts, boat owners, and divers all must buy a permit before they can enter the reserve. The money that is paid for the permits is then used in order to pay for repairs for the reef as well as helping to preserve marine specie that have been threatened.
Must See Places in St. Lucia
The natural beauty of St. Lucia is something that simply must be seen at least once. When visiting the island it is easy to get around either by renting a car or taking a taxi. There are many tours available as well. When you are on the island there are several areas that you simply must see while you are there.
The Pitons are located by Soufriere. These peaks top 2000 feet and are the most well-known landmark of St. Lucia. Venturing to the summits of these peaks is something only climbers who are quite daring have done. However, you can view these wondrous peaks from Mt. Gimie. YOu can also see them from a deck of a boat just offshore.
National Rain Forest
As mentioned several times already, the National Rain Forest is definitely worth visiting. This area is especially appealing to hikers, nature lovers, and bird watchers. The National Rain Forest stretches across mountains and valleys and covers 19000 acres.
In the rain forest you will find many indigenous species of trees, exotic fruits and flowers, including wild orchids and even mushrooms. Some of the rare birds that are found in this area include the White Breasted Thrasher, and the St. Lucia Oriole. You also may see the St. Lucia Peewee. You can take an organized tour through the rainforest and learn more about the plants, animals and birds that are found there.
Sulphur Springs is a dormant volcano. This is the only volcano you can drive in throughout the entire world. Taking a tour of this volcano is something that you must do while visiting St. Lucia. Here you will see the bubbly and steamy sulphur springs and learn more about the fascinating and direct history of the violent geology that occurred in the rim of the Caribbean.
Mt. Gimie sits at 3117 feet. This is the highest point of the island and one of the greatest ways to catch a glimpse of this amazing peak is from your emergence through the rainforest. There are guided tours that can be taken up this mountainside offering stunning views from every angle.
When the French took over the island in the 1600s, King Louis XVI built bathhouses for his troops to use in these falls. The views are spectacular and the water is simply something you need to experience to fully appreciate.
This is a beautiful, yet well hidden treasure of the island. The gardens are full of blooming flowers, luscious fruits, and shading trees. You cannot forget the wonderfully vibrant waterfalls that are along the path as well. Taking a walk on these trails amidst the luscious vegetation is a great way to relax while on the island.
There are 2 small islands found just off of the coast of St. Lucia near Vieux Fort called the Maria Islands. These are a nature reserve. The reserve is home of 2 species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The first is the Zandoli Te is a ground lizard and the males of the species have a bright blue tail. The other is the Kouwes Snake, which is noted as the most rare snake in the world.
Tours, Nature Hikes, and Programs
There are many wonderful tours, programs, and nature hikes available on the island for you to take advantage of. Some of these include:
Morne La Combe
This is for the climbing enthusiast. The mountain reaches 1446 feet and is located on the Barre de L'isle ridge. During the climb you will enjoy panoramic views of the Mabouya and Roseau valleys. The hike takes about 3 hours to complete.
Union Nature Trail
This is a wonderful graveled path that goes through the dry forest. Here you will come across warblers, finches, and hummingbirds. The trail allows a close look of several tree species as well as local fruit trees, and medicinal herbs. You will also be able to see exotic wildlife at the miniature zoo. A center provides you with information about vegetation zones, endangered species, as well as life in the forest. This tour lasts about an hour.
Fregate Nature Trail
This is a tour that takes place along the Atlantic coast of the island and offers many scenic views along the mile long trail. This area is home to the Fregate bird population of the island as well as a number of other rare species.
Those that are interested in biology, entomology, and horticulture will find this tour particularly interesting. The tour is guided, but ventures off the beaten path to wherever you want to go. This includes going up and down the mountains or deep into the forests.
Morne Le Blanc/Laborie
Morne Le blanc is a peak that towers over the southern plains of the island. The summit provides a view of St. Vincent. This is also a great place to have a scenic and shady spot for a picnic.
Taking a southern safari is a great way to experience a lot of what the island has to offer. This tour will take you through the interior of the island and stop at many important historical sites including an old plantation house with a working still. This safari provides a good way to learn more about the local history of the island as well as how the island works today.
Hardy Point Walking Tour
This is a walking or bus tour that starts at Hardy Point. The area offers a natural outcrop that has great views of Esperance Bay. There are stops along the tour in cactus valley as well as several of the “blow holes” that have been created by the Atlantic Ocean. The tour will also visit Pigeon Island for some swimming and sightseeing. This is a wonderful way to experience a different area of the island.
Mankote Mangrove is located on the southeastern coast of the island and provides the main nutrient source for the natural fish nursery located in Savannes Bay. There is viewing tower that offers a great vantage point for bird watching. A guided tour of the area can be arranged.
There are many great places to visit if you want to watch some of the exotic birds located on the island. There are bird watching excursions that take place either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There are many rare and exotic birds that call this island home and it can be fun to see how many different ones that you can spot while you are there.
Located on the north coast, Grande Anse Beach is the place to watch turtles. From the middle of March through the end of July this is the place to be. You can camp in the area and enjoy the sight of the leatherback turtles rising from the sea. These watches are really something to experience and even if the turtles decide not to show, you will still enjoy a beautiful evening on the beach.
When it comes to natural beauty you cannot really even begin to imagine all that the island of St. Lucia has to offer. The rainforest, mountains, and gorgeous coast all have something to offer to the lucky visitors as well as the inhabitants of this Caribbean island.
If you are staying at one of the great resorts that the island has to offer, make sure that you leave the resort at least for a single day and venture out to see the rest of what this wonderful island has to offer. You will be pleasantly surprised at just how much natural beauty you are truly surrounded by when you stay on this wonderful island.