Playing beacon to lost seafarers, the sharply tapered Pitons mountains is the calling card of this Eastern Caribbean island: St. Lucia. A queen of wide sweeping angles, regal formations and majestic bays, St. Lucia wears its sovereignty like a crown. Find both lazy days at luxurious resorts or heart-kicking climbs through old plantations and photogenic forestry, or drift in the calm currents of the Caribbean as you dive over its marine canopy.
In the cover of the Pitons, the old town of Soufriere flourishes with colonial-era color and wooden accents. Heed the call of the sea once you’re treated your tongue to local delicacies and make your way down to Sugar Beach, the white-gray sand a bed for you to lie back and admire both water and mountains. If you prefer the stress-leeching heat of thermal springs, follow the tropical flowers to the estate of Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens & Mineral Baths. To completely retreat from social mores, aim for the secluded and dreamy enclave of Anse Mamin.
Climbing the Pitons is also a must to take in St. Lucia in its entirety. Submerge in the earthy scents and wild foliage that leads the way to the peak; or let your ears guide you to the cascading Pitons Waterfall where sulfur springs and natural streams have created a natural shower. Try to spare some time for the Atlantic-facing east coast as well, which features dramatic shorelines and cozy fishing towns. For more modern luxuries, head North for Rodney Bay.
Sultry weather defines St. Lucia’s summers, bearing hot and rainy season from mid-June to November. Ideal sailing weather comes with relatively dry January to mid-April, when constant northeastern trade winds buff moderate waves. While the sea is warm enough throughout the year for swims, mountain climbers should keep in mind that precipitation and temperatures change on the peaks; prepare for inconsistencies and flash rain storms.