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St Lucia is positively bursting with both natural beauty and the culture to match it, so it’s only right that these once in a lifetime experiences cover both. We think these are the cream of the crop so if you get a chance to do even one while in St Lucia, we promise you won’t regret it.
Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA)
Described by many as an “upside down snow storm”, the coral spawning at Soufriere, Saint Lucia, is an amazing natural event that only occurs once a year around August/September. We were amazed by the blossoming underwater clouds of pink and white - truly a sight to behold. 3 Bay Street, St Lucia, +1 758 459 5500, www.smma.org.lc.
La Rose Festival, St Lucia
St Lucians adore floribunda roses and throw two major events in St Lucia each year to honour their varicoloured, velvety blooms. La Rose is the largest by a pinch, although the rival flower society that organises La Marguerite will be outraged by this suggestion. Both societies are powerful entities and the rivalry is intense – in fact most of St Lucia’s adult population are members. La Rose, like La Marguerite, has a formal colonial-style hierarchic structure with a king, queen, princes, princesses and numerous courtiers. Organisers keep festivities top secret during the yearlong preparations before a mega daylong celebration that the whole family will love, which centres on lively street parades bursting with colour. +1 758 452 4094, www.stlucia.org. 30th August (Feast of Saint Rose de Lima). Locations island-wide.
Learn to Cook in St Lucia
With our culinary passion, one of the best things we’ve done in St Lucia is to learn to cook. Classes take place in a beautiful family-run property on the island’s northwestern tip and aim to inspire guests and get them to fully appreciate the colourful variety and quality of St Lucian produce. Each class starts with a visit to nearby Castries Market with sous chef Nico to source fresh, local seasonal produce and seafood. Then you learn to prepare authentic West Indian dishes under the supervision of head chef Craig Jones, a St Lucian Chef of the Year. We really love that you’re guided step-by-step through a menu that focuses on the techniques and styles of West Indian cooking, before tucking into an array of dishes in the stunning Cliff at Cap restaurant. The Cliff, Cap Maison, +1 758 457 8670, www.capmaison.com. Saturdays mornings only.
See Latille Waterfall
This ethereal cascade marks the spot where the coastal landscape ends and the rainforest begins, to provide a mesmerising “gateway” to St Lucia’s lush interior region. We are completely entranced by the way the shimmering, misty showers dance around multi-coloured tropical plants as 20-ft torrents power down into a deep, sparkling pool. And it’s the perfect spot for a refreshing dip. Micoud, St Lucia, +1 207 341 7000, www.stlucia.org.
Learn to horse ride with International Riding Stables
With a spaghetti-like landscape of well-maintained trails courtesy of the Saint Lucia National Trust and the Department of Forestry, when we’re keen to go horse riding in St Lucia, we do so across mountains and rainforests. In our experience, the International Riding Stables make learning to ride fun for, with a fantastic range of tours, including a beach picnic at Cas en Bas, which is great for those of us with kids. Here, with tropical coastal breezes in your hair, your sturdy steed plucks through the soft white sand. Some trails are more strenuous than others, but all are rich in St Lucian birdlife – you may even spot the rare and beautiful parrot, the Jacquot. Beausejour, Gros Islet, St Lucia, +1 758 452 8139, or +1 758 484 9995.
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About the author: KatieKatie Manning
Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning