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St Lucia: A Family Travel Guide

by Moderator May 2012 - last edited March 2013 by Community Manager

The beautiful Caribbean island of St. Lucia is not just a magnet for weddings and honeymoons, though it's certainly an idyllic place for both. If you're travelling with the whole family, and especially if you're a fairly active bunch, St. Lucia will reward you with all manner of rainforest adventures and water-based fun. We take a look at a handful of the best activities on offer, and where to base yourself during your stay.

 

See the rainforest up close

Both Treetop Adventure Park and Rainforest Adventures offer ziplining opportunities over the rainforest canopy. Along with hiking, cycling and kayaking outings, the longest and highest zipline is at Treetop, some 150 feet above the ground and 800 feet in length, though Rainforest Adventures has the added bonus of an aerial tram for those who'd prefer not to dangle from a wire. Rainforest also offer the AdrenaLUNA moonlight zipline tour, voted the 'World's Coolest Zipline' by Travel + Leisure.

Rainforest Adventures aerial tram © courtesy Rainforest Adventures

Rainforest Adventures aerial tram © courtesy Rainforest Adventures

 

 

Get interactive at Our Planet

In the heart of the island's capital Castries and proudly proclaiming itself to be the only attraction of its kind in the world, Our Planet is a fun, hands-on and stimulating way to experience St. Lucia up close. Our Planet has been open for just under a year, with the aim of bringing environmental conservation issues to life through state-of-the-art technology. Sit in the largest mirrorsphere in the world, which produces a kaleidoscopic view of life on earth, see life-sized holograms, experience a simulated hurricane, and view our planet from space in a special room designed by NASA. You can even view the harbour at Castries through a snowstorm via the use of snowmachines.

 

 

Our Planet, Castries, St Lucia © Our Planet

Our Planet, Castries, St Lucia © Our Planet

 

 

Enjoy a lazy picnic at Pigeon Island

A small islet in the very north of St. Lucia and now joined to the mainland by a man-made causeway, Pigeon Island is a national park and landmark once occupied by French pirates and later the British navy. Today it's a favourite local beauty spot and home of the annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival. As well as great views from its twin peaks of Fort Rodney Hill and Signal Hill (where you can spot neighbouring Martinique on a clear day) and a pile of ruined barracks to explore, there are acres of shady oaks and manicured lawns for running around and letting off steam, plus a great little secluded beach (where you can SNUBA - see below) and a cafe just through the trees. At only $5 entrance for adults and $1 for children (aged 5 - 12) it makes for a great value afternoon.

 

 

Pigeon Island, St Lucia © Maxine Sheppard

Pigeon Island, St Lucia © Maxine Sheppard

 

 

Go beyond snorkelling with SNUBA

If you're a family of water babies, but you have neither the time, money or inclination to get deep-dive certified, SNUBA might be just the thing. In the company of experienced guides, you'll be able to explore underwater at a variety of depths, breathing through an easy-to-use regulator while your air supply sits above in the security of a raft on the surface. No previous experience is required and the activity is suitable for everyone, even children as young as 4 years old (young kids wear a special flotation vest that keeps them safely bouyant just below the surface). Sessions are available at Pigeon Island and down in the south of St. Lucia at Soufriere.

 

Where to stay

While there's no shortage of family-focused resorts in St. Lucia, some are clearly a cut above the rest. We recently visited Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa on the northern coast, and were seriously impressed with the facilities for children, from tiny tots to fussy teens.

 

There are no less than seven swimming pools at Smugglers Cove (two are adults-only), including one with a 100 foot slide. That alone would be enough to keep most kids happy, but there's plenty more besides. Older kids can indulge in movie-star makeovers, Nintendo sessions and learning how to cook and dance, along with beach cricket, pool volleyball and even archery lessons for the over-16s.

 

One of the seven pools at Smugglers Cove © Smugglers Cove Resort and Spa

One of the seven pools at Smugglers Cove © Smugglers Cove Resort and Spa

 

The main kids' club is split into two different age groups (5 - 7 and 8 - 12) and activities include making jewellery, tie-dying, flower and sand art and special movie nights, along with plenty of pool games and beach sports. Toddlers (2 - 4) get their own movie matinees, puppet craft, and plenty of free indoor and outdoor play in the minipark. Even babies get plenty of special attention, with a nursery available for those aged 0 - 23 months, open every day from morning until late afternoon - good news for parents who need a bit of time to themselves.

 

Plenty of fun to be had at Smuggler's Cove minipark © Maxine Sheppard

Plenty of fun to be had at Smuggler's Cove minipark © Maxine Sheppard

 

If you manage to offload the kids for a couple of hours, there are plenty of grown-up ways to indulge yourself. The Samsarati Spa is a good place to start, with a range of facials, massages and mud treatments on offer. There's tennis, yoga, aqua aerobics and a fully-equipped gym for the more energetic, or simply laze around at the swim-up bar with a cocktail in hand.

 

Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa

Smugglers Cove Resort & Spa

 

Visit Virgin Holidays for a tailor-made, all-inclusive St. Lucia family holiday including accommodation at Smugglers Cove.

For other family-friendly St. Lucia resorts, also check out Morgan Bay Beach Resort, Coconut Bay and Windjammer Landing.

Virgin Atlantic operates flights to St. Lucia from London Gatwick.

Header shot © Aramil Liadon


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StLuciaTours October 2012
That was a very good review highlighting a few of the great activities that are available to do in St. Luica. Our Island as you said is a most fun filled and adventurous place. One thing is for certain, our visitors never run out of things to do here. In fact many of our returning visitors highlight that they return to our beautifully island to do fun activities or tours of St. Lucia which they missed on the trips to the island. Some of these activities simply cannot be missed.

Allow me to also add that St. Lucia is one of the most scenic Islands in the eastern Caribbean. Its lush forested areas, mountains, exotic animals and plants make for a most unique experience. Photographers, environmentalist, birdwatchers and the like are in love with this place. A visitor once put it this way; “if St Lucians are so in love with this island’s beauty, who wouldn’t fall in love with her?” It is a paradise full of wonder full accommodations and friendly people who will provide the best hospitality.

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About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.