Think honeymoons to St Lucia are just relaxing beach breaks? With rainforest hiking routes, colourful nightlife and thrilling wildlife encounters, this Caribbean gem may just surprise you…
Located on the south-western coast of the island, twin peaks Gros Piton and Petit Piton are a haven for hikers and wildlife lovers, with no less than 27 bird species to spot on your trek.
Using a local guide is advised when scaling both peaks but the steep traverse provides a treasure trove of views from the top, including the white sands of Anse des Pitons below. After you complete your hike, why not cool off by sampling the local beer brand, named after the two volcanic plugs.
A hot springs may be the answer to resting those weary legs after hiking across the island. A number of mineral baths are within a stone's throw of the west coast town of Soufrière, including the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardenss, set in six acres of exotic gardens.
While recovering visitors can also do a spot of bird watching, with the tropical range of flora and fauna attracting hummingbirds and other jungle wildlife.
Every Friday night, the sleepy fishing village of Gros Islet, in northern St Lucia, erupts into a feast of Caribbean culture, with a fusion of calypso, reggae and R&B music, accompanied by street artists and performers, entertaining both locals and visitors.
With the party lasting well into the early hours, an array of food vendors are on hand selling barbecued seafood and other local specialities so you won't be dancing to the Caribbean beats on an empty stomach.
The fastest way to get around the island's coastline, St Lucia's fleet of water taxis also provide some of the best views of the nation.
Travelling by boat can mean easy pit-stops at Pigeon Island for ancient West Indian monuments and jungle trails, and Rodney Bay for its emerald waters and golden sands. If you're lucky, you may be joined on your trip around the teardrop-shaped island by any one of 33 species of dolphins and whales, including bottle-nosed dolphins and pilot whales.
If sea trips don't float your boat, adrenaline-seeking couples can swing through the treetops on a number of zip-wire courses throughout the island.
Adventure parks - such as Treetop Adventure Park and Adrena-Line Canopy Zip Line Tour - offer the chance to mix in with the wildlife high up in the tree canopy, while also absorbing the swathes of rainforest on the ground below.
Some attractions go one step further and offer walks to remote waterfalls or to spot one of the island's most famous birds, the Jacquot Parrot.
Image credit: Dreamstime
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