We have been to St. Lucia twice now, both times celebrating special occasions. The first time we visited this beautiful island was to celebrate my taking the final actuarial exam. The second visit was on the occasion of our friend Nancy's 40th birthday. Both times we stayed in the area known as Rodney Bay, on the northwest coast of the Island.
St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, and is located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, and north of Barbados. St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado (depending on your taste). The Atlantic Ocean kisses its eastern shore, while the beaches of the west coast owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea. It is a volcanic island, with a climate that varies from the arid north to the humid rain forests that dominate the central and southern parts of the Island.
The British and the French tussled over St. Lucia for a century and a half, before the British got the upper hand in 1814. However, the islanders still speak a French-based patois. Agriculture remains an important element of the economy with acres upon acres of banana plantations, but tourism is definitely on the increase. St. Lucia is becoming a more and more popular Caribbean destination, particularly as the Island gains a reputation for its friendliness.
The Pitons - Piton means "peak" in French, and these twin peaks are the hallmark of St. Lucia. The two mountains rise dramatically in a sheer right out of the sea, and were thought to have been created by volcanic activity about 15,000 years ago. The best view is actually from the sea, however the view from the coast road above Soufriere is also excellent.
Soufriere and the "Drive-in" Volcano - A weather-beaten seaside village, Soufriere is the jumping-off point for St. Lucia's "drive-in" volcano, where one can drive to within a few hundred yards of the steaming sulfur hot springs.
Pigeon Island National Park - Home to Fort Rodney, (named after the British naval hero, Admiral Rodney), Pigeon Island is a humpbacked island that was supposedly named after the pigeon message service operated by lookouts stationed on the hilltop. The views from the hilltop are absolutely magnificent, and well worth the rigorous up-hill climb.
Marigot Bay - A picture perfect harbor inlet, surrounded by forested hills, providing a naturally sheltered yacht anchorage. There are several waterside restaurants in the area - an incredible way to lose the day!
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