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THRILL THE SENSES IN SAINT LUCIA

A Lucious View, A Crisp Wine And Bounty From The Sea
Saint Lucia is a sensorial experience not to be missed

The magnificent sight of the twin Pitons jutting majestically out of the Caribbean Sea is theiconic image of Saint Lucia. The volcanic spires that reach 771 metres or nearly 2,500 feet into the sky are the inspiration for the country’s flag, and the most prominent element in the logo of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA).

But when I think back on my first visit to the island, two decades ago, the Pitons are not the first thing that comes to mind. The smile-inducing memory is a Friday night ‘Jump Up’ at Gros Islet, where visitors pleasurably chatted with locals, ate seafood that had very recently been swimming – and put back some of the island’s tasty rum and beer. There was music, hoots of raucous laughter and some deadly serious dominoes matches.

“That hasn’t changed a bit,” says Rod Hanna, Trade Sales Manager Canada for the SLTA. “Our visitors don’t feel like they’re in a tourist destination. What has changed is that many more travellers are seeking the kind of experience that Saint Lucia has always provided. They want to be inspired. They want to taste, see and experience the land and get to know its people.”

That works out well, because Saint Lucians are very proud of their home, and happy to share it in many ways, from events like the Friday night Jump Up in Gros Islet, or the fish fry in Anse La Raye to impromptu island tours from taxi drivers and animated conversations in the Castries market. It’s the smaller-scale side of Caribbean tourism, one that appeals to the traveller seeking more than sun, sand and sea.

There’s an amazing amount to see and do on this lushly forested, richly soiled, volcanic island of just 617 sq/km – one-ninth the size of Prince Edward Island.

With a population of around 180,000, Saint Lucia also has 186 varieties of birds and 600 types of plant, tree and shrub. Natural attractions are in plenty: waterfalls, rainforest trails, golden beaches, botanical gardens, coral reefs – and the worlds only drive through volcano, which is not something you see every day! In the town of Soufriere, visitors can literally drive right into the crater of this the volcano and walk between bubbling sulfur springs and pools hissing with steam.

The natural bounty that springs from Saint Lucia’s mineral-rich volcanic soil generates plenty of ingredients for fresh and healthy cuisine, expertly prepared at venues ranging from roadside stalls to the funky restaurants of Rodney Bay and the all-inclusive kitchens at many resorts.

“Your clients will get to experience the freshest cuisine with ingredients that have been grown, processed, cooked and served by local people,” says Hanna.

Saint Lucia appeals to a wide range of travellers, Hanna says, especially those “who have been to the big Caribbean destinations” and are looking for something different.

“We’re anything but cookie-cutter,” Hanna adds. “All-inclusive are not as predominant in Saint Lucia as other islands, but we have some of the best in the world. And many EP properties offer all-inclusive plans upon request. We have a lot of adults-only properties and we have villas and guesthouses perfect for groups and families. We have wellness-focused resorts like Body Holiday and Stonefield Villa Resort – both properties allow guests to reconnect with mind , body and soul. The entire month of November in Saint Lucia has been dedicated to health and wellness with many properties offering special fitness escape packages and deals." 

A major project to improve the nation’s main airport – Hewanorra International (UVF) is underway, with US$100 million investment. Hanna says that when complete, a new terminal and VIP area will significantly improve the UVF experience and groups will have fast-tracked service.

Hanna says the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority is here to help agents in any way it can. “In Saint Lucia we’re never going to say no. If you want it done, just ask. We’ll do our very best.” For agents less familiar with the island, Hanna recommends ordering the Saint Lucia Travel Guide through Envoy, which gives a comprehensive picture of tourism opportunities.

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