Nestled inconspicuously along the Caribbean archipelago, St. Lucia is a small island nation chock-full of ecological and cultural character. The climate borders on perfection, the hills are covered in dense jungle, the people are warm, and the colorful resorts dot the shorelines without too much gaudy flare. Arguably the best part about St Lucia is its perimeter — the100 miles of pristine shoreline where jungly cliffs collide with sugar-white sand and calm blue-green water. If you’re looking to plan that perfect Caribbean vacation but are unsure of where to go, St. Lucia should be a prime candidate. For your rigorous research, we’ve compiled a list of the island’s best beaches, and while all of them can be safely categorized as “beautiful,” they each have their own unique personality.
Highly regarded as the most beautiful beach on the island, Sugar Beach lives up to its reputation. It checks off all the requirements of an idyllic Caribbean beach: pearl-white sand, palm trees, and crystal clear water. Perhaps the best part about Sugar Beach is the two massive green conical Piton Mountains that frame either side of the stretch of sand. The two peaks have become the symbol of St. Lucia and make Sugar Beach the most visually stunning of them all. Part of the beach is privately owned by the extremely plush Sugar Beach Resort, but the northern part of the beach is open to the public.
Far the best beach on the island for snorkeling is Anse Chastanet. Just offshore, the sea floor drops off steeply and opens up into some of the most colorful and lively coral reefs in all of the Caribbean. Scuba St. Lucia is the premier dive operator in the area and offers scuba and snorkel tours for all experience levels. Anse Chastanet is also a great destination for guided boat tours and mountain bike tours in the surrounding jungle operated by Bike St. Lucia. The Anse Chastanet Resort is your best bet for accommodation near this beach, and the staff will be plenty helpful in organizing your outdoor excursions.
Pigeon Island National Park
Pigeon Island is St. Lucia’s most interesting destination from a cultural and historical perspective. Located on a peninsula on the northern end of the island, the national park lays claim to a quiet and uncrowded beach, a mini-museum, a few local eateries, and a rum bar. Indigenous artifacts date back to 1000 AD, but the park is best known for Fort Rodney, a collection of ruins from the late 18th century. The national park tells the stories of French pirates, American meddling, and proxy wars during WWII. Today, it’s also the home of the St. Lucia Jazz Festival that takes place in the spring of each year.
As the busiest and most popular beach in St. Lucia, Reduit is the island’s beating heart. Here you’ll find ample room to stroll and sprawl out, all kinds of water sports, an inflatable water park, and tons of restaurants. If you don’t mind crowds and are happy people-watching in the mix, Reduit is the place for you. As far as grub goes, check out Spinnakers for everything from jerk chicken to cocktails and grilled fish. For accommodations, Papillon is a great all-inclusive option and the Royal St. Lucia is a lavish beach resort for those with a higher budget.
On the east side of the island, Grand Anse is a beach that’s often overlooked by many travelers. It’s a bit off-the-beaten-path, but the views and the landscapes are just as jaw-dropping as anywhere on the island. Grand Anse is set to become a new national park, primarily due to the high population of endangered leatherback sea turtles that frequent the area. On the beach, it’s fairly common to stumble across giant turtles who could be mating or just soaking up some sun. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot baby turtles hatch and make their instinctual run towards the water. The drive to Grand Anse — which is best done in a 4×4 — is a beautiful route that winds through fantastic scenery and eventually ends up at the rugged cliffs before the beach.
Marigot Bay is an idyllic little inlet that’s so beautiful it’s been used as a backdrop for a number of Hollywood films. The bay itself is a collection of boats and catamarans bobbing on calm waters, and the shoreline hosts a few different beaches — La Choc, Anse Couchon, and Vigie Beach. These are some of the most picturesque beaches on the island, but they can get pretty crowded. Feel free to head up into the hills for a nice hike and chat with some of the locals.
If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, head down Vieux Fort, a town on the southern tip of the island. With St. Lucia being so tiny, you can drive the length of it in around 70 minutes, so it’s not too far out of your way. Sandy Beach is a haven for those looking to get active — especially those keen on trying the ropes of kitesurfing and other water sports. The combination of favorable winds and calm waters make kitesurfing an excellent option for an active afternoon. That being said, if you’re looking to limit your physical exertion to the repetitive lift of a cocktail, there’s a few restaurants and bars along the strip that’ll do just fine.