One of the more relaxing destinations we have visited is beautiful Marigot Bay in sunny St. Lucia. If you are looking for a peaceful vacation to a Caribbean island that doesn’t break the budget, this may be a great option.
St. Lucia is a sovereign country located in the south-eastern part of the Caribbean between Martinique to the north and Barbados to the south. It is a small island of just over 600 square kilometers with a population of under 200,000. St. Lucia was once both a French and British colony, so the island has three languages — English (the official language), French, and Creole.
The island is volcanic and is extremely mountainous, much more so than most other Caribbean islands we have visited. The highest point is actually almost one full kilometer above sea level. Mount Gimie is located just south west of the center point of the island. The other famous mountains, called the Pitons, are located on the western side of the island and are popular tourist spots for hiking. In fact, the island is also well known for the only “drive through” volcano, located near Soufriere (which is french for sulphur). Until about 20 years ago, tourists could drive right up to the tar pits located at the sulphur springs, but an accident in which a local tour guide fell in resulted in a viewing platform being built for safety reasons.
Keep in mind that if you are planning on driving around the island, it may be challenging! Due to the volcanic nature of St. Lucia, the roads are very windy and many are in poor condition. We encountered many “construction zones” in which roads were either damaged (and marked with pylons) or under construction. Most of the main island roads are two lanes (meaning one lane going in either direction) and there are no street signs (similar to most places in the Caribbean islands!). For drivers coming from North America, the system is different from home, with drivers driving on the left hand side of the road (and the steering wheel being on the right hand side of the car). Be prepared — driving anywhere will undoubtedly take a lot longer than you anticipate. If it looks relatively close on a map, it will likely take you a lot longer to get there. And, if you get motion sickness easily, make sure to pack Gravol or dramamine because you will probably feel a bit sick after some time on the winding roads!
We spent the entire time in Marigot Bay, which is located on the western side of the island. We flew into Hewanorra International Airport (UVF), which is located in the southern most tip of the island. It is about 55 km from Marigot Bay. We anticipated it to be around 1 hour to travel to our destination but it ended up taking almost 2.5 hours to get there! The windy road definitely left us feeling a bit queasy…and there wasn’t much in between for us to see (except for the rainforests in the middle of the island, which were lush and smelled beautiful!). There is another international airport located closer, near Castries (the capital of St. Lucia), which we use if we visit the area again some day.
Marigot Bay is a beautiful part of this majestic island. In fact, it is one of the most beautiful places we have visited in the Caribbean mainly because of the views that you get from high up. The bay is a popular spot for yacht charters and sail boats traveling around the Caribbean. In fact, the area is buzzing with affluent visitors, not only from the sea, but also from the air as there are many private jets that choose to fly into this area. The bay has pristine turquoise waters and a sheltered beach area, surrounding by beautiful rolling tropical green hills that reach up nice and high and have some magnificent views.
The area around the bay has plenty of restaurants and accommodations, suitable for every price point. The Marina Village down at the base of the bay has some cute boutiques, a lovely little bakery for breakfast (with great coffee!) and a small supermarket where there is enough variety for all meals if you are self catering. Just a walk around the marina is wonderful for a stroll as there are some amazing boats docked here! In order to get to the small sandy island, you will need to take a short water taxi/ferry across from the marina (literally a few hundred meters back and forth). The cost is minimal (and you can buy a pass that lasts for a few days or a week if you want unlimited transport).
What is the best time to visit St. Lucia? The climate is tropical and hot for the entire year, with beautifully warm temperatures, similar to most islands in the vicinity. When we were there, this was nicely tempered by a cool breeze in the Bay. Visitors should be aware that there are two distinct seasons for precipitation. The dry season runs from December until the end of May. The wet season lasts from June to the end of November.
We definitely recommend Marigot Bay as a beautiful destination spot for a relaxing vacation. Until the next time, Happy Travels from sunny St. Lucia!
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