St Lucia is regarded as one of the Caribbean’s best holiday destinations, and rightly so. With its white sandy beaches, scorching weather, and luxury lifestyle, it’s no wonder the island attracted over 1.1 million visitors in 2017. However, St Lucia’s abundance of all-inclusive resorts can sometimes shroud what else the island has to offer, such as its beautiful landscapes and array of attractions. It is a shame that St Lucia is often pigeon-holed as a resort island when it is so much more.
Thankfully, more people are flocking to St Lucia as they recognise the island’s charms, especially as it is easier than ever to forge a life on the island. The country’s citizenship by investment scheme is enabling foreigners to receive a St Lucian citizenship for a relatively inexpensive outlay of $100,000. Not only does this allow them to easily relocate to the island and enjoy life-long rights to live, work, and study there, but the subsequent passport gives owners visa-free travel to 121 countries and territories. Read on to find out why so many are enamoured by St Lucia.
The island’s beauty transcends its sandy white beaches
St Lucia’s beauty goes under-appreciated amongst its assortment of resorts, but it shouldn’t. Whilst the island’s immaculate white beaches are well known and well visited by inhabitants and tourists alike, the island’s beauty can be experienced in so many other ways. Take the Piton mountains, for example. The 2,530 and 2,438 feet high peaks of Gros and Petit Piton make for fun and challenging hikes, providing climbers with a stunning view of the local town of Soufrière, alongside miles of rainforest and crystal blue sea as far as the eye can see.
Around 77% of the island is enveloped with rainforest – substantially more so than many of its Caribbean neighbours – and there is plenty of exploration opportunities, with numerous rainforest trails and hikes for visitors and residents to embark upon. For instance, the Tet Paul Nature Trail, near the base of Gros Piton, offers a quick and easy walk with majestic views throughout the trail and views of nearby islands Martinique and St. Vincent. Hikers will also get to see the traditional medicinal plants and trees that grow all along the trail.
For something more challenging, travellers can go further south and explore the Edmund Forest Reserve. This gives visitors the chance to spot some of the nation’s 186 feathered species, such as the rare St Lucia parrot, with scenic waterfalls and rustic orchards providing the perfect backdrop. There are some lovely off-road cycling tracks for the keen cyclists out there, such as Anse Mamin, which is behind the remains of a sugar plantation. The island also boasts magnificent marine opportunities. The reef at Anse Piton is ideal for snorkelling, and is home to squids, eels, parrotfish, and needlefish. At Petit Piton, scuba divers can swim past the wreck of the freighter Lesleen M and get up close and personal with octopuses and crustaceans.
St Lucia brings fun to the Caribbean
It’s not just the beauty of the landscape that makes St Lucia such a great place to visit and live; there is so much else to do and see on the island. For example, you can visit Boucan in Rabot Estate near Soufriere, home to the plantation of British chocolate makers Hotel Chocolat.
As well as being a 14-room hotel and restaurant, you can experience the plantation yourself with a selection of chocolatey experiences, such as the bean-to-bar tour. Gaining access to the estate’s cocoa groves, you’ll learn all about cocoa production, before picking ripe cocoa pods from trees that you’ll eventually be able to turn into your own chocolate bar.
For those looking for a bit of a knees up, there are plenty of options. Keen party goers can take a trip to the fishing village of Gros Islet for their Friday night street party. Here, revellers can wash down barbecued fish and chicken with St Lucian rum and beer as loudspeakers pump out Caribbean tunes. The island also has a casino, called the Treasure Bay Casino, and plenty of cool bars.
St Lucia’s bustling business scene makes it ideal for entrepreneurs
Another reason why St Lucia is more than just a holiday resort is its thriving business scene. There are many opportunities for burgeoning businesses, with the government creating a number of enticing incentives to encourage both foreign and St Lucian born entrepreneurs. Schemes like The Westerwelle Young Founders Program Internship also encourage innovation. The programme is a fully funded internship for a handful of young entrepreneurs, who get the chance to go to the Young Founders Conference in Berlin and network with fellow entrepreneurs from around the world.
This type of help has led to some serious success stories, like Noelina St. Ange, owner of Tifi Zouk, a company that produces 3-in-1 handbags with interchangeable designs. St. Ange became one of the first St. Lucians to successfully file for a US patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and her handbags are being sold online by retail giant Amazon.
With its beautiful landscapes, range of opportunities for fun and exciting business scene, St Lucia is one of the most enjoyable Caribbean islands to visit and live on. It really is so much more than a resort island.