When it comes to selecting a specific part of the island as a holiday destination Saint Lucia has several options to choose from. All share in common the natural beauty and tropical splendor the island is known for but each area also features unique offerings and advantages, as well as disadvantages, which should be considered when making a choice of locale and accommodations.
To better understand the island’s general geography, refer to the provided map to see the location of various towns and areas that are mentioned below.
Also, please note the location of the island’s airports; keep in mind that a majority of visitors arrive at the Hewannorra International Airport near the town of Vieux Fort on the southern tip of the island. Admittedly, the journey by road to most of the resorts and hotels from Hewannorra takes from 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes, which some visitors may view as a disadvantage. However, please keep in mind that the scenery along the way is rather enjoyable, particularly during the daylight hours. Also, helicopter transfers can be arranged to dramatically shorten the journey to many locations. That said, as travel time has been noted, it will not be cited as a factor in the details below.
The Rodney Bay area in the north has the greatest concentration of tourist activity of any locale the island has to offer. It includes Reduit Beach and the inner harbor with all of the marina facilities. To avoid potential confusion, Rodney Bay is located within the ‘District of Gros Islet’ (one of 11 on island) not to be confused with the ‘Village of Gros Islet’ which is a much smaller entity that is adjacent to Rodney Bay.
Advantages: great variety of accommodations to choose from; close proximity to a majority of the most popular restaurants, malls and nightlife venues; Reduit Beach which offers a full variety of water sports activities.
Possible Disadvantages: Rodney Bay is the busiest of all of the island’s tourist areas which might not appeal to those seeking more peace and tranquility.
Cap Estate is located just north of Rodney Bay within the district of Gros Islet. While there are a few very popular resorts within Cap Estate, the area is also well known for its fully appointed apartments and luxury villas.
Advantages: beautiful views and an atmosphere of tranquil luxury; location of the St. Lucia Golf & Country Club.
Possible Disadvantages: rental vehicle or taxi transportation required to get to most restaurants, shopping, nightlife and some beaches, particularly when staying in an apartment or villa.
Cas-en-bas is located on the east coast adjacent to Cap Estate and near Rodney Bay.
Advantages: quiet area; near the golf; persistent cooling trade winds coming in off the Atlantic.
Possible Disadvantages: rental vehicle or taxi transportation required to get to most restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
For simplification, we are including the areas of Labrelotte Bay and Marisule with Choc, as they are nearby and offer much the same advantages, etc.
Advantages: nice beaches and views; short trip to amenities in Rodney Bay but away from the hustle and bustle.
Possible Disadvantages: rental vehicle or taxi required from most properties to get to shopping, restaurants, etc.
There are a few properties located in the greater Castries area which offers the feel of a small city and can be a very enjoyable place to explore during the day but there is no nightlife oriented toward visitors at all.
Advantages: short trip to Castries (can be walked from a few properties) to enjoy the sights and shopping; easier access to the major sightseeing in the south than is afforded when staying farther north.
Transportation is generally required to get to restaurants, shopping and major attractions.
Marigot Bay is one of the most scenic harbors in all the Caribbean and can be a modestly busy yacht destination in the evenings which, for most, adds to the fun. Hotels and restaurants on the north side of the harbor require a very short ferry ride that enhances the charm the bay offers.
Advantages: laid back and very scenic; offers modest shopping opportunities and restaurant/bar options; easy access to the major tourist attractions in the south.
Possible Disadvantages: very small and sheltered beach; rental vehicle or land or water taxi required to get to other locales (Castries – 20 minutes, Rodney Bay – 40 minutes).
Many of the island’s major attractions are located in the Soufriere area including the Pitons, Saint Luciaís iconic mountain pair. Small hotels and guest houses are located within walking distance of town which offers local shopping, dining and local nightlife.
Advantages: extraordinary scenery and beaches; very close to the Sulphur Springs volcano, Diamond Falls & Gardens, rain forest and hiking; excellent snorkeling and scuba diving, laid back rural feel and lack of traffic; local culture ambiance that you don’t get in the tourist areas in the north.
Possible Disadvantages: considerable distance from the more tourist oriented restaurants, shopping and nightlife found in the north.
In the Vieux Fort area there is one major resort and a few small hotels and guest houses, many of which are virtually within sight of the international airport.
Advantages: beautiful scenery; world-class wind and kite surfing; laid back countryside feel.
Possible Disadvantages: visiting the major sites and attractions on island requires considerable travel (Soufriere – 50 minutes, Castries – 1 hour, Rodney Bay – 1 hour 20 minutes); very modest selection of restaurants and shopping.