Saint Lucia, Travel, Uncategorized

Our Favorite Activities To Do in Saint Lucia!

Saint Lucia is the Caribbean Island that has it all! From peaceful beaches and fun water sports like kayaking, snorkeling and sailing, to adventurous activities like mud baths, jungle biking and hiking the Pitons, to tours of a volcano, Sulphur Springs and botanical mineral baths. Those are just to name a few. So if you are looking for your next Caribbean Island destination look no further than Saint Lucia!

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We went to Saint Lucia to celebrate our honeymoon and stayed at the luxurious Jade Mountain resort, where it set our standards high for both marriage and future vacations. To read about our experience at the Jade Mountain click here. Most of the activities and excursions we did were a part of our honeymoon package while others were added to our trip.

Guided Boat Snorkeling Trip

Adam and I had never snorkeled before and love everything about the ocean, so we were very excited for this excursion. This guided boat snorkeling trip was included in our package at Jade Mountain and we shared the experience with another lovely couple. Our captain took us to one of the islands best snorkeling spots, Devil’s Hole, no we did not see the devil.

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We love swimming and sea life, so we of course loved snorkeling! There was something very peaceful about swimming amongst the fish and watching them swim. It was like we were in another world entirely. I only wish we had a Go Pro to capture all the beautiful life we saw.

Scuba St. Lucia
Guided snorkel trip $32 each, per hour
http://www.scubastlucia.com

Hiking Gros Piton

We LOVE hiking! Somehow no matter how relaxing a vacation we are on, we find a way to exert ourself in a hike. Besides enjoying an outdoor hike we also had the opportunity to check off two items on our bucket list. To hike to the highest point of a country and to feel the clouds brush our face from the highest point possible.  Through Jade Mountain we booked our excursion with Real St. Lucia Tours and went with one other couple. We were advised to start bright and early to beat the heat and crowd. We highly recommend you do the same.

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The hike was broken down into three parts to allow for the most scenic breaks. Out of all the hikes we have done this one takes the cake as the most strenuous. It took us around 4 hours round trip at an average pace. The views throughout the hike were unbelievable. At times we saw villages, the Caribbean Sea and could even see the island of St. Vincent with our naked eye.

When we made it to the top of Gros Piton we felt overwhelmed with accomplishment and were in awe of the beauty surrounding us. As we stated earlier we started our hike very early in the morning, around 7am, therefore we had the entire area to ourselves. It was magical.

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We walked to the edge of the mountain and both saw and felt the clouds float right to us. We were as high as the clouds! Honestly, they felt like a refreshing damp wind. As we looked far out we felt the greatest satisfaction that we were as high as it could get on this island. We took plenty of photos to capture our accomplishment and then replenished our bodies with water and food as we sat on a nearby rock.

Once we were rejuvenated we started our trek back down the mountain and came across over 20 other hikers making their way up. We offered encouraging words as we knew exactly how they felt. When we reached back down Gros Piton we shared some Piton beers with our tour guide and fellow hiking companions.

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Tips

  • Bring plenty of water!
  • Bring snacks and a packed lunch
  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes
  • Start early
  • Bring a can of Piton Beer because you just hiked Gros Piton and deserve a drink!

Real St. Lucia Tours
Our tour was $85 each
http://www.grospiton.com

Sailing near the Pitons

This was our first time to sail, so we were very excited for this excursion. This was included in our package at Jade Mountain and therefore were sailing on their skippered resort watch, Serenity. Among Adam and I were six other couples that joined us on this excursion and soon became friends with them.

Since we were here during the rainy season we did come across unpleasant weather for a day of sailing due to no wind, but that never discouraged our captain. In addition to no wind it also rained on us. The girls and I quickly went for cover under the deck while the men stayed and enjoyed the rain. After an hour or so of poor sailing conditions we finally hit the jackpot and sailed the Caribbean Sea! It was so much fun having the wind support the boat as we made our way over the waves. We sailed out far and then made our way sailing close to the Pitons and then anchored near a fantastic snorkeling spot.

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All of us put our flippers and masks on before jumping into the cool waters. We saw unbelievable sea life from fish to sea urchins and starfish. After we snorkeled, we enjoyed some cocktails (very alcoholic rum cocktails) and the freshest ceviche with plantain chips. Our sailing might not have started off on the right foot, but it was truly a luxurious and amazing sailing trip.

Jade Mountain’s Serenity
Normally only available to Jade Mountain guests, but if you are interested we suggest emailing Jade Mountain 
Half-day sailing $65 each
Full day sailing $99 each
http://www.jademountain.com/activities/island_excursions.html

Kayaking in the Caribbean Sea

All week I wanted to kayak in the Caribbean Sea, it was an activity that seemed fun and was also something I had wanted to do in a lake back home. We waited until our very last day to finally kayak and it was well worth the wait. Our kayaks and gear were provided to us for free by our resort, Jade Mountain, and we are sure that most resorts provide the same. We each had our own and jumped right into the groove. After a few strokes we quickly got the hang of a good rhythm and made our way into the sea. Though it was a relaxing activity, it did feel like we were giving our upper body a good work out. This is definitely an easy activity to enjoy, especially if you love being out in the water, like we do.

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Jade Mountain Kayaks
Free
http://www.jademountain.com/activities/watersports.html

Jungle Biking in Anse Mamin Valley

This excursion was included in our stay at Jade Mountain and was an excursion we felt unprepared for since we had not biked in years, let alone every jungle biked before. We took Jade Mountain’s resort shuttle boat to Anse Mamin Beach, where we met our instructor. He took us into the jungle and I swear we felt like we had just walked into Jurassic Park.

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Our instructor quickly got us set up in the bike shack with proper gear and bikes. He then went over all the safety features and trails throughout Anse Mamin Valley. He made everything easy for us and we found that we picked up jungle biking in no time with his guidance.

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He guided us through an easy trail telling us when to peddle fast and when to brake. He happily pointed out a lot of wild produce grown on the plantation like bananas, coconuts and oranges. While we were riding along the trail a coconut fell right in front of me and made a loud thump – coconuts were literally falling from the trees! We felt like the coconut that fell belonged to us so our instructor placed it in his basket along with oranges. When we arrived back to the bike shack we took our lovely bunch of coconuts (okay coconut) to the shade and our instructor grabbed a machete and broke it open! We drank our fresh coconut water and we swear coconut water has never tasted as good since that day. It had the slightest bit of sweetness and was refreshingly delicious.

Once we were rejuvenated from our coconut water, our instructor let us ride the trails on our own. We remembered all the times he had told us when to peddle fast or brake during a turn which made the trail easier than the first time around.

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Our bodies may have been sore after our day of biking, but we were surprised by how much we enjoyed this excursion.

Bike St. Lucia
Jungle biking $45 each for Jade Mountain Guests, $55 for public 
https://bikestlucia.com

Walking Through the Old French Colonial Plantation

We walked the Old French Colonial Plantation after our jungle biking excursion since it surrounded some of the biking trails. We came across some beautiful 18th century French Colonial ruins. The ruins were once the French Colonial Plantation that used to produce sugar, molasses, rum and cocoa. Remaining in the ruins were broken walls of the houses, a church and iron vats that were used to boil cane juice into syrup.  We cannot even imagine how grueling it must have been to work in such hot conditions from the sun and the boiling sugar.

The ruins were quite beautiful and it was interesting to see some of Saint Lucia’s history tucked away in this rainforest. Be sure to go back to Anse Mamin Beach to eat the best burgers on the island.

French Colonial Plantation in Anse Mamin Valley 
Free

Tour of Sulphur Springs (Drive-In Volcano and Mud Bath)

This excursion started early in the morning, around 7-8am to beat the heat and miss the crowd. We had a private driver pick us up at Jade Mountain and though he was not a tour guide, he was more than just our driver. He told us interesting facts along our journey and would make a couple of pitstops to show us some amazing views of the city, Soufriere, and take our pictures.

We arrived at Sulphur Springs first which holds the world’s only “drive-in” volcano. It is known as the Soufriere Volcano or more commonly, Sulphur Springs. We are going to start off by saying, “do not eat eggs for breakfast when you visit”, because unfortunately Sulphur Springs smells like rotten eggs and we definitely had omelets for breakfast that morning. The volcano is considered dormant, but still emits steam and sulfur that transpires into boiling mud and water of up to 340°F. The boiling water is black due to the chemical reaction between the sulphur and iron. Guests can walk along the wooden fence to get a closer look at the Sulphur Springs, but the awful smell will only get worse.

The attraction that draws tourists to Sulphur Springs is the healing powers of the hot springs and mud bath! Along one of the hot spring streams (tongue twister) is a fairly large hot spring that is around 110°F and in addition to the hot sun beaming down this makes for one hot event. Rest assure, it is worth it! The mud bath is known to have health and therapeutic qualities for our skin. There was an elderly gentleman helping tourists with the process of the mud baths and he swore he was 90 years old, yet he did not look over 50 years old. It is said that one dip in the mud baths will make you look 12 years younger. We do not know about looking 12 years younger, but it really did help our skin tremendously! The mud bath have a lot of minerals that are known for making skin silky smooth and can also help heal sun burns, eczema, arthritis, sore joints, and more. Adam and I both have dry skin and we kid you not, after that day we had perfect skin for two weeks! Mud bath soap can be found throughout Saint Lucia and we ended up buying some ourselves at the Jade Mountain shop so that we could have perfect skin forever.

So how does it work? You brace yourself for an extremely hot dip into the hot bath. Do not even touch the water or you will psyche yourself out, just go for it! You stand in the hot spring up to your face for a few minutes or as long as you can stand.

Then jump out of the water and into an underpass where the locals or tour guide will grab a bucket of mud and help spread it on your body or of course you may do it yourself. Adam and I had a lot of fun spreading the mud on each others bodies (talk about a romantic honeymoon), and then our driver helped spread the mud on our face and got creative by placing our hands onto one another to make the tribal hand prints. Like I said, we had a lot of fun with this process.

Once you feel like you have covered yourself from head to toe wait for the mud to dry then dip back into the hot spring to wash the mud away. This part was actually the most difficult. It took us awhile and luckily we had each other to help get the mud out if we were not able to see it.

Tips:

  • Bring plenty of water! You will be dehydrated from not only the heat but being in the hot springs of 110°F
  • Wear a bathing suit you do not care about or one that has dark colors, the mud and sulphur have the possibility to stain your suit
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Bring a camera because you are not going to want to miss taking pictures of this experience!

Sulphur Springs St. Lucia
Mud bath and waterfall $75 each (not the tour we used)
https://www.sulphurspringstlucia.com

Tour of the Botanical Gardens and Diamond Falls Mineral Baths

We did this tour the same day as the Sulphur Springs with our private driver/guide. It was not far from the Sulphur Springs and we felt like when we entered the gardens the temperature dropped at least ten degrees. So many beautiful plants and flowers encompass the 6-acre botanical garden making it a magical paradise. There were even cocoa trees and whole nutmeg here!

Tucked away in the botanical garden was Saint Lucia’s natural wonder, the Diamond Falls and Mineral Baths. We made our way to the waterfall by jumping on rocks until we hit the water. Diamond Falls became more lovely the closer we got and it is definitely worth a visit.

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Once we climbed our way back from the waterfall we nourished our skin one more time in the Diamond Falls Mineral Baths. The mineral baths are not as natural looking as the mud bath because they are more like a bath house. In fact, it is said that King Louis XIV built the bath house for his troops to enjoy. Like the mud bath, the water is rich in natural minerals (quartz, gypsum, kaolinite, geotite, pyrite, and alunite) from its surrounding area, which produce healing properties to help cleanse and rejuvenate the skin. The water felt more than amazing, it was a perfect warm temperature – we wish all pools felt that good. A spa is great, but there is something special about treating your body in an environment with endless natural minerals.

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Botanical Garden with Mineral Baths
Entry to Botanical Garden $7 each
Public Mineral Baths $6 each
http://diamondstlucia.com

Tour of Jade Mountain’s Emerald Farm and Chocolate Lab

We loved every excursion and activity, but this one might have been our overall favorite. Jade Mountain included this excursion as a complimentary gift because of how much enthusiasm we shared for their chocolate. You know us – we love to eat and we love to eat anything sweet! We did not visit Emerald Farm and the Chocolate Lab until our fourth day and it was perfect timing. We had dined enough times at Jade Mountain Club to grow a great appreciation and love for their food and chocolate.

Emerald Farm is located just 20 minutes away from Jade Mountain and produces everything from vegetables, micro greens, fruits, spices, nuts, sugar cane, herbs and over 1000 cocoa trees. Every morning the chefs pick their daily produce from Emerald Farm and creates their menu based off of their morning harvest. It was one thing to know that when we ate at Jade Mountain Club the food was alway fresh from the farm that morning, but it was another thing to see the farm and produce in person. Needless to say, our appreciation for food at Jade Mountain grew exponentially.

During our tour through the farm our guide would point out all the different produce that we had never seen or heard of before. She would take the fruits right off the tree and let us taste them, like bilimbi (a sour fruit in the shape of a cucumber). She even had a farmer take his knife and cut down sugar cane and cinnamon for us – they were delicious! Our guide was very informative about the farm and we learned so much.

When we reached the cocoa trees we were in awe with their beauty, height and taste. The same gentleman who cut sugar cane for us took a cocoa pod and punched it with his bare fist and the cocoa pod cracked open! They said it was his special gift. We were able to taste fresh cocoa bean right from the pod. The entire experience was incredible! Our guide taught us about the process of growing a cocoa pod and turing the cocoa bean into a chocolate bar. Click here to read about the Jade Mountain’s process in our chocolate post.

Once we were finished with our tour, our guide took us back to the resort and into the chocolate lab – the best part of course! We learned more about the process of bean to bar and were able to see the machines help make the magic happen. You can only learn so much from listening though right? Our lesson completed with tasting all the wonderful chocolate produced in the chocolate lab. After we tasted every chocolate bar and more, we felt like chocolate masters. It was the “sweetest” way to end our day.

Emerald Estate and Chocolate Lab Tour
Normally only available to Jade Mountain guests, but if you are interested we suggest emailing Jade Mountain 

$75 each
http://www.jademountain.com/cuisine/chocolate.html
Whether you enjoy being out in the ocean, having a natural spa day, being adventurous in the outdoors or eating something delicious – we hope you found something exciting to enjoy in our list of favorite activities to do in Saint Lucia!

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Activities