ELLE Escapes: St. Lucia

Culture

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There’s something magical about St. Lucia that’s almost difficult to put into words. I’ve been to many islands in my lifetime (my mom is from Antigua), but this West Indies destination is truly transportative. Lush rainforests, majestical waterfalls, otherworldly black sand beaches, and of course, the iconic Pitons (“peaks” in French) will leave you wondering why you opted to live anywhere else in the first place.

Snowbirds traditionally flock to the island starting in November—and depart in April—and those looking for an authentic, vibrant experience can do the same. Fuel up with some local green fig, salt fish, bakes, and Chairman’s reserve rum to keep the vibes and your energy high during the cold-weather season. Thanks to the newly renovated Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, I was able to experience the stunning island first-hand. Here’s what to see, as well as where to eat, drink, and stay.

What to See


Carnival Sailing Luxury Charters

a sailboat on the water

Courtesy of Carnival Luxury

To fully experience all of St. Lucia’s beauty, choose a boat. After all, who doesn’t love a glamorous day on the water? Opt for a half-day catamaran sail with lunch included (think: fish tacos, shrimp caesar salad, perfectly cooked steak with veggies, and coconut ice cream for dessert) as you literally soak up the coastline view en route to the town of Soufrière. Before heading back to your resort (many properties like Windjammer Landing pick you up directly from the dock), stop off for some snorkeling or a refreshing plunge into the Caribbean Sea. I promise, the only question you’ll have is: can I have another glass of champagne?

Sulphur Springs

sulphur springs st lucia

Conrad J Camit//Getty Images

Maybe it’s the air, maybe it’s the relaxed attitude, maybe it’s the daily sea moss intake—but it is extremely hard to discern how old anyone is on an island like St. Lucia. This writer had to know its secret to eternal youth. Turns out, locals credit it to the natural sulfur mud baths courtesy of the dormant volcano (which last erupted in the 1700s but is closely monitored, by the way). Accessible via car or bus, you’ll smell the springs before you see them, not necessarily in a good way. Don’t let this deter you, remember youth awaits! Slather yourself from head to toe in the mineral-rich mud, allow it to dry, then brave the naturally heated pools that vary in temperature. Do yourself a favor and wear a dark-colored swimsuit.

Toraille Waterfall

a waterfall in a forest

Holger Leue//Getty Images

TLC may have told us not to go chasing waterfalls, but your trip to St. Lucia wouldn’t be complete without visiting one. Post-Sulfur Springs, I made my way to Toraille, located a few minutes from Soufrière. The stunning 50-foot drop was intimidating at first, but once you descend down into cool water and let the pressure work out those pre-vacation knots and tangles, you’ll be in absolute bliss. Pro tip: bring swimming shoes to avoid the rocks.

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Where to Eat


The Perch at Dragonfly

the perch at dragonfly

Courtesy of Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort

There’s nothing like al fresco dining, especially on island time. While you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurant options on property, The Perch is the Windjammer’s newest rooftop bar and lounge. Sushi lovers will enjoy classic and signature rolls (try the Dragonfly Twister!), while seafood enthusiasts will enjoy Caribbean-infused dishes, like snapper ceviche in aji amarillo sauce and the freshest paella you’ve ever had.

Rabot Restaurant

a plate of food

Belle Portwe

Dubbed as one of the island’s “most popular foodie destinations,” diners at Rabot Restaurant are truly in for a treat. The cacao-inspired menu offers a true farm-to-bar experience, using everything from the pod to the pulp to reduce waste. Imagine dishes like handmade cacao cannelloni with fresh local vegetables, served with a roasted pumpkin purée. Drink your dessert with the signature Midnight Tiramisu cocktail topped with Hotel Chocolat Espresso Chocolate, velvetized cream, Kahlúa, amaretto, Frangelico, and of course, cacao.

Martha’s Table

a plate of food

Courtesy of Martha’s Table

You can’t leave the island without tasting iconic creole-style dishes, which is why this family-run restaurant comes highly recommended. Taste everything from breadfruit balls to freshly-caught lobster in a white wine sauce paired with your choice of fresh vegetables, rice and beans, mac and cheese, and potato salad.

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Where to Drink


Rum Cave

a room with a large barrel and pots

Courtesy of Zoëtry Marigot Bay St. Lucia

Nestled in the Zoëtry Marigot Bay St. Lucia, this tapas-style bar and restaurant specializes in—you guessed it—rum. Make sure to request a tasting of the locally-distilled Chairman’s Reserve bottle—if possible, the vintage 2009.

Naked Fisherman

a beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas

Mike Toy

In a natural cove right below Cap Maison Resort & Spa you’ll find this waterside jaunt, which is exactly what you envision when someone says “beach bar.” It will be pretty hard to just have one drink, but the TNF Rum Punch is a great starter before trying other one-of-kind cocktails on the menu.

Irie Bar

a bar

Courtesy of Irie Bar

Perfect for locals and tourists alike, Irie Bar is located around the corner from the weekly Gros Islet Friday Night Street Party. Grab a local Piton beer and listen to live reggae music before the festivities really get going.

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Where to Stay


Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort

a large white building with a blue sky

Courtesy of Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort

All-inclusive resorts can sometimes get a bad rap, but Windjammer Landing has broken the mold. After undergoing a whopping $12 million renovation earlier this year, the 65-acre hillside estate is well on its way to five-star status. Ball out (because why not?) with family or close friends by booking one of the newly built Ocean Point Residences boasting multiple patios, soaking tubs, and a private plunge pool. Those who don’t mind a hike (or a short shuttle ride) will love staying at the family-friendly villas. Thankfully for you, there are no bad views—every single room gives you a direct eye line to the ocean. Food-wise, select from one of seven on-property restaurants, or coordinate an in-villa dining experience with a private chef. Parents will appreciate perks like the kids-only Jacquot Fun Club to keep their little ones entertained while they enjoy a drink (or two) on the beach.

Green Fig Resort & Spa

a room with a view of the water and mountains

Green Fig Resort & Spa

This 25-room, treehouse-like boutique hotel sits on a slope overlooking the town of Soufrière, Petit Piton, and Caribbean Sea. Venture down to Hummingbird Beach—about a five-minute walk—or hang out at The Onion, the on-property bar. Pro tip: BYOBS (bring your own bug spray); this property is technically located in the rainforest, so packing a strong repellent is essential.

Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

a pool and a beach

Courtesy of Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort

Part of the Viceroy Hotel Group, this 100-acre resort is housed on the site of an 18th-century sugar plantation and is surrounded by the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons. Choose between beachfront bungalows or mountain cottages to take in the breathtaking rainforest fauna. Watch the sunset with a cocktail while digging your toes into powder-white sand of Anse des Pitons.

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Beauty Picks


Charlotte’s Magic Hydrator Mist

Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Hydrator Mist
Credit: Charlotte Tilbury

The Caribbean is hot—so give your face the equivalent of a cool glass of water with this new hydrating mist. With just a few spritzes, you are treating your face to an oxygenating mist mixed with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and kombu extract. Say goodbye to dull, dry skin!

Classic Whip SPF 30 Sunscreen Mousse

Vacation Classic Whip SPF 30 Sunscreen Mousse
Credit: Ulta Beauty

Make sunscreen fun again. This SPF 30 formula is presented like whipped cream, but goes on smooth without leaving a white caste like your favorite sunscreen. If you’re looking for an easy way to get your kids to apply (or reapply) their sunscreen or a suggestive way for your partner to sun-protect your back—this is it. No matter who it’s for, this will be a guaranteed conversation starter.

Golden Hour Wipes

Kinfield Golden Hour Wipes

Bites, be gone! These natural, long-lasting, and easily packable insect repellent wipes are a must for outdoor adventures.

Headshot of Janell M. Hickman-Kirby

Janell M. Hickman-Kirby is a contributing writer for Cosmopolitan.com.

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