Never mind the hassle getting there through a resort ground (although the staff is in Luciagel’s experience super nice and helpful), Sugar Beach is well worth the visit – and the swim.
Located just between the Pitons, the view upwards from the water is simply magnificent and filled with awe. Crystal clear water feels somehow special too. Unlike on many beaches in St Lucia, it gets deep really quickly and you will find grains of black volcanic sand at the bottom.
Ladera guests have the privilege of getting to possibly St Lucia’s most amazing beach with the resort shuttle.
Whereas Ladera is a lovely place to visit for lunch to get a magnificent view of Pitons, nothing beats spending the night there – and waking up (literally) in the middle of the rainforest. Outside, of course: Ladera’s three-wall concept means sleeping under the stars (yet still under the roof!).
But is that not a bit scary? Not really. High elevation renders mosquito threat virtually non-existent, whereas thick insect nets around your bed prevent too close encounters with a variety of rainforest moths – some of them rather beautiful!
If you spend the night at Ladera, do not miss breakfast. Their French toast with banana mash was lovely but, if you have not done so yet at a St Lucian home, go for bakes & saltfish with cocoa tea, a proper Creole breakfast.
Properly tropical Sugar Beach, an amazing place to swim right between the Pitons, is accessible by a short shuttle ride.
St Lucia is hardly a pizza paradise. Actually, with all gorgeous Creole food there is hardly need for that. But still, is there a place to get decent pizza on the island? The obvious answer is Domino’s but our answer is Elena’s.
Located at Rodney Bay marina, it is a lovely place for waterside dining. Their pizzas are Italian thin dough, executed as it should be. More importantly, they do take their choice of toppings seriously so it is beyond just pepperoni and ham. Plus they feature an open kitchen so you can watch their pizzaiolos at work.
Luciagel’s St Lucia beaches picks in the busy northwest of the island are Reduit Beach or The Ramp, Vigie Beach and Smugglers Cove.
The Ramp: just behind Rodney Bay town, that is how you would imagine a highly touristy beach in the Caribbean but it is rarely overcrowded, even on the weekends. Although lined with resorts, you can enjoy some privacy and some shade. Calm seas, clean, simply lovely. Easy to get a nice cocktail or meal at Bay Gardens beach bar and restaurant or the Spinnakers.
Vigie Beach: less touristy and attracting more of a local crowd, just behind a not too busy airport, which gives it a special feel. Ideal for morning jogging or enjoying lunch / some local beer in the shade of the trees.
Smugglers Cove: well-hidden just before the Cap Maison resort, you need to take a flight of stairs to reach this very special place beneath the rocks. The seas can be rough though but even if you are not much of a swimmer, you an still enjoy the beautiful scenery. Lovely beach bar – with slightly overpriced drinks though.
There are plenty of places to eat in Castries as in any other town but getting proper lunch is somehow a bit tricky, especially if you consider properly sitting down and enjoying your food or even inviting your business partners. Luciagel’s choice is Auberge Seraphine, a lovely family run inn. If you are driving, head north from downtown Castries and turn left when you reach the Vigie Airport runway, then take second road on the left, keep left and cross the ridge, and you have reached your destination.
They would regularly serve lovely grilled dorado (dolphin) with local vegetables, and we love their cream soups too. And it all comes with a sea view. Full lunch just above 40EC$.
After the quiet lent season and coinciding with the start of St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, downtown Gros Islet saw the revival of its Friday nights, with an enhanced Creole cultural programme and, as usual, plenty of music – not jazz music though!
Apart from chilling out with a bottle of Python, one important motive to go to Gros Islet night is to get some lovely local grilled chicken, some bakes etc. Now, not all the chicken you get in Gros Islet is great. Here are some tips:
1. Make sure we are talking grilled, not fried (and then warmed up).
2. Make sure it is straight from the grill. Buy from those vendors with a high frequency of guests (see photo). The green house by the main street is Luciagel’s preferred choice.
Everyone who has visited Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival knows it is not all that much about jazz.
Nevertheless, if you do not mind other music genres, particularly soca, you can have a great time at most of the festival’s events.
Apart from the main stage in picturesque Pigeon Island national park, ‘Jazz on the Bay’ in Marigot Bay might well be the Festival’s most attractive venue. With the stage set in a cool patio overlooking a beautiful tropical lagoon and some talented local musicians, few visitors would complain.
Although branded as a hotel, Habitat Terace feels more like a luxurious cosy home overlooking Rodney Bay and Pigeon Point. With a beautifully maintained garden featuring a small pool, and friendly owner Cheryl and her dedicated team, it always feels pleasant, and some apartments in the facility have just amazing view – well worth the drive uphill from the Rodney Bay village.
Lunch at Ladera is a must when visiting St Lucia for at least two reasons. First, the place is located just between the Pythons, the two landmark peaks, so the view of them with the sea in between is simply marvellous. Second, the food is Creole with just a bit of fusion, so there will be tasty grilled chicken and fish, with a very special homemade barbecue sauce, rice and beans, pumpkin pie and mac cheese. Natural juices come with sugar syrup – lovely. But be alert: local birds might be eager to claim their share of your delicious platter!
There is not much to improve at Ladera and even pricing is pretty reasonable considering the location & quality, especially when compared to comparable options in the north of the island.
Apart from juicy and tasty chicken wings and a very friendly (yet not pushy) attitude, Wingz n’Tingz features a cosy place to chill outside on an evening over some nice grilled meat and a Python beer in the middle of Rodney Bay Village, yet slightly detached from the vibrant night buzz. Combining fast food-style (and prices) with attentive and flexible customer service, the place is rather unique in the area.
Grilled ‘wingz’ come stirred with a delicious sauce – we can recommend honey barbecue, and if you are not too much into wings, you may also be able to get some juicy pork chops instead, so just in case you are not offered a speciality upon arrival, always ask what is available.
Wingz offer a really good value for money in terms of good food, friendliness and location. Luciagel recommends.