Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
Our flight arrived at 3:30 pm into Hewanorra airport (UVF) at the very south of St. Lucia. There are 2 airports – UVF is for international flights and the smaller Charles airport (SLU) by the capital city of Castries is used for inter-island flights.
We picked up our rental car through Hertz and made the 1.5 hour drive north to the Windjammer Landing resort (more on St. Lucia lodging further below). You can get the all-inclusive package but we opted for breakfast only and it was a great place to stay. They have multiple always-running shuttles to get you around the resort but our room was close enough that we always walked. It is on a pretty big hill and the property is very spaced out, so depending on where your room is you might have to take the shuttle.
After getting checked in, we walked around the resort for a bit, drove to Massy Stores for some groceries, made dinner, and called it a night.
Day 2: Resort Day
It was Easter so we started the day with a church service on-site. After breakfast (really good, lots of variety), we spent the rest of the day at the resort in the multiple pools, beach, and using the non-motorized water sports included with our stay. Kayaks, pedalboats, paddleboards, snorkeling, and wind surfing are all included, and there’s even more with an all-inclusive package.
They had special events throughout the day for Easter including Easter bunnies on the beach passing out candy. We had dinner at Jammers, which was excellent.
Day 3: Pigeon Island National Park and Splash Island Water Park
After breakfast we drove about 20 minutes north to Pigeon Island National Park. There is plenty of parking at the entrance and it costs $10 USD per person to get in (less for children). There are ruins around the park but the main attractions are the hikes/walks to Signal Peak and Fort Rodney. Signal Peak is the closer and higher of the 2 but a short trail connects both. You definitely want to do both and can cover everything in the park in 1-2 hours.
We did Fort Rodney first then went up to Signal Peak, but there’s no wrong order. There’s about 330 feet of elevation gain to get to Signal Peak so it could be tough in the midday heat. There are lots of restaurants, bars, and shops along Pigeon Island Beach, which starts at the parking lot for the park, so we grabbed some ice cream for the kids after the hot hike.
We then drove about 10 minutes back south to the Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa in Rodney Bay. They have an awesome water park called Splash Island and you can buy passes even if you’re not staying at the resort ($15 per hour per person).
We paid for an hour and loved it. Stayed even longer to enjoy the calm, picturesque, and shallow Reduit Beach that stretches beyond the water park and resort. It is considered one of St. Lucia’s best beaches.
Quick note: every beach on the island is considered public property and everyone can go to any beach. You can get a water taxi or land taxi to access any beach in St. Lucia – you do not need to be staying at a resort if you want to visit one of their beaches.
We went back to Windjammer, had a snack on the patio of our villa, played in the pools more, and then cooked dinner in our room.
Day 4: Resort Day
We had breakfast, the adults took turns exercising at the fitness center, and we spent most of the day at the Papa Don’s pool right by our room. We went out on a paddle boat and spent some time on the beach, too. Had another great dinner at Jammers.
Day 5: boat tour down the coast to the Pitons
- Point Seraphine Cruise Port
- Bat Cave
- Tet Paul Nature Trail
- Sugar Beach
- Marigot Bay
We booked the Jalousie/Sugar Beach tour with Spencer’s Tours with a custom excursion to do the Tet Paul Nature Trail (more on boat tours further below). They offer resort pickups, but we drove 20 minutes south to Castries. We parked at the Pointe Seraphine Cruise Port where all the cruise ships dock (and most tours depart from). It takes about 30-40 minutes to get directly from Castries to Sugar Beach by boat and 1.5 hours by car. We first stopped at the Bat Cave, which is a narrow slit in the rock close to Soufriere. Next we got off in Soufriere to catch the pre-arranged taxi to the Tet Paul trailhead.
The Tet Paul Nature Trail is the only way to get an elevated view between the Pitons. It’s a very easy 30-60 minute trail. There is a little bit of elevation gain, but you’re in the shade under the canopy for most of it. Also, most of the overall elevation gain from Soufriere is covered by the drive up to the trailhead. I’m glad I didn’t have to drive through Soufriere and to/from the trailhead.
It costs $10 USD for adults and $5 USD for children to do the trail and you get your own personal guide. I would have preferred to do it without a guide, but ours was great and we had no issue doing it at our pace. There are several lookout points and the last one is the best. There’s a shack selling beverages and snacks so you could spend some time admiring the view if desired. We wanted to make sure we had a good amount of time at Sugar Beach so we didn’t linger too long. Be sure to have some cash to tip the guide and support the locals.
The taxi took us back to the pier and the rest of our boat group (13 in total) perfectly just got there, too, from their waterfall and mud bath excursion. A 5-minute ride and we were on one of the most stunning beach settings in the world.
Lunch was included with the tour so we ate on the beach and played in and around the water for a couple of hours. You can rent equipment and there’s a roped-off area for snorkeling on the north side of the beach, at the foot of Petit Piton. You can also rent beach chairs from the Sugar Beach Resort but they are quite expensive (~$75 USD per chair).
After leaving Sugar Beach, we stopped at a few of the picturesque villages on the coast and learned about them from our boat crew. We went in and around Marigot Bay, where several celebrities have houses and multiple movies were filmed. Marigot Bay is very pretty and there are lots of lodging options, so it’s another area you could consider staying.
After a quick stop at the natural arch, which was in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, we headed back to the cruise port. There are many shops, restaurants, and bars at the port so you could spend a lot of time there. We stopped for ice cream and drove back to Windjammer. More pool time and a great dinner at Papa Don’s completed our last night in St. Lucia.
Exercised, ate breakfast, packed up, and had some more pool time before we left for the airport just before noon. Made one random stop on the way back for an awesome unmarked view.
Final thoughts and other helpful information
Choosing a place to stay in St. Lucia can be difficult. The Pitons are the main attraction on the island and located towards the southwest part of the island, but there are lots of reasonably-priced resorts and good restaurants/nightlife up north. Sugar Beach resort is perfectly situated right between the Pitons but is very, very expensive. Jade Mountain has the best far-away view of the Pitons, but is even more expensive than Sugar Beach. Many of the places are adults-only, so be sure to check on that if you’re traveling as a family. We thought Windjammer was a great option for (relative) affordability, amenities, and proximity to things we wanted to do.
We rented a car so we could do Pigeon Island, the water park, and potentially drive down to the Pitons and Tet Paul Nature Trail on our own. However, this was maybe the first time that we could have done it cheaper and easier without a rental car. Arranging transportation to/from the airport and Windjammer was reasonable: ~$90 USD one-way for up to 4 people. We could have gotten picked up for our boat tour at Windjammer for $40 USD total. All of that plus a taxi for Pigeon Island and Splash Island water park would have probably been about the same as the cost of renting a car plus gas.
However, we did stop for ice cream, got groceries, and made a couple random stops for views, too. So I wouldn’t say I regretted renting a car. Just that it wasn’t as beneficial as I thought it would be. If you decide to drive, know that there are lots of potholes, narrow roads up and around crazy inclines, and they drive on the left (same as UK). Picking up and returning a rental car at the airport was very easy. Everything is onsite and a very short walk from the terminal.
Boat tours and/or taxis
Several weeks before we left, I contacted 4 reputable boat tour companies to ask about group vs. private tours: Spencer’s, Solomon’s, Sugar Boat Charters, and Edmund’s. There are so many tour and taxi companies that I’m sure you could wait until you get there to book, but I wanted to see what options there were and weigh that against driving down to the Pitons and going to Sugar Beach on our own.
Hiking the Pitons
You can book a tour or hire a guide to climb Gros Piton or Petit Piton, even though Gros Piton is the only one officially sanctioned by the government. Gros Piton is the easier of the two but both have ropes and steeper sections that might be more climbing than hiking. I have not done either of them and didn’t think it would be worth it with the kids so the Tet Paul Nature trail was the next-best thing.
Language, currency, electric, and everything else I can think of
- The official language in St. Lucia is English. There is also a good amount of Creole that pretty much only the locals will understand.
- United States Dollar is widely accepted but they also have the East Caribbean Dollar (ECD). When grocery shopping, prices seemed like they were crazy expensive in USD but were actually in ECD. I’d recommend asking if you’re unsure.
- Have lots of small bills on hand for tipping.
- Windjammer had all outlets in the standard US plug and voltage, but a type G adapter might be needed. Perhaps a converter, too. Best to check with your lodging.
- Hurricane season is July-November, so you’ll probably want to avoid those months.
- Tap water is safe to drink.
We liked St. Lucia a lot. The Pitons are unique and awesome, the food was great, and the weather was perfect in April. In addition to what we did, there are plenty of waterfalls, the drive-in volcano, and mud baths. However, we purposely chose not to do them. If you’re a cruise person, we felt like you could see the highlights (Sugar Beach, Pitons, Marigot Bay) in a long day. Maybe you wouldn’t need St. Lucia as a standalone destination.
Traveled in April 2023