St Lucia

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The rainforest island

The first thing which struck me about St Lucia was an immediate sense of being smack-bang in the middle of a tropical rainforest. It’s so green and mountainous here, and you never forget that first glimpse of the Pitons mountains, two volcanic spires which form the World Heritage Site.

The locals are incredibly friendly and proud of their island. You can see why. It has one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful bays at Marigot Bay, where parts of Dr Doolittle were filmed, specifically the scenes with the giant pink snail! At the foot of the Pitons is the fishing town of Soufriere and from here, you can visit Diamond Falls and the drive-in volcano of Sulphur Springs – the road runs through the steaming crater so be prepared for the stench of rotten eggs!

As you’d expect, it has some stellar resorts. One of the loveliest is Anse Chastanet which overlooks the Pitons and was designed by its architect-owner Nick Troubetzkoy. You can see his passion for nature – the resort is set in 600 acres of gardens between two beautiful beaches, and its bays and coral reefs are part of a marine reserve. Some of the suites also have an ‘open’ fourth wall – an amazing way to wake up. Above Anse Chastenet and also designed by Nick Troubetzkoy is Jade Mountain. This one has a serious ‘wow’ factor. Bridges lead to luxury infinity-pool suites which all have the open-to-the-elements fourth wall with views of the Pitons. It’s incredible.

You might be surprised to know St Lucia is great for whale-watching too. There’s a fantastic zipwire course too, excellent walking and mountain-biking, and Pigeon Island’s coral reefs and springtime jazz festival show the variety here. If you’re after more than just a beach holiday, St Lucia may well fit the bill.’

Flight time: 9 hours

Language: English

Capital: Castries

Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar; US dollar accepted

Time difference: GMT -4