Though St. Lucia is widely considered a luxury island, it’s not heavily developed. Thus, it still has the quaint and unspoiled charm that put it on the map as a relaxing beach hideout.
The island doesn’t warrant deep pockets too, as it’s a paradise for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a daredevil or a beach bum, or if you’re affluent or have tight purse strings, you all get to enjoy the same clear blue waters and platinum sands in St. Lucia.
A more rustic Caribbean island is Anguilla, an uncrowded beach paradise. This smaller island is the ultimate beach getaway paradise as it has such an easygoing vibe.
The island is void of any glamorous shopping malls or casinos. But with this trade-off, you’d get nothing but virgin grounds as your playground.
It’s easy to get caught up in which Caribbean island to book a plane ticket to. Thankfully, each island has unique draws that’ll help you decide which one fits your vacation needs.
St. Lucia has a sterling reputation for being a luxurious beach destination. But this Caribbean paradise refuses to get boxed up into any category. The island has an ever-growing fanbase, and that’s because it caters to every traveler’s whims.
The rich and famous, the music lovers, and the adrenaline junkies are only some types of tourists St. Lucia allures onto its shores.
While St. Lucia has something specific to tickle your fancy, one thing’s for certain — any tourist to set food on the island can attest to St. Lucia’s lush, unspoiled natural beauty.
So if you’re not convinced that St. Lucia is a tempting slice of tropical paradise, it’ll make you a believer.
What Makes St. Lucia Unique?
It’s impossible to think of a Caribbean getaway without heading out to the beach. The hue of St. Lucia’s shores ranges from white to gold, and the waters come in all shades of blue. And no matter where you are on the island, you’re within striking distance of a glorious beach.
From the resort-filled shores of the leeward side to the rough waves of the west, there’s a beach for everyone. Whether you want to sunbathe on the soft sands, snorkel with the wildlife, or surf the waves, the beach is your playground.
You’d want to go to the best ones that the island has to offer though. So here are some must-visit beaches to make your Caribbean holiday an unforgettable one.
If you’ve heard of the famous Sugar Beach, this is actually its original name. This beach offers what you’d imagine a Caribbean beach to be: white sands and sparkling turquoise waters. More than the beach though, Sugar Beach is special as it’s flanked by lush mountains, the Pitons, on either side.
A truly unique beach, you can visit Sugar Beach even if its shores are by a hotel. It welcomes even nonguests, offering free toilet use too.
If you’re looking for a more romantic beach, Marigot Bay is perfect for couples. Only a few steps away from the beach are hip and casual beach bars and restaurants. Grab some cocktails and enjoy the sunset views with a drink in your hand.
Myriad of Colorful Wildlife
Whether you’re a scuba diver or not, you’ll find a paradise beneath St. Lucia’s azure waters. There are a plethora of dive sites surrounding the island. And with the clear warm waters, deep walls, wrecks, and a myriad of wildlife, snorkeling or diving is a must on your visit.
Arguably the best diving spot on the island is only off the northern coast of the Pitons. The deep valleys beneath the water mimicked the imposing hills above. There’s an 1800-foot (549 meters) drop at the base of the mountains, hiding an endless variety of the thriving sea life of St. Lucia.
Swim through colorful corals with sergeant major fish and spot some sea urchins on the reef. You can play peek-a-boo with slippery moray eels peeping out of their hiding holes. You may even be fortunate enough to explore the magical waters with endangered sea turtles.
Another world-class scuba spot is Anse Chastanet Beach. This beach offers a larger reef than you’d find near the Pitons. But more than that, there’s an excellent scuba center here too, so you have dive experts to show you the best underwater spots.
A lesser-known diving spot is the uncrowded Pigeon Island. Scuba diving and snorkeling aren’t the only options you have here. You can also go on a sea-helmet adventure, allowing nonswimmers and kids to discover what lies beneath the waters.
While St. Lucia’s beaches catch your attention, its offerings of unique experiences are what make your vacation one to remember. If you’re looking for the cherry on top of your stay in St. Lucia, here’s a highlight of the island’s exotic activities.
St. Lucia’s landscape and warm climate are the winning combinations for cacao production. Nestled within the island’s gentle slopes are cacao trees that it capitalizes on. St. Lucia transforms cacao beans into delectable chocolates, and there are a few ways for you to enjoy this.
An obvious choice to support St. Lucia’s chocolate tourism is to give in to your inner sweet tooth. In every corner of the island, you’ll find chocolate served in several ways. Sip on some chocolate martinis by the bar, or go all out on a chocolate buffet.
What’s more fascinating is to tour any of St. Lucia’s chocolate plantations. You’d get to see the whole production process. From nurturing seeds, then harvesting ripe cacao trees, and finally, processing the pods into cacao nibs.
The most popular spot for this is the Hotel Chocolat plantation. Take a three-hour tour here, with chocolate bars and drinks to fuel you. Not only that, but you’d also get a stunning view of the Pitons on your excursion.
The Hotel Chocolat offers a true tree-to-bar experience. You can plant a cacao tree and make it into all the chocolate you want when you come back. But until then, making your own chocolate is also part of the tour!
Another spot for chocolate lovers is the Anse Chastanet Chocolate Laboratory. You’d also get to tour the facility and production process, but with some extra touches. You’d get chocolate and wine pairing, make your truffle, and you can even go on a chocolate spa day!
In St. Lucia, drive around the crater of La Soufriere volcano for a fun time. Or, you can saunter around the hissing and bubbling hot pools, clouded with the sulfur-smelling steams. Take it a step further and prepare for a dip, as relaxing in the hot springs is the main draw here!
At Sulphur Springs, you can go for a mud bath and treat your skin. This mud is mineral-rich, softens your skin, and even helps in improving skin conditions, such as eczema.
St. Lucia has islands filled with thick forests, and there’s a more exciting way to have fun in it. Treetop Adventure Park has the best zip lines anywhere in the Caribbean. There are 12 of them in total, and they’re not only the highest but also the longest in the West Indies.
For a more leisurely activity among the lush greenery, you can take a stroll on the suspension bridges too.
While hard partying isn’t a thing for the locals, St. Lucia’s festivals more than make up for its relaxed vibe. And when there’s a festival happening, expect nothing less than an energetic revelry filling the streets.
Among all the events on the island, the St. Lucia Carnival is the most anticipated one. Every June or July, you can expect a ton of community events, endless parties, and bottomless drinking. It’s a celebration of the Caribbean’s history, culture, and more noticeably, creativity.
Immaculate Emerald Interiors
While some Caribbean islands have flat terrain, St. Lucia has a delightfully diverse terrain. A volcanic island, St. Lucia’s landscape ranges from steep peaks to gentle slopes. You can hike up mountains in the north, while the south has some scenic, green-covered hills.
More than any natural wonder in the island’s interior, the Pitons are the type to grace the island’s travel brochures. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these two peaks lie on the edge of the southwestern coast. The deep blue hues of the sea are a stunning contrast to the emerald Pitons, a delightful palette you’d find throughout the island.
There’s more to St. Lucia than being a natural eye candy though. It tucks away some glorious hidden gems too for the adventurer to discover.
Hike through its magical forests and see where the jungle paths take you. Some lead you to cascading waterfalls for a refreshing dip after a long hike.
Sault Falls is the perfect destination for this. But if you’d rather go to a waterfall without the hassle, Toraille Falls is easily accessible on a drive.
If you’re going for a more scenic hike, the Tet Paul Nature Trail has some of the best panoramic views of St. Lucia. But if you’re not the active kind of tourist, you can also soak in the beauty of the island without breaking a sweat. A Segway tour to Mount Primard may be for you, and you’re not in for a huge trade-off here as you’d get a picturesque view of the coastline.
At the heart of every vacation is good food, whether you’re a big foodie or not. Not only will it fuel you for a day filled with adventure and sightseeing. But it’s also a great way to gain an appreciation and understanding of the culture.
In St. Lucia, you’d get filled with dishes of many influences, from American to Indian flavors. St. Lucia knows the way to the heart of every tourist, and it starts with their immense love for its cuisine. This gets filtered down to your plate, offering a hearty meal that doesn’t disappoint.
Being an island, freshly caught fish and seafood are the highlights of the local cuisine. Snappers, lobsters, and tuna are common in dishes and you’ll find them everywhere from food shacks to high-end restaurants.
But don’t forget to relish some of the local favorites too! Treat your tastebuds to green figs and saltfish, cow heel soup, bouyon, and curried meats.
Other Caribbean islands are luxurious destinations, with masks to reel in tourists. But you’ll find something a bit different in the rustic islands of Anguilla.
You’ll find no high-rise hotels, opulent cruise ships, or world-class casinos here. What you’ll get is the virgin beauty of the Caribbean. There’s an overabundance of crystal clear, coral- and wildlife-filled waters, and low-key beachfront stays. With its untouched charm, Anguilla provides the ultimate authentic Caribbean experience.
What Makes Anguilla Unique?
Anguilla’s idyllic beaches have the kind of beauty that you’d want to set as your screensaver. The powdery, chalk-like sands are a striking contrast to the cerulean sea. And with the sun perpetually smiling on the shores, the crystal clear waters glisten, providing an ethereal vibe to the scenery.
The best part is that Anguilla’s beaches aren’t crowded, so you’d have the shore all to yourself! Thus, the stunning beaches of Anguilla are truly for those seeking to unwind and relax.
On all sides of the island, there are sugary shores for you to spend the day in. There are 33 of them in total, so you’re bound to find one to pick as your favorite.
But of course, some of them are the crowd favorite, for all good reasons. If you want to see why they’re raved about, here’s a little more on Anguilla’s big hitters.
This beach is a wide crescent that features the world-famous Caribbean Sea waters. It’s a perfect strip of sand to stroll around or sip on some cocktails at the colorful, reggae-vibed beach bars that dot the shore. If this is the view you’d want during your stay, the island’s most spectacular accommodations are nearby.
Shoal Bay Beach
If you’d rather have a more active beach day, head over to the famous Shoal Bay Beach. It’s the perfect spot for water sports, or even just sunbathing and lounging under the sun. You can also take a glass-bottom boat as you paddle through the clear waters to view the thriving marine life beneath.
If you’re traveling as a couple, Little Bay may be what you’re looking for. It’s a secluded yet picturesque beach that offers a more intimate vibe.
But this virgin beach also fits the bill for adventurers too. The adventure highlight of Little Bay is jumping off the Little Bay Rock. You can also hike up and down a cliff with only a rope, you can snorkel, and/or marvel at the beauty of the local flora and fauna here.
Though Anguilla’s geography is quite flat, it’s not an overdeveloped island. Thus, exploring what lies underneath the water or within its emerald interiors is a thrilling feat.
More than any other activity, water sports top any visitor’s to-do list. The cerulean ocean is your playground in Anguilla! And unlike other Caribbean islands, it doesn’t get crowded here, so there’s more space for you to frolic in.
Stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and any other water sport you’d want are here. But kite surfing is the king of water sports in Anguilla, and it’s not one to miss.
There are plenty of kite surfing schools dotted across the island, so it’s easy to find a highly qualified instructor to show you the ropes. These schools have the latest quality equipment and technology necessary for this. With their efforts, Anguilla has a reputation for being one of the hottest kite surfing destinations!
Water fun isn’t the only way to get yourself active in Anguilla. The island is a great place to hike, with lush trails for you to enjoy.
Crocus Hill is Anguilla’s highest point, thus, it’s the island’s most popular hiking spot. Standing at 240 feet (73 meters), this hill is easily accessible from The Valley, the capital.
The Limestone Bay trail is another hiking spot that combines rugged hikes and beach walks. It’s 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers) long and hides a hidden gem of a beach.
Hiking to the Iguana Cave will take you through the country’s only rainforest, sprinkled with rows of tall cacti. At the end of the hike, you’ll reach a limestone cave illuminated by a giant skylight. Iguanas aren’t the only sight here but also colonies of bats!
Passionate Sports Culture
If you’re a sports enthusiast, Anguilla will easily indulge you with a host of live sports. Both on the waters and on dry land, there are loads of sporting events on the island. Though most of the hype goes to the national sport, boat racing.
Anguilla’s strong boat racing culture is deeply rooted in the country’s history. Anguillians would travel far on a boat to work, and after months of being away, they’d zoom through waters to reunite with family. This became a racing competition between captains rushing back home.
Today, it lives on as the local’s favorite sport, and they take it seriously. There are several ways to feast your eyes on this spectacle.
One way is to head to Sandy Ground and watch as the boats set sail and return home. A harder option is to hire a taxi driver or boat and follow the boats at key vantage points.
But the most thrilling way to partake in this is to join a crew and race! It’s not for the fainthearted though, as you’d get swung side to side through the rough waves. Still, you’d earn major bragging rights after conquering the sea!
If you’d rather stay on land, Anguilla is big on cricket too. Rugby is also growing on the islands. Both have local teams to cheer on, and this is a great opportunity to mingle with the locals!
Other than those, Anguilla’s landscape is perfect for competitive road cycling. Though mostly flat, the island has gentle hills and roads by the beach. Some roads are quite rocky and narrow, a challenge that many love to conquer!
Hidden Gems in Uninhabited Islands
Anguilla is full of glorious secrets that are begging to get discovered, but only if you’re a fearless adventurer. The excitement doesn’t stop on Anguilla’s mainland, as there are ways to explore off the shore. They’re extensions of the country’s natural wonders, leaving more for adventures!
If this is an intriguing escapade you’d love to embark on, here’s an overview of some of the famous Anguillan cays.
This is the most popular cay in Anguilla as it’s only 15 minutes away from Sandy Ground. It’s a small slice of powdery white sand, offering a stunning view of the mainland.
Spend your lunch here as they serve some local favorites under the shade. The star dish is a buttery grilled lobster with pasta salad. Don’t forget to have some rum punch on the side!
Prickly Pear is a combination of two remote small islands. It’s famous for its massive turquoise bay, making it a great spot for snorkeling. With an overgrowth of greenery, this cay has a more wild feel to it.
This quiet cay is so close to the mainland that you can swim to get there if you’d like! And once you get there, you can help yourself to a hearty meal in Scilly Cay Restaurant. This is the only establishment on the island, leaving the rest of the island for nature to reign.
This island is where you’d come to for the virgin beauty of Anguilla. There are no restaurants or other businesses here, you’ll only find greenery, sand, and wild goats! With this, hiking around the island is an exciting excursion as the picturesque terrain is a sight to behold. Don’t forget to stop by the island’s plane wrecks too.
If you’re an avid bird-watcher, Dog Cay is your paradise. This is a park and bird sanctuary, featuring over 10,000 birds and the most exotic Caribbean bird species. It’s hard to get to Dog Cay though, as it’ll depend on the weather.
Electrifying Culture and Party Scene
Anguilla has a free and easy vibe throughout the year, a part of its charm that reels in tourists. But the island also has a ton of annual festivals. And each of them fills the streets with upbeat music, colorful decorations, and a whole lot more.
The most sought-after festival in Anguilla is the Moonsplash, taking place every March or April. It’s regarded as their full moon party and described as an unpretentious, extra laid-back version of Coachella. This reggae music festival attracts big international acts, luring more each year.
The Moonsplash is for the night owls, though, as it kicks off at 10 PM! Headliners also play until 3 AM, so you’d have a lot of time to soak in the festive vibes.
If your trip doesn’t coincide with the Moonsplash, don’t worry. Anguilla’s nightlife mimics this, but on a smaller scale. Your night out will get saturated in reggae, soca, and calypso beats. With easygoing vibes everywhere, it’s a delight to have rum punch in hand with sunset views to cap off your day.
A crowd-favorite is the Sunshine Shack, a simple spot on Rendezvous Bay. Johno’s Beach Stop is another, with live music to serenade you throughout the night. Dune Preserve is a high-profile bar, and its owner is the founder of the island’s Moonsplash festival.
Despite being a small island, Anguilla has a big appetite. The island has over 100 restaurants sprinkled throughout the map. These are the heart of the Anguillan experience, offering you a blend of Caribbean, French, British, and African flavors.
With all your options, taking a culinary trip to Anguilla is as easy as can be. From beach bars to world-class restaurants, you’ll be snacking all day on the island.
Munch on perfectly seasoned meat or the local favorite, lobster bisque. Help yourself to crayfish plates on the beachside, or grab some homemade soups from the food truck right around the corner. There are plenty of yummy eats to sample in Anguilla!
Which Is Better – St. Lucia or Anguilla?
If beaches and relaxation are your main priority, then Anguilla is a better destination for you. But while Anguilla’s beaches are more beautiful than St. Lucia’s you’re limited to water activities on the island.
Thus, St. Lucia is a better-balanced destination for many. You’d still have gorgeous beaches here. But the incredible natural scenery and a longer list of activities make it a more worthwhile destination.