St. Lucia, Saint Lucia

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Cruising to St. Lucia

An explorer's paradise

There's little doubt that the Caribbean is one of the most enchanting regions on Earth for explorers, which is why it has captured the imaginations of so many visitors through the ages. Centuries ago, it was navigators, conquistadores and pirates that sailed these seas, finding adventure at every turn, although these days it's become something of a paradise for tourists. No island encapsulates this more than St Lucia, and while it may have a reputation for being a honeymooner's haven, the reality is that there's much, much more than just relaxing resorts to discover here.

At first glance, St Lucia is the archetypal Caribbean destination, with palm-fringed beaches surrounding a lush, forest-covered interior, harbouring all manner of secrets and mysteries. It's also home to the iconic Petit Piton and Gross Piton volcanic peaks, which rise up from the sea and loom over the entire island. You really couldn't picture a more exotic-looking island.

While it's true that much of St Lucia has been conquered by the luxury travel industry, there's still plenty of rugged wilderness to explore, with the Pigeon Island Nature Reserve being an excellent place to start. As well as being home to some stunning beaches, this small island – which is connected to the rest of St Lucia by a causeway – also harbours the 18th-century Fort Rodney, which seems to have been made for exploring.

It's also possible to climb the two Piton peaks, as well as take a guided walk through the rainforest, while the Sulphur Springs – which lie at the heart of a dormant volcano – are always worth a visit too. Of course, if you'd rather just relax then you'll find loads of picture-perfect beaches dotted around the island, such as Smugglers Cove and Anse des Pitons. The sand in the north of the island is of a white and golden variety, while beaches further south tend to be comprised of a more silvery, volcanic type of sand.

There are also loads of high-class restaurants all over the island, serving international as well as local cuisine. Among the island's specialities are fresh seafood and spicy rotis, not to mention its famous rum punch. For an amazing view of the Pitons and the sea while you eat, head to Dasheene, where you'll find some tasty dishes using ingredients sourced from nearby plantations.

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