The Honeymooners Guide to Saint Lucia
St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean with a mix of beach, lush greenery, and the ever-famous Piton mountains. It is a perfect getaway for families, groups and, of course, honeymooners!
About the island
Covid-19 Update: Feb. 2021
On February 10th 2021, all travelers (except those in designated neighboring islands) traveling to St. Lucia must:
1. Upload a negative PCR test result taken no more than 5 days before traveling. If you live in the U.S. this means you will need a negative Covid test both before departure to St. Lucia and prior to arrival back to into U.S per the recent CDC order.
2. Complete/submit a travel registration form no later than 7 days prior to departure.
3. Stay in a Covid certified property.
We are providing a generalized overview of the major changes. All travelers should review these new requirements here prior to booking.
St. Lucia is a relatively small Island, only 238 square miles, but differs based on region.
The overwhelming majority of vacations flock to the western side of the island, meeting the calm waters of the Caribbean.
-The northwestern side of the island is home to the capital, Castries, and is close to cruise ports, the Sandals resort and has more night life.
-The southwestern side is known for its Piton mountains, hot springs, waterfalls and has a more rainforest-meets-beach feel. If you Google pictures of the island, this is the region you’re looking at!
-The eastern side is less accessible with more choppy Atlantic waters and rugged terrain (most people don’t visit here).
**Note: St. Lucia is one of the few international destinations U.S. travelers can visit right now! Review travel guidelines and resort policies for additional information on Covid-19 precautions and travel prerequisites.
Where to stay:
Sugar Beach: To preface, my husband and I went to St. Lucia for our honeymoon. We stayed in the southwestern part of the island and were closest to the town of Soufriere. We spent the first half of our trip at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort and it far exceeded our expectations. It is a 5-star resort, but I would easily give it 6 (is that a thing?). Regardless, the resort is stellar.
Covid-19 Update: Feb. 2021
With new restrictions in place and test requirements for international flights this is what Sugar Beach is currently offering:
-Covid Antigen & PCR testing available on property with a 48-72 hour turnaround time. Antigen test is FREE for up to two guests if you are staying 5+ nights. Less than 5 nights price ranges from $60-250 depending on test type.
-More information on Sugar Beach Covid testing and FAQ here.
- The resort itself is the essence of luxury. Cozy-chic white villas are tucked away on the property’s hillsides, beaches, and coves and every view is picture-perfect.
- Location, location, location! The resort sits in between the two piton mountains and has the best view on the island. The pictures do not do it justice.
- The staff was so highly attentive and went above and beyond in service. We had an on-call butler who was so kind and helped with anything from dinner reservations to drawing a bath.
- Each villa has its own private pool or hot tub. Major perk!
- The luxurious Treehouse Spa was a once in a lifetime experience. Post-massage, we had our own private treehouse with a hot spring pool, outdoor shower and were served a gourmet lunch finished with a bottle of champagne. Bliss, I tell you!
- The beach is small but intimate and is one of the few resorts with a white sand beach. All other sand on the island is natural black sand but Sugar Beach has theirs imported (of course they did!).
- Prices are steep. The smallest room ran around $500/night on the low end. Meals also add up quickly here. We felt like we could not spend as much on excursions and activities as we would have liked. If you plan to spend most your time off the resort, you will not get your money’s worth here.
- All-inclusive option is almost double the amount above.
- If you want nightlife, this is not the resort for it. It is quiet, feels very private and most people kept to themselves. We loved that we did not feel overcrowded by people!
Anse Chastanet: The second half of our trip was spent at Anse Chastanet and it was a MUCH different experience than Sugar Beach. While we still enjoyed our stay, the resort itself was not exactly what we were looking for in a honeymoon. It felt more rugged and less luxurious. It is a perfect spot for the adventure-traveler but we were seeking a relaxing vacation.
Covid-19 Update: Feb. 2021
With new restrictions in place and test requirements for international flights this is what Anse Chastanet is currently offering:
-Covid Rapid Antigen and PCR testing available on property with a 24-72 hour turnaround time. Antigen test is free if you stay three nights or more ($50 when not free) and PCR testing is available for $250 per person.
-More information on Anse Chastanet Covid testing here.
- FANTASTIC snorkeling and scuba diving. They are known for their reefs and we met many people who traveled just to scuba/snorkel here.
- The food was wonderful and fresh, we ate our best meals here.
- The beach is huge. It’s a long coastline with plenty of room for seclusion on the beach.
- The view. The rooms and restaurants are hilltop and among the trees, so we had a gorgeous new view of the Pitons from afar.
- The atmosphere wasn’t stuffy. We loved that people came to dinner dressed casually and had spirited conversations. While we loved Sugar Beach, it did feel more exclusive.
- The resort itself was not as impressive as SB. The real beauty came from the views, beach, and the surroundings. It isn’t much more than an open-air treehouse with multiple floors connecting the restaurant and the lobby.
- The rooms do not have AC. This was a MAJOR con for us, sleep was very uncomfortable. The did provide fans but we still semi-died every night. Bless all of you who can sleep in the heat!
- The staff were friendly but nowhere near as attentive as SB staff.
- There are at least 100 steep steps to get to the beach. We are used to rigorous workouts and this was still very difficult and unenjoyable. There is a shuttle that can take you down, but it can be a hassle to coordinate. The walk back up is treacherous!
- The walk from the lobby to the rooms is also a hike. Not ideal for dressing up in heels or carrying luggage up to the room.
What to do:
Covid-19 Update: Feb. 2021
Approved tours and excursions here.
Regardless of where you stay on the island, most resorts will have list of offerings typical of most tropical vacations (snorkeling, scuba, sunset sails etc.) We booked off-resort activities though the Sugar Beach concierge when we arrived. Most are group experiences, but luckily, we ended up just the two of us! Cost for each will vary, but most will include your transportation, and some include a local lunch stop. Here are a few of the things we did:
- Free snorkeling off coves accessible from the beaches
- Sulphur Springs Tour + Mud Bath
- Visit to Diamond Falls Waterfall
- Self-Guided tour of the Botanical Gardens
- Tet Paul Nature Hike—easy 45-minute hike with fantastic views
- Romantic Renaissance spa treatment at Sugar Beach Rainforest Spa
Other things to do on the island include hiking the Pitons (suited for more advanced hikers), visit the town of Castries for their local street party (a better option if you are staying north), zip lining, scuba diving, ATV tours, cocoa plantation tour, horseback riding and much more!
A few helpful tips:
- For the best pricing, I recommend going through a travel agent. We’ve used Rick Jahnke at Viva Mexico for multiple trips including this one and he always does a fantastic job!
- There is an additional island VAT tax which is around 10% and does not include tip. Meals can add up quickly.
- I would not recommend renting a car. If you are from the U.S. it is challenging to drive on the left side of the road and the road conditions are not the best.
- All beaches on the island are public, but the more expensive resorts charge for chairs for non-guests and make it less accessible to outside guests. Both resorts we visited felt very private and were not inundated with tourists
- Given that the beaches are public, the beach vendors can be bothersome if you engage with them. Most are trying to sell you excursion or local goods. Overall, it did not damper our experience.
- Outside of the resort, especially at airports, don’t let anyone assist you with your luggage. The locals can be assertive and will expect a tip in exchange.
- Saint Lucia is rated one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. They have low crime rates and we felt very safe outside of the resort.
- Not a tip, but the food was incredible. Almost all the food is sourced directly from the island. They even their make their own island-brewed Piton beer, which was amazing. (Your driver from the airport might even stop at a local bar to get you one!)
- We visited in October, which is peak wet season, but we lucked out and it was dry and sunny every day! If you’re playing it safe, dry season runs December-April.
- You’ll be dreaming of your return long before your trip ends😊