Visitors will be in awe when they gaze upon the strands of black volcanic sand, the mile-long stretches of white beach and the gorgeous palm-fringed bays bordered by towering mountains. Nature's impact on St. Lucia's beaches has made each one more breathtaking than the last. Some can be reached by car and others only by boat. Choc Bay is a long, sweeping stretch of sand and coconut palms along the northwestern coast, close to Castries and the major hotels. 

A premier spot, the bay's tranquil waters attract swimmers and families with children. Secluded Marigot Bay is anyone's fantasy of the quintessential Caribbean cove. Framed on three sides by steep emerald hills, the bay is skirted by coconut palms. Within the serene inlet, there are deserted beaches and a well-hidden resort, as well as anchorage for yachts.
The Pigeon Island National Park, joined to the mainland by a causeway, is also worth exploring. Once the home of Amerindians, a hideout for pirates and a military base for the British, it's now a recreational area with beaches and areas for picnicking.

The crescent-shaped bay of Anse des Pitons lies at the foot of--and between the twin peaks of--The Pitons, a most dramatic setting. Another very special beach, accessible only by boat, is Anse Couchon. Its black volcanic sands and calm waters make it a romantic hideaway and shallow reefs provide hours of snorkeling fun.


Visitors may want to join in the weekly Friday night "jump up" at Gros Islet. Beginning at sundown, the streets of Gros Islet are closed to traffic; bands set up their equipment on makeshift stages; garlands of lights are strung above the streets; and island cooks start barbecuing batches of skewered lambi (conch), spicy chicken and freshly caught fish. The local people show up in numbers to take part in the event, which is the biggest block party in the Caribbean.


But the island's rhythm can almost always be felt, even during the week, because the sounds of steel bands, jazz groups and zouk and reggae bands are heard just about everywhere. Music and song are an important aspect of everyday life on St. Lucia. During the evening, hotel lounges and bars tend to gather the most crowds, with lively island entertainment of bands, limbo dancers and calypso singers.


St. Lucia offers plenty of water sports, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, waterskiing, windsurfing, sailing and fishing.
Divers heading to the waters off Anse Chastanet can expect to see plenty of colorful fish, a variety of sponges and spectacular coral formations. The beach for windsurfers is Cas en Bas, where conditions are good and instructors plentiful. Parasailing offers a beautiful bird's-eye view of the island.

For those who enjoy boating, St. Lucia has dozens of deserted strands to stop and take a break along. The crescent-shaped bay of Anse des Pitons lies at the foot of--and between the twin peaks of--The Pitons, a most dramatic setting. Another very special beach, accessible only by boat, is Anse Couchon. Its black volcanic sands and calm waters make it a romantic hideaway and shallow reefs provide hours of snorkeling fun.

St. Lucia's forest-covered mountains and towering volcanic peaks present a challenge to the intrepid hiker. Explorers will discover a rain forest that abounds with giant ferns and wild orchids. There are organized hiking trips and bird watching tours for those interested in learning about the mysterious world of the tropical rain forest. Even turtle watching tours are offered.

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