The Incredible Landscape of St Lucia: Mountains, Waterfalls and Coral Reefs
One of the main draws of St Lucia for people looking to purchase luxury property abroad is the island’s incredible landscape and tropical climate. Unlike many other Caribbean islands, where the vista can be quite monotonous, St Lucia benefits from a dreamy combination of bright, sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters, lush and densely populated rainforests, an array of mountains, and even coral reefs, making it a true island paradise.
Beautiful St Lucia was formed following four distinct periods of volcanic activity, estimated to have begun around 15 million years ago. As little as one million years ago (believe it or not that’s not very long for land formation!), a series of volcanoes became active around Soufrière Bay. It’s these eruptions which created the iconic St Lucia landmarks, the Pitons and the volcanic Sulphur Springs.
The St Lucia Pitons
The twin peaks, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, are a beloved feature of the island and are a main attraction for visitors. They are so revered that an abstract depiction of the mountains is featured on the flag in a field of blue, representing the Caribbean Sea.
The Pitons are the remnants of enormous volcanoes and have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. Whilst it is possible to reach their summit, which is almost 800 metres above sea level, many routes are inaccessible to the public. The available trails are still very challenging and it’s highly recommended that you take the opportunity to see them up close.
The Sulphur Springs
Billed as “the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano” this remarkable area of natural beauty spans 111 acres and is a must-see feature of St Lucia. Take a tour to see steam vents, boiling springs and streams of water that appear black due to the amount of iron in the environment.
Close to the Soufrière Volcano crater, you can indulge in mud baths that reportedly help detoxify the body and ease the symptoms of sunburn, eczema, arthritis, muscle aches and more. After, you can head to the nearby Diamond Waterfall to wash away the mineral-rich mud. The trip is a favourite among honeymooners.
Diamond Botanical Gardens and Waterfall
The gardens and waterfall are located on the Soufrière Estate. It’s home to some of the most lush tropical vegetation on the island and is the ideal place to take a moment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The 17 metre tall Diamond Waterfall is a unique and majestic site. It’s famed for the way it appears to change colours which is caused by an abundance of minerals, sulphur, copper sulphate, magnesium, iron, manganese and calcium in the rock face behind it.
A visit to the coral reefs is a must for scuba-divers and snorkelling enthusiasts! There is a total of 90km2 just off the coast of the island, with the most extensive fringing reefs located along the eastern coast. Often referred to as “the rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs are home to an incredible 25% of all known fish species, despite the fact that they cover less than 0.25% of the planet’s ocean floor.
The coral reef is an incredibly diverse and complex ecosystem, and is very sensitive to disruption. Sustainable fishing initiatives and protective measures have helped to preserve the reefs, so that they may be enjoyed by St Lucia visitors for years to come.
There are several mangrove forests located around St Lucia but the largest is the Mankote Mangrove. Mangroves are one of the fascinating natural wonders of the world. The term encompasses 80 species of small trees and shrubs that grow in saltwater and mud. Their large, looping roots jut out above the water to take in oxygen. During high tides and flooding, the lenticels on the roots close tightly to prevent the mangrove from “drowning”.
We highly recommend you take part in the unique experience of seeing these incredible plants up close.
Whether you’re coming for a first visit to check out the 5* beachfront real estate available in St Lucia, or are already a resident, seeing these sights is sure to forever enamour you to this beautiful island.