48 Hours in St. Lucia: The Ultimate Itinerary

St. Lucia

 Matthew Spauling

Thanks to its world-famous Pitons overlooking the water in Soufriere, St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful islands in all of the Caribbean. And, though the island contains rainforests and mountains, black-sand beaches and sulfur springs, St. Lucia is just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. So, it's relatively easy to see much of the island in a rather short period of time—if you plan your trip correctly. We've included the must-do activities and must-see landmarks below to create the ultimate weekend itinerary for St. Lucia. Read on for the best ways to spend 48 hours in this tropical island, and use this guide as a reference when planning your next St. Lucian getaway.

01 of 06

Day 1: Morning

Whales in St. Lucia

 Christine Britten / Eyem / Getty

7:30 a.m.: St. Lucia is world-famous for its romantic accommodations, and you can't go wrong by looking for a luxury suite in Soufriere. Soufriere is the most popular tourist destination in St. Lucia, thanks to its elegant resorts and breathtaking views of the Pitons. We recommend booking a three-walled suite in Ladera Resort, which offers breathtaking views of the mountains and the Caribbean Sea.

8 a.m.: After checking into your room at Ladera Resort, grab breakfast at Dasheene before heading off on a garden tour on the property with the resort's knowledgeable gardener, Ray. The tour offers a beautiful view of the Pitons without expending all of your energy upon first arriving (ideal for travelers combating jetlag.) Ray is a witty and charismatic host—the perfect company during your climb to the top. Afterward, take a dip in the pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea for some sunbathing and to cool off.

9 a.m.: Hop in a shuttle for a ride from Ladera Resort to the nearby Sugar Beach Viceroy, which is also located in Soufriere, to catch a whale watching tour off the St. Lucian coast. Transportation via shuttle between Ladera Resort and Sugar Beach Viceroy is complimentary, which is highly convenient for our ultimate weekend itinerary. (Travelers interested in renting a car should be warned that drivers in St. Lucia drive on the left side of the road. That, combined with some potholes in rural areas--can make driving in St. Lucia slightly more challenging for the less experienced driver, rendering the shuttle service even more ideal for vacationers.) But back to the whale watching: Unlike in other destinations, whale watching is available year-round in St. Lucia, and a sight of the majestic humpback whales breaching in the Caribbean Sea is not to be missed when visiting the island.

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02 of 06

Day 1: Afternoon

Soufriere, St. Lucia

 Afton Almaraz / Getty

12 p.m.: Afterward, head over to Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, also in Soufriere, and grab lunch at the hotel's restaurant. (And be sure to order a Cocoa Bellini with your meal.) Afterward, sign up for a Tree-to-Bar Experience to learn more about the history of chocolate on St. Lucia. Once you've made your chocolate, check out the hotel's spa and arrange for a massage or facial treatment featuring Hotel Chocolat's namesake ingredient. Such indulgence is a famous St. Lucian past-time, after all: Chocolate spa treatments that abound on the island at individual hotels and resorts. Why not spend a lazy afternoon sweetening up your complexion? (Pun intended, of course, we can't help ourselves. And neither will you after perusing the offerings, including a Cacao Massage and a Cacao Detox Body Wrap at the Boucan spa. Bon appetit.)

3 p.m.: Head over to Sulphur Springs to relax in a mud bath and experience the sole drive-in volcano in existence in the entire world. The exfoliating properties of the mud do wonders on the complexion, and soaking in a natural hot spring may be just what the doctor ordered for travelers whose bodies are achy after flying economy. From a chocolate massage to a mud bath, this first afternoon is officially dedicated to your rest and relaxation. Tomorrow's activities will be a bit more strenuous, but more on that later.

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03 of 06

Day 1: Evening

View from Dasheen Restaurant in Ladera Resort, St. Lucia

 Richard T. Nowitz / Getty

5 p.m.: Opt for a boat or taxi ride over to Anse La Raye for a Friday Night Fish Fiesta. Get a sense of the island culture and enjoy the ambiance at this weekly event. Dance and grab a couple of cocktails and enjoy the beautiful late afternoon sun as it starts to sink into the Caribbean Sea. But make sure to head back to Soufriere before sunset, as you won't want to miss it from your dinner destination (which is, luckily, merely 6 miles away).

6 p.m.: For dinner, you will be back at Ladera Resort to enjoy the spectacular setting (and even more spectacular cuisine) at the resort's Dasheene restaurant. Enjoy the live music and head down to the bar area to dance to the local band after your dinner is finished. St. Lucia is famous for its spicy Creole cuisine, and roasted or fried local seafood—particularly the spiny lobster. At Ladera Resort, the St. Lucian cuisine is award-winning, and you can't go wrong with anything on the menu, though we always suggest ordering the lobster if it's in season.

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04 of 06

Day 2: Morning

The Pitons in St. Lucia
Philippe Giraud/Getty Images

9 a.m.: This is the big morning for adventurous travelers: The moment when you will hike the Piton mountain range. Head over to Sugar Beach Viceroy in the morning to catch a 15-minute boat ride to the base of Gros Pitons to set out on a four-hour hike to the 2,619-foot summit. This entire area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we promise that the views will be well worth the sweat and exertion required by the climb. (Plus, you have an endless afternoon of sunbathing afterward as a reward.)

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05 of 06

Day 2: Afternoon

Sugar Beach

IngaL / Getty Images

2 p.m.: Once you've returned on the boat ride back from your hiking adventure, prepare to spend an entire day luxuriating in the gorgeous ambiance of Sugar Beach Viceroy. The resort offers iconic views of the Piton mountains, as well as delicious restaurants and beach-chic seaside bars perfect for travelers looking to treat themselves after a morning spent hiking. Head over to the Bayside Beach Bar for a celebratory frozen cocktail post-hike before grabbing a table for lunch at Bayside Restaurant. Regarding that celebratory cocktail, we recommend travelers be a little adventurous and allow the bartender to decide what concoction they think is best that afternoon. The top of the menu encourages guests to "Ask our team what SPECIAL SUGAR we have for you," after all. If you're leery of leaving too much to fate, then we suggest either the Saint Lucian Pimms or the After Eight in Saint Lucia cocktail—the latter of which will have you believe it really is that much later in the evening, even when it's barely two in the afternoon.

4 p.m.: After lunch, travelers can relax and enjoy the beautiful beach at Sugar Beach, and take advantage of some of the activities offered at the resort. We suggest snorkeling in the clear turquoise waters and perusing the shops lining the coast. Sugar Beach is unique for its white sand, which is imported from Guyana. Elsewhere on the island, the black sand on many of St. Lucia's beaches is a reminder of the island's volcanic past.

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06 of 06

Day 2: Evening

Sunset St. Lucia

Uwe Moser / Getty

5 p.m.: Early in the evening, talk to the staff at Sugar Beach Viceroy about arranging a boat for a sunset sail. The sunset occurs right between the two Piton mountains, and the view from the water just off the coast is spectacular. (Make sure your iPhone is charged and your camera is waterproof. You will want photographic evidence to share for your social media channels.)

7 p.m.: Once you've returned to dry land, you will be staying at the Sugar Beach Viceroy for your next meal. On the last night, we recommend spending your last meal at the Great Room Restaurant for a (dining) room with a view—of Hirsts and Warhols, that is. If you love art and ambiance (and who doesn't?), then the Great Room is your very own tropical dream come true.

9 p.m.: Grab a nightcap after dinner at the Palm Court Bar & Lounge, and enjoy your cocktails while overlooking the ocean from the resort's gorgeous terrace. When you are ready to call it a night, travelers can arrange for a shuttle to deliver them home to Ladera Resort. Prepare to enjoy your final night of sleeping out in your three-walled room that looks out to the sea and the stars. And don't be surprised if you find, when leaving the next morning, that 48 hours simply isn't enough. There's plenty more to see and do on your next vacation back in St. Lucia, but we wouldn't blame you if you wanted to relive this weekend all over again the following year in Soufriere. See you then.