St. Lucia is known as one of the honeymoon capitals of the world, and even from the air it's easy to see why: Unlike the relatively low-lying profile offered by many Caribbean islands, St. Lucia seems to reach up toward the sky, its shores guarded by two conical extinct volcanic vents known as Petit Peton and Gros Peton.
The second thing you notice is what's covering the island's dark interior: not houses or sugar plantations, but vast stretches of the seemingly untouched jungle -- 19,000 acres in all. St. Lucia's unspoiled beauty includes stretches of sandy beaches, simmering volcanoes, and plunging waterfalls. Driving along the island's west coast, for example, will lead to a series of beautiful bays and coves, each as seemingly deserted as the last.
Like the scenery, St. Lucia's luxury resorts are nothing short of spectacular, luring knowledgeable and discriminating guests from all over the world. Like neighboring Martinique and Dominica, St. Lucia is a throwback to the old Caribbean, where movie stars and royalty come to toss off their Gucci loafers and relax in relative obscurity for a few days.
On the other hand, rank must be served, and St. Lucia has developed an enviable reputation for its fine dining, blending distinctive elements of French and Creole cooking tradition to spin uniquely different dishes like callaloo and pepperpot stew.
Perhaps best known of the island's resorts is Anse Chastanet, consisting of 48 unique hillside and beachfront rooms, the former with amazing views of the Pitons that are unimpeded by walls. The room decor is bright, airy and cheerful; wooden steps lead down to the beach, the aptly named Treehouse Restaurant, and full-service Kai Belte Spa. A coral reef sits just offshore, waiting to be explored.
Higher up in the hills on the south coast of St. Lucia is the Ladera resort, where all guest rooms and the restaurant employ the open-wall concept to let the breezes in and your eyes pop out. In some rooms, you can literally roll over in bed to see mountains sloping precipitously towards the sea, the sounds of the ocean and chirping birds your bedtime serenade. Luxury villas come with indoor plunge pools or private garden pools, a perfect, private retreat for couples.
St. Lucia also boasts a number of romantic restaurants where the landscape competes for your attention, like the continental Whispering Palms at the Fox Grove Inn on the island's east coast. Dining choices are impressively diverse island-wide, including Tandoori, Chinese, Italian, and Nuevo Caribbean restaurants, as well as modest local eateries serving fresh, country-style St. Lucian dishes.
Besides great food, unique resorts, and remarkable beauty, St. Lucia offers honeymooners a final intangible: choices. Those who want to spend their days exploring jungle trails by foot or mountain bike, strolling the 18th-century streets of Soufriere, or snorkeling the Anse Chastanet reefs will be more than satisfied. Couples searching for a private tropical retreat will find the same solitude as luminaries like Harrison Ford and Princess Margaret sought -- and found -- on this island paradise.