Seeing both sides of St. Lucia

Calling the Caribbean island of St. Lucia “picturesque” may be like saying Miss America is beautiful. And how.

There are Kodak moments around every hairpin turn on the road. I took this picture a few minutes ago from the top of Windjammer Landing. I’ve uploaded more photos to my Flickr page, too.

I’ll share more snapshots and stories of St. Lucia in an upcoming post on National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog. But I also wanted to offer a few early impressions.

Things haven’t been the same on this island since Hurricane Tomas struck last fall, leaving the southern part of St. Lucia looking like a “war zone.” We took a tour of the island yesterday and asked our guide to show us the island as she knew it.

Although we had a chance to see popular attractions such as the Pitons (pictured above), Soufrière and the dormant Qualibouwe volcano, our guide took us beyond there, to her hometown of Fond St Jacques, the town hit hardest by Tomas.

It was riveting. The mud that cascaded from the top of the mountain during the storm, washing homes and lives away, is still in the village waiting to be cleared.

I’ll be honest: My kids weren’t too thrilled about seeing Fond St Jacques, which is struggling to recover from this natural disaster. But they’ll never forget it.

Neither will I.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Tanya

    Wow that’s pretty intense that your tour guide is from the worst-affected town.  PS – Love the Beach at Windjammer Landing photo, looks very inviting.

  • Colleen in NY

    My husband and I honeymooned at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian (in the north, on Rodney Bay) in 2002 and totally agree, there really aren’t words to describe how breathtakingly beautiful the entire island is.  Thanks for sharing this story and pics, it both makes me want to go back even more and saddens me to see/hear all the devastation the storm caused is such detail. Hopefully tourists will continue to go there and both fall in love with the island and give the locals the valuable money they need to help rebuild.

  • Anthony Acree

    Awesome photos. I was in St. Croix last year and experienced the fringe of one of the hurricanes. The waves crashed over into the pool, lobby and restaurant of our resort. The water knocked the owner’s wife down. Scary stuff.

  • Kevin Mathews

    My Parents, myself, and my sister visited St. Lucia a few year back and it was an amazingly beautiful island.
    I only had 3 complaints leaving there:
    1) I don’t think we could’ve picked a resort FURTHER from the airport.  It was like a 3 and a half drive to get to the resort.
    2) Somehow we got put in a villa that did not have air conditioning.  It was called an “Open-Air” villa, meaning that we often woke up to birds in our kitchen.
    3) Roads could use a lot of work.  We hit a couple of potholes driving around that almost knocked our fillings out.

    All in all, very minor things.
    The beaches are beautiful and only 2nd in my book to Aruba.  The local beer, named after the twin mountains on the island, is one of the best beers I’ve had anywhere.  Some of the best food I’ve eaten anywhere was on St Lucia. 
    *Note – If you ever get the chance to visit St Lucia, look up 2 places to get: The Rain Forest Cafe, and Coal Pot.  Both are absolutely wonderful places to eat.
    The Scuba Diving around St Lucia was great as well.  We did one dive while we were there that last a couple hours and covered 3 miles.  The best part was I wasn’t even tired afterwards because the current did all the work…

    All in all, could be one of my favorite islands I’ve been to in the Caribbean. though my list is limited to Grand Cayman, St Lucia, Puerto Rico, Grand Bahama, and Aruba…

  • Chris

     Do you still update your souvenirist photo blog ? Doesn’t seem to be listed anymore ?

  • Christopher Elliott

    We’re working on a new blog that will include material from Souvenirist. Details soon! 

  • Jaquez

    Write more. I need more goodness and delicious.