“This is a barefoot boat,” Captain OB tells me, encouraging me to take off my sandals on the side of the dock. Balance and grace in these situations are not my forté, but fortunately my new husband is by my side to steady my stance and prevent me from toppling into the sea.
We are boarding the appropriately named Great Expectation, a traditional restored Carriacou Sloop boat. It’s around 16.00 in Rodney Bay, located in the Gros Islet District of Saint Lucia. Joe and I are embarking on a romantic private sailing to watch the sunset at sea with a rum punch in hand – a perfect honeymoon excursion.
The wind is not on our side for Jus’ Sail’s sailboat, we’re told, but under the expert guidance of Captain OB and First Mate Krishna, we’d have been none the wiser.
They change course and take us to a secluded cove with views of our resort, Windjammer Landing. A rainbow frames the surrounding mountains, and in that moment we realise our dreams of a honeymoon in paradise have come true.
After the stress of planning a wedding, the honeymoon is a welcome ritual, and Saint Lucia could not be more welcoming to newlyweds. Locals are quick to offer advice for a lifetime of happiness, most of them telling my husband some variation of ‘happy wife, happy life’, to which I gladly nod along.
“Saint Lucia has been voted the most romantic destination in the Caribbean many times and remains one of the most popular choices for honeymooners in the world,” says Patricia Charlery-Leon, Director UK & Europe, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA). “Our stunning scenery is the perfect backdrop for a special trip.”
The Caribbean island – which sits between Martinique and Saint Vincent – offers a good balance of beaches and activities, all in a relatively compact area at just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. It’s truly nature’s paradise, home to the famous Piton mountains and 19,000 acres of lush rainforest running through the centre, fringed by golden sandy beaches.
But why is it so popular? “I think it is because of the charm, the picturesque beauty of the island,” says Lynne Joseph, Revenue Sales Manager, Windjammer Landing Resort.
“She [the island] has something for everybody, but particularly for honeymooners. They can get to experience romance with beautiful turquoise waters and white sand beaches. It’s just so majestic – it leaves you in awe.”
Time for luxury
“We’re very fortunate to have world-class resorts in Saint Lucia including global brands but also individually owned properties. Standards are high and experiences are tailored which is really important on a special trip like a honeymoon,” says Charlery-Leon.
Windjammer Landing is just one of these properties. Located in Labrolette Bay – just north of Castries, the island’s capital, the resort has a private beach, seven restaurants, three bars, five pools and a variety of accommodation options.
For couples, an ocean-view suite complete with kitchen, balcony and private jacuzzi serves as the perfect base to explore the island – or not go very far at all.
Another popular choice is Sandals, with three properties across the island. Guests staying at any Sandals Resort in Saint Lucia can take advantage of its ‘Stay at One, Play at All’ programme and visit the other two Sandals on the island during their stay free of charge, with complimentary round-trip transfers provided.
For couples who enjoy nature and adventure to complement relaxation, Saint Lucia offers over 100 adventure experiences, including hiking trails, rainforest ziplines, the volcanic mud baths and of course swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea.
The island is also home to some stunning wildlife. “It’s a bird-spotting haven with five endemic bird species, one of which is the island’s national bird, the Saint Lucia Parrot,” says Charlery-Leon. “Many couples go snorkelling to discover the stunning marine life and coral. Saint Lucia is home to 22 dive sites so there is plenty to explore beneath the water.”
Bamboo river rafting: A new rafting experience on the Roseau river, Saint Lucia’s second-longest waterway located in the north of the island, offers couples a gentle excursion as they wind through a rainforest before stopping for a beach stroll. Along the way expect to see birds, butterflies and other small wildlife. There are different experiences to book including the Rum and River Raft which includes a tour of a distillery. Couples may opt for Romancing the River which includes champagne and lunch on board. stluciabamboorafting.com
Windjammer refurb: Windjammer Landing Resort has been updating its facilities with a multi-million-dollar renovation. The lobby and reception and Dragonfly restaurant have been stylishly renovated, and new luxury accommodation options include the Ocean Point Residences – a collection of two- and three-bedroom villas with private infinity pools, outdoor terraces and fully-equipped kitchens. windjammer-landing.com
Bay Gardens: Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa in Rodney Bay is offering a honeymoon package that includes three nights of accommodation for two in either a deluxe pool view room or a one-bedroom pool view suite, with an airport transfer, a welcome cocktail, a bottle of sparkling wine, and a tropical fruit basket included. baygardensresorts.com
Sandals Butler Villas: New at Sandals Regency La Toc are Oceanfront two-story one-bedroom Butler Villas with private pools, set 50-feet above the sea and offering sweeping views of the ocean below. These have very recently opened and are anticipated to be popular for 2024.
The Landings: The Landings offers a Romance Package with a private butler service when four nights or more are booked. The package includes daily breakfast, flower petals and turndown service with a bottle of Champagne on arrival night, one-hour couples massage and use of non-motorised water sports. landingsstlucia.com
Top honeymoon experiences
Natural wellness in Soufriére: The sulphur-scented town of Soufriére is home to the world’s only drive-in volcano. Here couples can relax in the mineral and mud baths with a full-body mask, rinsed off in the hot springs. Known for its medicinal properties, the mud is particularly soothing for sunburnt skin. sulphurspringstlucia.com
Catamaran trips: While Jus’ Sail jussail.com offers an intimate water excursion, there are numerous tour operators offering catamaran trips around the island. A popular option is a Catamaran day trip with collection from various resorts along the north shore, taking passengers up to Soufriére via the Pitons with a land excursion to visit the volcano, before returning to sea for a Creole buffet and diving in Marigot Bay en route back.
Cocoa trail: From cocoa farm tours to chocolate making experiences, follow Saint Lucia’s cocoa trail to discover the many cocoa-related experiences across the island. Chocolate lovers can enjoy Saint Lucia’s long-standing history and connections to all things cocoa. stlucia.org/en/cocoatrail
Hike the Pitons: The two mountains known as the Pitons are arguably Saint Lucia’s most iconic landmark. Hiking the Gros Piton is a moderately difficult hike, taking three to six hours each way, but waiting at the top is an unforgettable view over Sourfriére. grospiton.com
Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival: From April 30 – May 12 2024 the Gros Islet district of Saint Lucia will come alive as it welcomes the largest jazz festival in the Caribbean. Expect street parties, jazz concerts, art shows and more.
Where to book it
A seven-night stay at Sandals Regency La Toc in September 2024 starts from £1,922pp. The deal is based on a couple sharing an Emerald Honeymoon Hideaway Grande Luxe room and includes return flights from London- Gatwick. booking.sandals.co.uk