Saint Lucia IslandSaint Lucia, also known as the ‘Helen of the West’, is an island nation situated on the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with Atlantic Ocean. This 27x14 sq.mi land mass, resembling the shape of a mango or avocado, is located midway between Martinique and St. Vincent, and north of Barbados. Saint Lucia forms a part of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.
It is believed that the first inhabitants of the people of Saint Lucia were the Arawaks Indians, but they were driven out by the Caribs. The French established a colony in the island by signing a treaty with the Caribs in 1660. Great Britain over powered France in 1664, an event that would lead to 14 other wars fought between the two nations in the future. Finally, in 1814, the British took full control of the island and it became a part of the Windward Islands in 1871.
The island continued to be a British colony until 1967 when it was granted home rule alongside the Westward Islands as one of the West Indies Associated States. Saint Lucia proclaimed independence on October 22, 1979.
In terms of natural splendor, Saint Lucia appears like an island that has been plucked from the South Pacific and dropped in the Caribbean. The island is dominated by the twin peaks – Pitons (2000 ft) – (Photo Top Right) which is home to one of the magnificent rainforests rich in flora and fauna. It is home to some of the endangered species from both plant and animal kingdom. For the adventure enthusiasts and those who wish to spend some time in the wilderness, try out the many hiking trails that pass through the parts of the rainforests, and up some of the peaks.
Saint Lucia’s steep coastlines and lovely reefs offer excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Also, there is ample scope for sailing, bird watching, nature tours, partying, and new games such as golf and tennis. Must visit tourist sites in the island include the sulphur springs, Mount Gimie, the highest point on Saint Lucia, Diamond falls, Latille Gardens, and the nature reserve at Maria Islands and Frigate Island, off the coast of Vieux Fort. But, the major attraction of all is the drive-in volcano crater Soufriere volcano, the only one of its kind in the world.
The tourism season in Saint Lucia is from January – April, the dry season on the island.
Saint Lucia has two airports, Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort and Vigie Airport near Castries, which are served by many international and domestic airlines respectively. Helicopter services are available between the two airports.
Motorized catamaran services are also available for transport to the neighboring islands. For visitors staying on the island, it is advisable hire a car so that they can move around in the places of their choice without any hitch.
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