North vs South: Where To Stay In Saint Lucia?

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Isle of beaches, hills and valleys, Saint Lucia is known for many things, including its world-acclaimed Pitons, dynamic people, and iridescent beauty. Though many travelers can easily choose Saint Lucia out of the sprinkling of Caribbean islands for their holiday in the sun, most have a hard time deciding what part of the island is best for their vacation.

Pitons Mountains Saint Lucia

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Even though Saint Lucia is one of the smaller islands of the Caribbean, there are two very distinct regions of the island travelers can choose from when booking their stay: the north, and the south. The two areas are separated by winding roads, fishing villages, and plenty of lush greenery, and each makes a very good case for itself in terms of where to spend the most time.

In the south, travelers can experience a holiday of leisure which is ideal for people who don’t mind low key evenings by the resort bar, quiet dinners, and moonlit walks on the beach to round up their day. In the north, be prepared to be at the center of everything, in a super convenient zone with restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and some of the island’s best hotels and all-inclusive resorts. A holiday in the north of Saint Lucia is perfect for travelers looking for excitement mixed in with understated Caribbean charm.

Land Bridge Saint Lucia

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All things considered though, you’re bound to have a dreamy vacation wherever you decide to stay in Saint Lucia, though tweaking your plans so you stay in the area that most appeals to you is well worth the effort.

Saint Lucia, up north: the ‘most happening’ part of Saint Lucia

Sandals Regency La Toc is Saint Lucia’s most glamorous adults-only resort.

Once you arrive to Saint Lucia, you may hear phrases like “up north”, or “down south”. This differentiation is a normal part of everyday jargon, and it serves well to understand this ahead of navigating the island. Areas that fall into the northern category in Saint Lucia include Cap Estate, Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, Castries, and other communities in that vicinity (we’ll discuss the south later). As the capital city, Castries draws many visitors wanting to get an authentic feel of Saint Lucia. Fortunately for those who seek, Castries delivers – the often-bustling city center is filled with personality, and you’ll either find things in frenetic mode (during the week), or cool and quiet, like on Sundays, and public holidays.

Castries is especially popular with cruise ship visitors, as the island’s main cruise ship dock is located there. Excursions of cruise visitors, however, are not usually limited to Castries when in the north; some travelers head with groups to the outskirts of Castries, where there are amazing views of the Castries harbor and environs, while others head further north, if time permits.

Port Castries Saint Lucia Aerial

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Even outside of the city, the north of Saint Lucia is where all the action happens, which makes it not so surprising that many big name hotels and all-inclusive luxury resorts in Saint Lucia have properties in this area. Aside from choice of accommodation, the north offers many attractions, including some of the best beaches, plazas and shopping malls, restaurants, bars and more. Northbound from the airport, you may spot some of these attractions, which can help shape your perception for what else is in store.

In the extreme north, you’ll find Rodney Bay Village, which is a small, touristy area ideal for travelers who want all conveniences in one place, including a beautiful beach. That beach is known as Reduit Beach, or the Ramp, and it is the most popular beach in the north of the island. If you decide to spend a day on the golden shores of Reduit, you’ll be able to indulge in various watersports, like jet skiing, water tubing, water skiing, and more. Food also won’t be too far out if you get hungry, as restaurants like Spinnakers are located right on the beachfront, with lots of other options to choose from on the Rodney Bay strip.

Rodney Bay Saint Lucia

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Rodney Bay is one of the best parts of Saint Lucia to stay. At night, the Village lights up with lots of activities, particularly on weekends. Bars and clubs turn up the music, and people dance until the wee hours. Those looking to escape the crowds can find a few casual and quieter bars in Rodney Bay, as well as in the nearby Rodney Bay Marina where you’ll find pizza and sushi spots, and other highly rated restaurants and outdoor/patio setups.

Expert tip: The lively Sandals Grande St. Lucian is located in Rodney Bay, right on a beautiful long stretch of beach. Drink unlimited cocktails and eat as much gourmet food as you want in one of the 12 restaurants on-property. It’s all included in your stay! The best part? Guests of Sandals Grande St. Lucian get free access to all amenities and restaurants of Sandals Regency La Toc and Sandals Halcyon Beach further down south. Transfers in between these all-inclusive resorts are included!

Still further north is Gros Islet, famous for the Friday Night Street Party. If you’ve never been to a Caribbean street party before, this is definitely a great place to start, and the party is bumping every Friday night. The main attractions in Gros Islet are the music, the food, and the opportunity to socialize and enjoy ‘freeing up’ Saint Lucian style.

Gros Islet Beach Saint Lucia

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Around the corner from Gros Islet, you’ll find Pigeon Island, and higher up the road, Cap Estate. Pigeon Island is home to Saint Lucia’s premier national park, which is known for its pirate and war related history, and beautiful beaches on the inside. While in the park you can explore the naval ruins or trek up to the fort, which promises spectacular views, all the way out to Martinique on a good day. On Pigeon Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway, you’ll find more beaches, restaurants and bars, lots of room to explore, and some of the finest resorts on the island, like Sandals Grande St. Lucian Beach Resort & Spa. Love golf? Tee off at Cap Estate for some of the best golf in Saint Lucia!

All of this to say, there’s no going wrong with choosing to stay in the north of the island during your Saint Lucia vacation. The convenience of this area makes it one of the best parts of Saint Lucia to stay in for a hassle-free vacation, where all you need to think about is making the most of your time in paradise.

Saint Lucia, down south: secluded and close to nature

Choiseul Saint Lucia

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The south of Saint Lucia encompasses areas like Soufriere, Choiseul, Laborie, Micoud, Vieux Fort, and other communities in that vicinity. Starting in Vieux Fort (where most international travelers land at Hewanorra International Airport) and heading east or west towards the north, you’ll find that each community has its own personality, and things visitors can discover during their stay. Soufriere is the most popular destination for travelers looking for a southern Saint Lucia experience, much due to attractions like The Pitons, Sulphur Springs, and other popular tour stops. Hotels and resorts in Soufriere, however, tend to be in the pricey category, which isn’t necessarily good news for the budget conscious. Fortunately, though, there are other guest houses or bed and breakfast type accommodations which can be enjoyed by travelers watching their wallet.

Honeymooners looking for a more secluded experience, will enjoy stays in the south of the island, particularly on the south western coast, as they can really get away, and sink into their holiday in Saint Lucia, a destination that has received numerous World Honeymoon Destination of the Year awards. Experienced travelers too will appreciate this area, for its less than conventional opportunities for exploration, and seclusion, if desired.

Looking for a romantic honeymoon in Saint Lucia? Splurge on a romantic butler-suite at one of the Sandals all-inclusive couples-only resorts in Saint Lucia. You won’t be disappointed!

Beach wise, aside from the more popular beaches in the south, like Sandy Beach, and Anse Chastanet beach, there are plenty of small and hidden beaches which are worth a visit, if you can find an experienced local guide to take you there. The sand at some coves and beaches in the south tends to be a little darker, or even silvery, due to its volcanic nature. This gives it a unique look and feel and compels most to rub the sand over their skin for a mineral packed exfoliation experience they can boast about!

Diamond waterfall Saint Lucia

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Nature lovers who visit or stay in the south will love places like The Diamond Botanical Gardens where hiking is possible amid the flora and fauna, as is dipping into a refreshing waterfall. In the south you’ll find many natural springs, mineral baths, and things of that nature. You’ll also find some of the best dive spots, and other popular attractions.

Scuba tip: Guests of any of the three Sandals Resorts in Saint Lucia, dive for free during their stay (max. two tanks a day)! Top-of-the-line equipment and professional staff members—it’s all included in your stay.

North vs South Saint Lucia: which area is best for me?

Sandals Grande St. Lucian is cradled to the west by Rodney Bay - boasting the calmest waters in all of Saint Lucia.

No matter where you stay in Saint Lucia, you’re bound to have an incredible vacation; the island is just so beautiful all around! Depending on the kind of holiday you prefer however, you may be better off staying in the north, or the south of the island. Repeat visitors often find themselves choosing to stay in the area they explored less on previous trips.

When it comes down to deciding the best part of Saint Lucia to stay, the south is best for adventurous and active travelers, who want to be close to some of the exciting natural attractions available in the south, including the famous Piton climb, waterfall explorations, trips to therapeutic mineral baths, and more. Of course, you can always explore these from the north; it takes about one hour, or an hour and a half to get from north to south in Saint Lucia (depending on whether you’re travelling on the east or west coast).

Reduit Beach Saint Lucia

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The north of the island is best for travelers who want to be part of the action; people who like to reconnect with nature during the day, but want to eat out, have a drink, and join the fun at night. The north is the place to be if being at the center of it all in Saint Lucia is part of your vacation aspirations.

In either case though, whether you stay in the north or south, you’ll easily be able to plan day trips to other parts of the island, or hop on a catamaran or sailboat, both of which promise amazing views of the north and south by sea.

Tip: Whether you stay in the north of south, keep in mind that all beaches in Saint Lucia are open to the public, even those with resorts nearby.

Activities not to miss regardless of where you stay in Saint Lucia

Climbing the Pitons

Hiking Saint Lucia Pitons Mountain

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Located: South of Saint Lucia, excursions available from the North.

Life in Soufriere seems to revolve around the Pitons, in a good way. This southern trademark adds an intangible magic to the environment, and as you navigate the main areas in the town, it seems as though you can spot them from almost every vantage. The Piton charm touches the entire community of Soufriere, and even the nearby Choiseul where Petit Piton can be found. Gros Piton is in Soufriere, and climbing tours are available on a regular basis. Petit Piton is the steeper of the two, and expert guides are highly recommended for travelers interested in taking up this challenging climb.

Trek through Pigeon Island National Park

Pigeon Island National Park Saint Lucia

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Located: North of Saint Lucia, excursions available from the South.

Pigeon Island National Park is the go-to for anyone who loves being out in the sunshine, surrounded by greenery, waves crashing to the melodious rhythm of the Caribbean. All of this added to a historic site where you can explore the ruins, and climb forts, and you’re set for a pretty packed day. A tour of the National Park is a cool family activity, though many couples choose to spend time, or even wed in the park which has great backdrops for amazing wedding photos. To find out more about Pigeon Island, read our post, Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia: A Gorgeous Slice of History.

Explore the natural wonders of Soufriere

Sulfur Springs Park Castries Saint Lucia

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Located: South of Saint Lucia, excursions available from the North.

Saint Lucian hospitality is the hallmark of southern communities like Soufriere, though people in most parts of the island are friendly, and more than happy to come across visitors to the island. If you visit the town of Soufriere, be sure to visit the popular sights and attractions, including the Diamond Falls and Botanical Gardens, New Jerusalem Mineral Baths, Sulphur Springs, and of course the Pitons.

Deep sea diving

Deep Sea Diving Saint Lucia

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There are many great locations for scuba diving in Saint Lucia, including the Soufriere Marine Reserve which features an abundance of colorful reefs and tropical fish, and other dive sites off the northwestern coast of Saint Lucia. Most dive sites can be accessed by boat and from shore, with many people reporting more sightings going by way of the shore. Snorkelers can check out beaches like Smugglers Cove, Anse Cochon and Anse Chastanet for great shallow water views.

Exploring the Vender’s Arcade in Castries

Castries Saint Lucia

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Located: North of Saint Lucia, excursions available from the South.

Add some spice to your life or pick some up at the Vendor’s Arcade – this is your go-to place for all things local. This means that you can visit the Arcade if you want to find a bottle of that zesty pepper sauce, local cocoa stick, pure coconut oil, souvenirs, and things of that nature before leaving the island.

Anse Mamin

Anse Chastanet Beach Saint Lucia

Photo credit: Dorian C. Shy/

Located: South of Saint Lucia, excursions available from the North.

Anse Mamin is one of the rare black sand beaches in Saint Lucia, and it’s an absolute hidden gem with most people who’ve been there raving about how clean and quiet the beach is. There was once a sugar plantation in this area, so once you’re done taking in the seaside views and enjoying the beachside restaurant, you can spend the rest of the day exploring the area which now features trails you can navigate by foot, or by mountain bike.

The Cathedral

Cathedral Basilica Immaculate Conception Castries Saint Lucia

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Located: North of Saint Lucia, excursions available from the South.

The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries, also known as The Cathedral, is an attraction many people make a point of visiting while in Saint Lucia. Most are pleasantly surprised when they get inside the Cathedral, as the outside appears a bit worn, but the inside, quite the opposite. Even when there’s no service underway, you’ll find locals and tourists scoping the murals and stained-glass windows, praying, and otherwise exploring this historic church. The Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the Caribbean, and once there, you can learn about Catholicism in the region.

Secret Beaches

Grande Anse beach Saint Lucia

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Located: North of Saint Lucia.

Who doesn’t like finding a hidden beach that is as secluded as it is breathtaking? Discoveries like this are common in Saint Lucia, as there are many beaches off the beaten track that are worth visiting. One of these is Malabar beach, a beach hidden in plain sight, located near the Vigie Airport in the north. There’s a hotel near the beach, but it is open to the public. Anse La Voute, Grand Anse, and Cas En Bas Beach are other less populated beaches that are perfect for a relaxed and quiet beach day.

Insider tip: Looking to stay at a resort near the best beaches in Saint Lucia? All three Sandals properties in Saint Lucia including Sandals Grande Saint Lucian Beach Resort & Spa, Sandals Halcyon Beach and Sandals Regency La Toc boast gorgeous beaches that are away from the crowd. Visit one resort, get access to all three!

Catamaran Tour

Day Trip Catamaron Sunset Saint Lucia

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One of the best ways to explore Saint Lucia is by sea; this gives you a renewed perspective, and not to mention a fun day out. Catamaran tours usually leave from the Rodney Bay Marina, Marigot Bay, or Castries and you can choose whether you want a full or half day tour, or a romantic sunset cruise.

When is the best time to visit St Lucia?

Saint Lucia Airport View

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Now that you’ve decided the best part of Saint Lucia to stay, the next step is knowing when to go. The best time to visit Saint Lucia is between Mid-December to Mid-April. As this also happens to be the high season, it is advised to book your trip at least six months in advance. Read our blog on the Best Time To Visit Saint Lucia to help plan your trip to the island!

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Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Born on the tropical island that is Saint Lucia affords a never-ending source of inspiration. In the past 13 years, Kylie loved to work with various newspapers, magazines and blogs in the Caribbean.