Pigeon Island is the first landmark you’ll see when approaching St. Lucia from the Atlantic Ocean and points east. It marks the entrance to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia’s largest marina, complete with dockage, moorings, chandleries, hotels and restaurants. Rodney Bay is a great rendezvous marina, and it serves as host to several charter company bases as well as the completion of the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.
St. Lucia is conveniently located in the middle of the Windward Islands, meaning it’s within sailing distance of Martinique, Dominica and even Guadeloupe to the North; and to St. Vincent, the Grenadines and Grenada to the south. Several charter companies operate out of St. Lucia, including The Moorings and Kiriacoulis, and they can help charter guests perfect their sailing itinerary.
Sailing south from St. Lucia, you’re only a few days from the Tobago Cays, perhaps the “Finest Stretch of Water Anywhere.” The Cays are comprised of five uninhabited islands with powdery white-sand beaches and steep cactus-covered hillsides, all protected from the Atlantic by the 3-mile-long Horseshoe Reef. Within this protected anchorage, you can swim with the turtles in a turtle sanctuary, dinghy ashore for beach games and enjoy the flat calm water, famous for its spectacular, isolated sunsets.
St. Lucia’s Gros and Petit Piton are perhaps the island nation’s most notorious features. The gorgeous, lush mountains shoot over 700 meters into the sky on either side of Soufriere Bay, where you can visit the lovely Anse Chastenet Beach or the town of Soufriere. Sailboats can anchor or moor in this bay to enjoy an up-close view of the Pitons.
This area of the Caribbean is particularly famous for its white-sand beaches. Pigeon Island Beach overlooking Pigeon Island in the northern corner of Rodney Bay is exceptionally lovely.
The locals are happy to share their bountiful seafood with visiting sailors. Here, recently caught lobster glow on display at the Fish Friday feast at Anse La Raye, a tiny cove just north of Soufriere, where sailors will discover a cute small town and a protected harbor.
Sulphur Springs is the world’s only drive-in active volcano, meaning you can hire a taxi to drive you from the moorings in Soufriere Bay, just a few minutes northeast to the Springs. The quick and easy guided walk around the Springs provides an impressive view of the 340-degree black sulfuric water bubbling below. It’s an impressive site, but it’s also foreboding, as some scientists believe the volcano will erupt within the century, wiping out three-quarters of St. Lucia.
Inland, St. Lucia offers great hiking for trekking enthusiasts. You can hire a taxi from either Rodney Bay or Soufriere to take you to the trailhead of various hikes, including this one, to Diamond Falls.
Several fishing outfitters are available on the island to take you on day charters offshore of St. Lucia, either into the Caribbean Sea to the West or the Atlantic Ocean to the East. The most common catches include sailfish, wahoo, king fish, marlin, yellow fin tuna and dorado.
Several SCUBA outfitters will take sailors out for day trips from Rodney Bay to explore the menagerie of life on St. Lucia’s seafloor. The Keyhole Pinnacles (pictured here) are especially beloved by SCUBA enthusiasts for their abundant wildlife. There, you’ll find sea turtles, seahorses, a wide variety of fish and colorful coral.