Pigeon Island, St. Lucia

Photo: Saint Lucia National Trust
Photo: Saint Lucia National Trust

Okay, beach bum. You had a few days to do absolutely nothing. After arriving at your all-inclusive resort, you slept late, soaked up the sun, fell asleep (again) in a hammock, and had fruity drinks delivered under a palm tree. Life is good. You feel calm. But it’s time to see more than the same stretch of sand in front of Rodney Bay before you leave St. Lucia.

Pigeon Island National Park is an easy excursion. Very easy. Especially from Sandals Grande St. Lucian on the island’s northwestern coast. You’ve been staring at its two peaks, connected to the mainland by a manmade causeway, all week. Today, you’re going to climb them.

The Arawak and Carib peoples originally lived on Pigeon Island, before Wooden Leg, a pirate, claimed it in the 16th century. He was followed by the French and the British, who built a naval base and a fort, respectively. Start on the trail to Fort Rodney. Pass stone ruins, including the kitchen and the barracks. Continue to the batteries and the garrison. Check out the powder holds and the rusty cannons. The last part is a little steep, but the view of the turquoise bay and your relaxing resort are worth it.

From there, continue up Signal Hill. The higher of the two volcanic peaks was used as a lookout post, where the British would spy on the French ships anchored around Martinique. You feel like a bit of a spy yourself as you gaze across the water and the sandy bays to the still-French island.

Before returning to the resort, stop at Pigeon Point Beach—you certainly won’t complain about seeing another beach—where large banyan trees shade the white sand. Then grab a table on the veranda, kept cool by the northeast trade winds, of Jambe De Bois. The stone wall and thatched roof restaurant, frequented by locals and yachties, serves frozen cocktails and spicy seafood. It may not be part of your all-inclusive package, but it’s certainly worth the detour.

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