By Rosalind Cummings-Yeates for the Orbitz Travel Blog
Who wouldn't love a vacation on a postcard-perfect tropical island? When it comes to the Caribbean, you have a lot of choices but the island of St. Lucia is something special. Yes, there are beaches and palm trees and crystalline ocean waves but St. Lucia is nicknamed "Helen of the West Indies" for good reason. This island is out-of-this-world beautiful, with a striking landscape of much more than beaches. Whether you're a fan of romantic getaways, sun and sand or adventure travel, here are five compelling reasons to visit St. Lucia:
1. La Soufiere Drive-In Volcano and Sulfur Springs
Steam and the stench of rotten eggs will greet you as you drive through the crater of "the world's only drive-in volcano." A guided walking tour takes you right up to the volcano's bubbling mud and sulfur, with just a small fence to separate you from the activity. Although La Soufriere is dormant. it doesn't look like it and it forms the hottest and most active geothermal area in the Eastern Caribbean. You can cool off in the sulfur springs and small pools just outside the volcano. The sulfur and volcanic mud is reputed to have healing effects, soothing mosquito bites, arthritis and eczema.
2. The Twin Peaks of The Pitons
The two volcanic plugs that soar up from the sea are the dramatic symbol of St. Lucia and are worth the trip alone. The Pitons are named Gros Piton for the taller 26919 ft. peak and Petit Piton for the smaller,2461 ft. one. They loom all over the island but the best views can be grabbed in the villages of Soufriere and Choiseul. Active travelers can hike the Pitons or swim up to the peaks.
3. Open Wall Hotel Suites
The beauty of St. Lucia completely surrounds you in hotels specially designed to incorporate the island's natural assets. Forget about gazing out a window, you can reach out and touch the vistas at these hotels, which boast only three walls. Visitors can indulge in the ultimate romantic getaway while absorbing St. Lucia's legendary beauty. The suites at Anse Chastanet showcase natural beauty with up close views and trees growing in the middle of a few while nearby Jade Mountain boasts infinity pools in each "sanctuary" as well as vistas of the Pitons. Ladera perches on a volcanic cliff surrounded by a cocoa plantation and mountain panoramas.