ST. LUCIA, April 30, 2016 – St. Lucia is Caribbean luxury “on the rocks.” And, as James Bond might say, “if you are not shaken, you are certain to be stirred.”
Nestled in the eastern Caribbean Sea, the lush island of St. Lucia, long a favorite port of call for sailors, is now coming into its own as a popular tourist destination.
The influx of visitors could not have come at a better time with the increasing growth in worldwide banana production taking its toll.
Though it was first under the influence of French settlers, followed by the British in the mid-17th century, St Lucia became a sovereign nation in February 1979.
Popular attractions are the island’s drive-in volcano, the Botanical Garden, Pigeon Island National Park and the majestic landmark twin peaks of he Pitons, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Since gaining its independence however, St. Lucia has also become home to some of the finest resort properties in the Caribbean.
Jade Mountain Resort, known for its open-air sanctuaries and breathtaking panoramas, was recently named to the American Express Travel list as one of the world’s top 25 hotels. In the process, Jade Mountain captured the award for “Most Breathtaking Views.”
Another St. Lucia property, which has also received high marks from Conde Nast Traveler, is Anse Chastanet, with its idyllic location in the shadow of the Pitons. Situated on the southwestern coast of the island, Anse Chastanet features 49 individually designed rooms that are tucked within a tropical garden at beach level.
Whether travelers choose Jade Mountain or Anse Chastanet, each is offering a unique experience during August.
What better way to savor one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean than basking in the decadent world of chocolate?
Jade Mountain celebrates Chocolate Heritage Month with a program that traces the history of chocolate as an Aztec beverage, its influence in European exploration and contemporary production.
Guests will be greeted with a chocolate amenity and cocktail, a Chocolate Lovers Breakfast in Bed celebration and a chocolate-infused spa treatment.
There will also be classes in chocolate sensory tasting as well as an opportunity to make a personalized chocolate bar.
Chocolate packages will continue throughout the year for visitors who are unable to participate in the August festival.
Over at Anse Chastanet, the resort has announced its dates for a rare annual event that it has participated in for nearly two decades. Thanks to its location, Anse Chastanet annually witnesses one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular performance when the coral spawns each year.
This year the spawning is predicted to take place Aug. 24-26.
The phenomenon was first discovered in Australia in the 1980s at the Great Barrier Reef. The annual mass reproduction is now known be critical to coral reef survival.
When the spawning process is underway, coral release millions of packets of egg and sperm cells that appear underwater as massive clouds of white and pink. The upward “snowfall” drifts toward the surface for fertilization, and the sea is partially covered by the slicks of coral larvae before settling to the bottom to create next generation of coral.
Though much of the process continues to be a mystery, scientists have been able to accurately predict when it will take place. A week or so after a full August moon, just an hour or two after sunset, using darkness for cover, Anse Chastanet’s in-house diving staff takes scuba divers and snorkelers out to witness this rare phenomenon.
Whether your choice is chocolate, spawning coral or anything in between, St. Lucia is rapidly becoming a travel destination that appeals to a new generation of island hoppers. Sailors and day-trippers from cruise ships are slowly learning they are going to have to share the paradise that was once their domain.
And for those newcomers who are “discovering” St. Lucia, Jade Mountain or Anse Chastanet just may be your last resort.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.