With many islands, fitness is contained to water sports, but that’s not the case with St. Lucia. The lush volcanic island is home to mountains, waterfalls, and even natural hot springs. It’s no wonder that the French and British repeatedly went to war – more than a dozen times — for possession of the island.
I recently explored this gorgeous, tropical gem and was surprised at the multitude of fitness options I stumbled upon. Instead of spending my days idling on the beach sipping sugary cocktails, I found a number of ways to stay active and enjoy the beauty around me. Here are a few activities I tried, and a few I plan on doing on my next trip.
Utilize Your Resort
Perhaps the most health-conscious resort in all of St. Lucia is the BodyHoliday. Their motto says it all: “Give us your body for a week, and we’ll give you back your mind.” The resort specializes in wellness with customized diets, yoga, programs on better aging, restorative beauty and more. Their Adventure Program helps guests experience the beauty of the island with fitness-based journeys like rain forest and mountain hikes, rappelling waterfalls, and even a Quadrathlon.
Pack on the Mud
Upon arrival in St. Lucia, I heard about Sulphur Springs, also known as the dormant Soufrier Volcano that last erupted more than 200 years ago. Sulphur Springs is billed as the only drive-in volcano in the world, and once I got there I saw why. Hazy smoke rose from bubbling mud pools, evidence that once upon a time, the volcano could spew at any minute. Nowadays, travelers come here for the mud baths, which naturally detoxify the body and help heal sun burns, arthritis, sore joints, eczema and other ailments.
After the magical mud has dried, jump in the Black Water Pool to wash it all off. The pool is a natural hot tub and the mineral-rich water aids in wellness. Another perk? It’s said that when you leave Sulphur Springs, you’ll look 12 years younger.
Hike the Pitons
These twin mountainous volcanic spires jutting out from the ocean are the most famous site in St. Lucia and became a World Heritage Site in 2004. BodyHoliday offers a hike of Gros Piton, the larger of the two and a challenging adventure with incredible views at the summit.
If you’re looking for something slightly less challenging, the resort also offers a guided Piton nature walk. The views are equally breathtaking, but the work involved is less, as the car park is ¾ of the way up the trek. Along the way, you’ll learn about St. Lucian culture and geography. Afterwards, a short drive to Piton Falls means a dip in the warm mineral pools, a perfect respite after your hike.
River Doree Abseil
Although it requires a slightly higher level of fitness, a two-hour abseil at River Doree is the ultimate experience for adventure seekers. Resort guides will lead guests down a 120-foot gorge onto the bank of a shallow river. The deeper you go into the gorge, the closer you are to island wildlife. No worries if you chicken out — there is an option to hike the landing area instead.
Trek along the interior of the island to the Edmund Rainforest, where the En Bas Saut (Under the Waterfall) trail begins. The challenging hike crosses over some uneven terrain and takes about 40 minutes. As you head downhill into the waterfall, feel free to take a dip in the water before taking the exit trail – about 50 minutes. This adventure is 8 hours total and may include a packed lunch from your resort.
Soothe Tired Muscles
At BodyHoliday, spa treatments are part of your everyday experience. Each day, you will receive a complimentary 50-minute massage that can include body wraps, Thalasso Therapy or facials. Treatments to try are the lime and ginger scrub, the yogurt body wrap and the hand and feet therapies.