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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Beyond the Beach in St. Lucia


3. What to Do

On clear days, the view from the top of Gros Piton includes nearby islands.  

Scale Gros Piton, the larger but less technically challenging of St. Lucia’s two volcanic mountains. To reach its 2,619-foot peak by midday, arrive around 8 a.m. at the small village of Fond Gens Libre, where you can hire a local guide (758-572-9277; $30 per person) who will lead you on a round-trip hike that takes about three to four hours. The ascent, scrambling up steep and rocky staircases, isn’t easy, but on clear days, you can see as far as Martinique and St. Vincent.

Get a quick adrenaline rush and a bird's-eye view of the Pitons at Morne Coubaril Estate. Glide across eight zip lines ($69 per person for an hour), soaring between banyan trees, over a gorge, and through the rainforest canopy. Don’t leave without taking the estate’s 30-minute tour, during which you’ll learn how a sugar mill works and get a taste of fresh cane juice.

Skip the crowds in Castries to shop in Soufriere, where the local produce markets are best on Saturday mornings (around the town square near the church). Then load up on inexpensive souvenirs ($2$20) like bars of sulphur soap, rag dolls, and wooden jewelry at Debbie’s. For a special find, take a short drive outside of town to Simon Gajadhar’s art studio Zaka, where you can choose your favorite piece from his striking collection of brightly painted wooden masks (from $20).

Published on Jan 12, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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