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36 Hours in St. Lucia


3 p.m.

Plunge into the Caribbean at the island’s picturesque Sugar Beach on Anse des Pitons on the southwest shore between the two Piton mountains. Both mountains — Gros Piton and the steeper Petit Piton — along with nearly 7,200 acres of land and sea surrounding them, make up a Unesco World Heritage Site. Swimmers can get to the public beach by taking the road to the Jalousie Plantation resort (758-456-8000; Park or have your taxi drop you at the gated entry on Jalousie Drive and walk downhill to the water (optional $50 day passes sold at the resort include a beach shuttle and $25 credit at the beach bar and restaurant). A beachside hut rents snorkel gear to nonguests for $10. Look for sinuous trumpet fish on the north end of the cove below Petit Piton.

4:30 p.m.

Bamboo might be more closely associated with Asia, but St. Lucians have made it their national plant based on its use in everything from construction to musical instruments. Have your muscles unknotted with bamboo sticks used rolling-pin-style ($150 for 50 minutes) at the Jalousie Plantation’s new Rainforest Spa. Open to visitors as well as hotel guests, its seven thatch-roofed massage bungalows rest on stilts in the forest where a natural stream provides a rushing water soundtrack during treatments. Afterward, work up a sweat in the “temascal” steam bath built into the ruins of an 18th-century aqueduct used by the original plantation’s sugar mill.

7:30 p.m.

Stick around for the evening at the Jalousie Plantation — which is almost like a small, upscale town — and order a shot of 12-year-old Admiral Rodney Extra Old St. Lucia Rum ($16) at the new Cane Bar, one of the few trendy bars on this stretch of the island. Peruse the perimeter of the room and you’ll find a John Lennon self-portrait, a Matisse print and a series of fashion photographs, all from the collection of Roger Myers, Jalousie’s owner and a former accountant to the Rolling Stones. Then join other guests — mostly couples in resort-wear finery — and make a night of it dining in the neighboring Great Room, where Cupertino Ortiz prepares innovative Caribbean dishes like octopus with watermelon ($14) and kingfish in tomato-pepper broth ($29).


10 a.m.

Cacao farming on St. Lucia recently got a boost when the Britain-based chocolate maker Hotel Chocolat (800-757-7132; opened a six-room hotel and restaurant on its 140-acre cacao-growing Rabot Estate in the highlands behind Petit Piton. A chocolate factory on the premises is planned to follow next year, but in the meantime visitors can take a raw-to-refined tour of the plantation ($65) that starts in the cacao orchards and ends with a chef-led session in mashing and sweetening roasted beans by hand. Each guest leaves with a candy bar for the road, a souvenir too tempting to make it all the way home.

12:30 p.m.

Nearly everything on the plate at Jardin Cacao restaurant at Fond Doux Holiday Plantation (758-459-7545; near Gros Piton is grown on the surrounding 135-acre estate. Over the past 10 years, the owners, Lyton and Eroline Lamontagne, have gradually expanded the property, adding 10 guest cottages and two restaurants to help support the farm. Harvest fare may feature pumpkin soup (13 East Caribbean dollars, or $4.95) and snapper with lemon grass, seasonal carrots and christophene, an island squash (51 E.C. dollars). (Though prices are usually quoted in U.S. dollars, they are sometimes quoted in both East Caribbean, or E.C., dollars and U.S. dollars.) Tour the lush grounds to sample a guava off the tree or witness the cacao-drying operation before the beans are shipped off to Hershey’s.

2:30 p.m.

T-shirts and trinkets dominate the few shops in Soufrière. But if you’re in the market for more than rum or hot sauce, take a trip to the low-key Hummingbird Beach Resort (758-459-7985; on the north end of the town beach. The Batik Gallery here showcases the work of the owner, Joan (Joyce) Alexander-Stowe, and her son, David Simmonds, who design and print tropical flora and fauna motifs on colorful cotton runners, wraps and wall hangings. Prices run from about $30 for a scarf to $500 and more for a wall hanging. Animated wood carvings also populate the gallery, but you’ll have to persuade Ms. Alexander-Stowe to part with one from her prized collection.

3:30 p.m.

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