Discover St Lucia, captivating jewel of the Caribbean March & May 2022
Garden Holidays and Escorted Tours
The Natural World
Discover St Lucia, captivating jewel of the Caribbean March & May 2022
Sandy white beaches where sea turtles hatch, crystal clear waters filled with brightly-coloured fish, lush rainforests where hummingbirds fly, thermal waters to soothe the body, botanical gardens to intrigue the mind … this is St Lucia. Join us in March or May 2022 for a holiday that will revive, inspire and create memories to last a lifetime.
Based for 7 nights at the Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, a laid back, luxurious hotel bordering the fine white sands of Reduit Beach, you will visit Mamiku Botanical Gardens, the Soufrière Diamond Botanical Gardens & Sulphur Springs, and the Morne Coubaril Estate.
This is slow travel so our itinerary is relaxed, but we have also arranged an exciting menu of optional, expert-led experiences. Bird watching, photography, snorkelling, yoga, and Tai Chi – what will you choose?
What we love
- The hotel! Beautiful bedrooms, a soothing spa, a white sand beach, fabulous food, a sparkling lagoon-style swimming pool and views across the crystal-clear waters to Pigeon Island
- The flora and fauna! Lush botanical gardens filled with scented flowers and aromatic plants and an historic estate where cocoa, coffee, coconuts, and bananas grow…
- The water! The ocean, waterfalls, thermal springs, and coral reefs…
- The wildlife! Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bridled quail doves; turtles, octopus, trumpet fish and squid…
- The freedom! Choose to laze the days away or pick and mix from a tempting menu of memorable, immersive experiences.
Experiences you will treasure
- Spending 7 nights at the beach-side Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa. Wake up to a view of the lush tropical gardens, dine in a choice of 10 restaurants across St Lucia, pamper your body in the spa, still your mind on the beach, thrill your soul in the water.
- Discovering the fascinating history and unique flora and fauna of Mamiku Botanical Gardens
- Exploring Soufrière Diamond Botanical Gardens with its breath-taking waterfall and hot mineral springs
- Visiting an historic – and still working – farm to see cocoa, coffee, coconuts, and bananas grow
- Our exciting menu of optional adventures. Go bird watching in the Des Cartier Rainforest and Aupicot Wetlands with a local expert; see St Lucia through the eye of a lens, guided by a professional photographer; take a sightseeing cruise, then snorkel in the clear waters of Marine Park; stretch your body and still your mind with yoga and Tai Chi in an open-air studio, surrounded by the song of chirping birds.
What people say
Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape
Sir Derek Walcott, Saint Lucian Nobel Laureate
How much is it?
Known for its lush tropical flora, spectacular beaches, legendary twin mountains Gros Piton and Petit Piton, and world-renowned island hospitality, St Lucia is a coveted Caribbean destination with a rich history and culture. Perfectly positioned close to the earth’s equator, this beautiful island sits between the vast Atlantic Ocean to the east and the crystalline Caribbean Sea to the west. Days here are sun-drenched, while the evenings are comfortably cool.
A Deeper Dive
The Mamiku Estate is now a hardworking plantation producing bananas, cocoa, tropical flowers, and fruits, but it has a history dating back to the 1740s. The French Revolution was a period of great stress, involving captured African slaves working a sugar plantation owned by a French aristocrat, the Baron de Micoud, and culminating in wars between the English and the French on the site of the Estate Great House. Many soldiers of both armies, some of them slaves, were killed in the ‘Battle of the Brigands’, which took place on the hill-top of Mamiku Gardens.
In 1906 the entire estate was bought by Henry Martin Shingleton-Smith for £500 and the family still own and operate it today. Veronica Shingleton-Smith, a landscaper designer who has worked for the last 45 years creating gardens around Saint Lucia, the Caribbean, and the U.S.A, made the garden here in 1997. Her dream was to create a place of natural beauty, blending the flower gardens within the woodlands of indigenous trees. A garden where overseas visitors from around the world and Saint Lucian Garden lovers could enjoy Mamiku Gardens together and feel the spirits of the long-gone soldiers, slaves and early French settlers.
The garden is divided into different-themed areas, separated by woodland walks. Discover the Secret Garden, the Mystic Garden known for its orchids, Grandpa's Old House filled with medicinal herbs, Veronica's Garden and the Casse, a mini rain forest with a natural spring running through it. Look out for rare birds, including three different species of Hummingbird, the endangered White Breasted Thrasher, the Golden Oriole, and the Black Finch.
Saint Lucia’s lush, vibrant landscapes, mountainous interiors, dense rainforests, and palm-fringed beaches are the ideal setting for bird watching. The island has six endemic species – the highest in the Eastern Caribbean region. The best known is the St. Lucia Parrot (Amazona Veriscolor), the island’s national bird. Measuring about 42-46cm in length, it inhabits the mountain rainforests, feeding in the cavities of tall trees. The other endemics are:
St Lucia Black Finch: Measuring approximately 13-14 cm in length, this finch is found in both moist and dry forest areas and forages in the leaf litter in the dense understory. It usually nests in a spherical nest of twigs built in a low shrub or palm about two meters above ground.
St Lucia Pewee: Growing to about 15 cm in length, this pewee is quite common and lives mostly in moist forests, although it is sometimes found in dry forest areas too. The pewee nests in a cup-shaped nest made of leaves and moss placed on a branch. It perches low, sallying out for insects.
St Lucia Oriole: The adult oriole grows to about 22 cm in length. It is uncommon but can occasionally be found in woodlands, including dry and moist forest where it feeds on insects, fruits, flowers, and nectar. The oriole builds a nest sewn under a leaf or palm well above the ground.
St Lucia Warbler: The Warbler is about 12.5 cm in length. It is found in all forest types and at all altitudes. It forages for insects and spiders from leaves and twigs. The female lays her eggs in a nicely woven, cup-shaped nest built in a tree about 1-5 m above the ground.
Semper’s Warbler: The Semper’s Warbler is extremely rare, or possibly even extinct. Measuring about 14.5 cm in length, the adult plumage is dark grey at the upperparts and greyish white at the underparts. The last reliable sighting was in 1961, although there have been unconfirmed sightings since.
Another Lesser Antillean endemic bird found in Saint Lucia is the endangered, White-Breasted Thrasher.
The Mamiku Gardens we visit on Day Three is located in the Mandele dry forest, a place home to many of the island’s birds. Look out for the endemics listed above, as well as the Antillean Euphonia, Bridled quail dove, Grey Trembler, Lesser Antillean flycatcher, three hummingbird species, Pearly-eyed and Scaly-breasted Thrashers and, if you’re lucky, the Rufous Nightjar. At some times of the year St Lucia Amazons forage at this site too, mainly in the upper elevations. Migratory birds, including the Magnificent Frigate Bird, also nest and roose in different locations in this area.
Our bird watching experience takes you to the Des Cartiers Rainforest Trail, the best place on the island to spot the Saint Lucian parrot.
Kirk Elliott acquired his first camera, a Kodak EK6 Instant, when he was 12 and hasn’t stopped making pictures since. Today, he is one of the most well-known photographers in Saint Lucia, having worked with some of the best photographers and photo outfits in the world. Kirk is something of a local celebrity too, appearing frequently on TV championing causes such as creating a photography competition that dares young people to dream their biggest dream. He is also a member of the St Lucia Association of Professional Photographers and The American Society of Media Photographers.
Kirk’s intimate knowledge of St Lucia makes his workshops unique. As well looking over your shoulder as you shoot to point out more effective ways for you to achieve your photography goals, he also explains what he is shooting and why.
The preserved fringing reefs that surround Saint Lucia attract rich marine life and offer superb conditions for those who love exploring the ocean’s wonders. If you’d like to observe the colourful aquatic life of the Caribbean Sea, don’t miss out on snorkelling in St Lucia!
The regular northeast trade wind that blows most of the year means that most of St Lucia’s snorkelling spots are found on the protected west side. The many small bays around Soufriere, in the Pitons region and towards Castries offer shallow fringing reefs with excellent conditions for snorkelling. Look out for colourful tropical fish and reef fish such as parrotfish, trumpetfish, and sergeant majors.
The sandy bottom and calm, clear waters of Reduit Beach, where your hotel is based, make it a great place for beginners and, if that whets your appetite, our itinerary also includes an optional cruise and snorkelling experience on Day Seven where you have the chance to snorkel off the boat in one of the wonderful Marine Parks along the west coast. If you’re lucky you might see a hawksbill turtle. With temperatures between 79-84F/26-29C, the sea is warm enough for you to leave the wetsuit at home. However you will need UV protection clothing and sunscreen.
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