January 26, 2015
Acclaimed American novelist James A Michener famously described it as “the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean” and picturesque Marigot Bay on the western coast of St Lucia mores than lives up to the hype. Just twenty minutes south of Castries, the island’s capital, the secluded white sand cove of Marigot Bay is a world away from the buzzing hubbub and bright city lights.
Wedged between a trio of dramatic emerald hills and trimmed by coconut palms and crimson hibiscus, this peaceful bay is home to some particularly fine powdery beaches and a well-hidden resort. With translucent blue-green waters, this gorgeous tropical fjord lies languid and inviting, with dozens of gleaming white sailboats dotted about the shore. With its unspoiled natural beauty, Marigot Bay also offers the very best in water sports, from scuba diving, swimming and snorkelling to windsurfing, fishing and sailing. Charming waterfront eateries enjoy unrivalled views across the waters, where Caribbean breezes fan the beaches and a proliferation of tropical blooms.
From the north side of Marigot Bay, a ferry service connects visitors to the location where the giant pink sea snail scene was filmed for the 1967 Rex Harrison movie, Doctor Dolittle. In 2013, fragments of the snail shell were unearthed in a knotted tangle of mangroves and can now be found in Doolittle’s Restaurant and Bar, a quirky memento of Marigot Bay’s cinematic past. On the cove’s south east corner, in a privileged spot beside the wooden jetty, St Lucia’s most luxurious and best-protected berthing is home to a flotilla of dazzling mega yachts and wooden galleons, with an additional two-dozen mooring buoys that bob on the inner bay. Nearby, the year-round Marina Village offers a collection of upscale boutiques, chic delicatessens, quaint bars and gourmet food stores, located close to an airstrip for private jets.
Calm, scenic waters offer safe passage for cruising Tobago, Grenada and the other pretty palm-fringed southern islands of the Caribbean through the Saint Lucian National Marine Reserve. From the deck, views of St Lucia are truly verdant with grapefruit, mango, orange, lime, lemon, banana, plantain and wax apples growing in abundance on an undulating landscape thick with emerald foliage and brightly-hued flora.
Rich in colourful maritime heritage, Marigot Bay is also one of St Lucia’s most historic landmarks as the site of a number of battles between French and British navy forces. Yet long before European colonial empires arrived on St Lucian shores, this sheltered harbour and its spectacular scenery was a favourite hideout among marauding pirates and swashbuckling privateers. Myths and legends about troves of glittering treasure in the sands and secret lairs continue to captivate visitors – though Marigot Bay islanders already feel rich beyond their wildest dreams living in a place bestowed with such astounding natural beauty.
Header Image: St Lucia’s Marigot Bay © Frankonline/Thinkstock/iStock
Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to St Lucia from London Gatwick, making it easy to explore Marigot Bay on your next trip.
Have you been to Marigot Bay? Tell us about it in the comments section below.