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Caribbean holiday retreat Saint Lucia deserves the title of paradise island

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There are few places in the world that can truly lay claim to the title of a paradise island but Saint Lucia is one.

This tropical retreat bursts with unimaginable beauty, from the heady heights of mountains covered in the lushest of rainforests to miles and miles of palm-fringed golden beaches blessed with crystal-clear waters.

While Saint Lucia has long drawn sun-seeking pilgrims to its shores, there are plenty of other activities on offer, from mountain biking and horse riding to jeep safaris and a thrilling forest zip-wire.

And don’t forget the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano plus the relaxing Sulphur Springs.

Two dramatic mountains the Pitons rise 2,000ft from the calm Caribbean Sea, while rainforests and tropical gardens add to the whole Garden of Eden feel.

You can hike the Gros Piton and charter a guided tour through the rainforests to spot the indigenous Saint Lucian parrot, known by locals as the jacquot.

Meanwhile, the endangered green iguana prized for its tail, a noted delicacy grows up to 6ft long.

There’s lots to do offshore too with yachting, whale and dolphin-watching, fishing, snorkelling and diving just the flick of a flipper away.

After such exertions, food comes to mind and Saint Lucia’s cuisine takes its inspiration from many corners of the world.

Whether it’s British, French, Asian or the traditional Creole fare, it all slides down well with a glass of local rum.

It’s little wonder then that Saint Lucia is consistently named as one of the world’s leading honeymoon destinations. One reason for this is that many couples decide to tie the knot while there.

Unlike other islands, Saint Lucia has no residency period, so you can be married and start enjoying your honeymoon as soon as you wish.

Many hotels and resorts have wedding planners, making it all very simple.

The majority of resorts are found in the north, near the vibrant capital of Castries, and the relaxed fishing port of Soufriere in the south-west.

On my recent trip, I elected to stay in a resort called Windjammer which can be enjoyed either as self-catering (it’s a timeshare resort), staying on a B&B basis, full board or all-inclusive.

The resort has its own restaurants, shops, bars and sports.

We had a villa on top of a steep hill, but if you’re not that fit or able you’ll be pleased to know there are free shuttle buses to whizz you up and down to the beach area.

Otherwise, my advice would be to ask for a villa in one of the lower, more accessible areas.

Being all-inclusive at Windjammer makes a huge amount of sense as food and drink here is not cheap and you’re not in walking distance of other restaurants or bars.

It’s well worth it, believe me.

The beach here is one of the best on the island and the watersports team are excellent too. There are six swimming pools, a jacuzzi, five restaurants, three bars, a mini-market and several boutiques.

For teens, tots and in-betweens, activities vary from beach pizza parties, coconut bowling, water polo, darts, beach-cricket, Caribbean dance classes and the Jacquot Fun Club, a complimentary kids club ideal for children aged four to 12.

This hillside Caribbean resort is very picturesque with a Mediterranean feel due to its red tile roofs and porcelain-white buildings.

I’m delighted to say that the free wi-fi worked everywhere in the resort a real rarity in the Caribbean!

And a nearby excursion to lively Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island a 40-acre islet in Gros Islet is recommended.

Once isolated, this island was artificially joined to the western coast of the mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway.

The island is a historic site with numerous castles such as Fort Rodney, which was used by the British to spy on French ships from neighbouring Martinique.

In 1979, it was named a national park and today Pigeon Island is the home of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.

Seven nights in Saint Lucia with Virgin Holidays including scheduled flights with Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick direct to Saint Lucia, room-only accommodation at 4V Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort and airport transfers starts from £1,028. Price is per person based on two adults travelling, sharing an ocean view room and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges, which are subject to change.