Saint Lucia and Antigua: two island hotspots for unforgettable winter getaways.

Guest Contributer November 18, 2019
Woman on beach chair overlooking tropical marina.
This time of year has a lot of Canadians dreaming of warm, sunny vacations to some of the world's most popular tropical hotspots. 

The Caribbean is the ideal destination for trading the snowy streets and wind chill factor for clear turquoise waters, soft sandy beaches, and warm weather all year round. Whether you're looking to relax in the sun with a good book, explore natural wonders, or savour the local culture and cuisine, this region offers something for everyone. 

With over 35 years of delivering unparalleled travel moments to Canadians, Air Canada Vacations can help you discover the very best the Caribbean has to offer. They’ve carefully selected our partners in the region to provide you with exclusive travel experiences, superb seaside settings, gourmet cuisine, state-of-the-art amenities and impeccable service. 

Here are just a couple of island paradises with abundant beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant nightlife that Air Canada Vacations and CAA Travel can help you explore this winter.  


Saint Lucia. 

The small island country of Saint Lucia offers visitors a taste of some of the best that the Caribbean has to offer – all in one compact setting to enjoy. For the hikers and sightseers, Saint Lucia is decorated with breathtaking mountains to explore. There are the twin cone-shaped Pitons with hiking trails and stunning views, and the world's only dormant volcano that you can drive right through. Although Soufriere has not erupted since the 18th century, steam, bubbling water and the smell of sulphur are still evident. The surrounding area offers a natural spa with therapeutic hot springs and mud baths. 

When you get tired of tropical mountainsides, waterfalls, rainforests and botanical gardens, the beaches of Saint Lucia are the perfect spot for kicking back and resting up for the next adventure. 

As pleasant as the shorelines are for swimming and splashing in the sun, they are also your gateway to an underwater world to discover. The clear waters, abundant sea life, shipwrecks and coral reefs make this island a favourite spot for snorkellers and scuba divers.   

History buffs will want to explore Pigeon Island, a national landmark to the island's past.  Once only accessible by boat, Pigeon Island is now connected to Saint Lucia by a causeway. It is home to numerous ruins of military forts and colonial-era buildings that were used in the Caribbean naval wars that were fought between the French and British for control of the region in the centuries past.

Be sure to sample the local culture and cuisine. From the weekly street parties in Gros Islet serving up fresh-caught seafood and Caribbean barbecue to fine dining prepared by world-class chefs in the abundance of restaurants in Castries, Saint Lucia has what you are hungry for. You'll find the music and dance that the Caribbean is famous for evident in the lively streets of whichever region you choose.
Woman swimming in an infinity pool overlooking pitons in the distance.

Antigua.

Antigua is famous for being home to 365 beaches – meaning that, in theory, you could spend a year there, hit the beach everyday, and still not have to go to the same one twice. Think about that the next time you're scraping the ice off your windshield!

You can see all 365 beaches in a single day with a sailing tour around the island's 86 kilometres of coastline. Along the way you'll catch views of the coastal towns and villages, dramatic shorelines and historic sites, such as Nelson's Dockyard.

Once a naval base under the command of the legendary British Admiral Horatio Nelson, today the Dockyard is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with the historic artifacts and museum, the 18th-century marina is now also home to a host of restaurants and shops and serves as the base for numerous sailing events.

English Harbour, which houses the Dockyard is also the site of Shirley Heights Lookout, a clifftop observation area overlooking English and neighbouring Falmouth Harbours. Rising up 150 metres above sea level, Shirley Heights offers the best views on the island. It is also home to weekly 'lookout parties' which see visitors and locals alike gather to catch the spectacular sunsets and enjoy live music. Hilltop restaurants and bars serve up refreshments to keep the party-goers satisfied well into the evening.

Antigua is also a great spot for island hopping. The smaller island of Barbuda is part of the same nation – Antigua and Barbuda – and is just a short boat ride away. Sparsely populated, Barbuda is a nature-lovers paradise. Along with the miles of white sand beaches that rim the shores, this island is home to a large frigate bird colony, sheltered lagoons, and lush untouched landscapes.

Whether you're snorkeling the coral reefs bursting with exotic fish that surround the island, taking in the historic sites and local culture in the lively capital of St. John's or exploring hidden coves and nearby islands on a sailing excursion, Antigua is the perfect getaway for a tropical vacation adventure you will never forget.

Colourful beachside dress shops in Antigua.
Check out CAA Member Exclusive deals on these and other great winter getaway options from CAA Travel.