Resort Report: Anse Chastanet, Saint Lucia

You've probably seen it on the cover of a travel magazine, or perhaps viewed it on the Travel Channel. Anse Chastanet is one of the Caribbean's most celebrated boutique resorts, set in one of the region's most scenic locations on the garden island of St. Lucia. It's a dream wedding and honeymoon destination, and a go-to for discerning travelers and foodies. But did you know that this landmark property is also a favorite with divers? If you appreciate good living as much as you do great diving, you need to give Anse Chastanet a closer look.

Anse Chastanet is located on a pair of private beaches within the Soufriere Marine Management Area.

The Diving

Guests of Anse Chastanet don't have to go far for underwater rewards. In fact, one of the Caribbean's top-rated shore dives begins just ten yards off the beach. Everyone who dives with the resort's in-house operation, Scuba St. Lucia, begins their underwater itinerary with a guided familiarization excursion on Anse Chastanet Reef. But this is not your average check-out dive, as the reef provides dramatic slopes and shelfs that fall away to depths of more than 150 feet, with formations covered in rich growths of soft corals and colorful sponges. Like other dive sites surrounding the resort grounds, this reef is located within the Soufriere Marine Management Area, and is home to more than 150 species of fish life. It's also worth more than one dive, as it is a favorite for night dives and a target-rich environment for macro photographers and critter spotters.

Reefs begin within a few yards off shore, creating easy opportunities for rewarding shore dives.

When it's time to move beyond the shore, Scuba St. Lucia's fleet of modern dive boats make daily trips to top-rated sites along the island's central and southwest coast. Underwater landscapes range from coral gardens to big walls, pinnacles, wrecks, boulder fields, and underwater canyons. An added attraction are the exhilarating drift dives such as the popular Superman's Flight.

The waters of St. Lucia are known for soft corals, colorful sponges and abundant marine life.

For nearly three decades, Scuba St. Lucia has remained the island's premier dive operation. The facility is located at the southern end of Anse Chastanet Beach, overlooked by the landmark spires of the Pitons, and washed by calm Caribbean waters. The shop is a PADI 5 Star facility and a DAN Partners in Safety member, catering to divers of all levels, with each dive guided by an instructor or divemaster. The facility provides guests with gear storage; a well-stocked retail facility, rental gear and an underwater photo and video center. The recently-upgraded fill station now features a Bauer Securus Air System, and nitrox is available.

Scuba St. Lucia operates three dive boats that make daily visits to the best sites on the islands central and southwest coast.

The Resort

Anse Chastanet remains one of the Caribbean's most desirable destinations. This boutique resort is set on a 600-acre estate overlooked by the iconic twin spires of the Pitons, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests have private access to a pair of white-sand beaches, where they can relax in thatch-roofed huts with personal butler service, or enjoy watersports such as windsurfing, sailing and kayaking. Both beaches also feature on-site restaurants and bars.

The resort is home to some of the best restaurants in St. Lucia, prized for both their cuisines and the setting.

The property includes 49 individually-designed rooms, 12 of which are set within a tropical garden at beach level. With the remaining 37 climbing the lushly-landscaped hillside to deliver elevated views of the Caribbean and the Pitons from private terraces and patios. In keeping with the resort's luxe-eco theme, each room's individually designed and hand-made furnishings and décor are created from island woods and locally-sourced natural products. A unique feature of some rooms is an open design that removes the fourth wall to provide direct open-air views.

Some hillside rooms at Anse Chastanet provide spectacular open-air views.

Anse Chastanet offers some of St. Lucia's top dining options, with a pair of open-air treehouse-style restaurants set on the hillside with sweeping ocean views, plus three additional water-view and beachside restaurants serving a range of cuisines in more casual settings. Menus range from Caribbean-Indian fusion cuisine to upscale vegetarian offerings, fresh seafood, casual American and Continental fare, and award-winning tropical world cuisines. Locally-sourced sustainable seafood is complemented by organic produce grown on the resort's farm. Divers may appreciate one of the resort's special meals, which is a candlelit beachside dinner known as Eat Them To Beat Them, which features lionfish prepared a variety of different ways. Also available are private dining experiences and chef-lead cooking classes.

Surface Intervals

Avid divers will want to reserve plenty of time for Anse Chastanet's other activities and programs. Active guests have a number of watersports to sample including sailing, windsurfing, and ocean kayaking. Even more relaxing are the dolphin and sunset cruises. Guided outings range from birding excursions, easy rainforest hikes to ziplining, and challenging climbs of the Pitons. Another popular activity is off-road biking on the resort's 600-acre grounds, which is crisscrossed by miles of private off-road bike trails that run through jungle foliage and the abandoned stone structures of a French sugar plantation. All trails are mulched to reduce mud and prevent erosion, roots and other sharp projections are removed, and there are routes suitable for novices to experts. Bikes and equipment are provided at a dedicated rental and retail facility.

The resort's bike center offers rentals for explorations of the surrounding 600-acre grounds of the former sugar plantation.

A unique program at Anse Chastanet that will delight any chocolate lover is the Chocolate Laboratory. Chocolate production has a long history on St. Lucia, and there are more than 2,000 cocoa trees growing on the resort property. These trees provide the ingredients for the hand-crafted Emerald Estate Chocolate served at the resort, and with the opening of the Chocolate Laboratory, guests are now able to not only taste but participate in the making of the chocolate. Among the activities offered are chocolate sensory tastings, educational estate trips and truffle making classes. Chocolate lovers can also sample chocolate inspired dishes, cocktails and body treatments in the resort restaurants, bars and spa.

 

If Anse Chastanet sounds like a sweet place to visit, you're right. It's been a tradition with Caradonna customers for years, and thanks to our special relationship with the resort, we can offer some very savory dive and resort packages. To learn more about current offers, give us a call at 800-329-9989 or send a note to sales@caradonna.com.