Maria Islands Nature Reserve
Photo courtesy of Saint Lucia National Trust
Maria Islands Nature ReserveThe Maria Islands—Maria Major and Maria Minor—off the southeastern coast are among the region's most pristine environments. You can visit the protected wildlife reserve via a 20-minute boat ride from Pointe Sable. On Maria Major, a verdant trail leads you past a variety of unusual tropical flora and fauna, most notably the habitats of six rare native reptile species. Look for St. Lucia's whiptail lizard and the racer, a nonvenomous grass snake that might appear from a rock crevice. Snorkeling off the beach is part of the experience, too, as the island's waters are rich with coral reefs. The reserve, a birder's paradise most of the year, is closed to the public in the summertime to accommodate the nesting season of migratory birds that flock here from Africa.