The Rain Forest Reserve
It's the country's greatest national asset.
The mountainous countryside is often a bright Kelly green and very similar to Dominica in that many of the plants and animals are of South or Central American origin.
Only about 11% of St. Lucia is still true rain forest. Ironically, most of the cutting was done in recent years, not by early settlers. As late as the 1980s, about 3% of the rain forest were being cleared annually to grow bananas.
Today, about 31,000 acres of rain forest remain, 19,000 of them under the jurisdiction of the Forestry and Lands Department as the Rain Forest National Park.
St. Lucians understand they possess something very special, fragile and unique.
Hiking is of tremendous importance to St. Lucia's economy. After the Des Cartiers trail opened in 1996, it was credited with infusing US$750,000 into the local economy in its first four years. And the sum has increased every year since.
That's an impressive sum from just one short hiking trail. It clearly demonstrates how hiking, a low impact activity that doesn't wear out the natural resource, should be encouraged on every island.
Obtaining access to rain forest hiking trails: You need to make advance reservations to use the hiking trails, which certainly takes away the spontaneity of a last-minute hike.