The first time I visited the magical Marigot Bay in St. Lucia, I was with my mom on a cruise. We'd done organized excursions in the other ports, but that day we tried our luck with local advice, and hopped in a taxi when we got off the ship.
We asked the taxi driver to take us someplace every visitor should go, but that not everybody knows about. Without having to stop and think, he took us directly to Marigot Bay. You have to take a little boat over to the beach, but that's part of the charm. It feels intimate and separate, even though it's only a few minutes away.
Not only is Marigot Bay pretty and secluded – author James Michener called it "the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean" – but it's also the set of the very famous final scenes in the original 1967 movie "Doctor Dolittle." Those who are familiar with the island scenes in the movie can actually go stand on the beaches and have the exact same view, if you know what you're looking for, that is.
While the movie set history isn't common knowledge outside of St. Lucia, it's not a closely-guarded secret either. In fact, Doolittle's Restaurant and Bar is right there, and features a piece of the shell of the elusive Giant Pink Sea Snail that inspired Dr. Dolittle's journey in the movie. Part of the Marigot Beach Club & Dive Resort, Doolittle's menu is casual and loaded with fresh local seafood. The free Wi-Fi is also a highlight for the many guests staying aboard yachts in the harbor. Link to Doolittle's Restaurant & Bar here.
The snail's shell has a bit of a legend behind it. It seems the children on the island had been made ill by local snails not long before the filming, and the locals were furious about the giant snail prop the production company brought to the island. Supposedly, after filming, the snail was taken out to sea and sunk. In 2013, a local man set out to find the legendary snail shell, rumored to have reappeared on the island, and that's how it came to reside in Doolittle's restaurant.
Marigot Bay is wildly popular with the yachting set, with its funky restaurants, bars and supply shop. It's a well-known hurricane hole during the tricky weather seasons. And there's easy access to the ocean, and great snorkeling spots, just around the south corner, outside the harbor. There's a good marina, and several businesses available to help provision the visiting boats.
While it makes a fabulous day trip, there are several boutique hotels and guest houses located conveniently around the bay for those who want to immerse themselves on an extended visit. There's a spa, and plenty of water sport activities. But most visitors to Marigot Bay say the best part of their visit is relaxing and watching unbelievable sunsets over beautiful boats in the bay.