The Maria Islands were declared a Nature Reserve in 1982 by the Government of Saint Lucia in recognition of their special function as a wildlife habitat and their unique flora and fauna. There are over eighty (80) plant species found on Maria Islands. The island is home to five endemic reptile species such as the world’s rarest snake – the Kouwés snake (Saint Lucia Racer), The Saint Lucia whiptail (Zandou), The Worm Snake (non poisonous), The Pygmy and Rock geckos as well as several species of cacti and undisturbed tropical plants on the vertical cliff.
The islands are set about one half mile from Pointe Sable on the South East coast of Saint Lucia. Maria Major is 10.1 hectares and its little sister Maria Minor is 1.6 hectares. The island is also a major nesting site for migratory birds which travel thousands of miles from the west coast of Africa to nest annually. It is usually closed for the nesting season which runs from May to August. This time frame is adjusted annually by the Saint Lucia Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture depending on the birds’ migratory patterns.
The Saint Lucia National Trust has been conducting special environmental education tours to Maria Islands since the early 1980s. The Maria Island tour is a wonderful outing for the nature lover! It is many tours in one! The knowledgeable guide escorts visitors to Maria Major by a local fishing boat, which pulls ashore on one of the most spectacular white sand beaches. The exciting walk showcases the unique and breathtaking views of the town of Vieux Fort the Pitons and the entire Pointe Sable area.
The waters around islands are surrounded by coral reefs, making them great for snorkeling.
Maria Islands can be your own island in the sun for a day.
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR VISITORS TO MARIA ISLANDS NATURE RESERVE
The Maria Islands were declared a Nature Reserve in 1982 by the Government of Saint Lucia in recognition of its special function as a wildlife habitat and for the unique wildlife which exist there. The Saint Lucia National Trust conducts tours to the islands to share its unique habitat with visitors and to raise awareness of nature’s wonders.
These rules and regulations are established to guide the conduct of visitors and to safeguard the integrity of the Maria Islands Nature Reserve.
- Persons with serious ailments/health complications, particularly heart and respiratory, must inform the attendant Tour Guide or booking agent before commencement of the tour.
- The Trust shall not be held liable in instances where no notification is given in respect of serious ailments or medical complications.
- The tour is limited to persons within the maximum age ceiling of seventy (70) years, except in instances where special written approval is granted by the Trust.
- Visitors are to note that there is a general `close season’ period, which is observed annually to protect nesting migratory birds. This period runs from May to August during which time there will be restricted access. The extent of restriction will be determined on an annual basis and will be influenced by prevailing conditions such as numbers of birds, location of nesting activity etc.
- The following item and activities are strictly prohibited within the confines of the Maria Islands Nature Reserve: use of cigarettes and alcohol, use of sirens and alarms or any form of loud sounds, knives, machetes and matches or lighters, flammable liquids e.g. gasoline. Fires are prohibited.
- Visitors are to note that it is unlawful to remove from Maria Islands any items such as shells, rocks, soil samples, plants, plant parts and any aspect of flora and fauna or natural resources.
- Visitors are expected to respect the integrity of Maria Islands by observing the following: no littering, no breaking of branches and picking of leaves.