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.