A luxuriant isle full of lush mountains, tropical rainforests and is renowned for the magnificent Pitons; twin, jungle clad volcanic peaks that rise majestically from the clear blue waters. This is an island of true unspoilt beauty and acknowledged by many as the most picturesque island in the Caribbean. As you travel around the island the scenery will captivate you, deep valleys and gorges set against the back drop of the Caribbean Sea. Rainforests full of exotic rare birds and plants, where lushness is overpowering, wild orchids unique to St Lucia scent the air and the elusive St Lucian Parrots squawk overhead.
Things to see & do in St Lucia:
Attractions: St Lucia is known for its captivating scenery and landscapes. One of the most photographed places on the island is the Pitons. Visible for miles around, the Petit Piton and the Gros Piton are two volcanic spires which majestically soar out of the sea. Simply admire their sheer magnitude from the ground or sea or, if you are up for a challenge, take a guided tour to the top of Gros Piton. For something a little less exhausting, spend a few hours at Marigot Bay which is an enchanting little bay with sparkling water and a beautiful backdrop of the Pitons. Thrill seekers will enjoy the rainforest adventure parks located in St Lucia’s rainforest. Try zip-lining through the canopies or cycling or hiking to the stunning waterfalls. To take in a little bit of the island’s culture and history, take a wander around the island’s capital of Castries, visiting the market to pick up a few souvenirs, the waterfront and the capital’s main focal point: the Derek Walcott Square (named after the Nobel prize winning poet and playwright.) Also take a visit to Pigeon Island (which is connected to the mainland by a causeway). Here at the top of a climb, you will find the ruins of the 18th Century British-built Fort Rodney where you will also be rewarded with glorious panoramic views.
Events/festivals: In February, holidaymakers are invited to join in the celebrations for the island’s Independence Day. Events include parades, calypso music, and kite flying competitions. Music lovers will enjoy visiting St Lucia at the end of April and beginning of May when the St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival takes place. Showcasing local and international jazz stars, many of the events take place on Pigeon Island. June/July sees the whole island get into the party mode with the annual Carnival. Parades, live calypso music and dancing are the order of the day during these festivities. Jounen Kweyol (Creole Day), which takes place on the last Sunday of October is the time when the St Lucian people celebrate their history and culture with parades and parties, dressed in the traditional Madras clothing.
Sports: St Lucia is a great holiday destination for active types and nature lovers. The stunning landscapes give way to some fabulous trekking and hiking through its rainforests and waterfalls, where all levels and abilities are catered for with guided excursions. Birdwatchers will delight in discovering the forest’s inhabitants, including the St Lucian parrot, which is endemic only to St Lucia’s central rainforests. Watersports enthusiasts are well catered for with lots of opportunities to snorkel, dive, kite surf and windsurf plus superb sailing conditions. Golfers will enjoy the 18 hole St Lucia golf course.
Nightlife: St Lucians get rather excited about the end of the week, and if you head to Gros Islet or Anse La Raye on a Friday evening, you will find locals and holidaymakers getting together for a weekly street party with music, dance, barbecued fish and lots of fun. For all-round nightlife, the liveliest spot on the island is in Rodney Bay Village which has bars, clubs and a casino. Elsewhere on the island, the nightlife is decidedly lower key.
Eating/Drinking: Popular dishes in St Lucia include ‘Accras’ which are fried codfish balls in a spicy sauce; ‘Lambi’ which is a chewy conch meat, and ‘Langouste’ – the Caribbean lobster which is served hot with melted butter or cold with a herb mayonnaise. For something sweet, try the fresh banana cake. Popular tipples include the local Piton beer plus of course, the Caribbean favourite, rum.
Shopping: The capital of Castries has the best shopping on the island. Here, numerous shops sell goods often at duty free prices. The two main areas for duty-free shopping are Port Seraphine and La Place Carenage. On Saturday morning, check out the Castries’ fruit and vegetable market, which is lively, colourful and will introduce you to many of the local produce that you may have never seen before. The is also a craft market along side this market (which runs every day except Sunday) where you can pick up tourist souvenirs. Popular items to take home include bags of spice, sticks of cocoa, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg balls.
When to go
Peak season on the island is from mid-December to April when the weather is at its best. St Lucia is cheaper in the summer and autumn months, although it can be quite wet during these times, partly due to the island’s mountainous terrain. As with most Caribbean islands, bear in mind that the hurricane season officially lasts from June to November, with September and October being the time when storms are most likely to hit the island.
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