The Ultimate Guide to Saint Lucia
The Caribbean is a collection of more than 7,000 islands where you can spend as much time as you want soaking up the sun-kissed beaches, exploring the lush rainforests, and eating the freshest foods you'll find. If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy the serenity of a less-traveled island, then look no further than Saint Lucia for your Caribbean vacation.
The Cities of Saint Lucia
Get outdoors and explore the stunning cities and lively neighborhoods of Saint Lucia. You'll see why it's more than a solitary honeymoon gateway for honeymooners.
- Soufrière is the former capital of the island and has an idyllic charm. You'll enjoy walking around the square and see the picture-perfect French-Caribbean houses and market. The best part is the view of the Pitons, it's up-close-and-personal in this part of the island.
- Pigeon Island is a wonder in itself. With barracks, cannons, and a fortress, it's history involving pirates will peak your interest.
- On our Crop-Over cool down, we even went to the biggest fete, or party, of the year there and ended up walking across the man-made causeway from the island back to our hotel. (It was a brisk and refreshing walk after partying from 10pm until 6am!)
- Head to Rodney Bay because it's the best place to stay for easy access to the islands' many hotels, restaurants, nightlife, and only mall. Plus you can chill out at the crescent-shaped beach!
- Don't miss Castries, the capital of the island. The Morne Fortune, with its many historical buildings, and the local market is the perfect way to get to know of the island.
- One of the exciting reasons to visit this island is the Gros Islet Friday night street party. Enjoy a night of drinks, dance, music, and fun at the fishing village. You can mix with locals and witness how they prepare their dishes. This is a great chance to experience the culture of the island and make some unforgettable memories.
Where to Stay
Add a little luxury to your Caribbean holiday by surrounding yourself with some of the best villas and most beautiful hotels in the Caribbean.
Jade Mountain is a stunning resort with spacious sanctuaries and private pools. The suites, referred to as sanctuaries, are furnished with modern furniture and sleek architectural design, but the best part is the mesmerizing cliff views of the Piton Mountains and exclusivity.
A French colonial style resort, Coco Palm Resort is complete with pools, gym, spa, and a bar that makes you never want to leave the property. You will love the food that is made from real Caribbean recipes and with love by the friendly staff.
Cap Maison is another good choice for enjoying the spirit of Saint Lucia. The Mediterranean-style villas ensure your privacy and you can spend all the time you want enjoying all the offered water sports on the secluded beach.
East Winds Resort is popular with visitors who love laid back holidays. The sprawling resort has cottages scattered throughout its gardens with direct beach access, an outdoor pool, and complimentary yoga classes. I sailed the seas, slept like a baby, ate like royalty, and left rejuvenated after my stay at East Winds Resort!
Food & Drinks
Don’t think that just because it's one of the less-traveled islands, Saint Lucia has limited options for food and drinks. When it comes to dining, Saint Lucia has its own charm. The delicacies, Caribbean recipes, and cuisine are a combination of French, Creole, and West Indian influence, and will have you craving its flavors long when you're back home!
Matthew's Rooftop Restaurant in Rodney Bay was everything we needed in a top restaurant in Saint Lucia. There were local dishes on the menu for us the try as well as some familiar plates we could enjoy. The frozen drinks keeping us cool in the heat and the rooftop view highlighting the tropical scenes made it our go-to place for lunch and dinner!
Chef Orlando is a celebrated chef of this Caribbean island who is known for his farm-to-table cuisine. His restaurant, Orlando’s, is garnering a lot of attention for sumptuous Caribbean dishes along with excellent service.
If you are in Saint Lucia, you will hear about Big Chef Steakhouse. It is very popular with locals as well as tourists for a variety of dishes. The chic setting and excellent ambiance make this restaurant so popular.
Wine on your mind? Head to Dasheene for a mindboggling collection of wines from all over the world. You can taste some of the best wines from Chile, Europe, and France all while staring at the mountainous Pitons and endless waters. Or you can switch it up and experiment with local wines sourced from Napa Valley like the Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon.
Local Foods to Eat
The Caribbean is known for its spiced rum and Saint Lucia is no different. If you attend a rum tasting, you'll learn more than all the ways you can mix and drink rum. You'll learn about the incredible story behind the Saint Lucian distilled Chairman's Reserve: Forgotten Casks.
Fresh and directly caught from the coast, fish and shellfish are must-have in Saint Lucia. Lambi or conch are large shellfish that are cooked in Caribbean sauces to create a tasty local dish that's available almost everywhere.
Salted codfish is another local delicacy. Caribbean recipes using green fig and saltfish are popular with both locals and tourists.
Don’t forget to taste sugar apple or custard apple that are grown here in abundance. Don't leave without trying the breadfruit. It's not what you'd image, but with its distinct case and texture, this tropical fruit is used in different recipes.
What to Do in Saint Lucia
Although it is a small island, you'll never run out of things to do. Aside from the usual spa and luxury resort amenities, there are plenty of outdoor activities that'll have you feeling like an explorer!
- If you love hiking, go on a rainforest trail. Hiking the Pitons is the most popular activity here.
- Sail the Caribbean Sea! The range of sailing excursions get a new meaning in Saint Lucia. In addition to snorkeling or scuba diving and a waterfall visits, you'll get a range of unique and unforgettable experiences on a catamaran tour. Our boat ride took us to a drive-in volcano, mud bath and hot spring. It's safe to say that Saint Lucia offers some exotic experiences that you won't get on any other island.
- The Diamond Falls botanical garden is a wonderful place to explore tropical plant life. Waterfalls, hot mineral springs, and sultry weather will make your trip well worth the visit!
Nightlife in Saint Lucia
- If you want to experience the nightlife on this island head straight to Castries. As the sun sets, the island wakes up in true Caribbean fashion to celebrate with street festivities, full-moon beach parties, dancing, and music, especially every Friday night at the Gros Islet Street Party!
- Visit your favorite bars, restaurants and clubs like Verve or Zen Nightclub where you can drink and be merry. There are few places like Saint Lucia where you can forget all your worries and simply enjoy the moments.
- Don't forget to visit the island in July to partake in the Carnival festivities, that include a market, cultural events, shows and fetes all culminating in a 2-day street parade! If you do Carnival right, then you'll be exhausted and happy that you have a serene beach to lay out on after all the festivities are over and done!
St. Lucia is romantic, beautiful, and full of natural wonders and lovely places. It is a small island, but the water, the bush, the sandy white beaches and authentic Caribbean food will completely satiate the wanderlust in you. Whether you are traveling solo or in groups, there are so many things you can see and do in Saint Lucia because of its pure beauty.
If you visit this less-frequented island just once, you'll be ready to book your next trip the moment you get back home. I know I was! I miss the friendly locals and captivating culture.
What you prefer a less-traveled island getaway or a party island escape??