St Lucia

At a glance

  • The majestic Piton mountains
  • Zip-lining through rainforest
  • The Caribbean's most romantic island

St Lucia insider review

Language:

English and Creole

Events & Festivals:

May: The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival is one of the Caribbean’s biggest cultural events. over 50 world-renowned artists perform during this 11-day festival which celebrates St Lucian, Caribbean and international jazz music as well as R&B, hip-hop and pop.

August: Chocolate Heritage Month – Chocolaholics will rejoice at the prospect of a whole month of chocolate-themed activities and events. St Lucia's cocoa heritage can be traced back to the 18th Century and many of the island's estates offer plantation 'tree to bar' or 'bean to bar' tours where you learn how to make chocolate. And a number of restaurants and spas offer special tasting menus and chocolate-infused treatments.

December: Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) – In November competitors set sail from Las Palmas in Gran Canaria bound for Rodney Bay in St Lucia. After sailing 2700 nautical miles, the boats arrive in St Lucia in December and competitors can look forward to a programme of activities including live music, cultural activities, cooking demos, cocktail parties and a prize-giving ceremony.

Eating / Drinking:

•   'Accras' are a popular first course of lightly fried herbed codfish balls in a piquant sauce.
•   Delicious, filling soups are made from local ingredients such as breadfruit, pumpkin and groundnut.
•   'Pepperpot' is a tasty mix of pork, beef and casareep - an aromatic blend of grated cassava, cinnamon and brown sugar.
•   'Lambi' is chewy conch meat and can be found all over St Lucia.
•   Langouste, the Caribbean lobster, is delicious either grilled with melted butter or cold with herb-flavoured mayonnaise.
•   For dessert, try fresh banana cake and home-made coconut, mango and pineapple ice-cream.

Shopping:

•   A couple of shops in Castries and at the Pointe Seraphine duty-free shopping complex sell colourful print and batik sportswear for women.
•   The better hotels boast boutiques selling clothes and souvenirs.
•   Take home the heady scent of tropical flowers with locally blended perfume.
•   Dolls, stamps and shell necklaces are sold everywhere, as well as beaded jewellery, carved wooden objects and straw and sisal articles.

Good to know:

All beaches in St Lucia are public.

Visitors should be aware that it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing, which is reserved for military personnel only. Further, guests may be asked to remove any such items, at the airport on arrival and such items, including any items found by Customs in guests’ luggage are subject to confiscation.

Dialling code
+1 758

History:

17th Century
In the early 1600s a group of Englishmen tried to set up a permanent colony but were thwarted by Carib Indians. Efforts by the British and French to colonise the island are unsuccessful until the second half of the century.
18th Century
Beautiful and strategically placed, St Lucia changes hands between the British and French several times. In 1765, under the French, the first sugar plantation is started and small towns spring up. But as the repercussions of the American and French revolutions spread to the West Indies, the battle between French and British for Caribbean supremacy intensifies.
19th Century
The Treaty of Amiens awards St Lucia to France in 1802. The last transfer of power at the end of the Napoleonic Wars leaves St Lucia in British hands. The 19th century is a largely peaceful era of coconut, sugar cane, coffee and cotton plantations. Slaves are emancipated in 1836.
20th Century–present
St Lucia heads gradually towards full self-government, finally granted by the West Indies Act of 1967. After a period of mild instability caused by a tug-of-war between the leading political parties, the island, independent since 1979, returns to its usual state of calm.