St. Lucia may be the “World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” several times over, but it is much more than just a couple’s playground.  St. Lucia is an independent state within the British Commonwealth, and it has incorporated influence from the British and French into its distinctly Caribbean setting.

St. Lucia is a volcanic island, 238 square miles in size, and quite mountainous.  The capital of St. Lucia is Castries, but there are other towns for tourists to visit:  Soufriere, Marigot Bay, and Gros Islet, for example.  St. Lucia is divided into 11 quarters or “parishes”, as established under French colonial government.  Also an effect of previous French rule, the island is presently 70% Catholic, and the rest of the population is almost all some other sect of Christianity.  In 1999, the government made an interesting choice to move the Carnival celebration (that which leads up to the Lenten season) to summer so that they wouldn’t be competing with other islands’ festivities.

st.lucia travel

Cultural Heritage in St. Lucia

You can make a pretty good study of what a person or place deems important by looking at what they celebrate.  St. Lucia does a wonderful job of using its cultural heritage, religious beliefs, and economic interests to fuel its year-round calendar of events.  First of all, St. Lucia is perpetually hosting a street party, fish festival, or seafood event somewhere on the island.  Then there are the specific celebrations that really showcase what St. Lucians hold dear.  There is Independence Day on February 22nd as well as National Day and Emancipation Day.  There is a golf tournament, a cricket series, a billfishing tournament, and the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (a transatlantic sailing competition) held throughout the year.

There is Nobel Laureate Week, which celebrates the achievements of St. Lucia’s two Nobel Laureates, Arthur Lewis (Economics) and Derek Walcott (Literature).  There are actually two floral cultural festivals- the Feast of St. Rose De Lima and the Feast of La Marguerite. There is Fete Peche or Fisherman’s Feast, which is a fisherman’s thanksgiving complete with mass and a blessing of the boats.  There is Jounen Kweyol Entenasyonnal, a festival celebrating an unofficial dialect spoken in the Caribbean.  AND there’s St. Lucia Jazz, which is a notable music fest.  St. Lucians obviously go out of their way to celebrate what makes their island unique, but they also want visitors to partake in the fun.

Things to do in St. Lucia

When planning a trip to St. Lucia, you’ll want to know what activities and adventures are both special to the island and also suited to you and your interests.  No one is discouraging a trip to the beach, but you might want to take advantage of other activities on offer.

You can mountain climb, bike trails, hike forests, or play golf.  The Heritage Tourism Programme encourages cultural adventure such as observing traditional cassava making and crayfish catching.  St. Lucia provides great diving for beginners and experts, and there are also night diving tours.

You can sign up for eco-trips into the forest to discover old hideaway spots used by wildlife, ancient Indians, and runaway slaves.  If your interests are more marine-based, you can go skiing, sunfish sailing, or windsurfing.  When all else fails, jump in a helicopter, ride in an ATV, or get on a horse to see St. Lucia from a whole new perspective.  At the end of the day, check into your choice of accommodation, ranging from the all-inclusive resort to a unique boutique hotel or a modest guest house.  Luxury and pampering await after your busy day of exploring the island.

Rodney Bay Village

Some people are on a tight schedule and want a one-stop spot to get the feel of a place.  In St. Lucia, that spot is Rodney Bay Village.  Rodney Bay is in northwestern St. Lucia and is the center of all activity because it has restaurants, resorts, nightclubs, and shopping.

On top of all that, the marina in Rodney Bay was a favorite of 18th and 19th Century pirates!  New on the scene is Treasure Bay Casino, which has slot machines and gaming tables.  Come to St. Lucia to experience Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Zouk, and Salsa music.  Visit a drive-in volcano!  Experience Sulphur Springs, the Botanical Gardens, and “The Pitons”, or twin peaks.  And don’t forget Rodney Bay if you want to kayak, kite surf, or whale watch.  All this and more are waiting for you in beautiful St. Lucia.

Katie Bauer is an experienced travel writer and editor. Having been a stewardess on private yachts, a crew member for sail races, and a sailmaker in New England, she now specializes in yachting destinations. A frequent traveler, she has studied, worked, and volunteered abroad thus bringing a unique perspective to her content. She recommends browsing yacht charters to book your next tropical vacation.