St Lucia travel guide

Saint Lucia travel guide

2 minute summary

Both the parrot and Saint Lucia were attacked repeatedly – by humans, hurricanes and habitat loss; the island changed hands over a dozen times, and the parrot’s numbers dwindled to just 100. They both finally gained recognition in 1979: Saint Lucia as an independent nation, and the parrot as its national bird – and have, happily, thrived since. Both are now major tourist draws, though not just for the average Caribbean sun seeker. The parrot, along with five other endemic birds, draws nature lovers from across the globe, who immerse themselves in Saint Lucia’s lush forest reserves and protected islets, scaling the UNESCO-listed Gros Piton and snorkelling the surrounding reefs.
The island’s economy revolves around banana plantations, not tourism; away from the resorts of the north, Saint Lucia remains rural and rustic, a peaceful Creole haven visited by whales and dolphins, nesting sea turtles and migrant birds. Its beaches are world class yet largely understated and undeveloped – total castaway bliss.
Our Saint Lucia travel guide leads you through this island’s unspoiled nature.
Saint Lucia is...

a little bit of everything you could want from the Caribbean: forests, beaches, Creole culture, birds and trekking
Saint Lucia isn't...

just a destination for
If you'd like to chat about Saint Lucia or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team

01273 823 700

Food, shopping & people

Travel like a local on your Saint Lucia holiday

Eating & drinking

Saint Lucian cuisine is all about combining sweet and savoury. A local speciality is pouille dudon – chicken with treacle and coconut. The national dish is green fig and saltfish; ‘green figs’ are actually unripe green bananas, starchy rather than sweet. Try it for breakfast!
Seafood is, of course a staple. Try the accra – flaked, salt cod fishcakes. Chewy conch (lambi) is a rather more acquired taste.
The locally brewed beer is, unsurprisingly, called Piton.

Saint Lucia has the highest ratio of Nobel laureates. Despite its small size, it has two: Sir Arthur Lewis for economics, and Derek Walcott for literature.

People & language

Ruled seven times by the French and seven by the British, it’s no wonder this island has a case of confused identity. English has won out as the island’s official language – but the local Creole (known as Patwa) is spoken by almost all Saint Lucians, a kind of French patois with West African grammar. If you know a smattering of French, you’ll easily pick up some basic greetings:
“Bon jou” – good morning/day.
“Bon swè” – Good night
“I byen cho!” – It’s very hot!

Gifts & shopping

Saint Lucia’s African heritage is evident in its art and crafts. Colour and carving are two main themes – try Zaka in Soufrière for vivid wooden masks and decorative objects.
Castries’ Sunday market has been held for over a century; as well as wood carving and woven baskets, you can find spices, cocoa and hot pepper sauce – ideal for souvenirs or gifts.
Artsibits in Castries showcases the island’s many painters and their distinctive Caribbean style.

Fast facts

In Saint Lucia’s “drive in volcano” you’ll smell the sulphur long before you see the bubbling pools. This is good; if the smell disappears, an eruption is imminent!

How much does it cost?

Pigeon Island National Park
adult entrance fee: £4.70
Lunch at local seafood restaurants: £7-£10
Tour and bath at Sulphur Springs: £7.50
Entrance fee to Gros Piton: £20
Bottle of local beer: 70p

A brief history of Saint Lucia

For such a seemingly tranquil, tropical setting, Saint Lucia has a battle-scarred past, with various tribal people and European nations laying claim to this tiny emerald of an island. The Caribbean’s original inhabitants, the peaceful Arawak, left minimal archaeological evidence of their presence throughout the region. It’s believed they migrated to this long-uninhabited island sometime between 1000-500 BC, before being conquered by their historical enemies, the aggressive Caribs, in around 800 AD. Read more ▼
Responsible Travel would like to thank Saint Lucia for their sponsorship of this guide
Photo credits: [Top box: Saint Lucia Tourist Board] [Eating & drinking: Derek Key] [People & culture: Saint Lucia Tourist Board] [Gifts & shopping: gailhampshire] [How much - Gros Piton: M M]
Written by Vicki Brown
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