St. Lucia is so good
That we Brits went to war with France over it no fewer than 14 times. With verdant hills and volcanic mountains cascading down to pristine Caribbean beaches and some of the best and most relaxing resorts in the whole region, it's no wonder this island in the Lesser Antilles is so prized.
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The buzzing town of Castries is a world away from the peace and quiet of St Lucia's luxury resorts. Its 100-year-old market, still housed in the original orange-roomed building, is the first port of call for everything from fresh fish and spices to souvenirs and memorabilia. The sparkling shopping complex at Pointe Seraphine is a treasure trove of duty-free jewellery, clothing and alcohol, while Gablewoods Mall (Vieux Fort) hosts a more comprehensive range of shops and boutiques. St Lucia also has a thriving community of artists and artisans – you can browse their work at Eudovic's Art Studio (Goodlands) in Castries or at the Choiseul Arts & Crafts Centre (La Fargue) on the island's southwest coast.
Food & Drink
A strong French influence combined with traditional Caribbean flavours makes St Lucian cuisine a true treat for the taste buds. The Coal Pot (Vigie Marina) near Castries is a tad on the pricey side, but has built a reputation for succulent seafood dishes cooked in original sauce concoctions. Contemporary 'Eurobbean' fusion dishes dominate the menu at The Edge Restaurant Bar and Sushi (Harmony Suites Hotel) in Rodney Bay Village, brainchild of Swedish chef Bobo Bergström. The view from Dasheene Restaurant (Ladera Resort) near Soufrière is perfect for a romantic evening meal, while Flavours of the Grill (Marie Therese Street) in Gros Islet is housed in a traditional wooden shack and serves scrumptious buffets at pocket-friendly prices.
St Lucia Regatta
Held every third weekend in January, this international regatta draws sailing fans from all over the world to Rodney Bay for three days of offshore yacht racing, beachside celebrations and parties.
St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival
Pigeon Island is the spectacular setting for this leading Caribbean cultural celebration, which features more than 50 international artists performing live over 12 days. Past headliners have included Diana Ross, Amy Winehouse and John Legend.
St Lucia Carnival
Billed as the best carnival in the Caribbean, this extravagant event sees costumed revellers indulge in several days of non-stop partying. Calypso bands, live performances and various pageants add to the atmosphere.
Celebrated on the last Sunday of October, this sense-tantalising event celebrates the Creole culture through flavourful dishes and drinks accompanied by traditional music.
National Day – Festival of Lights and Renewal
Celebrating the island’s patron saint, St Lucy, National Day encompasses a range of cultural, sporting and religious festivities, from church services to parades. Many of the celebrations involve lights and lanterns.
From glam beach resorts to exclusive mountain hideaways, this lush Caribbean island offers an incredible diversity of accommodation. The most exclusive hotels are clustered around the coast – Anse Chastanet Resort (1 Anse Chastanet Road) is a haven for well-heeled honeymooners, while Discovery at Marigot Bay Hotel (Marigot) draws an international crowd of jet-setting yachties. In the north, Coco Palm (Rodney Bay Marina) in Rodney Bay Village is a decent mid-range option. The budget-friendly options are set back a little further from the beach, including family-run guesthouse A Peace of Paradise (Mon Repos), which has comfortable rooms and great views over the east coast.