St Lucia Travel Guide – Things to See, Do and Eat

St Lucia Travel Guide - things to do

First Impressions

Before going to St Lucia I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond sun, sand and sea. So when I arrived on the island to be greeted by lush greenery made up of mountains, exotic palm trees, banana plantations and rough coastlines exposed to the ocean, I realised I had wildly underestimated this place.

 

Why go to St Lucia?

It’s diverse and mind-blowing landscape! I also firmly believe everyone needs to experience the energy of the Caribbean at least once in their lifetime. Dancing is a huge part of the culture and you’re guaranteed to go home with an extra skip in your step.

I have a hard time believing some people don’t leave their resort when they come to this island, but it happens. Don’t be part of the statistic, get out and see as much of it as you can. It’s a small island, only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide which means you’ll be able to cover a lot in just a few days. Though due to its uneven terrain it takes longer than it would typically take to get from A to B.

Having fun in Marigot Bay, St Lucia

 

What can I do there?

You can be as adventurous or lazy as your heart’s content, whether you’re hiking the Pitons, zip lining through the rainforest, mud-bathing, snorkelling in the ocean or sipping cocktails under the sun.

Zip Lining through the rainforest in St LuciaTrying to get the hang of Zip Lining in the rainforest!

Saint Lucia is also ideal if you and your companion like doing different things. If you’re the outdoorsy type and your partner prefers to relax on the beach I’m sure you’ll both be able to leave each other for a few hours to do your own thing. And for the love birds, you can take comfort in knowing the island is only small so you’re never far apart from each other.

 

How Do I Get Around?

There are several ways to suit your preferences and budget.

  • Hire a car
  • Use the bus
  • Take day trips from your hotel
  • Hire a guide and taxi

Since I was by myself I decided to hire a guide a couple of times and also join a few excursions that ran from my hotel. I loved the intimacy of hiring a guide because he made suggestions, told me about local customs and answered any questions I had about St Lucia.

Had I been with a friend my preference would have been to hire a car because I love the freedom of pulling up to get a closer look at anything that catches my eye. Hiring a car is also the best way to get off the beaten track and expand your scope for photo opportunities, especially with all the colourful houses which are synonymous with the Caribbean landscape.

Colourful town of Canaries in St Lucia

The public bus service looked very interesting. Instead of designated bus stops, most people just flagged down buses like taxis. This makes things easier in some ways but less so in others i.e. not having a bus timetable on hand.

Boat cruise to Lover's Rock in St Lucia

Boat trip to Lover’s Rock, geology extravangza and film location of Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

What Money is Used?

Everywhere accepts US Dollar or East Caribbean Dollar (EC) so I took a mixture of both. Doing this worked well because some of the smaller places in Castries market advertised their goods in the local currency, whilst others showed both prices and some only showed US Dollar. By taking both currencies it means you’ll be well prepared.
 

What Language is Spoken?

The official language is English, but I heard locals speak a French based creole referred to as Patois. It developed when the island was colonised by the French so it’s very interesting to hear as it weaves the tapestry of St Lucia’s layered history.

A surprising thing for me is that everyone understood me perfectly. This might not sound like a big deal but I have a broad Yorkshire accent that even English people have difficulty understanding when I travel beyond the region of Yorkshire. As a result, being in St Lucia felt, in some small way, like being at home.

 

Eat and Drink

When you’re in Rome do what the Romans do and drink Rum! I’m not a big drinker but it would be a cardinal sin not to try the island’s most famous drink. The most popular brand is Bounty followed by Chairman’s Reserve. If you really want to know more you can go on a tour of a distillery. Beer drinkers should try Piton, the local St Lucian beer named after the island’s most iconic landmark and brewed in Vieux Fort.

Non alcoholic beverages offer a range of refreshing fruit juice like mango, lime and grapefruit. Coconut is obviously a standard drink on the island but for something different and unique why not try cocoa tea? With it being neither sweet nor savoury, I can’t say I loved it but I didn’t hate it either! I will definitely try it again if I have the chance before I rule it out.

Cassava Bread from Plas Kassav in St Lucia

One thing I did love was the Cassava bread, it’s nothing like ordinary bread and you can choose a variety of flavours. Never again will I underestimate something that looks so humble! My guide and I were driving on a long road with loads of potholes when he pointed to a small wooden building selling it and suggested I give it a try (FYI – the place is called Plas Kassav). If you ever get the chance I recommend banana and coconut flavour. It’s scrummy! The lady said it was made of cassava, water, banana, sugar, coconut and a variety of spices like nutmeg and I’m sure I detected cinnamon.

Seafood in St Lucia

Surrounded by the sea it comes as no surprise when I say the seafood is incredibly fresh and delicious. I tried Mahi-Mahi for the first time, it’s a white fish which has a meat-like firmness with a mild and slightly sweet taste and is found in the region. I recommend it!

Lastly, every Friday the coastal village of Anse La Raye has a fête called the Friday-Night Fish Fry which is a fantastic way to come together with locals over dance and food of the fishy variety.

Fishermen in St Lucia

 

Where to Stay

There are a lot of resorts in St Lucia, but you also have hotels, guest houses and hostels. If you’re staying in a resort it can be easy to forget about what’s going on outside. To get the most out of your experience head outside of your resort and occasionally eat where the locals might go, buy souvenirs from the markets and talk to the people.

Castries Market in St Lucia

I stayed at St James’s Club Morgan Bay which is a very nice resort and spa but I also went out everyday to explore the island. Quite frankly, if you go to St Lucia without seeing the Pitons, you haven’t been to St Lucia.

The best thing about St James’s was the view from my balcony. My jaw dropped to the floor the first time I clapped eyes on it.

St James's Club Morgan Bay in St Lucia

Holiday in St Lucia

Relaxing on my balcony

The food at the restaurants were also very good, especially at Morgan’s Pier, and the staff were really friendly and professional throughout my stay.

St James's Club Morgan Bay, restaurant in St Lucia

Dinner at Morgan’s Pier

St Lucia local people

Hotel staff being a willing model for me!

How to get there

I flew with Thomas Cook Airlines from Manchester and you can also fly from Scotland which is really convenient for people living in the north of England.

Hewanorra is the international airport located south of the island. Rodney bay and Castries are located in the North so you will have to get a taxi unless you’re picking up a car hire from the airport. Getting to Rodney Bay, the area that supports most of the hotels, restaurants and bars, will take approximately 1h 30m due to the winding roads. You shouldn’t expect to pay more than 100 US Dollars for a taxi to Rodney Bay.

If you’re travelling solo ask a driver if you can join a group to split the cost, I did this and paid 40 US Dollars. Many hotels are located nearby each other so definitely use this to your advantage when negotiating a taxi. All in all, I found taxi drivers to be very fair and hassle free in St Lucia.

 

What Not to Miss

  • The Pitons
  • Sulphur Springs and Mud Baths
  • Marigot Bay and Gros Isle
  • Canaries
  • Castries

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Travel Guide to St Lucia

Are you tempted to go to St Lucia? Or have you been already?



A travel & culture blog specialising in Scandinavia and the Arctic, peppered with the rest of the world in between.


'St Lucia Travel Guide – Things to See, Do and Eat' have 17 comments

  1. December 26, 2015 @ 11:18 pm Sarah A George

    This looks so amazing Shing, especially love that photo of you ziplining! 😀 Really want to go to the Caribbean now!

    Reply

    • December 27, 2015 @ 7:56 pm Shing Yoong

      Zip lining was awesome Sarah, and such a good work out if my aching stomach and arm muscles the following day were anything to go by! You should definitely hit up the Caribbean, I know Lee wants to go too! 😀

      Reply

  2. December 28, 2015 @ 7:31 am Victoria@ The British Berliner

    I’m very tempted to go to St. Lucia Shing. It looks amazing. As do you lol!
    Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays! :)

    Reply

  3. December 31, 2015 @ 12:22 am Jonelle James

    Really enjoyed reading your review of our simply beautiful Saint Lucia! Happy to know you had such a great time here!!

    Reply

    • January 4, 2016 @ 7:03 pm Shing Yoong

      I loved my trip to St Lucia Jonelle, you live in a stunning place and I’m so happy to spread the word!!

      Reply

  4. December 31, 2015 @ 5:02 pm Shaun's Cracked Compass

    The Caribbean never makes it high on my list, might be because it’s fairly accessible from this side of the pond. Glad to see you didn’t stick to the resorts.

    Reply

    • January 4, 2016 @ 7:24 pm Shing Yoong

      Haha, I used to be the same about Europe, but now I feel so lucky I have it on my doorstep! You should definitely take advantage of your close proximity to the Caribbean. You’d be a fool not to 😉

      Yep, I feel really strongly about exploring beyond what lies within the resorts, no matter how good they are!

      Reply

  5. January 4, 2016 @ 7:44 pm Amanda Williams

    I would so love to go to St Lucia!

    Reply

    • January 11, 2016 @ 7:07 pm Shing Yoong

      I hope you do Amanda, it’s stunning!

      Reply

  6. January 7, 2016 @ 5:05 am Jess

    I love your photos! It looks like there’s a lot to do there. I’d only heard of people going to the Caribbean to lie on the beach, which doesn’t interest me much– I prefer to be active. How long would you recommend someone traveling solo stay on the island? Or, is it easy and budget friendly to get to other islands from there, for a longer trip? Thanks!

    Reply

    • January 11, 2016 @ 8:04 pm Shing Yoong

      Hi Jess, sounds like we had the same preconceptions of the Caribbean, and whilst I can’t speak on behalf of the other Islands, there’s plenty to do in St. Lucia for those not partial to sunbathing like me and you.

      If you’re travelling solo I would probably recommend 5 nights on St Lucia and then another three nights on Dominica. I didn’t go to Dominica myself but I heard it’s very beautiful, very mountainous and less untouched, but it’s less populated so doesn’t have as many eateries etc as St Lucia. There are ferries that run between both islands but they are very infrequent, perhaps two or three a week, alternatively you could also fly…

      Reply

  7. January 11, 2016 @ 2:15 pm Megan

    i am finally catching up on some of your posts! yeeeee.

    this is a great and comprehensive guide! i always took for granted that we had the caribbean so close when i lived in the US. granted, i visited quite often, but i took for granted how cool the cultures were and how tasty the food was!

    Reply

    • January 11, 2016 @ 8:11 pm Shing Yoong

      Good job you took advantage of the Caribbean whilst you were there, and didn’t take too much for granted! My lord, yes it’s cool and the people are so cool. I was almost too embarrassed to dance because they are just in another league!!

      Reply

  8. November 16, 2016 @ 2:54 pm Elma Philip

    Your photos are incredible! I love your travel guide, a real and true insight to St. Lucia.

    Reply

  9. January 9, 2017 @ 6:09 am Kerri-Ann

    Eight of us are planning to go to St lucia for a ladies trip. It’s so hard to decide between an all inclusive and a house rental. We like to mingle with others on vacay and the simplicity of variations of meals and alcohol plus nightly shows for our group make the all inclusive a +. But the house prices, the ability to have our own late parties, chef and private pool is also tempting . What do you recommend?

    Reply


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