Caribbean Tourism

St. Lucia

Patois for Beginners

Until recently, Kweyol was not a written language but it has been developed to facilitate teaching. For people interested in learning a few phrases of Créole, or Kweyol, there is a booklet, Visitors Guide to St Lucia Patois, available for EC$14 in bookshops, Valmont’s Book Salon on the corner of Jeremie and Laborie Streets by the Tourist Office, and...

Culture

Cultural Centres Alliance Française de Sainte Lucie, in the pyramid at Pointe Seraphine, T4526602, courses and cultural events, library etc. Bonsai Society meets every 2nd Thu of the month, 1700, contact Mary Charles, T4501258. There is a good deal of French influence. Most of the islanders, who are predominantly of African descent (though a few black...

The Windward Islands

The Windward Islands include four independent nations: Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada as well as the French Antilles which are departments of France. They form a series of volcanic peaks jutting out and forming a barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Sulphur fumaroles and hot springs can be found on some...

The West Coast to Soufrière and the Pitons

The West Coast Road was opened in 1995 and is in excellent condition with good signposting and many viewpoints. It is a very curvy, but spectacular, drive down to Soufrière.Take the transinsular highway out of Castries and instead of branching left at Cul de Sac bay carry straight on. The road quickly rises to La Croix Maingot where you get good views of...

North to Pointe Du Cap

The part of the island to the north of Castries is the principal resort area, it contains the best beaches and the hotels are largely self contained. It is the driest part of the island with little evidence of the banana plantations or rain forest. The John Compton highway leaves Castries past Vigie airport and follows the curves of Vigie Beach and Choc Bay...

East Coast to Vieux Fort

The road from Castries to Cul de Sac opened in 1999 and was immediately popular with cars and trucks. It is quite a straight road running along the sea and is a welcome relief from the hairpin curves of the old Morne Road. The Castries end starts at the roundabout on La Toc Road, goes through two short tunnels and comes out in the Cul de Sac valley, where a...

Castries

The capital, Castries is splendidly set on a natural harbour against a background of mountains. It used to be guarded by the great fortress of Morne Fortune (Fort Charlotte and Derrière Fort). There is a spectacular view from the road just below Morne Fortune where the town appears as a kaleidoscope of red, blues, white and green and it promises much....

Shopping

Pointe Seraphine, next to the main port in Castries, is a designer-built, duty-free shopping centre (same opening hours as other shops, so closed Saturday afternoon), with many tourist-oriented outlets, restaurants, entertainment and tour operators. In the centre Llewellyn Xavier has an art gallery selling his own work as well as an interesting range by...

History

Even though some St Lucians have claimed that their island was discovered by Columbus on St Lucy’s day (13 December, the national holiday) in 1502, neither the date of discovery nor the discoverer are in fact known, for according to the evidence of Columbus’ log, he appears to have missed the island and was not even in the area on St Lucy’s Day. A Vatican...

Government & Ecomony

Government St Lucia is an independent member of the Commonwealth and the British monarch is the Head of State, represented by a Governor General (Dr Pearlette Louisy, the first woman to hold the post). The 17-member House of Assembly is elected every five years, while the 11 members of the Senate are appointed by the Governor General, six on the advice of...

Golf & Other Sports

There is a golf course at Cap Estate, the St Lucia Golf & Country Club, with nine holes which can be played as 18 (green fee US$30-40, T4508523) and a private course for guests at La Toc. The former will be expanding to be a championship 18-hole course, with associated villas, condos et cetera. The larger hotels usually have tennis courts, or there is...

Food & Drink

All the large hotels have a selection of restaurants and there are snack bars and restaurants all along the west coast. Most places add on a 10 percent service charge, the menu usually specifies and it is rarely left to your discretion. In Castries Kimlans, Derek Walcott Square, T4521136. Upstairs café and bar with verandah, cheap, serves local food, open...

Festivals

Carnival is a high point in the island’s cultural activities, when colourful bands and costumed revellers make up processions through the streets. After some debate it was decided to move Carnival in 1999 from February to July, partly so as not to conflict with Trinidad’s Carnival. On the Saturday are the calypso finals, on Sunday the King and Queen of the...

Flora & Fauna

Endangered Species: Turtles at Grand Anse By Annette Blackburn A 1,000-pound amphibian slips from the ocean waves and pauses on the edge of the surf. All is quiet. In the dark of the light of the moon, rain or not, she hauls her heavy body further up the beach. A cluster of people stand motionless and nearly breathless, fearful that the giant sea turtle...

Entertainment

Most of St Lucia’s nightlife revolves around the hotels, while some restaurants host live bands. The choice varies from steel bands, jazz groups, folk dancing, crab racing, fire eating and limbo dancers. The hotels welcome guests from outside. In May, nightlife is dominated by the annual jazz festival with lots of outdoor concerts. At other places, but...