St Lucia

The Caribbean island of Saint Lucia has a unique history, one that saw it ruled by the French and the British with control being wrestled backwards and forwards no less than fourteen times.Although now an independent state influences from both nations are still in evidence, arguably the best of both being maintained and making this Windward Isle one of the most popular destinations  in the Caribbean.

The green mountains rising out of the pure azure seas give St Lucia some of the most dramatic scenery to be seen anywhere in the Caribbean, the secluded hotels with their silvery beaches, lush gardens and private facilities have given this island retreat the reputation of being a honeymooners paradise but there is more to St Lucia than meets the eye, with family friendly facilities becoming ever more widespread across the island.

Most hotels are self contained complexes with all inclusive facilities as the norm, the only real exception to this is Rodney bay Village which is more resort like than anywhere else on the island.

If you are booking one of the many great all inclusive hotel complexes then be sure to check that it has all the facilities that you require, as most pride themselves on being quite isolated with the result that residents rely almost entirely on the hotels own amenities. Most however are of a great standard and do provide every convenience that you could possibly want with plenty of choice of restaurants and activities.

St Lucia is famed for its Caribbean cuisine and the national dish of salt-fish is easily recognisable, stews and broths are adored but only with the added kick of heat that sums up the entire nation – hearty with a hint of spice; whatever you eat in St Lucia you can be sure that it has been cooked with feeling.

Rodney Bay Village is the only real resort on the island and as such can be rather lively but it is a great place to head for a meal if you want plenty of choice, the cuisines there range from typical Caribbean to Thai, Chinese, Italian or French and are all prepared using great local ingredients. Café Olé on the marina serves simple but tasty food and drinks but the location overlooking the luxury yachts is the star attraction of this popular little restaurant.

Soak up a little bit of Caribbean culture by visiting one of the art galleries that are dotted about on the island, the thriving art community includes the artist Llewellyn Xavier and his collage art which is well known throughout the art world. Boutique galleries showcasing paintings, prints and sculptures can be found in Rodney Bay, Castries and Morne Fortune; many items are for sale and leave you with a memento with a difference.

Friday night is party night in Gros Islet on the north coast of St Lucia, as soon as the sun sets the whole village is transformed into a carnival filled with dancing and vibrant colours – not one to just watch, everyone is expected to join in with the fun.

St Lucia is one of the wettest of the Caribbean islands with its mountainous terrain although the months of December to April are often the driest and least humid, there is a premium price to pay for these times of travel and the island is at its busiest until the rainy season arrives.

Hurricane season is June to November which is best avoided but just before this season starts in the month of May is the fabulous Jazz festival, this is a major event that sees all the islanders party with the best of them, musicians are drawn from across the globe to this highly esteemed festival making it a great time to visit and is well worth running the risk of a small amount of rain.

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