Saint Lucia is a small island nation that is packed with a big history. Its culture is a melting pot of European and African influences and the country’s rich volcanic soil makes for delicious food.

St Lucian cuisine is a true Caribbean mix of flavors – take West Indian produce and Creole cooking techniques, add in a pinch of French flair, some British imports and lots of African and Indian spice. The result is an incredible array of dishes like saltfish and green fig, pepperpot stews and accra (spicy fish cakes).

The island’s seas offer up a bounty of seafood including fresh mahi mahi, snapper and kingfish. Expect these fresh catches to be on the menu at almost every restaurant in Saint Lucia. Seafood is often served with plantains, yams or dasheen, which are staple vegetables in Saint Lucia. Local juices are also a given at eating establishments and in the fridges of most Saint Lucians. These juices vary depending on the season, but include mandarins, tangerines, sweet oranges, grapefruit, grafted oranges and pomelo.

Pork is the most popular meat for Saint Lucians and can be prepared in a variety of ways including stewed, baked or roasted. Sides such as plantains, yam and boiled green banana are usually eaten with this dish. Stewed pork is also a favorite for dinner parties or special occasions.

Callaloo soup is a Caribbean staple, and while it is typically made with spinach and other greens, it can be loaded with different vegetables such as okra, cabbage and garlic. The dish is often seasoned with peppers, onions and tomato paste and is one of the most popular soups in Saint Lucia.

A thriving cultural scene on the island includes the performing arts such as dance and music. The national opera and ballet, both founded in the 1950s, are well-respected. In addition to this, there is a plethora of music festivals and events that celebrate the island’s many cultures.

Saint Lucia is also home to a number of talented wood carvers and artists. Joseph Eudovic is one of the best and his works can be seen at hotels, restaurants and local craft markets. Sir Durstan St Omer designed the island’s flag and is a respected artist with several public murals. The island also holds a reputation for its intellectuals and has produced two Nobel Prize winners – economist Sir Arthur Lewis and poet Derek Walcott.

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