A tropical Caribbean island renowned for its beaches, volcanic mountains and exotic plants, St Lucia is also rich in culture. It’s home to many different religions and traditions, thanks to centuries of settlers from across the globe.
Visitors to the island can celebrate the unique blend of French, African and Indian cultures through food. The country’s cuisine is a reflection of its history and the island’s heritage. Typical dishes include green figs and salt fish, a local favourite consisting of salted cod served alongside savory green bananas. Callaloo soup is another popular dish made with leafy greens and coconut milk.
Saint Lucia is a popular cruise ship destination. The island’s main towns are Port-Charles and Castries. Port-Charles is a bustling port with a variety of shops, restaurants and bars while Castries is the capital city and is home to government buildings and numerous museums.
The best time to visit St Lucia is from November to April, when temperatures are at their lowest. This is also the driest period of the year, with less rainfall than other times of the year.
Almost all of the island’s 365 days are sunny, with temperatures ranging from 30 degC to 24 degC. There are some rainy days in the summer, but they’re usually brief and come during a thunderstorm.
Most of the population are African or mixed-race, but there are significant communities of East Indian and European descent too. Most people are Roman Catholic and speak a Creole patois, which combines English and French words. The language of instruction is English, but most people understand and speak French too.
Slavery was abolished in St Lucia in 1834, although former slaves had to serve a four-year ‘apprenticeship’ period before full freedom. The institution of slavery left a lasting mark on the country, with a large number of African-rooted cultural traditions still thriving today.
Despite this, the majority of residents today are of Caribbean descent and the island has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Its famous landmarks include the Gros Piton and Petit Piton mountains, which are a must-see for any visitor to the island. Other notable attractions are the Diamond Waterfalls, which is a popular spot for bathing and is fed by hot springs; and the Sulphur Springs where you can see boiling sulphur pools. The island also boasts a wide range of sports, with football and cricket being the most popular. There are also a variety of festivals, some of which are based around the arts and music.