St Lucia

The Caribbean island of St Lucia is famous for its beaches, mountains and exotic plants. Its attractions include the twin peaks of Gros and Petit Piton, the Soufriere volcano and its boiling sulphur springs, and the Diamond Waterfalls Park. Tourism is the country’s main industry and is responsible for around a third of its income. Banana exports are also a major source of revenue.

St Lucia’s culture has evolved from the intermingling of the many people who have settled here. The current population is mostly of African descent, with some European ancestry. This is reflected in the food, music and dance. The local language is Kweyol, a creole patois influenced by French and African languages. English is used in schools, government institutions and most formal settings. Most Saint Lucians are functionally bilingual.

A great way to get a feel for the culture of St Lucia is to try some of the local cuisine. One of the most popular foods is stewed chicken backs, often served with rice, plantains or yam. The island’s coastline means fresh seafood is also readily available in restaurants. Lobsters are a favorite, although they aren’t the same as those found in colder climates, being smaller and with long tails.

Another tasty option is bouyon, a hearty soup that can be eaten as a meal in itself or with accompaniments such as vegetables, meats and breads. It is widely available at restaurants and some street vendors, and can be bought in large bowls at the Castries market.

For dessert, fried bananas are popular, with a choice of fillings such as coconut, chocolate, raisin or ice cream. Cocoa cakes are also very popular. The island is home to the cocoa plant, which produces the beans from which chocolate is made. It’s possible to see how cocoa is made on a tour of the Morne Coubaril Estate, and there are several chocolate boutiques.

St Lucia has a vibrant arts scene and is known for its music. The most popular genres are calypso, soca, reggae and zouk. Many musicians are based in the capital city, where they can be heard at the bars and clubs.

The hottest time of year in St Lucia is from June to September. Average daytime temperatures are around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), while the nighttime temperature is a little cooler at 24°C (75.2 F). The best months to visit St Lucia for weather are February and March, when the islands are dry season. The rest of the year is rainy season, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 29°C. The hurricane season runs from mid-August to November. The island is prone to storms, so it’s important to check weather forecasts before visiting. In the event of a hurricane, it is important to follow government advice and evacuate if necessary. In addition, it is advisable to carry emergency supplies and have emergency plans in place. It is also a good idea to have medical insurance in case of an emergency or accident.

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