The small Caribbean island of St. Lucia is a rich composite of history and stunning natural beauty, offering the visitor a unique blend of cultures, dense rainforests, volcanic mountains and, of course, gorgeous white sand beaches.
St. Lucia is not a very big island, covering an area of only about 239 square miles, but its tumultuous winding roads make parts of the island more secluded than others. Of the 174,000 inhabitants, nearly half live in the largest city, Castries, with the rest populating the cities of Soufriere, Gros Islet and Vieux Fort, or spread out in the small villages and fishing communities along the coast. Much of the population is of African descent, their ancestors the slaves who worked the plantations that were the island’s original source of wealth.
St. Lucia is heavily influenced by creole cuisine, allowing travelers to feast on delectable fried plantains, jerk chicken and rice and wash it all down with a cold Piton beer, or the Caribbean’s other most popular export — rum. The fish markets of the island bring a wide variety of seafood to the island such as crab and grouper. On Friday nights, the bustling village of Gros Islet hosts the weekly Jump Up, an evening block party with food vendors, drinks and music surging through the little streets. Soca, zouk and reggae music are widely popular, and the annual jazz festival draws international acclaim. Every July, the Carnival celebration is executed with irresistible Caribbean flair and celebration.
- U.S. travelers: Valid passport needed for entry
- Official language: English
- Official currency: East Caribbean dollar (American dollars are widely accepted)
- Climate: Average daytime temperature of 84° F and average nighttime temperature of 64° F