St. Lucia is nature at its most vivid. One minute you’re rounding a rainforest trail past wild orchids and giant ferns, and the next you’re plunging into sparkling green seas with exotic fish, coral, sponges, and turtles. Your cruise to St. Lucia is also a feast for the eyes, from the island’s emerald peaks its bubbling volcanoes and cascading waterfalls.
Soak in the island panorama from the scenic lookout at Morne Fortune.
Relax on the sugary sand beach at Marigot Bay.
Pick your favorite sunny madras fabric design in Castries shops and Point Seraphine.
Hike through dense foliage on the Forestiere Rainforest Trail.
Stroll through beautiful botanical gardens brimming with tropical greenery and flowers.
Fires and volcanic eruptions destroyed much of colonial Castries over the years. Hence, this capital city is one of a few in the Caribbean that does not have many heritage buildings.
St. Lucia’s national dress is the Madras, made with plaid madras cloth in bright tropical colors.
St. Lucia changed hands some 14 times during the 200-year colonial tug of war between the British and the French for control of the island.
Within Walking Distance
Your Carnival cruise to St. Lucia drops anchor in Castries, the island’s capital, built in an extinct volcanic crater. A Roman Catholic cathedral stands on Derek Walcott Square, surrounded by a few restored buildings. An enormous 500-year-old "rain" tree grows in the square. Head east on Bridge Street to reach Morne Fortune, the "Hill of Good Luck." Actually, no one’s had much luck here, certainly not the French and British soldiers who waged numerous battles on this hill for Fort Charlotte. The view of Castries harbor is panoramic from this point.
Beyond the Port Area
A causeway connects Pigeon Island National Historic Park, a 30-minute drive from Castries, to St. Lucia’s northwest shore. The park is covered with lemon grass and makes an ideal spot for a Segway ride or easy nature walk. Segway, Safari & Beach Fun excursion offers a unique way to see the island. La Soufrière, St. Lucia’s second-largest settlement is dominated by Petit Piton and Gros Piton. These dramatic pointed peaks, cloaked in green forest, are such visible landmarks that they’ve become the symbol of St. Lucia. Land & Sea Combo to Soufrière excursion combines a tour of the peaks with the nearby Diamond Mineral Baths. The baths were originally constructed in 1784 by order of Louis XVI.
At the famous Mount Soufrière "drive-in" volcano, you can cruise right up to an old volcanic crater and follow trails by foot past sulfur springs and hissing steam vents. Hiking trails crisscross St. Lucia’s mountainous rainforest. The Forestiere Rainforest or the Barre de l’Isle trails are both do-able for families seeking fresh air in the tropical forest. For an unparalleled island view try Adrenaline Zipline Adventure to see the rain forest from high above the ground.
Beaches In St. Lucia
On your Carnival cruise to St. Lucia, dedicate part of your port day to the island’s famous beaches, all of which are open to the public. The shores along the western coast are calmer and better for swimming than on the windward Atlantic side. Snorkel Between the Pitons provides a unique snorkel experience on this side of the island.
St. Lucia’s best beaches include Pigeon Island, with white sand and picnic facilities; Vigie Beach, north of the Castries harbor, with fine sand; Marigot Bay, south of the Castries harbor, framed on three sides by steep emerald hills; and Reduit Beach, between Choc Bay and Pigeon Point, with fine brown sand. Just north of Soufrière, Anse Chastanet is an expanse of white sand at the foothills of lush mountains and a fantastic snorkeling spot.
Shopping in St. Lucia
St. Lucia’s artisans make pottery, straw hats, and colorful plaid madras linens. In Castries, Jeremie Street is chockablock with variety stores of the most authentic local kind. At the colorful Central Market, right near the square, vendors sell delicious island lunches, handmade trinkets, and fresh produce. Buy some banana ketchup or local cinnamon sticks to take home. Built for cruise ship passengers, Pointe Seraphine has the best collection of shops on the island—be sure to present your cruise pass when making purchases here.
- English is the official language, although expect to hear the local French Creole patois.
- St. Lucia’s currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, but many businesses quote prices in U.S. dollars. Always determine which currency locals are talking about before making a purchase.
- St. Lucia enjoys a warm, subtropical climate, with cooling trade winds. June through November is the wet season.
- Cruises to St. Lucia arrive at Pointe Seraphine.
- The port is a 20-minute stroll from Castries.