About Saint Lucia

This small, volcanic island forms part of the Leeward Caribbean Islands, located at 14ᵒ1’N, 60ᵒ59’W. It is also known as the Helen of the West Indies, being likened to the irresistible Helen of Troy! Indeed who can deny the drama of its 238 mi²/381 km², majestic volcanic scenery, the highest point being Mt. Gymie (3,120ft/950m), climaxed only by the unique Pitons (2,000ft/610m), rising like two giant sentinels from the sea (wonderful snorkelling).

Fun things to do in Saint Lucia: visit lush rain forests, natural harbours, white sand beaches, unique drive-in volcano (take your nose plugs – it’s a little sulphuric!), hot springs, and cassava bread (on the way to Soufriere). Local arts and crafts in Castries. Historic points – Pigeon Island, or better still, go there during the Jazz Festival.

Local businesses

Visiting Saint Lucia and wondering where to stay, what to do, where to eat and how to get around? We’ve got you covered with our list of hotels, restaurants, activities, car hire, shopping & more. Browse through for more details.

Shopping

Shop for souvenirs, local crafts, art, jewellery, clothes & more

Art Galleries

Events

Annual events

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Events in Feburary

22-Feb-2016 to 22-Feb-2016
22nd Independence Anniversary (Saint Lucia)

Island-wide activities

Events in April

29-Apr-2016 to 8-May-2016
Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival (Saint Lucia)

50-world acclaimed artists, island-wide

Events in May

29-Apr-2016 to 8-May-2016
Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival (Saint Lucia)

50-world acclaimed artists, island-wide

Events in July

18-Jul-2016 to 19-Jul-2016
Carnival Parade (Saint Lucia)

Spectacular explosion of colour, music and dance

Events in August

12-Aug-2016 to 14-Aug-2016
Mercury Beach Event (Saint Lucia)

Neighbouring islands come to compete

Events in October

1-Oct-2016 to 30-Oct-2016
Creole Heritage Month (Saint Lucia)


More information

28-Oct-2016 to 28-Oct-2016
Jounen Kweyol Entenasyonnal (Saint Lucia)

International Creole Day

29-Oct-2016 to 29-Oct-2016
Swawe Kweyol Sent Lisi (Saint Lucia)

Fond D'Or Nature and Historical Park

Events in November

20-Nov-2016 to 17-Dec-2016
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (Saint Lucia)

Starting in Gran Canaria and finishing in Saint Lucia

Events in December

20-Nov-2016 to 17-Dec-2016
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (Saint Lucia)

Starting in Gran Canaria and finishing in Saint Lucia

History and Culture

Like many islands in the Caribbean, Saint Lucia was inhabited long before the Europeans arrived. Arawak Indians had settled in Saint Lucia around 2,000 years ago. They called the island ‘Iouanalao’, Land of the Iguanas. The second wave of settlers consisted of the warlike Carib Indians who had more or less removed the Arawaks by 800AD. They called the island ‘Hewanarau’ and, in fact, Saint Lucia was christened with its saintly name only in the late 1500’s.

There is some speculation as to which European set foot on Saint Lucia first. Columbus in 1502 on his 4th voyage to the West Indies or, more likely, the Spaniard Juan de la Cosa, a lesser known but no less prolific explorer, who had sailed alongside Columbus on two previous voyages. The first European settler was Francois Le Clerc, a French pirate known as Jambe de Bois (peg-leg) who set himself up in Pigeon Island with 330 men and waylaid any passing ship. The Dutch got going at Vieux Fort in around 1600; and the English arrived accidentally in 1605 when their ship, The Olive Branch, was blown off course whilst attempting to reach Guyana. This resulted in 67 Brits stepping ashore. They were gradually whittled down to 19 in one month by the resident Caribs. The remaining settlers decided at that point not to push their luck any further, and fled in a canoe.

The French West India Company’s representatives bought the island in 1651 but eight years later the English disputed the sale (on principle, one suspects), and this ignited hostilities between the two nations for the next 150 years. During this period, the island officially changed hands no less than 14 times until 1814, when it was ceded to the British. The French and English place names are a legacy of this struggle.

Saint Lucia’s sugar cane industry prospered with cheap imported slave and indentured labour from Africa and India but with the abolition of slavery in 1838, it declined and had totally disappeared by the 1960’s. Thus today’s Lucians are of mixed African, European and, to a lesser extent, Amerindian origin, and you will find this delightfully apparent in the faces you see. Local culture is reflected in the vibrant French Caribbean rhythms of Zouk and Cadence (pronounced ‘k’dance’), the widely spoken Patois language and the distinctive Creole cuisine – inventive, spicy and always colourful.

A New Era

As with many of the British territories after World War II, Saint Lucia sought total independence. The right to vote was introduced in 1951 and, after unsuccessful attempts to gain increasing autonomy through the ill-fated West Indian Federation of 1958, Saint Lucia enacted a new constitution. When it expired in 1967, full self-government was granted by the British with Saint Lucia becoming fully independent on February 22, 1979. It remains a member of the British Commonwealth.

Saint Lucia’s tourist industry has grown steadily in the last 20 years. Its increasing appeal as an eco-destination because of its delightfully unspoilt natural resources, augurs well for the future. Lucians have a reputation in the rest of the Caribbean for being surprisingly worldly, mentally tough and resourceful. Despite the many perplexing developmental issues for the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) across the Caribbean, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind as to Saint Lucia’s potential – one feels that the St. Lucian people are just the sort to realise it. Beautifully.