My mum has been wanting to go to St Lucia for about the last 20 years.. no reason in particular, she liked the look of it all that time ago, and decided that one day the three of us would go for a week of girly time, and pretty much eat, drink rum and lie down in the sun a lot.
Eating in St Lucia
The national dish on the island is green fig and saltfish – green figs are little bananas. This was probably the only aspect I wasn’t keen on, the inclusion of bananas/plantain in main courses. I know it’s tradition in the Caribbean but I can’t make it work for me!
Highlights though were most definitely roti – thin, moist flatbreads filled with spicy, wet curry, the best being a saltfish version I got on Reduit Beach from a lovely lady called Shirley. I picked saltfish at every opportunity, love it. BBQ chicken legs at the ‘Jump-up’ (more on that later) was amazing, and also the seafood – octopus salads, prawn coconut curries, dorado – all fantastic.
Locals recommended Flavours of the Grill for authentic food and it was a lovely experience – vibrant decor and hearty, homey meals with spice and personality.
A bit of a hub for locals and tourists, Rodney Bay is full of hotels, shopping, bars and restaurants and has the lovely Reduit Beach. It’s a good base, but if you stay there make sure to check out the rest of the island as Rodney Bay doesn’t do St Lucia justice on its own.
Having spent a few lazy days doing nothing except eating and drinking, mid-week we headed down the west coast on a catamaran to Soufriere. Named by the French to mean ‘stinks of sulphur’ (or something similar) the coastal town is close to natural sulphur springs, one of the island’s key tourist attractions and definitely smelly, although not as bad as expected.
We went for a dip in the mud, which is good for your skin, but the hot spring is definitely not ideal if you’re at all sunburned – it’s as hot as the hottest bath I could tolerate, although strangely refreshing.
Our nosing around down south also involved a tour round the Morne Coubaril Estate, a working cocoa plantation that also grows coconuts and manioc. They have a replica ‘town’ that shows how the workers would have lived in the colonial era, and they still process cocoa in the traditional way.
Slightly north of Rodney Bay is Gros Islet, a tiny fishing town full of little bars, pubs and restaurants, and the scene of the weekly Friday night Jump Up – a busy street party packed out by tourists and locals. After our fair share of rum (several people’s fair share more like) we were all dancing away, although the caribbean music didn’t kick in until 11ish – before that it’s more western.
The atmosphere is great, it’s packed after 10ish and there’s lots of choice for food and loads of makeshift bars. The drinks are STRONG though.. no complaints for me but it does blindside you a bit. Me and Soph got a bit over-excited, there were certainly some sore heads in the morning.
Not exactly an island, a causeway was built in the 70s that connects the island to the mainland, and houses a Sandals resort.. but Pigeon Island itself is packed with history. The northernmost tip of St Lucia, the hills are scattered with remains of its military history, from 14 wars between the British and French over rulership of St Lucia. The British won eventually, but you can see the influence of both countries across the island.
I climbed to the top of signal hill, which was used by General Rodney to observe the French base at neighbouring island Martinique, after expelling all the natives and taking over the island in 1778. It was sweaty climbing to say the least, and my flip flops weren’t ideal in hindsight. Oh well, the view was worth it!
I’d definitely recommend a trip – the people are LOVELY, there’s great food, hot weather and you can be as active or lazy as you like – the ideal holiday recipe 🙂
Lots more info here.