Things to do in St Lucia: Dive into the food, drink and sights
One look at St Lucia's paradisiacal beaches and it's easy to see why this small, eastern Caribbean island has earned a reputation as the foremost destination for lovers and newlyweds. However, there's far more to the island than luxury resorts, couples' massages and romantic sunsets...
When St Lucia was under French rule, Soufrière was the capital of the country. Today it's home to one of the Caribbean's foremost diving sites, sulphur springs, and the Pitons, a World Heritage Site. The two Pitons are volcanic plugs, or hardened lava, called Petit Piton and Gros Piton.
You can climb Gros Piton and see some of the fascinating flora that grows in this volcanic environment. At 786m, it's the second highest peak in St Lucia, and offers beautiful views to the south of the island and beyond.
Take a trip to Pigeon Island
Pigeon Island used to be inaccessible from St Lucia, but a man-made causeway built in 1972 has opened it up. Once inhabited by the Arawaks and the Caribs, in the eighteenth century it became a British fort for spying on the French in Martinique.
Explore the ruins of the officers' kitchen, the restored barracks, and walk along the walls while looking out onto the coast of St Lucia and the south of Martinique.
Castries Market was voted one of National Geographic's Top 10 food markets, and walking around here, you'll soon see why. Mingle with tourists, locals haggling in Creole and fruits and spices you've never heard of or seen before.
If you're cooking for yourself, head directly to the merchants and let them show you how to make some typical St Lucian dishes like bakes (fried bread), chicken roti or the St Lucian national dish of green fig and salt fish.
If you're just looking to extend your Caribbean holiday into your kitchen, stock up on spices like fresh cinnamon, star anise and hot scotch bonnet sauce. Buy some wax apples or souvenir dolls in traditional madras dress.
Experience Friday night Jump Up
If you love food, dancing and street parties then Friday night Jump Up in Gros Islet is the place for you. Every Friday night, the streets are pedestrianised, DJs set up sound systems, and food stalls open up on every corner.
Get into the vibe and dance to the music (although ladies, beware - men can get very touchy-feely in these crowds) or explore the streets in search of food and drinks you haven't tried yet. Bakes, peanut punch (creamy peanut liqueur) and barbequed plantain are especially good.
Drink a Piton
This is a simple one: sit back with St Lucia's local brew in hand, chat to people and just have a great time...
Traveller's tip: St Lucia is very well-served by a bus system, but don't confuse them with the taxis which can look the same but are significantly more expensive. Keep an eye out for the green number plates that begin with the letter M - these are the buses you want to help cut the cost of travelling around the island.
If you fancy tasting the flavours of St Lucia for yourself, check out British Airways and Thomas Cook, which both offer holidays and flights to the luscious Caribbean island. Virgin Atlantic also operates direct flights from London Gatwick to St Lucia.
Have you been to St Lucia? What do you think of our list of things to do in St Lucia? Tell us below and feel free to leave any other tips...
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