A Favorite Cruise Ship Destination
One of the favorite island port of calls of cruise lines, St. Lucia in the Lesser Antilles is a small (200,000 plus square miles) island in the Eastern Caribbean. Covered in lush vegetation, hilly – volcanoes – it has a small native population of about 175,000 which swells with cruise ship visitors, honeymooners, and tourists who fly in to enjoy the sun, sand, and snorkeling this island has to offer.
Cruise ships dock near Castries, the capital of this sovereign state, and seat of government. It is a well laid out town with many restaurants, shopping facilities and also duty-free areas at Point Seraphine and La Place Carinage. There is also a 100-year-old market and adjacent crafts market, an excellent spot to pick up authentic souvenirs of your visit. Most visitors head out of town though to cruise or taxi to nearby beaches, to watch the sea wildlife, or to snorkel in the beautiful blue waters. Day excursions are plentiful: a popular one is to sail on a catamaran down the coast to view the Twin Pitons, and to stop on the way, perhaps at the famous Marigot Bay, to enjoy swimming and snorkeling at a secluded sandy beach.
Another town worth visiting is Soufriere. Despite its French-sounding name, the official language of the island is English though you may hear a local French-based dialect from time to time. The island was once a French colony – ownership switched back and forth with Britain 14 times! – But Britain finally succeeded in its claim for ownership in 1814. The island finally gained independence in 1979. Around this beautiful city, there are many delights for the sight-seer.: a “drive-in” volcano, mineral baths near Diamond Waterfall, or hiking the world famous Pitons ( permission required).
Other attractions for the visitor to St. Lucia are golf at the 18 hole St. Lucia Golf Resort & Country Club, horseback riding, deep sea fishing, helicopter rides, or a hike through the rain forest. St. Lucia is very keen to keep its island as unspoilt as possible and has dedicated a large section of the island as a protected area, the St. Lucia National Rain Forest. A trip to Pigeon Island where you can visit a museum and the ruins of Fort Rodney will take you through the history of this tiny island from its beginnings as an Arawak settlement to its time under the Caribs, then the French and English battles. It was also a popular hangout of pirates.
Whatever aspect you wish to explore on St. Lucia – the history, its natural wonders, the culture or just the white sand beaches by blue Caribbean waters – you will want to return to this jewel of the Caribbean time and again.