Castries is a wonderful feast for the senses. In this bustling city, home to 40 percent of St. Lucia’s population, music wafts along the streets, colorful fruit and vegetables grown on the island’s fertile soils decorate market stalls and women sport brightly colored traditional dress. Set off on a walking tour of this enigmatic city to experience the heart of St. Lucian life.
Start your explorations in Derek Walcott Square, named in honor of one of the country’s two Nobel laureates. Colonial buildings line the edges of the square, which features carefully tended gardens, as well as a memorial to fallen soldiers.
From there head to the nearby Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Admire the stone exterior of one of the city’s most important cultural centers before heading inside, where bright colors adorn the walls and high ceilings.
Haggle for souvenirs and trinkets at the Castries Central Market. Buy plump fresh fruit and vegetables and sample some local cuisine from the food stalls. Food is an important part of St. Lucian life and Castries is home to excellent haute cuisine restaurants as well as local eateries. Enjoy dishes with ingredients such as coconut, papaya, mango, fish and green figs.
Make your way to the top of Morne Fortune, which looms 852 feet (260 meters) above the city. Visit the fortress there and learn about Castries’ military history at the small museum. It also boasts some excellent views so don’t forget your camera.
When your feet are tired from walking, head to the beach for a well-deserved rest. Lay on the warm golden sands of Vigie Beach, La Toc Beach or Choc Beach, where turquoise-colored waters lap against the sand. Find shade under swaying palm trees.
There are two arrival points into Castries: George F.L Charles Airport, located a short distance from downtown, and Pointe Seraphine Port for cruise ships. It is a small city and easily navigable. Hail a cab to get out to the beaches in just a few minutes or hop on a catamaran to explore the beautiful west coast including famous Marigot Bay.