At first glance, St. Lucia is a lush, mountainous getaway where you can enjoy your day relaxing on the beach with an ice cold drink, or venturing on a hike through the terrain. While this paradise provides one of the best vacation destinations, St. Lucia is far more than meets the eye. The small island also holds an abundance of culture and interesting history – read on for a few fun facts you’ll love to know about St. Lucia.
Castries St. Lucia
Castries doubles as St. Lucia’s capital and largest city, with a population of over 80,000. Castries was founded by the French in 1650 by Jacques Dyel du Parquet, who originally named the region “Carénage,” meaning “safe anchorage.” Castries was originally built with a major navel port by the British, but is now a popular port of call for cruise ships.
Saint Lucia is relatively small, covering only 238.23 square miles. It spans only 27 miles in length! The population of the entire island is only about 180,000.
The two twin peak “mountains” called The Pitons are not really mountains at all, but instead volcanic plugs/spires formed about 200,000 years ago. The Gros Piton reaches 798 meters tall, while the Petit Piton only reaches 743 meters. The Pitons are home to many excellent hiking trails and beautiful, relaxing views.
It’s hard to imagine St. Lucia without the Pitons. They are so iconic to the island, there is even a delicious local beer named after them. Piton Beer is a refreshing pilsner, which is said to be best enjoyed on Jelousie Beach, lying right in between both Pitons. The beer was first created in 1992 in Vieux, St. Lucia, and is still manufactured locally by Windward & Leeward Brewing.
You’ve heard of drive-in movie theaters, but how about a drive-in volcano? St. Lucia is also home to the “world’s only drive in volcano,” where tourists can drive right up to the sulphur springs in Soufriere, St. Lucia. The volcano is well known and has even been visited by a few super-stars, including Oprah. The Soufriere Volcano is now dormant, last erupting over 200 years ago. This tour is an absolute must on your next visit to St. Lucia. Drive right up and step out into the mud baths at The Sulphur Springs and detoxify your body.
St. Lucia Weather
The weather in St. Lucia is relatively the same all year round, making it a vacation destination at any time of year. November through January can be considered the cool season for this area, but temperatures still only range from 73-85 degrees Fahrenheit. There is almost always a nice, tropical breeze created by the northeast trade winds blowing through the island. If you are traveling inland or through the mountains, the chance of rain is usually higher than on the coast, so we recommend staying near the beach for the very best weather conditions.
St. Lucia is a commonwealth realm, meaning it shares Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and reigning constitutional monarch.
St. Lucia was well known for producing sugar cane in the past, but its leading agricultural export switched to bananas in 1964. Today, there are 4,000 banana producers in the Windward Islands. Most Caribbean bananas are grown on small family owned farms, which allows their farming methods to be more sustainable than their larger competition.
There are many cultural influences that make up Saint Lucia’s cuisine, including West African, British, French, and Indian. The traditional dishes in this area are rich in flavor and include hearty ingredients such as potatoes, onions, celery, thyme, scotch bonnet, flour and corn meal. They are known for mouth-watering fish soups, stews and pies. Also, St. Lucia is home to the Johnny Cake, which is fried dough often served with salted fish and peppers.
Now that you have absorbed a little bit of background knowledge about the gorgeous island of St. Lucia, it should be easier to imagine yourself immersed in the culture and exploring all the island has to offer. In the capital city of Castries, Hilton provides a resort-style getaway at the Harbor Club St. Lucia. Enjoy the amenities before and after you venture off on your island adventures.