Castries, Saint Lucia
A holiday in Castries, the capital of Saint Lucia, cannot be complete without a visit to Howelton House.
The birthplace of Caribelle Batik, it located in the hills above Castries and the Caribbean Sea. Here, it is possible to admire the creation of splendid hand-painted fabrics that become batik. Clothes and accessories even before purchasing them and taking them back to your cruise ship.
Other purchases can be made in the Central Market, where you can find the work of local artisans: items made of wood, pottery, baskets and objects made of natural fibres.
At Castries, duty free purchases can be made at La Place Carenageand Pointe Seraphine shopping centres, which are considered by many to be the best in the Caribbean.
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To clear your mind, a trip to Marigot Bay, named the most beautiful bay of the Caribbean by the English writer James Michener, is best. Similar to a fjord in its depth, it was used as a refuge by pirates for many years and by the German U-boats in the last world war.
Moving south along the coast, you will reach Anse La Raye. The area has been chosen as the setting for films, including those with Sophia Loren, due to its beauty. It is a characteristic fishing village along the coast. Here, you can feel black magic, Obeah (similar to voodoo), in the air and encounter the Obeah-men, the shamans, which are still respected and feared by the locals.
An excursion to the eastern coast will take you to the wildest part of the island. You also should not miss out on a visit to the Fregate Island Natural Reserve, where herons, boa constrictors and fer-de-lances (a species of viper) find a refuge. There are many hikes, off-roading excursions and adventure parks to choose from.
You should also make a point of going to Anse l’Ivrogne Beach, which is also known as the Black Hole. Here, the sea bottom drops rapidly to a depth of 600 metres.
MUST SEE PLACES IN CASTRIES
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When you arrive in Saint Lucia it probably won’t be Mount Gimie, the highest point on the island (almost a thousand meters) but the two spectacular volcanic peaks known as the Pitons which will first impress you. The Petit Piton and the Gros Piton; they are the symbol of Saint Lucia and the destination for numerous excursions during cruises to the Caribbean.
Under these two peaks Soufrière, founded by the French in 1746, is a lively little town which nestles in the beautiful bay dominated by the Pitons; it takes its name from the sulphurous water springs which are abundant in this region. You should definitely consider a visit to the Diamond Botanical Gardens with its mineral baths; or to the Toraille waterfall surrounded by a tropical garden, or to Piton’s sulphurous waterfall.
On your cruise to Saint Lucia,
you can dip into local life at Choiseul. A fishing village with a church on the shores of the vivid blue sea and a small fish market nearby. A little further north is the Sab Wee-Sha Beach a beautiful black sand beach rarely visited by tourists.
The almost virgin flora and fauna of St Lucia can be admired in the nature reserve on the Maria Islands. They have some of the rarest examples of reptiles such as the Cnemidophorus vanzoi lizard or the Dromicus ornatus, a rare non poisonous snake.