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Castries walking tour.

By Finola Jennings Clark

Hidden Historic Treasures – Walk Through Castries to Walcott Place

Castries, the capital city of Saint Lucia, is not known for being the highlight of a day out, but if you are prepared to look beyond the cracked pavements and dusty buildings, there are real hidden treasures to be discovered.

One such is Walcott Place, the beautifully renovated childhood home of the Walcott brothers, world famous Nobel Laureate for Literature 1992, Derek, and his twin brother Roddy, author of many wonderful plays and musicals recounting Caribbean life.

Located in what locals call ‘the back of town’ on the Chaussee Rd’s southern end, the tiny house is beautifully reconstructed to replicate how it would have looked during the brother’s childhood in the 1950s.

This area of Castries had become known in recent years, for gang crimes and let’s put the disclaimer in here now, it’s still a rougher area of town, so when you visit, be sensible.

Let ’ s Discover Castries

If you start at La Place Carenage Duty Free Mall or the Castries Market, you can follow a route that takes you on a walking tour of Castries, so let’s help you find those Castries Hidden Treasures.

Castries Market

castries market

Castries Market itself is an historic building, built in 1891 to sell food, and now a bustling souvenir and craft market. Efforts are being made to increase the number of locally made goods sold here and you will find some beautiful mats, pottery and ‘madras’ cloth clothing and accessories as well as the traditional dolls and wood sculptures, wirework and some local soaps as well as the more familiar mass-produced souvenir items. Definitely worth a visit, but we’re going to guide you elsewhere…so, let’s move on!

Head to your right down Jeremie St to Bridge St – Castries’ ‘main street’ where historically, the wealthier residents lived. Today, outside the 5-story glass Bank of Saint Lucia building, you’ll see Ricky George’s sculpture of a couple in an exuberant embrace as though just reuniting. Entitled ‘The Aftermath.’ Ricky, a graduate of the Jamaica School of Art and Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in the USA, says this sculpture is exploring the coexistence of man and woman. This free standing monumental sculpture is the first of its kind on the island. Believe it or not, this is the only public art sculpture in the island!

Exploring Castries sculpture the aftermath ricky george

Ricky George sculpture – The Aftermath

The Boulevard

Turn left into The William Peter Boulevard where for many years, Carnival parades took place. As you turn in, you’ll be passing the RJ Clarke Building which was damaged by fire in the early 2000s but has been rebuilt in a style reminiscent of historical buildings. The William Peter Boulevard was built after the 1948 fire that destroyed Castries, and in very recent times, much of the buildings here have been modernized again.  But on the right at the far end, you can still see the old Gaiety Cinema building which now houses various shops. Many of us spent our youths there watching Kung-Fu and Indian movies! And the Blue Coral Mall used to house M&C Ltd and then JQ Charles which were the island’s only department stores.

creole architecture rj clarke castries

RJ Clarke building, creole style architecture

historic buildings castries gaiety cinema

The old Gaiety Cinema building

Constitution Park

At the end of the Boulevard you’ll be facing Constitution Park where you’ll see the statue of the late Sir John Compton, fondly called The Father of the Nation. Sir John was Saint Lucia’s first Prime Minister after independence in 1979 and was at the head of the government for over sixteen years. This statue was also sculpted by Ricky George. Constitution Park, so-named in 1967 in commemoration of Saint Lucia becoming an associated state, has historically been St. Lucia’s ‘Hyde Park Corner’ where people would gather to discuss the life, politics and the state of the nation. To the left is the House of Parliament and to the right, Courts.

Sir John Compton castries self-guided walk statues

Constitution Park, statue of Sir John Compton

Public Facilities

Ok, many people still complain about the lack of Public Facilities in Castries and just in case you need to go…today I checked one out for you: High Street – just 20 yards up on the left – EC$0.50 – Decently clean, doors don’t lock though, but you get paper, soap and running water for your money. I think that’s great.

public washroom castries

Pit stop – decent public convenience

The Square, Cathedral and Library

Turn right along Laborie St. and when you get to the corner of Micoud St you will no doubt either be looking at the beautiful façade of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to the left or the inviting cool tree-covered Derek Walcott Square to the right. However, the unassuming building on your right is of Caribbean architectural interest: Victor Ignatius Patterson, Jamaican architect who taught many of the region’s modern architects, built this and several others around Castries in the 1960s including one on Brazil Street, directly across the way. The one you’re standing by has been home to Cable & Wireless Ltd and more recently, UNESCO and the Ministry of Education.

interesting architecture castries victor i patterson building

1960s Building designed by Jamaican architect Victor I Patterson

castries victor i patterson building

2nd building by Victor Patterson, across the Square

Let’s visit ‘The Square’ next… historically called ‘Columbus Square’, based on the claim that this spot was where Columbus discovered Saint Lucia on December 13 th – feast day of Saint Lucie/Lucia. But it is highly disputed whether Columbus ever set foot in Saint Lucia and in deference to the accomplishments of a true son of the soil, in 1993, the square was renamed the Derek Walcott Square in honour of his having been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.

The Library

On the opposite side of the square to the Cathedral, you’ll see an elegant red and cream painted brick building, this is the Castries Central Library. The cornerstone for the Library in Castries was laid by Mrs. Davidson-Houston, wife of the island’s Administrator on May 15, 1923.

With a free grant from the Carnegie Foundation, the library was completed in June 1924 under the supervision of one Mr. Lilburn E. Lawrence.  It was originally called the Carnegie Free Library because Mr. Andrew Carnegie of the Carnegie Foundation funded the construction with a grant of £2,500.

The first building miraculously escaped the 1927 Castries fire, but the 1948 Castries fire gutted the interior of the building and over 20,000 books were destroyed.  After the fire, the library was rebuilt using the same old walls.

castries central library

The Castries Central Library

The Central Library is not only a historic building in the city of Castries, but it is also a landmark in the political history of the city and St. Lucia, having caused 14 years of dispute over its location. Sadly, it is currently closed due to mould.

The Derek Walcott Square

You’ll likely notice the huge tree with elegant limbs that stretch far out above you. This is an ancient Samaan Tree, believed to be 430+ years old. There’s an old story about the early days of tourism when a visitor asked their guide what type of tree this was. The guide replied ‘Masav’ which means ‘I don’t know’ in Kwéyòl, but the visitor, not realising, reported it as being called the Masav tree…a name that most of us jokingly still call it today.

In the Derek Walcott Square itself, you can see two busts, one is of Sir Derek Walcott and the other is of Saint Lucia’s other Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis who won the award for Economics in 1979 for his “pioneering research into economic development research with particular consideration of the problems of developing countries”. In 2017, mysteriously, both busts were painted gold – apparently in a mis-guided attempt to spruce up the aging bronze…

derek walcott statue

Statue of Nobel Laureate for Literature 1992, Sir Derek Walcott

sir arthur lewis nobel laureate

Statue of Nobel Laureate for Economics 1979, Sir Arthur Lewis

‘The Square ’ is home to many local festivities and celebrations, but on an average day, it provides a welcome respite from the dusty heat of the city. Feel free to relax here, perhaps with an ice-cream from one of the shops on Micoud St…

On now to The Cathedral, Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

The “Cathedral”, as it is commonly known, is said to be the largest church in the Caribbean, measuring 200 ft long (61 m) by 100 ft wide (30 m) and was given the honorary status of a Minor Basilica on 11 May 1999 as part of the centenary celebrations. The Cathedral was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1986 and the then Archbishop, Kelvin Felix, believes a miracle occurred during this visit:

Apparently, the Pope uttered as short prayer over 18-month-old Kevin Jerome, who doctors believed terminally ill and unable to walk. The next day, the boy’s mother recounted that Kevin he was well and began walking.

The interior is adorned by a mural painted by Saint Lucian artist the late Sir Dunstan St. Omer. Sir Dunstan is the designer of the Saint Lucia flag which depicts elements of the island’s motto, ‘The Land, The People, The Light’.

castries cathedral interior

The View as you enter the Castries Cathedral – Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Castries Cathedral Stained glass window

castries cathedral interior

minor basillica of the immaculate conception castries

One of the stained glass windows at the Castries Cathedral

Brazil Street

castries brazil street by square(18)

Brazil St, French creole style buildings

After leaving the Cathedral, head across to Brazil St and spend some time enjoying the buildings that have been restored and recreated in the old ‘french’ style. Then head towards, ‘the back of town’. This street, like many others, bustles with ‘speculator’ shops – little boutiques that traditionally travel to buy goods to resell in Saint Lucia. Along this road, you’ll pass the Ave Maria Primary School on your left.

Castries walking tour

Brazil St, Castries

Central Bakery

A slight side-step takes you down to the end of Peynier St. where it turns into MaryAnn St. – in this corner is Central Bakery – also known as Amur Bakery after its founder. If you’d like a peak into local bakery culture, pop in…don’t expect queues, signs or prices displayed and be prepared for the rough n tumble of this busy shop. Typically, bakeries serve their regular customers first, so sometimes you may see someone pop in and be attended to before you…don’t be ‘vex’ (annoyed), that’s the way it is!

Castries walking tour bakery

One, if not the longest running bakery in Castries, Central ‘Amur’ Bakery

Walcott Place

walcott place

Walcott Place mini museum of the Saint Lucia National Trust

With or without bread in hand…head back to Brazil Street and walk all the way up to the top, turn right onto the Chausee Rd and you’ll easily pick out the sparkling yellow house a short distance away on the other side of the road, on the junction with Grass St.…you will now have reached your destination, the Walcott House.

Entrance is free to this mini-museum but donations are welcome. You might find original sketchbooks from Sir Derek’s plays or original notes from Roddy’s plays, paintings by Sir Derek’s son Peter, family photos and other mementos. Upstairs, you can view one or two short documentaries on these two favourite sons of Saint Lucia. Currently an exhibition chronicalling the 1948 Castries Fire is on display.

Mini-museum walcott place

Iyanola Project members and SLNT staffer tour the Walcott Place museum

Walcott Place museum castries

Viewing a documentary about the Walcott BrothersIf you’d like to assist the Saint Lucia National Trust in keeping the Walcott Place open or in any of its custodianship of Saint Lucia’s patrimony, please go here – you can’t donate directly right now, but they will guide you on how to send them a paypal donation or you can pop into their head office at the Pigeon Island National Landmark (also another wonderful place to visit!) or email   [email protected] or call 1-758-452-5005

Castries Walk to Walcott Place Map 

See full screen

If you ’ d like to explore more, here are a few links

La Place Carenage Duty Free

Sir Arthur Lewis 

Sir Derek Walcott

Sir Dunstan St. Omer

Some history on the Castries Library controversy

Cathedral Miracle

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About Finola Jennings Clark

As a writer, Finola was Saint Lucia’s earliest blogger, writing about Caribbean life, creativity and thoughts on life in general under the banner ‘Sun, Rain, or…’ But writing and all creative pursuits were popped on hiatus for a few years as she took on the role as Director of Business Development & Marketing at the Cultural Development Foundation in 2013 and then pursued a Masters in World Heritage & Cultural Projects... (Learn More)

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July 14, 2019 at 6:46 am

Thanks for this tour. Noted the absence of green space and sitting areas eg near the Government Printery. Question is the Cathedral sinking? On entering the main entrance there appears a gradual sink, just my observation.

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July 14, 2019 at 6:51 am

Yes, it’s quite striking how little green there is in the city in general. And what there is, could do with better maintenance. Not sure about the Cathedral… interesting observation! Will have to do some research.

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February 3, 2022 at 11:14 am

Hi, Can you recommend a guide for a walking tour of Castries?

April 4, 2022 at 10:41 am

So sorry, but at the time I was unable to locate any active guides, but this is the place to go for now

May 14, 2019 at 5:33 am

Thanks for linking our tour Claimed Baggage! We really appreciate it!

[…] La Place Carenage is also a great location to start a self-guided tour of the city, like this walking tour. […]

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Castries Walki…

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Shore Excursions Group

City Walking Tour

City Walking Tour

  • Experience the rich culture and history of Castries on our popular City Walking Tour, perfect for first-time visitors and those on tight schedules.
  • Explore aromatic markets filled with spices and herbs, and admire the beautiful local handiwork showcased in craft stalls.
  • Visit the heart of the city, Dereck Walcott Square, and marvel at the 19th-century Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Learn about St. Lucia's first Prime Minister at Constitution Park and capture memorable moments at numerous photo ops.


This tour is perfect for first-timers to the capital city of St. Lucia as well as those who are short on time yet want to see the culture and history of Castries. Your local guides will take you from one attraction to the next and explain what you are visiting.

Wind your way through aromatic produce markets full of alluring spices and herbs, and view the beautiful handiwork in the craft stalls. From there you will head to the center of the city and the Dereck Walcott Square with its Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. This 19th century stone cathedral boasts a colorful interior and is an important place in the lives of the residents.

You will also pass through Constitution Park with its statue of Sir John George Melvin Compton, the island's first Prime Minister. Throughout this walk you will learn and view the history of this bustling port city, mingle with the locals, and enjoy endless photo ops.

Reserve your spot on this active tour now to experience the history and beauty of Castries up close and personal.


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From verdant rainforests to beachey towns: the 7 best hikes in St Lucia

Nasha Smith

Sep 4, 2021 • 8 min read

Beautiful rain forest surrounding the lake and the mountain peeks in this Caribbean paradise

With its lush tropical landscape, St Lucia is often considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean © Jens Karlsson / Getty Images

The unspoiled, natural beauty of St Lucia offers ample opportunity for hiking excursions. The Helen of the West is a volcanic island, with a mountainous southern region, an abundance of waterfalls and verdant rainforests to traverse.

Here’s a look at some of the best hikes in St Lucia. 

Canon on Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island National Park

Best hike for history lovers, 1.3 miles (2.1km) round trip, 2 hours, moderate.

Pigeon Island , used to be an isolated island off the shores of St Lucia’s mainland until a causeway was constructed to link the two in 1972. A strategic outpost, as the British and French battled for control of the island, this is one of the most important landmarks in St Lucian history.

Between 1779 to 1782, Admiral George Rodney occupied this area to keep his eye trained on the French naval base in nearby French territory Martinique .

The National Park is sprawled across 44 acres of land at the northern tip of the island. It’s easily accessible by bus or taxi and there’s adequate parking outside if traveling by rental car. Once inside, the trail is well marked and it’s an easy walk on a stone path that eventually leads to some steps to the first lookout point. The stairs are flanked by a wooden railing for extra support. 

Keep climbing to reach Fort Rodney (225ft). Besides the breathtaking 360-degree view of the northwest coastline, you will also find the remains of the military fort, a cannon and a powder room. It’s a simple hike that can be managed without a guide but one would be useful to truly dive into the fort’s history. 

Signal Hill (330 ft) is the higher of the two peaks and a more difficult climb meant for the more seasoned hiker. The large rocks and loose gravel littering the trail adds to the challenge but you will be richly rewarded with stunning views. 

You might even see Martinique on a clear day. If you’re not up for the trek, head back down to the park and sprawl out on the well-manicured lawn or cool off at one of two white-sand beaches on the premises. History buffs will want to visit the ruins and other relics from the colonial wars including an officers’ kitchen and soldiers’ barracks. 

Reduit Beach

Mount Pimard

Best hike for families, 1.7 miles (2.7km) round trip, 2 hours, moderate.

Mount Pimard is nestled in Rodney Bay, the epicenter of nightlife in St Lucia, and just steps from Reduit Beach aka “The Ramp”. 

The Mount Pimard Trail is an out and back trail that starts off with a wide straight path that leads to Pebble Beach, where you’ll meet fishing enthusiasts. It’s an easy 10-minute walk and you might even run into Segway riders touring along the nature trail. Once you get past the beach to the official base, the intensity steadily increases during this 45-minute, nearly one-mile journey uphill that includes a fantastic vantage point for sunsets. 

The final 20 minutes of the gravelly and sometimes muddy terrain are the most strenuous and require the assistance of readily available ropes to make the arduous climb. At the peak are sweeping views of Rodney Bay, Pigeon Island and even the famed Pitons. 

Along the way are bunkers used to store food items and equipment when the American military was stationed on the island during World War II, an abandoned gazebo and the Stone Face Fish Pond where you can feed fresh-water fish. 

On a beautiful day, visitors can also get an unfettered view of Mount Gimie, which at 3117 ft. is the tallest mountain in St Lucia . The close proximity to Rodney Bay means that families can enjoy a meal at one of several nearby establishments or hit the beach post-hike. 

St. Lucia’s best beaches  

Rainbow in rainforest, Belvedere.

Piton Flore Trail

Best hike to see wildlife, 1.8 miles (2.9km) round trip, 2 hours, moderate.

The Piton Flore Trail is a loop that takes you into St Lucia’s rainforest, from the Forestiere community in South-East Castries. The trailhead starts off with approximately 600 man-made steps taking you to the Old French Road before a right turn takes you to the steep slope of Piton Flore.

This can quickly turn into a slippery slog if wet but manageable if dry. The humidity of the rainforest means a naturally soggy underfoot, plastered in leaves. A good pair of hiking boots is essential to finding your footing. 

This hike is a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the vibrant St Lucia parrot (Amazona Versicolor), which is only found on the island and is an endangered species. 

Be on the lookout also for exotic plants, mongooses and snakes. The boa constrictor is non-poisonous and non-aggressive but avoid the poisonous and aggressive fer-de-lance (Tête Chien). A guide from the Forestry Department is highly recommended both for safety and their vast knowledge of the flora, fauna and wildlife in the area.

Tet Paul Nature Trail

Best easy hike, 0.62 miles (1 km) round trip, 45 mins to 1 hour, easy.

The circular Tet Paul Nature Trail in Soufrière is perfect for all ages and fitness levels. A leisurely walk up a winding staircase provides spectacular views of the Pitons and the wide expanse of the southernmost Vieux-Fort town without a four-hour climb. 

Depending on the time of year, you might be able to sample some of the local fruits in season like guava, avocado and soursop. As you hike through the nature reserve you’ll also encounter traditional medicinal plants. 

Gros Piton - the famous volcanic peak in St Lucia, 2019

Gros Piton Nature Trail

Best hike for the adventurous, 2.9 miles (4.7km) round trip, 4-6 hours, hard.

Measuring 2619 ft-high (786 m), Gros Piton is the taller of the much-lauded twin peaks in St Lucia. The trailhead is accessed through the community of Fond Gens Libre, meaning “valley of the free people.” 

The trail cuts through the heavily shaded rainforest and is dominated by large boulders and steps organically fashioned from tree roots. While the canopy of trees protects you from direct sunlight, it also makes for a humid, muggy trek. Hydration will be key to successfully completing the climb, which is sectioned off into four quarters, each ending with a rest spot and fantastic scenery. 

The first is the least taxing and ends with a snapshot of the Choiseul Village coastline. The level of difficulty increases from the second quarter with a quick rise in elevation but provides glimpses of Petit Piton and a 200-year old mango tree at the 3/4 mark.  

The second half is a grueling scramble as you clutch onto high rocks on the practically vertical path, but there are wooden rails and handholds to cling to. There are technically two peaks. 

The south summit view covers the entire southern landscape and ocean. A further 10-minute walk off to the side takes you to the north summit and a stunning, unobstructed view of Petit Piton. 

As magnificent as the views are, the real highlight of a Gros- Piton hike is the locally made ice cream and ice-lollies at a tiny shop tucked away near the foot of the peak. 

The uneven and slippery terrain makes the descent harder than the ascent and is tough on the joints. A hiking stick is advisable. Hiking Gros Piton without a guide is definitely not recommended and should not be attempted on a rainy day or shortly after rainfall. Start as early as possible to avoid high midday temps. 

Rainforest on Petit Piton, Saint Lucia

Petit Piton Trail

Best hike for the views , 0.99 miles (1.6km) round trip, 3-4 hours, hard.

The shorter of the iconic twin peaks (2,461 ft/ 739 m) is also the more unforgiving. The trail starts out innocently enough with an ascent into the forest over some large rocks. But it goes from zero to 60 quickly as you start clutching at roots and stones to help maneuver the extremely precipitous climb. 

The second half will test your upper body strength as it requires a lot of rope work to hoist yourself to the top. Light rock climbing shoes would be more appropriate here than bulky hiking boots. This is a trail best suited for a seasoned hiker and a journey that should always be made with a highly experienced guide. 

However, the infinitely beautiful view from the small summit is easily the best in St. Lucia and makes it all worth the effort. 

Young Man and Woman Hiking a Tropical River

Best hike for a hidden waterfall

2 miles (3.2km) round trip, 2-3 hours, hard.

A quick search for waterfalls in St Lucia will yield the more popular spots like Toraille Waterfall , the Diamond Falls and LaTille Falls . But if you’re looking for an oasis unencumbered by throngs of tourists, head to the southern sanctuary of Belle Vue in Vieux-Fort. 

Getting there will require a guide, patience, endurance and proper footwear, especially after rainfall. At times it may even feel like a parkour course as you navigate the downward slope of the muddy hills with a rope. 

But after making your way through the thick brush the payoff is a cascading waterfall and plunge pool. 

Tips for hiking in St Lucia

  • The sun tends to be scorching around midday so it’s best to plan your hikes, particularly long ones, for early in the day. Late afternoon will suffice for shorter treks. 
  • Carry water and a light snack, especially if hiking with kids. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen as well. 
  • While some trails are manageable on your own, it is highly recommended to always enlist the services of an experienced guide, especially on more treacherous hikes. Steep, vertical climbs like Petit Piton are not sanctioned by the St. Lucia government and calls for a mandatory guide. 
  • Most hiking trails are located in areas that charge a fee for entry. 
  • The rainy season runs from June to November, so your best chance for dry weather is in the earlier months. 
  • Consider carrying a change of clothes along for long, intense hikes where you may need to use your hands to navigate the terrain. 

You might also like: 

Pitons and beyond: St Luca’s top outdoor adventures How to get off-the-beaten track in St Lucia  Top 10 experiences in St Lucia 

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Now my questions are:

-- Should we go to the North Point - Pigeon Island for a day tour? If so, how should we arrange it?

-- What other tour could we do in the morning or in the afternoon?

-- What should we do in the town of Soufriere?

4 replies to this topic

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Tet Paul Trail (if you don't want to do the strenuous Gros Piton hike)

Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens

Piton Falls mineral baths

Fond Doux Plantation tour and chocolate experience.

Lunch at Beacon

Get a water taxi and visit Sugar Beach and Soufriere Beach Park

Cocktails at Ladera for the views

Sunset cocktails and Dinner at Caille Blanc (just up the road from you).

Plantation tour and zip line at Morne Coubaril

Jerusalem Falls

Sapphire Falls

Toraille Falls

Tons of options right in Soufriere.

Pigeon Island is lovely, you can take a boat trip or go by land - land will be less expensive, but you're looking at $90usd one way.. ruins, history, hikes, beach, SNUBA. You can combine it with Castries Market , lunch either in Rodney Bay or at the boardwalk in Castries at Vigie, etc.

You're looking at 75-90 minutes to Pigeon Island, and maybe 3 or so hours there. Whether that's worth it on your short trip or not, it you know... Different perspective on the island, for sure..

st lucia walking tour

We used to be able to go with a cover charge of $25 per person, which was given as credit towards food and drinks. But they stopped that during Covid. Have they started that again?

Dear @Sea_Reed006, It is a very informative post. I think we should opt for a taxi ride to Pigeon Island, with a lot of stopping points in the middle. Could you please suggest possible points to see in that route?

Also, do you have any recommendations on where to hire a taxi from?

They are still taking cruise visitors and such for stops, lunch or drinks, dinner reservations , etc - can't imagine why, at this point, they wouldn't allow outside guests for sunsets drinks...

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st lucia walking tour

st lucia walking tour

Caribbean Escape to St. Lucia – 5 Day Self-Guided Itinerary

Growing up I most closely associated the Caribbean with cruising. At my high school in Maryland, some of the more fortunate students cruised during spring break, bringing back stories from places like The Bahamas and Cayman Islands. Actually, I’m not sure if they brought back stories so much as beaded hair and tan lines.

I quickly found out on my first and only cruise that this type of travel is not for me. I like to spend longer in a destination and really get under its skin. Pre-packaged excursions in large groups do not take me off the beaten path or into my own zone the way I prefer when I travel.

st lucia walking tour

St. Lucia is a perfect Caribbean destination for adventure travel.

All this to say that if you are not a cruise person like me, the Caribbean still makes for a fantastic region to explore as an independent visitor. St. Lucia, a small country in the Lesser Antilles chain of islands, makes for a great destination for travelers looking to experience the Caribbean on a self-guided itinerary. I visited the country in 2021 and found the island to be welcoming, clean, safe and overflowing with nature and culture to explore.

You don’t have to go on a cruise to visit St. Lucia. In fact, you’re probably better off not doing so. Dive in and explore this special island on your own with this 5-day itinerary, perfect for adventurous travelers looking to see the highlights of the island while still making time for rest and relaxation.

A few tips, right off the bat:

  • Rent a Car: While you could easily stay at all All-inclusive resort in St. Lucia and never leave luxury, to truly explore the beauty of this island you’re going to need to rent a car.
  • Take Your Time: Lucia is only 27-miles long, but it takes longer than you’d think to get places. The roads on St. Lucia are narrow, winding and many sections have large trenches on the side. As is the case in many former British colonies, in St. Lucia they also drive on the left side of the road – the opposite of the United States. All these factors can make driving a harrowing experience, so you’re going to need to factor in additional time to go shorter distances.

st lucia walking tour

Pick one base during a 5-day trip to St. Lucia.

  • Rodney Bay – the highest concentration of resorts and amenities for tourists is located in Rodney Bay in the northwest of the island. The Bay itself is manmade and also boasts a marina. There’s a mall, multiple grocery stores and plenty of restaurants here. Just slightly further north is the ocean and small fishing village of Gros Islet. The itinerary below is based on my experience basing myself in this area.
  • Soufrière – For a more mountainous and rugged experience in St. Lucia, base yourself with views of the twin volcanic peaks of the Pitons. There’s fewer amenities in this area, but if you’re looking to experience quiet time with iconic views, this area can’t be beat.

5-Day Self-Guided Itinerary of St. Lucia

st lucia walking tour

View from Gros Islet.

Day 1 – Arrival to Hewanorra International Airport

If you’re flying to St. Lucia from the United States, you’ll more than likely arrive to Hewanorra International Airport in the afternoon. Unfortunately, the airport is inconveniently located on the southern tip of the island which is quite far from the major tourist hubs. The airport also only has one small restaurant that serves Caribbean specialties, so bring along snacks to avoid getting Hangry.

My parents and I stayed at an AirBnB in Gros Islet, located in the pure north of the island. The two most common areas to base oneself are Rodney Bay and Soufriere. Both locations are over an hour drive from the airport, and as I mentioned above, the road conditions can be a jarring introduction to the Caribbean, so plan for this and allow extra time to get to your accommodations.

As most flights arrive in the afternoon, day 1 of a self-guided visit to St. Lucia is mostly a wash. Your only goal today should be to take your time and get to your accommodation. Stock up on groceries at Massy, a local Supermarket chain, and aim to be settled in time for sunset to enjoy a glass of wine with a view.

Tip – if you are staying in the Rodney Bay area, a great spot for dinner your first night is Boardwalk. Located on the Bay with a view of the yachts and sunset, it’s easy to get to and there’s ample parking.

st lucia walking tour

Reduit Beach fills up fast. Visit in the morning.

Day 2 – Highlights of Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island

On your first full day in St. Lucia, keep driving to a minimum and explore the highlights of Rodney Bay and Pigeon Island.

Looking to start your day with a boost of caffeine? Stop in at Rituals Coffee House in the Baywalk Shopping Mall for some of the best coffee on the island.

Earlier on in the day visit Reduit Beach – it’s the most visited beach on the entire island and it’s a stones-throw from many all-inclusive resorts, so it does get crowded. Still, it’s a nice beach for a swim and there’s plenty of water sport rentals if an active beach experience suites you.

Reduit Beach is adjacent to Pigeon Island National Monument, which makes for a great place to fill an entire afternoon combining history, hiking and more beach time. The island, now connected to the mainland via a manmade causeway, was first used by a French settler in the 1550s to raid Spanish ships. The British later turned it into a fort. Remnants from this history, including stone buildings and barracks, are scattered on the island, making it a fun place to explore. A step path leads up a massive hill to Fort Rodney, offering some of the best views in the area – and old British cannons.

There’s one eatery within the confines of Pigeon Island – Jambe De Bois Restaurant – and it is well worth a visit (or two) with its menu of local dishes and a wooden porch right on the water’s edge.

st lucia walking tour

Swing over waves at Smuggler’s Cove.

Day 3 – Exploring the Rugged North

Smugglers Cove, located on the Northern tip of the island offers a more rugged ocean experience than the wide and gentle Reduit Beach. The narrow and intimate beach is set next to a resort and restaurant, but the beach is open to the public so you don’t have to be staying in the area to enjoy it. Park up on the main street and walk down the concrete steps to experience this hidden gem.

The water is choppier here, so you’ll need to be a decent swimmer if you want to get in the water. For those who do, there’s good snorkeling. During lowtide there’s tidepools to explore as well as a wooden swing that will send you soaring over the waves.

Do yourself a favor and enjoy a meal during the day at Naked Fisherman, a small outdoor restaurant carved into the base of the cliff. The food is excellent and the quirky space provides even more options for lounging and soaking up the sun.

If you want to splurge on dinner, Cliff at Cap Restaurant, located inside the resort but open to non-guests, boasts charming Moorish architecture and serves up sea views alongside fresh seafood.

st lucia walking tour

Sugar Beach is nestled between the two Pitons.

Day 4 – Road Trip to St. Lucia’s Pitons

After two days of mostly relaxing on beaches, it’s time for a long road trip through mountains to the Unesco World Heritage Site of St. Lucia’s Pitons, or volcanic mountains. It’s less than 40 miles from Rodney Bay to the Pitons, but the one-lane road to get there is narrow and windy, so it will take around two hours each way. There’s more than enough to do here to fill multiple days, so make it an early start to pack in the highlights.

Your destination of the day is Soufrière, a small town that truly isn’t much to look at but offers a gateway to the island’s most spectacular natural wonders. As you near the Pitons, the jungle engulfs the road, closing all but a verdant sea of leaves out from view. For more active travelers like me, the first stop of the day should be the Gros Piton Nature Trail, a nearly three-mile trail that leads up one of the volcanic mountains. In order to hike you have to hire a guide at $50 a person and you have to arrive before 1 p.m.

The hike is very strenuous, leading up over 2,000 feet of steep terrain. The average time it takes for hikers to climb is two hours. I was able to make it up in 90-minutes, but I am a mountain biker so I’m well versed in climbing and pushing myself up and over rocks.

For those who are not up for such a difficult hike, Tet Paul Nature trail offers an easier 45-minute hike through the rainforest or the nearby Hotel Chocolate has a restaurant with a great view of the mountains.

After the hike, more relaxation is in store at Sugar Beach, St. Lucia’s most famous beach. Perfectly tucked between the two Pitons, this luminous stretch of sand is postcard worthy in every sense.

The downside is that the Viceroy Resort sits right on the beach, so public access is somewhat restricted. You can park outside of the road and walk down a steep path (allow for 10-minutes down and 20-minutes on the way back up). Or, for a fee of $50 per person that is redeemable at the hotel’s restaurant, you can park onsite.

Before you leave this region, stop at Sulphur Springs to soak in the hot water baths. Billed as “the world’s only drive-in volcano,” the marketing is a bit misleading, but the water is soothing nonetheless. These pools are open until 11 p.m., so it makes for a perfect end to the day after sunset. If the crowds at this spot are too much, there’s a few smaller pools in the region as well.

st lucia walking tour

Swim in the azure waters of St. Lucia.

Day 5 – Castries and Northern Beaches

On your final day in St. Lucia there’s two ways to go; revisit your favorite beach for more relaxation or continue exploring. If you’re like my family and want to keep exploring, read on.

A visit to Castries, the capitol of St. Lucia, will give you a taste of the island’s urban side. While it’s most popular with cruise passengers, the Castries Central Market is a great place to shop for souvenirs or try a local dish. For some fantastic Creole cuisine, Coat Pot is set right in the city’s harbor, or venture further to the Pink Plantation House, offering local dishes in a colonial mansion.

The stretch of ocean in between Rodney Bay and Castries houses quite a few beaches. Choc, Vigie and La Toc beaches are all worth exploring. If you happen to be flying to another Caribbean island from St. Lucia you’ll also get to experience Vigie beach while flying out of George FL Charles Airport where the runway parallels the ocean.

And there you have it, a 5-Day Self-Guided Itinerary of St. Lucia. Caribbean enthusiasts, what did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.

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st lucia walking tour

Walking Tours in St. Lucia

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  1. St Lucia Pitons Hike: The Best View in the St. Lucia Hiking Scene

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  2. 40 Amazing Things To Do In Saint Lucia

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  3. What to do in Saint Lucia: highlights guide

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  4. St. Lucia Caribbean Travel Guide

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  5. St Lucia Travel Guide: All You Need to Know

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  6. Pigeon Island, St Lucia

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  1. St Lucia Tour guide

  2. Napoli/S. Lucia

  3. City of Castries, St Lucia Walking

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  5. Wildlife

  6. St Lucia Tour Continues Part 3! Sulphur Spring!Pitons and Much More!


  1. THE 10 BEST St. Lucia Walking Tours (with Prices)

    It's only a 4-mile walk up and down the tree-covered symbol of Saint Lucia- that is, up a winding trail that climbs the …. Free cancellation. Recommended by 93% of travelers. from. $90. per adult. 4. St. Lucia Zip line, Aerial Tram and Hiking tour Ultimate 3.

  2. Saint Lucia Castries Walking Tour 2024

    Explore the historic city of Castries with this tour exploring the history and culture of St Lucia. Learn about the region's colonial past and the influence of the European Powers while exploring local parks and boulevards. Tour highlights include visiting the Food Market to sample local vegetables, spices and fruits and the area's religious influence at Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

  3. THE TOP 10 St Lucia Walking Tours (w/Prices)

    Castries City Walking Tours. 5. This is the most intimate way to experience Castries. Our expert local knowledgeable guides serve as your fun companions. The entire history of St.Lucia revolves around Castries and this is an excellent introductory tour to our culture and heritage.

  4. Castries Walking Tour

    If you start at La Place Carenage Duty Free Mall or the Castries Market, you can follow a route that takes you on a walking tour of Castries, so let's help you find those Castries Hidden Treasures. Castries Market. Castries Market itself is an historic building, built in 1891 to sell food, and now a bustling souvenir and craft market.

  5. City Walking tour

    Excursion Highlights: Experience the rich culture and history of Castries on our popular City Walking Tour, perfect for first-time visitors and those on tight schedules. Explore aromatic markets filled with spices and herbs, and admire the beautiful local handiwork showcased in craft stalls. Visit the heart of the city, Dereck Walcott Square ...

  6. LucianStyle Experiences

    Thomas was also very knowledgeable about the history of St. Lucia, and a man of good integrity. ... Great trip out Nice adventure in some great scenery of St Lucia. On our tour there were only 4 of us, so easy to talk to our guide. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience. ... Good Hike with a Good Guide Did the mt primard walking tour with Germaine ...

  7. Saint Lucia Castries Walking Tour

    The pricing and guarantee for the Saint Lucia Castries Walking Tour ensures a hassle-free and affordable experience for all travelers. With tour prices starting from $33.25, there's an option to save $1.75 and pay only $35.00.

  8. THE 10 BEST St. Lucia Walking Tours

    Feb 5, 2024 - Whether you are a local or a tourist, get to know the area even better while on foot with the best St. Lucia walking tours on Tripadvisor. Read the reviews of your fellow travelers and book top-rated walking tours in St. Lucia for 2024.

  9. City Walkers

    City Walkers offers the only walking tour experiences available in the city. One can choose between history tours, food tours and shopping tours. ... vegetables and spices. Give your taste buds a tour of good St. Lucian food. Get ready for a Taste of St. Lucia! Ask us about our combination excursion! The best of all three experiences. Read More ...

  10. St. Lucia Scenic Tours

    St. Lucia Scenic Tours provided an unforgettable, tailored adventure that exceeded all expectations. Our knowledgeable guide captivated us with fascinating stories, while showcasing the island's breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture. I wholeheartedly recommend St. Lucia Scenic Tours for an extraordinary, five-star experience that will ...

  11. Best hikes in St Lucia

    1.8 miles (2.9km) round trip, 2 hours, moderate. The Piton Flore Trail is a loop that takes you into St Lucia's rainforest, from the Forestiere community in South-East Castries. The trailhead starts off with approximately 600 man-made steps taking you to the Old French Road before a right turn takes you to the steep slope of Piton Flore.

  12. From Castries: St.Lucia Island Guided Tour with Dannyboy

    This guided tour along the west coast, normally about 5 to 7 hours, gives you a general idea of what the island looks like. See the city of Castries and original buildings in the city, such as the Castries market, which is over 100 years old. See the biggest roman catholic church on the island, which sits about 2000 persons.

  13. Top St Lucia Walking Tours

    St Lucia Walking Tours: Check out Viator's reviews and photos of St Lucia tours

  14. Castries, St Lucia Self-Guided Walking Tour + Map

    With the help of the easy-to-use interface of the app you can create self-guided walks to explore Castries single-handedly. Each such walk comes with a detailed route map and GPS navigation to guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

  15. Tours

    City of Castries Historical Tour. Duration: 3 Hours. Tour type: Moderate. Departure Time: 8:30 AM (3 hrs). Please arrive 15 minutes prior to departure time. Departure time: 12:00 PM (3 hrs). Please arrive 15 minutes prior to departure time. Mobility:This tour is mostly walking.

  16. Sugar Beach in St. Lucia

    A long walk through Sugar Beach a Viceroy Resort located in St. Lucia. The video starts with the room's patio views and details of the plunge pool. This walk...


    For our first day in St Lucia, we did everything that you need to do in St. Lucia's capital city, Castries. We learned about St. Lucia's history, visited the...

  18. 6 days Itinerary recommendation in September

    Hi! I am visiting St Lucia in the first week of September for our honeymoon. We are staying at the Anse Chastanet Resort near Soufriere.I am seeking some recommendations for what excursion/outing to go on. Of course, we would do some snorkeling, biking, snorkeling, kayaking, and complementary walking tours at the beach.

  19. 5-Day Self-Guided Itinerary of St. Lucia

    Caribbean Escape to St. Lucia - 5 Day Self-Guided Itinerary. Growing up I most closely associated the Caribbean with cruising. At my high school in Maryland, some of the more fortunate students cruised during spring break, bringing back stories from places like The Bahamas and Cayman Islands. Actually, I'm not sure if they brought back ...

  20. St. Lucia Walking Tours :

    Visit St. Lucia, take a Walking vacation to St. Lucia, and enjoy a Walking trip in St. Lucia. The ONLY WorldWide Directory of Tours & Vacations: Search Browse Tours By: Country | US State | Activity. Home. Find a Tour/Vacation Operator. Find a Travel Agent Specialist ... Walking Tours in St. Lucia. Search Results: Viewing Page 1 of 1