Hi Caribbean lovers! Thanks for stopping by our travel guide on the best things to see, do and experience in St Lucia. It’s our pleasure to give you some insights into this beautiful destination, as well as introduce ourselves and share a little bit about our history together. We are Heena and Jason – two culture inspired bloggers who run the website: confusionofcultures.
We have been together for nearly 14 years now and married for 10. We met at our previous jobs where we worked with children with intellectual disabilities, and adults with physical and learning disabilities. Spending time together, we quickly learnt that we had a lot in common and an equal number of differences – which is what attracted us to each other.
One of our biggest common interests – travel and experiencing different cultures – brought us closer to each other and triggered some of our recent life choices. Our interest in the world’s different cultures was more pronounced (perhaps) because we both come from diverse backgrounds.
Heena grew up in a small town in India and moved to the UK in her early 20s. Whereas Jason (part English and part Mauritian) grew up in London in an English household but was surrounded by extended relatives from all parts of the world: Italy, Spain, Pakistan, Africa, Caribbean, Malaysia.
Early on in our relationship we went on a few holidays and no doubt we enjoyed them. But we were like any other tourists, going on vacations to get a break from the relentless urban lifestyle and to gain a superficial experience of the country. The shift in our approach to traveling changed after our trips to Egypt and India, and a month-long backpacking trip in Vietnam. They blew our minds and made us question our travel choices.
After that revelation, our focus changed from superficial to authentic. We went on a walking trip to Italy (all planned by ourselves), visited Marrakech and experienced its beautiful cultural fusion, and went island hopping in Cape Verde. In Cape Verde we did a lot of hiking, enjoyed street music, ate food at local restaurants and fell in love with its landscapes. We came home fascinated by its Portuguese and French influences.
It was in 2018 when Heena toyed with the idea of going backpacking for a year across Latin America to celebrate her 40th birthday (due in 2021). But it just seemed so long to wait that we decided to bring it forward to 2020 (what a year to travel)! But no complaints, no regrets. We loved traveling across Central America. It really expanded our horizons. Arriving in Colombia and exploring the beautiful north coast was simply incredible.
Of course, the world came to a standstill and we got stuck in Medellin in Lockdown. But once the borders reopened, we made our way to St Lucia. We loved this Caribbean paradise so much that after a fleeting visit back to London, we decided to return to St Lucia and live a digital nomad lifestyle.
Digital Nomad Life in St Lucia
As mentioned above, our trip to St Lucia sort of happened by fluke. Last year, the pandemic hit the world and we got stuck in Medellin. We were forced to stay in Colombia throughout the Lockdown – between the end of March until early September. Our plans were to backpack across South America and spend the last quarter of the year in the Caribbean.
When the world came to a standstill in 2020, and we couldn’t travel, of course our backpacking plans went out of the window. So as soon as Colombia reopened their borders in early September, we decided to head to the Caribbean. We booked flights to St Vincent and the Grenadines. However, the evening before our trip, the airlines canceled the flights.
Heena had already packed her backpack and refused to unpack it! Mind you we had already done our PCR tests, so we could travel before we would have to redo them. Sitting in our plush flat in Medellin (it’s a stunning city, so much more than its tragic cartel past!), we frantically searched for flights out of the country to anywhere in the Caribbean that would have us.
We had to find connecting flights too – flights from Medellin to Bogota, then from Bogota to Miami and from there to whichever island we were allowed to fly into. Our search came up with two alternatives: Antigua and Barbuda, and St Lucia. Jason with his pragmatic mind proceeded to review all the logistical info – flight times, prices, restrictions and accommodation.
Whereas Heena, being the dreamer in the relationship, researched the culture and appeal of the places. She read a few blogs about both islands to compare them. One of the things that we look for in a country is how easy it is to gain authentic experiences and whether or not it’s budget-friendly.
We also wanted to visit the island that had more than just serene beaches, as we love hiking. All things considered St Lucia won the round and we made our way to this island. We stayed here for four months before returning back to England. Throughout our stay we felt welcomed by the locals, embraced by the expat community and long before we knew it, this gorgeous Caribbean island started feeling like home.
After staying and working in London for a few months, we concluded that the fast-paced urban jungle relentless life wasn’t for us. So we headed back to St Lucia. We have been here since early April 2021 and are thoroughly enjoying the island life. Our typical day might look a bit different from the regular tourists, as we are living and working here as digital nomads.
As we are both still working on contracts based in the UK, our day starts early at 5.30am. But that means we are done for the day by the early afternoon. Our mornings start with beautiful sunrises followed by working from our terrace with views over the hills, marina and Pigeon Island.
Later in the day we either go for walks (the island has some great trails) or a swim, do some grocery shopping, and every now and then stop at the local rum shack or have some Pitons at the marina. We have made friends with the local community here and so we often go “liming” (a Caribbean term for hanging out with friends) at Gros Islet village (a quaint fishing village that has a rustic atmosphere and is full of character bars).
Why St Lucia Should be on your Bucket List
St Lucia is paradise! It has rainforests full of tropical fruit trees, green hills, serene beaches lined with palm trees, crystal clear waters, an active volcano, sulphur springs, a fascinating history, quintessential Caribbean fishing villages and a vibrant local culture (unlike other popular Caribbean islands). St Lucia seems to have it all! No matter where you are on the island, you are never too far away from insane mountain and sea views.
Our first impressions of St Lucia was that it was ridiculously green. That vibrant tropical lush greenness brought about an immediate soothing effect for us. We also found the people to be warm and friendly. For example, the cabbie that gave us a ride from the airport to our quarantine resort offered us the local rum (after learning how we were stuck in a city for over five months in Colombia). He didn’t charge us anything for it.
As English is the official language of the island, communication was never an issue (remember we had just arrived from Latin America after spending months in Spanish speaking countries) – so that was refreshing!
Favorite Place in St Lucia: Pigeon Point Beach
St Lucia is full of unique places that offer different experiences. We haven’t got one spot that we love the most, because it all depends on what we fancy doing. We love Pigeon Point Beach, especially for our weekly swims. This beach is lined with palms, has white sand and blue waters, offers views of Mount Pimard and is a perfect spot to reconnect with ourselves.
If we are in the mood for a short but steep walk with views over the ocean then Mount Pimard is our favourite spot. If we want to feel at one with the sea life, we go snorkeling around Piton Wall or Anse Cochon Beach. Then if we want to immerse ourselves in the culture, we visit Laborie or Gros Islet. For the best lunch we might head to Pink Plantation House, and for history and surreal surroundings we would visit Balenbouche Estate.
So as you can see, it’s tough to choose one favorite spot. But if someone was to twist our arms, we would have to go with Pigeon Point Beach as the epitome of quintessential Caribbean life! Mind you, we have been lucky to have the beach all to ourselves due to a lack of tourists. We are not sure if that would be the case when travel goes back to pre-pandemic times.
Top 10 Things To Do in St Lucia
It’s hard for us to suggest the best things to do in St Lucia as everyone is different and has different travel preferences. We love to experience a mix of popular things to do, cultural experiences and activities that are slightly off the beaten track. So our recommendations for interesting experiences in St Lucia would be the following 10 things to do (in no particular order):
- Hike up the beautiful Gros Piton
- Enjoy local walks with Sweat 758
- Experience the St Lucia Carnival in July
- Snorkel or dive with Scuba Steve’s Diving
- Take a Sea Moss Tour with VigaMoss SLU
- Go on a mural tour with Sakey Productions
- Party at the Gros Islet Street Party – aka the “Jump-Up”
- Bar crawl to visit hidden rustic bars and experience how locals “lime”
- Stay at Balenbouche Estate to explore its indigenous and colonial past
- Explore Laborie and its colorful houses (it also has a picturesque beach).
“Liming” with Lucians, Expats & Tourists
The people of St Lucia are laid-back, easy going, friendly and helpful. You will meet people from Guyana, Trinidad and other surrounding islands who all call this paradise home. There is also a decent sized expat (immigrant and migrant) community formed of British, Canadians, North Americans, South Africans, Syrians, Indians and more. The diverse community of the island makes the culture of St Lucia interesting, vibrant and exciting.
We have been fortunate to meet Lucians and non-Lucians who are residents of the island. Through networking we have been able to meet local artists, explore the underrated street art scene, go sea moss farming, eat at local bakeries and explore villages, among other things.
We have several unforgettable memories from St Lucia but our best memory was probably “liming” in Gros Islet village with a bunch of Lucians, expats and tourists. It was awesome to have meaningful conversations, enjoy each other’s company as we sipped local rum, and dance to the tunes of reggae and soca. A lifetime memory made! What more can you ask for as travelers who are in search of profound cultural experiences?!
Enjoying the Food Culture of the Island
The food of St Lucia is pretty diverse, although nothing compared to bigger Caribbean islands and metropolitan cities. Lucian food is inspired by a range of flavours coming from African, French, British, American and Indian influences. It’s tasty, wholesome, and fish and meat heavy.
Some of our favourite local dishes are accras, floats, dahl bakes, lionfish, pepper pot, callaloo soup and doubles (although not a Lucian dish, you will find it sold at street stalls all over the island). Below are some of our favourite bars and restaurants that we recommend you try on your visit:
- Chef Robby’s for local cuisine
- Thirsty Parrot for the local breakfast
- Bottle N Spoon for great Trini cuisine
- Spice of India for authentic Indian food
- Orlando’s in Soufriere for great local cuisine
- The Naked Fisherman for a lovely beach setting restaurant
- Anse La Raye and Gros Islet villages for stunning local seafood dishes
- Dasheene at Ladera Resort for their insanely good lobster burger and stunning views of the Pitons
- Rodney Bay Marina for sushi at Rituals, pizza at Elena’s, breakfast and lunches at Cafe Ole, and drinks at Boardwalk
- Buzz Seafood & Grill for the best rum punch in the north of the island, a great setting and consistently delicious food.
Where to Stay in St Lucia
We suggest that people split their stay between south and north of the island, just to experience them both as they are quite different. The island is full of luscious green and serene beaches. The Caribbean waters are calm and safer to swim in, as opposed to the Atlantic side of the island.
This means resorts, hotels and Airbnb accommodations are mainly situated in the southwest and northwest. St Lucia has always been advertised as a honeymoon destination because it’s home to numerous jaw-dropping resorts with breathtaking views. But these come with jaw-dropping prices!
So, if you are visiting the island for your wedding or honeymoon, you will be spoilt for choice. However, if you are visiting the island for a short break or to spend months exploring and immersing yourself in the local culture, there are villas, flats and condos on the island that won’t break your bank.
What can you do in the south? Go chasing waterfalls, get your hiking boots on and explore the hiking trails, visit plantations, quintessential Caribbean villages, the Pitons, Mount Gimie and volcanic sandy beaches.
Whereas the north is home to pristine beaches, the dramatic east coast ideal for kitesurfing, a bay with several restaurants offering cuisines from around the world, shopping malls, a gorgeous marina and the world famous Gros Islet Friday Street Party. Our recommendations (the budget-friendly options are best found on Booking.com or Airbnb) are:
Need to Know Before you Go
This island is a lot more than resorts and beaches. Please get out of your cushy pads and explore the culture. How do you do this? Visit quaint villages, interact with residents (not everyone is after your money, but still be street wise as you would be in your own country), drink and eat at local bars and eateries, and show interest in learning about this island.
Caribbean islands differ from each other quite a lot and you can only learn this by exploring the destinations outside of your resorts. Here are some useful and interesting facts about St Lucia to know before you go:
- St Lucia is the only country in the world named after a woman, Saint Lucia of Syracuse
- It’s home to the world’s only drive-in volcano, Soufriere sulphur springs
- Saint Lucia changed hands between the French and British in the 17th and 18th century at least 14 times, thereby gaining its nickname as the ‘’Helen of the West Indies’’ after the mythical Helen of Troy
- The Saint Lucia amazon is arguably the most striking parrot of its kind. This species is found only on this island and is known locally as Jacquot.
- Learn more about Lucian culture prior to your visit here.