Derek Walcott Square

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Fri, 08/31/2018 - 19:17

 

The Derek Walcott square is located in the heart of Castries, the Capital of Saint Lucia and was established in the 1760's.

This 2 Acre public square is bounded by Bourbon, Brazil, Laborie and Micoud Street. The square is not only to honor Sir Walcott but the square also pays homage to residents who lost lives in battle during the war. 

It was previously called Place d’ Armes and Pomenade Square and it was named Columbus Square in 1892. 

In 1993, it was renamed after our Nobel Laureate in 1993, Sir Derek Alton Walcott.  He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. 

the derek walcott bust

The park is a quiet oasis in the middle of the bustle of Castries and is surrounded by things to see and do.


Where is it:

It is located near the centre of downtown Castries well within walking distance of many other sights.

Golden sands, golden years.

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Wed, 07/25/2018 - 11:36

Why St. Lucia is the perfect retirement destination

Who wouldn't want to retire to St. Lucia? Set in the West Indies, this jewel of an island is nestled within the warm waters of the eastern Caribbean sea, on the boundary with the Atlantic ocean. With its year round sunshine, breathtaking white beaches, delicious cuisine and friendly people, St. Lucia is a popular chose for those who have spent their lives dreaming of lazy days in a tropical paradise.

But it's not all sun-loungers and cocktails. The island's colourful culture and stunning mountainous terrain mean that enjoying a restful retirement isn't the only thing on the agenda.

Here are our top five reasons to consider St. Lucia as your retirement destination. From practical considerations to national cuisine and landscape, we cover everything the island has to offer.

 

The 11 Quarters of Saint Lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 14:37

 

St. Lucia is an island in the Eastern section of the Caribbean Sea and bordering on the North Atlantic Ocean on one side. It is one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles and is divided into 11 quarters which are also called parishes by the locals and other island neighbors.

The island has an approximate land area of 617 Km2. The quarters are Anse la Raye, Castries, Choiseul, Dauphin, Dennery, Gros Islet, Laborie, Micoud, Praslin, Soufrière and Vieux Fort. Information included here about each of these quarters is from a 2001 survey.

map of 11 quarters of saint lucia

The island got its name from Saint Lucy of Syracuse by the first colonizers who went there from Europe. Their legal system is based on the British Common Law and has been an independent state since February 22, 1979. The 11 quarters are listed below.

Before you travel to saint lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 14:06

 

Make sure you do and know a few things before you go:


The flight time is around nine hours from London, 11 to 13 from Europe and between 90 minutes and 7 hours from Mainland USA.

The Money: The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, written EC$. It's pegged to the US dollar at US$1 to EC$2.70. You can pay for most things in US dollars as well as EC dollars, though you'll be given change in EC dollars, and establishments normally use a rate of EC$2.60 to $1. Some things, such as hotel rates, and sometimes food and drink in hotels, are quoted in US dollars. 

Cash points issue EC dollars.

Foreign Office Advice: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/st-lucia

Emergency numbers: 

police, fire, ambulance – 911

Most electrical sockets in hotels take three-pin, square UK-standard plugs British travellers don't need adaptors, but Us and european travellers will.

Snorkeling

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 13:29


Even the least adventurous amongst you can enjoy the underwater world around the Caribbean islands with a snorkel , goggles and flippers. You don’t have to be a diver or go deep to see a surprising array of sea life and corals. Discover the joy of drifting around in the warm water in calm bays and harbours  spying on the life below or being a bit more active and dropping down to be amongst the fish.

shoal of fish and corals

Snorkeling amongst a shoal of fish and the coral in Saint Lucia.

The crystalline waters that gently lap against the sandy shores of St. Lucia offer the perfect place for scuba diving and snorkeling. Both expert divers and beginners alike will enjoy the warmth and clarity of the water, along with the abundance of marine life.

Sea Fishing in Saint Lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 12:28

 

The volcanic island of St Lucia provides deep water game fishing within a few miles of the island. Lines can be in the water within 15 minutes of departure. You can expect to catch Dorado, wahoo, blue marlin and tuna. Catches are not a guarantee though, it would be called catching and not fishing if it were.

I have fished many places around the world and these waters are some of the best.

If you want to do more than fish from the shores you'll need a boat, either your own or a chartered vessel. You can get a half-day charter starting at about $450(USD) for up to six people. A full day’s charter, up to eight anglers, can cost $3000(USD) and usually lasts eight hours.

Map of the Caribbean sea:

Map of the carribean sea

Tet Paul nature trail

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 11:59

 

The Tet Paul Nature trail is open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm and is located in the Piton Mountain World Heritage Site. The trail is an easy to moderate 45 minute guided walk with stunning views.

This trail offers an amazing view and opportunities for pictures of the Pitons, Soufriere and Vieux Fort. If you are lucky on clear days you can see Martinique and St. Vincent, so be sure not to forget your camera.

Children EC$ 5 and Adults EC$ 12.50, book in advance or pay on entry.

Kassava plants
Above: The Cassava plants at the farm on the Tet Paul Trail produce a root which looks a bit like a Dahlia tuber and is processed for food. Below is the harvested root.

Pigeon Island

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 10:52


Pigeon Island is mountainous in nature, volcanic like lots of other parts of the island of Saint Lucia. It covers about 44 acres and used to be a small offshore island until 1972. The once isolated islet in the Caribbean Sea, it was artificially joined to the western coast of mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway built from dirt excavated to form the Rodney Bay Marina.

Composed of two peaks, joined by a saddle the island is a historic site with numerous forts such as an 18th-century British fort and Fort Rodney both used by the British to spy on French Ships from neighbouring Martinique. In 1979 it was named a national park and again in 1992 it became a national landmark under the control of the Saint Lucia National Trust. The Island is a living museum and is probably one of the most important monuments of Saint Lucia’s history.

Pigeon Island from the sandbar

Pigeon island from the sandbar as you arrive.

Mount Edmund Forest Reserve

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 09:15

 

The Mount Edmund Forest Reserve is located in the heart of the high uplands of the island, near the Enbas Saut Waterfalls trail., You can see but more often hear the Saint Lucia Parrot, as well as many other birds.

The mount edmund forest reserve sign

Time: 3 ½ to 4 hours each way. Length: 7 miles/10km. Difficulty: 3/5.

It takes around 3 and a half hours in the company of a guide from the Forest and Lands Department to take you through the heart of the island into the forest reserve on the Western side of the island and to experience some of nature pristine opportunities.

The Edmund Reserve's main trail goes through the Quilesse Forest Reserve and ends at the Des Cartiers Rain Forest Trail. It is not a difficult trek despite the length, it is however quite a sight, Green lush valleys and fantastic waterfalls punctuated by towering amphitheatres of tall trees.

Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 17:04

 

The Diamond Falls and mineral baths are consistently described as one of the natural wonders of St Lucia. The Diamond Botanical Gardens sit on the original site of the spring baths which were built in 1784. These baths were built so that the troops of King Louis XVI of France could take advantage of the waters therapeutic powers. The Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens is both a historic and a naturally beautiful site.  A haven for birds and insects, which gives one a true nature experience not to be duplicated anywhere within the Caribbean.

Even Superman took the chance to visit Diamond falls gardens to pick flowers for Lois Lane.

This historical estate has been transformed from a working plantation that once produced limes, copra and cocoa, into one of the major heritage sites in the region, as well as a viable and spectacular tourist attraction that includes the Botanical Gardens, Waterfall, Mineral Baths, Nature Trail, Old Mill Restaurant and the historic Soufriere Estate House.

Mamiku Gardens

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:59

Mamiku gardens is a botanical paradise set in 12 acres surrounding the hilltop ruins of the Micoud Estate. It is just under half way up the Atlantic side of the island along the Micoud highway near Mon Repos, Praslin and is open 7 days a week from 9 till 5.

the entrance to mamiku gardens

Mamiku gardens entrance


There is plenty of parking set back from the road, with a souvenir shop and café, the Brigand’s bar.  At the time of writing entrance is EC$ 6 or $8 for a guided tour.

The gardens are inspiring and the Mystic Garden, one of the most outstanding features is the three species of bay leaf found growing there. Here, some of the fifty thousand species of orchids found world-wide are nurtured to glorious display. 

The people and language of Saint Lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:52

The people:

The people of St. Lucia are a mixture of different nationalities, heritages and customs but share similar characteristics to peoples of the nearby islands. About 85% of them are of pure African origin while the other 15% is made up of British, mixed African, French and East Indian. Among this smaller percentage group are descendants of the Caribs; the original descendants from European and East Indian ancestry. The entire population of St. Lucia is about 170,000 with at least a third of its population living in the city of Castries-Gros Islet and its environs.

Although English is the original Language of St. Lucians, a larger percentage of the people speak French Patois. French Patois is as a result of the shared French Creole heritage and a combination of British and French domination during colonial years.  French Patois or Creole is widely used by St.Lucians as a way of communicating by using figurative expressions or phrases.

The people are proud of their heritage and the unique mix of cultures and it makes the island truly distinctive.

Saint Lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 16:48

About Saint Lucia:

Travel is about experiencing life to the full, and Saint Lucia is packed with many of the best attractions, activities and adventures in the Caribbean

Rates are cheaper in the summer and autumn months. The Peak season on St Lucia which runs from mid-December to April, in these months, accommodation rates are  generally significantly higher than at other times of the year, but the weather is usually at its  best especially if you like it hot and sunny.  

Taking into account prices and weather, May is a good month to visit – you could time your visit to coincide with the island's major annual jazz festival.

The big decision when planning a holiday to St Lucia is where to base yourself. It's not that it's difficult to travel, it is more the case of what you want to wake up to in the mornings.

The north, which includes the capital Castries and Rodney Bay Village, the only resort, is busier and more developed, but has better beaches and a far greater choice of restaurants and bars. 

The weather and climate of Saint Lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:42


The weather in Saint Lucia is very agreeable most of the time, being warm with sea breezes and around 8 to 11 hours full sun every day.

Being near the equator means the day lengths vary very little over the course of the year.

St Lucia gets more rain than other less mountainous Caribbean islands such as Barbados or Antigua. Also bear in mind that the hurricane season runs from June to November, with September and October statistically the likeliest months for major storms. There is little to worry about from the weather, the hotels all have plans and there are many storm shelters.

Things to do in Saint Lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:32

 

So just how much is there to do in Saint Lucia?

Saint lucia might be relatively small in terms of land area but it punches above its weight in terms of things to do. From lounging on some of the best beaches anywhere to getting adrenaline thrills on the open water. 

There is as much to do in and under the sea as there is to do on land. From exploring the cloud forest to diving the reefs with plenty of entertainment in between. The whole chain of islands is a photographers paradise.

These are places we have actually visited, or activities we have partaken in, and are listed in no particular order and we receive no reward for their inclusion. I got married at the Stonefield estate in 2006.There is also a rich culinary heritage and some of the best rums in the world.

There is also plenty to do that cost little or nothing including quite a few that are cheaper than you think if you organize them yourself.

Places to see in St Lucia

Submitted by Neil Armitage on Thu, 07/19/2018 - 15:18


Travel is about experiencing life to the full, and Saint Lucia is packed with many of the best attractions, activities and adventures in the Caribbean. St. Lucia is the sort of place that travellers to the Caribbean dream about, a small lush tropical paradise that is still relatively well preserved. One of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, it is located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, and north of Barbados. 

St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, With a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado depending on which you prefer. Also we have visited all of the places you see listed here and we have no affiliation with any hotels, bars or businesses on St lucia.

Rates are cheaper in the summer and autumn months. The Peak season on St Lucia which runs from mid-December to April, in these months, accommodation rates are  generally significantly higher than at other times of the year, but the weather is usually at its  best especially if you like it hot and sunny.  

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