On this collection, Lonely Planet’s writers and editors reply your journey issues and supply ideas and hacks that will help you plan a hassle-free journey. We requested veteran Caribbean correspondent Antonia Windsor to reply this West Indies–associated query.
Query: I’m in search of suggestions for one of the best island for a actual Caribbean expertise. I’m taken with avenue meals, browsing, diving, sipping rum and native chilling. Resorts and buffets should not my factor. The place is greatest for me?
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Antonia Windsor: I’m going to provide you a solution you may discover stunning, as a result of this island is thought for honeymoon accommodations and a number of the most luxurious resorts within the Caribbean. But St Lucia, within the jap Caribbean’s West Indies, is a spot with a heat coronary heart and a proud native tradition. It’s an island the place you possibly can take heed to kids rehearsing metal pan in a college yard, or watch a weaver flip a palm leaf right into a hat. Right here, you possibly can mountain bike by the rainforest with an area information informing you of the medicinal properties of crops round you, or take heed to nation music in a dive bar (St Lucians harbor a secret ardour for Dolly Parton). It’s a spot the place you possibly can hear a fisherman notify the village of the day’s catch by blowing on a conch shell or rub up in opposition to the locals (actually) at a Friday-night barbecue.
So that you need an actual Caribbean expertise? You will see that it in St Lucia.
Mountaineering affords a fabulous option to expertise St Lucia’s pure magnificence © Justin Foulkes / Lonely Planet
First up, because you don’t like resorts you’ll wish to select a regionally run small resort or short-term rental. If you wish to be within the fashionable Rodney Bay space and luxuriate in entry to the seaside, I counsel you take a look at the Bay Gardens group of accommodations, which all have an genuine St Lucian really feel and à la carte meals service. The Bay Gardens Inn is probably the most reasonably priced choice and feels most like a homestay. Additional alongside the bay, contemplate a keep at Island Combine, an enthralling place on the waterfront. (Even in the event you don’t keep right here, it’s value dropping in simply to discover the native handicrafts on sale and luxuriate in a cocoa tea within the cafe.)
In case you don’t should be close to a seaside, and also you fancy mountain climbing the majestic Pitons – these twin volcanic plugs that you just’ve seen in all the pictures – then attempt Tet Rouge, tucked away on a hillside above Choiseul. Although it’s run by Canadians, the group is passionate concerning the island and most of their native employees have been with them for the reason that starting.
In case you like browsing, you may wish to have a go at kitesurfing: attempt the kitesurfing faculty on unspoiled Cas-en-Bas seaside. It’s also possible to trip a horse into the ocean right here in the event you take one out from the close by Trim Driving stables.
You’ll discover horseback riders and kitesurfers – and few others – on distant Cas-en-Bas seaside © jaminwell / Getty Photos
The diving is nice in St Lucia, with greater than 150 species of fish and 24 “no-take” marine reserves. I like diving round Soufrière, the place Scuba Saint Lucia relies. The Pitons loom over this space of the island, so you may conceivably hike within the morning and dive within the afternoon for a full time out.
For avenue meals, head to the Gros Islet Friday-night barbecue (in any other case referred to as the “soar up”), the place you possibly can attempt low-cost native specialities comparable to fried mahi mahi, rotis and goat curry. If you’d like one thing rather less hectic, attempt the occasion in Anse La Raye, which is a little more low-key.
The place to get one of the best worth rum expertise?
As for sipping rum: maybe the best-value rum tasting on the planet is at Saint Lucia Distillers, the place $12 buys you an attention-grabbing tour of the positioning and a “pour your individual” tasting of a number of completely different rums. (In case you solely need the tasting, you’ll pay simply $6.) I like to recommend an area vibe to go along with your rum – so head to Irie Bar in Gros Islet, a bamboo shack adorned with flags the place you possibly can take heed to some reggae beats and chat with the locals.
With out an all-inclusive resort in sight.