The small Caribbean island nation of St Lucia certainly hits much harder than its size in terms of geographic and cultural riches. The capital, Castries, is a popular cruise port and conveniently located close to George FL Charles Airport for visitors arriving by plane. With good transport links over this small island, the wealth of hotels in Castries make it an attractive location for those looking to explore the charms and breathtaking beauty of St Lucia.
And there certainly is a lot to explore. St Lucia lies between the Caribbean sea and the north Atlantic ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago. It is known for its small and luxurious resorts, which nonchalantly drape themselves around delightful bays and beaches with a real sense of style.
To the north of Castries you can enjoy lazy days by the beach, and have your Robinson Crusoe fantasies supported by a wealth of modern comforts. To your south there is a stronger sense of history on show, and plenty of natural features to enjoy. The resort of Soufriere nestles amid atmospheric old plantations, fishing villages and hidden beaches. As a permanent backdrop you’ll have gushing waterfalls and the picture-perfect, dramatically tapered mountains of the Pitons.
Castries itself has its own stunning scenic backdrop, courtesy of the soaring Morne Fortune, which peaks at around 900 metres. This modern city is packed with modern conveniences, including some of the island’s best restaurants, cafes, bars and entertainment options. There are plenty of gifts, crafts and souvenir shops in the local markets, and some wonderful local artists’ works displayed in Castries’ swanky galleries.
The hotels in Castries tend to cluster around the beaches that gracefully mark the point where the city meets the golden sands and azure waters of the Caribbean. These beaches are La Toc to the southwest, Vigie in the centre, Malabar where the natural harbour forms and Choc to the northeast.
Some of the hotels offer all-inclusive deals, while others are situated conveniently close to a golf course, if you are looking to practise your swing in the tropical sun. Guesthouses and villas also provide a more intimate alternative to some of the larger hotels.
Family-friendly hotels usually provide an outside playground or an inside games room for the children to enjoy, although with the beautiful beach and calm waters just minutes away you are well catered for by hotels without such facilities.
And, similarly, for those looking for a kids-free break there are hotels in Castries that do not accept children.
Just seven miles north of Castries you’ll find the resort of Rodney Bay, with a lot more options to consider. And just a couple of miles from the capital is the quieter village of Gros Islet, which still feels very much the fishing village it is. Here you can expect supreme comfort amid historic streets lined with rum shops and fishing huts draped with drying nets.
Castries remains popular all year round, although you should note that the hotels in Castries do tend to get booked up during the dry season that covers January to April. If you are visiting during this time you are advised to book your hotel in advance.
The main thing to do in St Lucia is to let yourself be pampered as you lie on beautiful beaches by tranquil seas. This is the laid-back Caribbean so it’s only right to grab a sunbed and lay back!
In Castries the vista over the harbour is best admired from the viewing point over the harbour, at Morne Fortune, just below Government House. The central square is a fascinating place to people-watch and relax in one of the many cafes that surround it. It is named Derek Walcott Square, after the Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright who was born in St Lucia. For shopping, there are duty free shops in Pointe Seraphine, where the cruise ships dock, and also in La Place Carenage mall on Jeremie Street.
There are some fascinating natural sights to visit in the interior of the island. A walking trail through the rainforest leads to the 15-metre high Toraille waterfall. This dramatically pours over a cliff into the welcome embrace of the tropical foliage in a garden. The twin Pitons – Gros Piton and Petit Piton – are striking, cone-shaped peaks, just south of Soufriere, that are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean.
Other things to do, should you need a break from the beach, include a drive-in volcano, the Sulphur Springs at Soufriere, the Botanical Gardens and Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, an old British military base.
Save money on your Castries hotel
For great savings on your Castries hotel you can take advantage of the St Lucian flight and hotel packages that Expedia offers.