If you’re looking for a fun-filled, foodie holiday in the Caribbean with a big focus on culture, St Lucia is the place for you! I’ve rounded up all the very best things to do in St Lucia, based on my recent action-packed trip there.
Although I’ve focused on the area around Gros Islet and the north of the island, this guide covers the whole of St Lucia. There’s so much to see and do in this sunny island paradise. So get out there and enjoy…
Best Area to Stay in St Lucia
Where you stay in St Lucia depends on what kind of holiday you’re looking for. The north side of the island tends to be more lively, with busy towns and fun parties, while the south is considered more tranquil with a slower pace of life. If you want to be near the best foodie things to do in St Lucia and have lots of fun, the north might be a good shout. If you just want to unwind and chillout, stick to the south.
Travel across the island can take a couple of hours. It’s a small island, but all those winding mountain roads take time. That said, it’s totally possible to go from north to south and back in a day, so you can have the best of both worlds. Or you could do what many visitors to St Lucia do and divide your stay, with a few nights in the north and a few in the south.
I stayed at the Cap Maison St Lucia (review here) which is right in the northern tip of the island in Gros Islet. This is definitely one of the best areas to stay in St Lucia. For a small village, there’s a LOT going on around here – and it’s also just outside the capital city of Castries. Although much of this mini guide to St Lucia is centred around Gros Islet and Castries, I’ve included all the best things to do around the island as a whole. Keep reading for the best things to do in St Lucia for fun lovers and foodies…
Fun Things to do in St Lucia
Explore an Active Volcano at Soufrière Sulfur Springs
Welcome to the only “drive in volcano” in the world! The whole area around Soufrière is a gigantic volcano caldera, and you can see most activity at the St Lucia Sulphur Springs. Towards the top you can take a tour of the pools of boiling mud and the vents which release the clouds of sulphuric gas that give Soufrière its name.
You can also take a dip in the thermally heated pools, and apply mineral-rich mud facials. Locals swear by the healing properties of the volcanic mud here – so maybe you’ll come home looking ten years younger!
Jump Up Street Party in Gros Islet
Every Friday night, the village of Gros Islet goes wild with the popular Jump Up Street Party. Born as a street food market for the traditional Friday fish dinner, seafood is still front and centre at this heaving street party. It’s one of the most popular things to do in St Lucia and a great way to get a slice of local life.
Stalls sell barbecued seafood and potent rum punches, and everyone eats at communal plastic tables to the sound of Caribbean beats blasting from giant speakers. I didn’t make it to the party, but my fellow blogger Naomi told me the atmosphere is incredible. Next time!
Hit the Water
You can’t visit the Caribbean without taking to the water once or twice. There are dozens of gorgeous bays and beaches all over the island to discover, especially on the western side, which faces the Caribbean sea. There’s also an abundance of watersports for those in search of adventure: from SUP to sailing, there’s plenty to keep you busy. And the island boasts some incredible dive and snorkel sites, too.
Go Chasing Waterfalls
Being a volcanic and tropical island, St Lucia is covered with waterfalls. There are loads to explore, and many that you can swim in – the perfect way to cool off from the Caribbean heat! I visited the Toraille Waterfalls which are found just outside of Soufrière. At just over 50ft, these are are one of the island’s biggest waterfalls. There’s a little pool to swim in, and you can stand directly under the fall for a “massage shower”.
There are loads more waterfalls to discover, so you could spend a whole day hopping from one waterfall to another! Other popular ones include the Diamond Waterfall in the Diamond Botanical Gardens, and Sault Falls outside of Dennery.
Climb the Pitons
This one is certainly not for the faint hearted, or those wanting a lazy holiday. But it’s one of the best things to do in St Lucia for those in search of a little adventure. Even if I’d had time for it, I’m not sure I could have faced the Pitons on this trip – my last volcano hike wasn’t exactly easy – but it does look like a great challenge. The Pitons are two mountainous volcanic spires in the southwest of St Lucia, and they’re so iconic that they even appear on the island’s flag.
At 2,530 ft and 2,438 ft high, climbing either one of the Pitons is a challenge. But the rewards are epic views and a serious sense of achievement! If you don’t fancy climbing them, these two peaks are iconic so don’t miss the chance to visit them. Hummingbird Beach is a popular spot to grab a photo of the twin peaks, or the main road between Castries and Soufriere has loads of excellent viewpoints.
Foodie Things to do in St Lucia
Hotel Chocolat Experiences
Chocoholics must not miss a trip to the Hotel Chocolat plantation – home to the actual hotel, as well as the acres of cacao trees behind the brand’s exquisite chocolates. Visitors can tour the plantation and see how the beans are harvested, and even graft their very own tree.
Next, you can try your hand at creating your very own chocolate bar from scratch. And I mean from scratch! Grinding the beans manually using a mortar and pestle is a gruelling experience, but I promise you’ll have a new-found appreciation for the next chocolate bar you eat!
If you skip the touring experiences, you can still swing by for lunch. Not only is the chocolate-packed menu divine, but there’s also a gorgeous view across the jungle to one of the Pitons.
Get Stuck into Local Life at Castries Market
For a true slice of island life, you can’t miss a visit to Castries market. It’s open everyday, but weekends is the best time to visit as the market is at its busiest. The market is an explosion of colour, with tropical fruits piled high on every stall. Some I recognised – juicy pineapples and cold fresh coconuts – but others were totally new to me. Keep an eye out for fat pokes and soursops if you fancy trying something new.
READ MORE: Lucy, who I travelled with, has shared a great post all about the market and other foodie experiences around St Lucia.
Creole Cooking Lesson at Home with a Local
One of my favourite things to do in St Lucia was taking a traditional creole cooking lesson at home with a local family. We headed to Auntie Madeleine’s house in Gros Islet – a new experienced run through Cap Maison resort – for a live cooking show in the family kitchen. Welcomed with hugs from all the family, and with Madeleine’s adorable kids dropping in to watch or keep us entertained, I felt right at home straight away.
We learned two creole dishes: mutton bouyon and fresh crab cooked in coconut curry, which were both cooked on traditional clay coal pots in the back garden. Great food, loads of fun, and the perfect way to connect with local life in St Lucia.
Michelin-Style Cooking Lesson
On the flip side, you can also take a Caribbean-inspired cooking lesson with the head chef at Cap Maison. A Welsh Rasta, Craig Jones has been working in St Lucia and the Caribbean for over a decade, and his passion for the local food is truly infectious.
We spent a fab morning taking a private cooking lesson from Craig, seeing how he takes local ingredients and methods and combines them with Michelin style techniques to create exquisite, beautiful dishes. I even made my own pasta! It’s a really interesting experience and one I highly recommend for any foodies or budding chefs headed to St Lucia.
You can’t go to St Lucia and not try the local rum! St Lucia Distillers in Roseau Valley is the island’s only distillery, responsible for over 25 different rums – including the well-known Chairman’s Reserve and Bounty rums.
Visit the distillery for a tour and tasting to try up to 17 different drinks at the “rum-buffet” and get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Caribbean’s best-loved drink. Or simply head to a bar and order a few of the best local rums. I like The Cliff at Cap, where you can also take a cocktail making masterclass, or try the resort’s very own rum.
Dine with Your Toes in the Sand at the Naked Fisherman
There are a lot of excellent restaurants in St Lucia, but one of my favourites is the Naked Fisherman. Head down to Smuggler’s Cove beach in the northern tip of St Lucia for an intimate dining experience right there on the sand.
An informal beach bar that somehow still maintains a luxurious ambience, the Naked Fisherman is the best of both worlds. And the food is to die for! Think Creole classics with a contemporary twist, super fresh seafood cooked on the barbecue, and juicy chargrilled steaks. At night, candles flicker in the breeze, and the crashing of the surf creates the most idyllic, romantic atmosphere imaginable.
Have you been to St Lucia? If I’ve missed any of the top things to do and eat, scroll down and leave me a comment!
My trip to St Lucia was very kindly provided by Cap Maison. But, as always, all words and opinions are completely my own.