About the Author
Karl Luntta is the author of guides to Jamaica, the Virgin Islands and the Lesser Antilles, and writes on St Lucia for numerous publications. He is also a newspaper columnist and has published fiction in International Quarterly, Baltimore Review, North Atlantic Review, and others.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
ELEVEN THINGS NOT TO MISS
CENTRAL MARKET, CASTRIES: All manner of excellent produce, worthy crafts and tacky souvenirs are on display at this bustling hangout; the restaurant stalls are the prime place in town for a cheap, delicious meal.
"JUMP-UP" ON FRIDAY NIGHT:This booze-and-music fuelled celebration is St Lucias weekly street party, when crowds gather on Gros Islet to eat, dance and drink and be merry.
CAS EN BAS BEACHES: Reduit Beach, not far away, is spectacular but crowded; head further on to these usually deserted spots to claim your own patch of sand.
ANSE LA RAYES FISH FRY: A tiny fishing village between Castries and Soufrière, Anse La Raye is quiet until Friday evenings, when everyone flocks to the streets to sample that days freshest fish, barbecued and served alongside helpings of hot cakes and booze.
LA SOUFRIÈRE SULPHUR SPRINGS: Visit St Lucias most famous attraction, La Soufrière Sulphur Springs a great, odiferous bubbling crater.
BALENBOUCHE ESTATE: Maybe not the grandest of St Lucias plantation houses, but the one here does function as a very atmospheric guesthouse; wandering round the extensive grounds opens up access to petroglyph sites and a nearby secluded beach.
MAMIKU GARDENS: Admire the elegance of these perfectly manicured botanical gardens along any of its low-impact walking trails. See p.129
FRIGATE BIRDS AND LEATHERBACK TURTLES: Be one of the few visitors to explore the much wilder Atlantic Coast, where the Fregate Island Nature Reserve and Grand Anse hold great wildlife-spotting opportunities.
HIKING IN THE RAINFOREST: Choose from one of five forestry department trails, which vary from a forty-minute stroll to a half-day trek, through the thickets of St Lucias rainforest reserves.
FOXGROVE INN, PRASLIN BAY: Foxgrove Inn on the eastern side of the island has one of the best locally regarded restaurants, serving super fresh fish and seafood on a balcony overlooking banana plantations and the wild surf around the Fregate Islands.
SNORKELING AROUND THE PITONS: Rather than hiking for the fine views, go underwater near the mountains bases, to find reefs, rocks and impossibly coloured fish.
WHEN TO GO
For many visitors, St Lucias biggest attraction is its tropical climate. During the mid-December to mid-April high season, the island is pleasantly hot, with little rain and constant northeasterly trade winds keeping the nights cool. Temperatures rise during the summer months, which can also be wet: the rainy season lasts from June to October, and during this time, short, heavy bursts of rain are matched by an increase in humidity; rainfall is nearly three times heavier in the central rainforests than along the coast. The rainy months also coincide with the hurricane season, which runs roughly from late August to October.
As youd expect, St Lucia is busiest in the first few months of the year; during this time, some beaches, particularly those in the northwest, are likely to be crowded, and hotel prices are at their peak. The rest of the year,