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Meet the real St Lucia

Take a cultural heritage tour for a uniquely St Lucian experience


St Lucia's Heritage Tourism Program highlights the cultural and historical elements of the island and provides host communities throughout the island with the opportunity to get involved with the island's tourism product. With events, activities and sites island wide, heritage tours take visitors to small fishing villages, plantations, waterfalls, centuries-old estates, historic gardens and walking tours where visitors learn about the island and its people's fascinating Kweyol (Creole) history and traditions. The St Lucia Heritage Tourism Program is a community-based initiative of the Ministry of Tourism and Government of St Lucia.

There are more than a dozen Heritage Tourism Sites on St Lucia including the following:

Fond Latisab Creole Park: The true St Lucian way of life comes alive on this tour, which takes visitors to the community of Fond Assau in Babonneau. Visitors experience traditional practices such as the preparation of cassava bread, cooking on macambou leaves, and catching crayfish in the river. The tour also includes a lesson on collecting honey from a beehive and a very authentic display of wood sawing to the rhythm of a traditional St Lucian chak chak band. It's a true Kweyol experience not to be missed.

Fond D'or Nature & Historic Park: Fond D'or combines various stages of St Lucia's history in a tranquil and tropical setting. The park is the only place on the island where three different sugar processing technologies - the cattle mill, waterwheel and steam engine - exist side by side. Fond D'or is also an archeological site where several Amerindian settlements were once situated. A hiking trail through an estuarine tropical forest leads to a white-sand beach frequented by leatherback turtles. Lunch is served at the on-site Interpretation Center.

Fond Doux Estate: This Caribbean-style working plantation was one of the earliest estates established by the French in the mid-18th century. There are three trails - from easy to moderately strenuous - leading to the old ruins. Visitors can explore the grounds and watch traditional activities such as cocoa dancing. Authentic Creole lunch is served.

Balenbouche Estate: This authentic 19th century estate house and working plantation features a network of trails leading to the Balenbouche River and several secluded beaches. Visitors can explore the remains of an 18th century sugar mill while learning about life on this estate, which was once the largest sugar plantation on the island. A collection of artifacts left behind by the indigenous Amerindians highlights the lifestyle of this sophisticated ancient culture. Meals are served and antique-furnished guest rooms are available in the estate house.

Latille Waterfall and Gardens: This 20-foot waterfall, located just off the east coast near the Troumasse Rainforest Trail, cascades into a deep pool where visitors can swim prior to exploring the scenic watercourse and additional pools downstream. The falls are accessed through a tranquil and well-maintained organic fruit and herb garden. The site operator is an experienced agriculturalist and very familiar with the local forest environment.

Pigeon Island National Landmark: Pigeon Island contains more history than any other attraction in St Lucia. Once the home of the Amerindians, the first occupants of the island, it once served as a pirate hideout and later a military base for the wars between the French and the British. The stone ruins on Pigeon Island were once the kitchen, hospital and barracks. Fort Rodney, located at the top of the island, was constructed as a lookout in 1778 and offers breathtaking views of St Lucia and Martinique. Pigeon Island is also home to a museum of military artifacts, as well as beaches, gardens and a restaurant housed in the original mess hall.


Attending a jump up or street party is one of the best ways to experience the true St Lucian way of life. Tasty seafood and good music are two of St Lucia's oldest pastimes, and the island features three unique locales for enjoying great seafood and partying St Lucia style.

Every Friday night, the sleepy fishing village of Gros Islet hosts a bustling street party known as the jump up. A massive sound system faces the central intersection and beats out Caribbean rhythms while vendors sell barbecued chicken, seafood and local beverages. St Lucians and tourists mingle and dance late into the night. This is a scene not to be missed.

The Anse La Raye Fish Fry in the small fishing village of Anse La Raye also takes place on Friday nights and features great food, music and vibes. The streets are closed to vehicles, and residents prepare Caribbean specialties, including fish cakes, fried or stewed fish and even a whole spiny lobster. Visitors will enjoy eating, chatting with locals, and dancing to live music in the village square until the wee hours of the morning.

The Dennery Fish Fiesta is similar to the Fish Fry except the event takes place on Saturday nights on the beach. The area is transformed into a big beach party with food stalls and music.


Gros Piton/Fond Gens Libre Nature Trail: The Pitons - Gros Piton and Petit Piton - are two majestic twin peaks that have appeared in several movies and become the symbols for the island. This trail takes adventure seekers through various stages of vegetation - from arid deciduous woodland to a broad middle-zone forest and a mountain zone of elfin woodland and wind-swept dwarf forest - to the summit of Gros Piton, where they can indulge in the breathtaking panoramic view. The trail begins in the community of Fond Gens Libre, Creole for "village of the free people." The name originates from the slave rebellion of 1748 when the black freedom fighters known as Brigands used the area as a safe haven. Visitors will see numerous Brigand sites, including caves, signal stations, lookouts and landing sites. To contact the Gros Piton Guides Association call (758) 459-3492.

Desbarras Turtle Watch: The community of Desbarras has formed a group to protect and promote nesting of the leatherback turtle at Grand Anse beach. Nightly tours are organized during the months of March through July. The tours are often an all-night affair, so come prepared to stay up to watch this incredible experience.

Soufriere Estate/Diamond Botanical Gardens and Waterfall: The Soufriere Estate, which features the Diamond Botanical Gardens, Mineral Baths and Waterfall, was once owned by King Louis XIV. The original stone mineral baths, which can still be seen today, were commissioned by Louis XIV in 1784 because the water was thought to have healing powers similar to Aix-les-Bains. The baths' healing minerals have various health benefits, including younger-looking skin, cures for eczema, rashes, etc. The water comes from beneath the active volcano nearby. The modern pools are located next to the originals and available for a nominal fee. Past the pools through some more dense foliage is the Diamond Waterfall (pictured), which appeared in the Hollywood movie "Romancing the Stone." The Botanical Gardens features amazing flowering shrubs and bushes and knowledgeable tour guides who can explain the sundry uses for the plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables.

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies' Lesser Antilles, St Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is halfway down the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The "Helen of the West Indies," St Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains - recently named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO - a tropical rainforest and one of the world's few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, a variety of Heritage Tourism sites, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual St Lucia Jazz Festival in May. St Lucia's wide range of accommodations includes world-class, five-star resorts; all-inclusive resorts; intimate inns and value-oriented properties.


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