Castries, St Lucia cruises

Tucked on the northwest coast of St Lucia is its capital, Castries. With a pretty harbor that faces out to the Caribbean Sea, Castries is an idyllic place to explore.

Castries, St Lucia port guide

As with many of the Caribbean islands, St Lucia has a European colonial history. The French settled here in the mid-17th century, and Castries itself was founded in 1650. Its original name was Carénage, which translates to ‘careening’, or ‘beaching’, relating to the ships brought ashore here.

Elements of French influence can be seen throughout Castries, from its wonderful fusion food to colonial style architecture. Not to mention the French-based Creole language that you’ll hear as you explore.

Top landmarks and sights in Castries, St Lucia

With its colonial past, Castries is home to some important, historical landmarks and rewarding lookout points.

The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Cathedral)

Found in the center of three streets – Peynier, Micoud, and Laborie Street, this cathedral is the largest in the Caribbean. The building that stands today was erected in the 1890s, however prior to this, churches have stood in the same spot since the late 18th century. The cathedral has long been a central focal point in Castries and is attended by locals and tourists alike during mass. Colorful frescos adorn the interior, and bright, booming choir voices fill the space with ease.

Fort Charlotte

Roughly three miles out of Castries central is Fort Charlotte, an 18th-century fort that stands tall atop Morne Fortune (853ft). It’s a fairly steep hike to the summit, but there’s plenty to see when you arrive. As well as unforgettable views of the island below, you’ll see remnants of the fort that stand alongside the renovated portion, which is now the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. Take photos of cannons, the old stone powder store, and a monument.

Things to do in Castries, St Lucia

Castries in St Lucia is a bright and friendly town to explore. Get to know the island and islanders more with museums and cultural experiences. Find something active among the variety of outdoor fun. Or perhaps find a sun lounger to call yours for the day as you enjoy life on the beach.

Relax on Vigie Beach

About a five-minute drive north of the center is Vigie Beach, a beautiful, uncrowded spot that invites you to simply slow down and relax. Let the cooling sea breeze wash over you as you lay back beneath the Caribbean sun, and be beckoned by turquoise waters for the occasional dip.

Learn at Morne Fortune Museum & Art Gallery

An hour or so spent at this museum will paint a picture of St Lucia’s history, with exhibitions that help to illustrate the evolution of the earliest inhabitants through to when the island gained independence in 1979. Learn more about the local people and culture, as well as military history. There’s also a collection of artworks to explore.

Explore Derek Walcott Square

This central square is a popular meeting place and park area in Castries, named after the island’s Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright, Sir Derek Walcott. The park provides a calm atmosphere if you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle, as well as a bust of Sir Derek and a memorial to commemorate St Lucians who’ve lost their lives in battle.

Take on a nature hike

Spending time in nature is said to be good for the soul, and in St Lucia, you’ll find an abundance of ways to do just that. From Castries, why not choose a hike in the surrounding areas? La Toc Beach (around a 10-minute drive from the centre) boasts several hiking trails that bring you up close to the island’s vibrant flora and fauna.

Eating and drinking near Castries, St Lucia

Owing to varied European influences, cuisine in St Lucia has a wonderfully fusion quality to it. Perfectly seasoned meat and fish dominate many meals, but equally you’ll find plenty of exciting vegetarian dishes to try.

Cacao beans have been grown and exported from St Lucia since the early 18th century and have gone on to create some of the most exquisite chocolate in the world. Chocolate lovers won’t go far wrong with a local cocoa, if you’d like to taste this sweet and rich delight for yourself.

For something savoury, callaloo (a leafy green) soup is a popular local lunch, or why not try the national dish, green figs and saltfish? St Lucians refer to green bananas, which are somewhat more savory than the bananas you might know, as green figs. So, the dish is made with green bananas, saltfish, peppers, onion, and herbs and spices.

Should you enjoy fish dishes, there’s plenty of fresh and local seafood to try, including lobster, snapper, and St Lucian crab.

Shopping in Castries, St Lucia

Many visitors to Castries find themselves at the Castries Central Market during their stay, which not only offers a brilliant array of local goods and souvenirs, but also provides an opportunity to get to know the way of life here. Dating back as far as 1891, today the market is open every day but Sunday, from 7am until 6pm. Come along to explore the colorful local produce, clothes, and arts and crafts.

For some duty-free treats, you could go to Pointe Seraphine, where you can browse luxury items like watches, jewellery, leather goods, and fine art. Liquor and cigarettes can also be bought here.

Getting around: Castries, St Lucia transport

Castries is a very walkable town however taxis are widely available if you’d like to go further afield. Locals tend to use inexpensive minibuses to travel around the island – you’ll recognise these by the first letter on the licence plate – it’ll be ‘M’.

Castries, St Lucia port facilities

There are two cruise ports in Castries. These are Pointe Seraphine, which is around 20 minutes from the center on foot, and La Place Carenage which is located right in the center. Both have a generous selection of shops, cafes, and services including Wi-Fi.

Top tips for Castries, St Lucia


The currency in St Lucia is the East Caribbean Dollar. While most places will accept US Dollars, you’ll likely be given change in local currency. There are several ATMs in Castries where you can obtain cash, which can be useful for making small purchases such as at the market, where cards may not be accepted by all vendors.


A service charge of around 10% may be added to your bill in some restaurants, but if not, this is considered the norm if you would like to leave a tip. This is entirely at the buyer’s discretion.


It will come as no surprise to learn that St Lucia, as with the rest of the Caribbean, enjoys warm weather year-round. You can expect between around 28-33 degrees Celsius. Rainfall and winds increase between July and November, and the lowest rainfall is between December and May.