Castries (St Lucia)
Must Know, See and Do

Panoramic Photo of  Castries Port in Saint Lucia

Overview and Basics
for Cruise Travelers to St Lucia
 - Where Ships Dock, Top Things To See and Do, Parks, Gardens,
In Town and Close by, Shopping, Beaches, Day Passes and Basics.

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The primeval Pitons are one of the most famous natural marvels of the small nation island of Saint Lucia. The scenic landmark is a must see but unless the cruise traveler goes on an excursion it is very unlikely to have a glimpse of this wonder.

Photo of Pitons in Saint Lucia

The Pitons in Saint Lucia

Photo © IQCruising.com

The good news is that there are so many other scenic sites, landmarks, attractions and activities to enjoy in St Lucia that cruise travelers visiting the island always find something exciting to do and see. The beaches are stunning and close by the cruise port in Castries.

Photo of Jetskiing in Saint Lucia

Jetskiing in Saint Lucia

Photo by Ana Reljin

Natural attractions such as the Sulphur Springs (a drive-in dormant volcano), the Diamond Falls, or the National Rain Forest are marvelous sites not to be missed. Horseback riding, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling or jet skiing are just a few of the many thrilling activities to be experienced.

Photo of Horseback Riding in Saint Lucia

Horseback Riding in Saint Lucia

Photo by Marcela Janečková

Where Cruise Ships Dock

There are two main piers (and Terminals) in St Lucia's main cruise port, which is located on a very nice bay next to Castries - the main city and capital of the island. The Pointe Seraphine Cruise Port Terminal is on the northern side of the bay and La Place Carenage Cruise Port Terminal is right downtown Castries.

Photo of Pointe Seraphine in Castries, Saint Lucia

Pointe Seraphine Terminal

Photo © IQCruising.com

Pointe Seraphine is around a 1 mile north of Castries. A leisurely walk along the waterfront to the center of Castries will not take more than 20-minutes. Although the bay is wide enough to accommodate large ships, mega cruise ships like Queen Mary II may have to anchor outside the bay. Anchoring ships will transport passengers on their own tender boats to La Place Carenage Cruise Terminal.

Top Things to See and Do

Cruise travelers that enjoy mother nature's travails should not miss a visit to the famed Pitons although a tour and trekking of this emblematic wonder of St Lucia may take up to 6 hours.

Parks and Gardens

Less time consuming, a visit to the Diamond Botanical Gardens and Falls is a must. This six-acre retreat is an invitation to walk through lush tropical vegetation, bird watching or bathing in the mineral waters of the spa. The main attraction of the Diamond Gardens is the 17 meters high waterfall. Diamond Botanical Gardens Website

The Sulphur Springs Park, where you will have the unreal opportunity to visit a dormant volcano, is another must do and see in St Lucia. Besides the boiling springs, do not miss the waterfalls and hot water bathing pools – Black Water Pool and Pool of Love. Sulphur Springs Park Website

In Town and Close By

Cruise travelers interested in exploring historical landmarks will find a few sites in Castries worth a visit. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, usually referred to as “The Cathedral” is 200 ft long (61 m) by 100 ft wide (30 m) and said to be the largest church in the Caribbean.

A visit to the interior should not be missed. The Cathedral is located on another major landmark of Castries - the Walcott Square. This square is, in fact, a quaint garden with wonderful trees, a bandstand and a bust of Dereck Walcott, the St. Lucian poet, playwriter and Nobel Prize winner after whom the square was renamed in 1993..

Photo of Walcott Square in Castries, Saint Lucia

Walcott Square, Castries

Photo © IQCruising.com

A visit to the interior should not be missed. The Cathedral is located on another major landmark of Castries - the Walcott Square. This square is, in fact, a quaint garden with wonderful trees, a bandstand and a bust of Dereck Walcott, the St. Lucian poet, playwriter and Nobel Prize winner after whom the square was renamed in 1993.

Don't expect to see or discover much more in Castries close to the Cruise Terminals but do not miss a walking exploration of the town as it can be enjoyed before or after spending some time on a tour or on one of the many beaches close by.

Photo of La Toc Battery in Saint Lucia Castries

La Toc Battery, Castries

Photo © IQCruising.com

Other landmarks such as the La Toc Battery, the St Marks Colonial House or Governors House are relatively close by but not really within walking distance - if these are in your plans you should hire a taxi or book a tour of the highlights of Castries.

Beaches and Day Passes

Besides the already mentioned landmarks in Castries (at walking distance) both terminals are close to other attractions, in particular, for those looking forward to spending some time basking in the sun. Good to know: all beaches in St. Lucia are open to the public. Nude and topless sunbathing is illegal.

Photo of La Toc Beach in Saint Lucia

La Toc Beach

Photo © IQCruising.com

Vigie Beach is the closest to Castries (just under 2 miles north). Although the Editor has walked there from Pointe Seraphine it is a stretch in the sun and a taxi shouldn't cost more than US$10 each way (per trip up to four people). The same fare (US$10.00) is also how much a taxi should charge to go take you to La Toc Beach, the other beach close by (3 miles south). Along the northern west coast, there are a few other wonderful beaches such as Choc Beach (20-minute taxi ride), Reduit Beach (on Rodney Bay) and Pigeon Island Beach (between US$20.00 and US$30.00 each way by taxi).

Photo of Reduit Beach in Saint Lucia

Reduit Beach, St. Lucia

Photo © IQCruising.com

Undoubtedly, Reduit Beach is the most popular - the scenery, sand, water clarity and many activities offered are major attractions for the cruise traveler. And also the proximity to the Rodney Bay Marina (with a few nice restaurants), the Splash Island Water Park which is great for families and the Bay Bay Gardens Resort offering a beach day pass.

Photo of Marigot Bay in Saint Lucia

Marigot Bay

Photo © IQCruising.com

Marigot Bay (just under 10 miles south) is another very popular beach destination in St. Lucia. The scenery is spectacular but cruise travelers should be aware that the beach is small and can get crowded easily. Therefore you should look into booking a day pass at the Marigot Beach Club. A few miles south, on the off the beaten track Anse Cochon Bay, the Ti Kaye Resort & Spa offers a memorable luxury Day Pass.

Shopping

Photo of Harry Edwards Shop at Pointe Seraphine Terminal in Castries Saint Lucia

Harry Edwards Shop

Photo © IQCruising.com

Many savvy cruisers argue that the Pointe Seraphine Terminal has better shops than the La Place Carenage Terminal. And, in fact, the cruise traveler will find more stores at the former but also greater diversity in this terminal. For sure you will find the typical duty-free shops selling Perfumes, Jewelry and Watches ubiquitous all over the Caribbean Islands - the likes of Colombian Emeralds, Diamonds and Tanzanite International - but also Harry Edwards that is exclusively Saint Lucian.

Photo of Tanzanite International Shop at Pointe Seraphine Terminal in Castries, Saint Lucia

Tanzanite International Shop

Photo © IQCruising.com

An art gallery must be mentioned for selling watercolors and prints by Llewelyn Xavier - the most famous Artist in St. Lucia. There are also better and more souvenir shops at the Point Seraphine Terminal, and even a few crafts are available but the Market in Castries is still the best place to go if looking for handmade local souvenirs. If docked at La Place Carenage, and considering that this terminal also has quite a few good stores, you really have to be a serious shopaholic to walk all the way to Pointe Seraphine or cross the bay by water taxi.

Photo of Street Vendor in Saint Lucia Castries

Street Vendor in Castries

Photo © IQCruising.com

In one word: the best shopping in St. Lucia is found in both Terminals and in the Crafts Market in Castries. Tobacco, spirits, and liquors are some of the best buys in St. Lucia. Among the most famous local produced items, silkscreened fabrics and clothing are a must, in particular, the batik prints handmade by Bagshaws studio and Caribelle Batik.

Saint Lucia Basic Information

Language English is the official language. However, the French-based Saint Lucian Creole (Kwéyòl) - or Patois ("Patwa") - is spoken by the over 90% of the local population.
Currency: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the official currency and legal tender. However, US Dollars are widely accepted. Be aware that you may be given change in EC$.
Phones: Country Code: 758. To call the United States or Canada dial 1 plus the number. For all other international calls, first dial 011 followed by the country code i.e. 44 (for the UK), 61 (Australia). Many US phones may work but is advisable to check with your provider to avoid roaming charges.  
Post Office: Monigiraud Street - Castries.
Electricity: Most electrical outlets in St. Lucia use three rectangular prongs like in the UK with 220 Volts 50 Hz current. However, you may find at the terminal typical US 110 volt 2 prong outlets
Rent-a-Car: All Major Car Rentals are available in St. Lucia such as Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Budget, Alamo or National. However, when booking online, the cruise traveler should check the availability at each of Cruise Ship Terminals or in Castries.
Driving: Driving is on the left.
Emergencies: Dial 911
Drinking: Legal drinking age is 18 years.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in restaurants and public buildings. Bars may allow smoking outdoors.
ATM's: There are a few ATMs in Castries

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