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For a small island, St. Lucia offers a mix of untouched wilderness, quaint villages and colonial estates. The bustling capital city of Castries is home to several historical sites, and features the city’s unique Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which was built in 1897. Located in Derek Walcott Square a 400-year old samaan tree offers shade to the Cathedral. The city is also home to vibrant shopping at the town market.
Overlooking Castries is Morne Fortune (Hill of Good Luck), which was the location of a key battlefield during the colonial wars for possession of St. Lucia. The French began the construction of the fortress in the 18th century, but the British finally completed it in 1796.
Marigot Bay is another vital historical location from the island’s colorful past. While today it is a picturesque bay that is home to quite expensive yachts, it was used by a British admiral as the staging point for an ambush against the French. Palm fronds where used to as camouflage to hide the British fleet.
Some of the oldest history from the island can be discovered at Choiseul, a village on the southwest coast, where petroglyph carvings from some of the earliest inhabitants can be found. It is also the location of the old Fort Citreon, where today only a single cannon remains. The village features a crafts market and of course some pretty amazing views.
Further south is Soufriere, which was established by the French in 1746, and is one of the oldest towns on St. Lucia. It features a very unusual marketplace that is decorated with bright murals and gingerbread trim. More of the islands past is alive and well in the small fishing villages of Anse-le-Ray and Canaries, where visitors can get a glimpse into one of the island’s most interesting traditions, fishing with dug-out canoes.
The vibrant spirit of the Caribbean comes to live every Friday night, when Gros Islet is home to a mini-carnival that features a “jump up,” which includes soca and reggae music where people quite literally dance in the streets. The weekly street party for locals and visitors alike, can last well into the early morning hours.