Saint Lucia lifestyle and culture
Saint Lucia is a friendly, laid-back Caribbean island with a polyglot culture that blends the traditions of the aboriginal Arawak and Carib inhabitants, European colonists, West African slaves and East Indians. The island is part of the Commonwealth and English is its first language. However, French influences are clear in the island’s widely spoken Creole language – known as Saint Lucian Creole French – and in its Creole cuisine and music styles.
About 70% of Saint Lucia’s people are Catholic, although other Christian denominations are also represented. About 2% of the island’s population practises Rastafarianism.
In the popular tourist zones – largely in and around the capital, Castries, as well as in Rodney Bay, Soufrière and Gros Islet – beautifully presented gastronomic delights can be enjoyed at various excellent restaurants. However, the many unpretentious beach bars and street vendors that dot the island offer equally delicious island fare.
For both foodies and party animals, highlights of a visit to Saint Lucia include its legendary weekend "Jump Ups" and fish fries.
Every Friday night for 20 years, Gros Islet has held a hugely popular street party, where you can feast on chicken and fish barbecues, drink locally brewed Piton beer or island-distilled rum, and dance until sunrise to music from massive speakers.
More restrained Friday Fish Fries, with fish and shellfish prepared in the traditional way, are held in Anse la Raye. Various other seaside villages, such as Dennery, hold their own versions on Saturday nights, providing an inexpensive way for visitors to enjoy delectable seafood dishes and great entertainment, while hanging out with the locals.
Rodney Bay boasts the largest concentration of restaurants, nightclubs and bars, with sunset coastal booze-cruises being a firm favourite. You can also try your luck at the island’s Treasure Bay Casino, which you’ll find upstairs in the new Baywalk Mall.
For elegant surroundings and the best cocktails in town, try Delirius, a horseshoe-shaped cocktail bar in the Rodney Bay Village resort. Alternatively, another excellent choice for cocktails and watching the sun go down is Spinnakers Beach Bar & Grill, right on Reduit Beach at the St. Lucia Yacht Club.
For a mellow setting with beautiful views, it’s hard to beat JD's Mangrove. This restaurant/bar is on a wooden deck, overlooking Marigot Bay. To get there, you can take a ferry from opposite the Capella Marigot Bay Hotel. Alternatively, drive to JJ's Paradise Resort and follow a boardwalk through the mangroves to the restaurant.
Several restaurants and bars offer live entertainment on weekends, and the popular Lime restaurant in Rodney Bay features live music and dancing every Wednesday until late. Other popular nightclubs include Indies and The Late Lime.