Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to the best St Lucia shore excursions. I’ve always found that February is the time of year when a young lady’s thoughts turn to cruises. The weather in my hometown New York City is completely depressing and disgusting, and I have a week off from work for Presidents’ Day. Basically I want to go and drink pina coladas on a boat and have someone else do all my planning for me.
But being a beach bunny alone isn’t enough to satisfy. Life is short and who wants to spend it napping. That’s why on my most recent February trip to the Caribbean with Royal Caribbean, I packed more adventure into my St Lucia shore excursions than some people pack in a lifetime.
Really, this adventure was thanks to our tour guide Aidan and the company that put together the St Lucia shore excursions called The Island’s Delights. I’ve almost never gotten so much done in one day. You think I exaggerate, Internet Stranger?
Well, just peruse the itinerary for these St Lucia shore excursions and you’ll feel exhausted just reading it. (Even if you’re not traveling with Royal Caribbean, many tour companies in St Lucia offer a similar itinerary. But I’m not sure they can pack quite so much into one day.)
Best St Lucia Shore Excursions
Where To Stay?
If you want to enjoy the best St Lucia shore excursions, you’ll be visiting the beautiful island of St Lucia on a cruise ship. So that means your room will be on your floating home away from home. No need to book a separate hotel room!
I always cruise with Royal Caribbean because the first cruise I ever went on was a Royal Caribbean cruise. My aunt and I won a costume contest, I ate five meals a day, and I unsuccessfully tried to convince our waiter Desmond to adopt me. And a good time was had by all!
Best St Lucia Shore Excursions
What to Pack
- A cell charger so you won’t run out of juice on your phone just as you’re about to take the perfect picture of the pitons
- The best travel adapter in case you are American and want to plug in some electronics in St Lucia (otherwise it won’t work)
- My favorite guidebook to St Lucia
- I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age, and you don’t want to get stranded in a foreign country without help. You never know when extreme weather will strike or some other emergency. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by deranged sentient coconuts on your St Lucia shore excursion.
The Best St Lucia Shore Excursions
Morning: Scenic Drive
Our St Lucia shore excursions begin in the capital, Castries. Castries is also where the cruise ship port, the charmingly named Pointe Seraphine, is located. St Lucia was originally a French colony, but control passed to the British in 1814, so both English and St. Lucian Creole French, more commonly known as Patwa, are widely spoken on the island. (If you speak French, like I do, you’ll be able to understand Patwa.
I’ve already taken you through some other Caribbean nations that were former British colonies like St Kitts and Antigua. But St Lucia is unique in certain ways, as you’ll see with…
Approximately top 5: St Lucia Shore Excursions
1) Derek Walcott Square
St Lucia gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1979, and it has a strong sense of national identity. One of the sources of national pride is the fact that more than one Nobel Prize winner has come from St Lucia.
The most famous of these is Sir Derek Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature. His most famous work is an epic poem called Omeros, which is in large part about St Lucia.
Some people have a hard time admitted they’ve never read a famous work of literature. Not me! I believe in owning up to one’s failings. I’ve never read Omeros, but it sounds completely fascinating. Anyone who’d have the guts to write an epic poem in the 1990s is all right by me.
2) Sir Arthur Lewis Community College
This was one of my favorite stops during my St Lucia shore excursions. A lot of shore excursions just take you to the obvious places, but I always want a chance to see how the locals live. Sir Arthur Lewis Community College is the only community college in St Lucia. It was named after St Lucia’s other Nobel Prize winner, economist Arthur Lewis. (Lewis is actually buried on the grounds of the community college.)
Aidan is an expert on the college because it was his alma mater. He told us that he had taken classes in tourism and passed his examination to be a tour guide here. Tourism is a big part of the St Lucian economy, so it makes sense that tour guides there are supposed to be certified.
Aidan also said that some of the classes actually take place in 19th century military barracks that have been converted into classrooms. That’s so cool! I heartily approve of the change in purpose!
3) Marigot Bay
Our first scenic viewing point on our St Lucia shore excursions was at the Great View Souvenir Shop for a glimpse of Marigot Bay. This has been called the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean, and I think my photo only does it maybe 40% justice. The colors of the water, vegetation, and surrounding buildings are in such technicolor that you feel as if you’re stepping out from Kansas into Oz when you gaze at it.
But even better than the brilliant blues and greens was the spicy banana sauce at Great View. St Lucia is famous for its bananas (more on this later). Banana sauce, sometimes known as banana ketchup, is a slightly spicy yellow viscous liquid that tastes about a million times more delicious than it sounds.
It can turn any meat or vegetable sweet and sour, and everyone knows sweet and sour is one of the top three taste combinations. I bought a bottle home to zazzle up my lunch, and my only regret is that I didn’t get two.
4) Banana Time
Unlike St Kitts and Antigua, St Lucia still has a good deal of active agricultural production. One of their biggest exports is the St Lucian banana. These bananas are exported almost exclusively to the United Kingdom. (St Lucia is a Commonwealth nation, though it is independent from the UK.)
As we drove past a banana field, Aiden stopped and bought enough bananas for each of us to try one. (He and the banana seller both spoke Patwa.)
St Lucian bananas are smaller, sweeter, and more pleasantly textured than the bananas I’m used to finding in the supermarket. And of course you can use them to make banana ketchup! I’m super bummed that you can’t get St Lucian bananas in the United States. I think I’ll make a big sign and protest in my local supermarket until they bring in some St Lucian bananas for me. I’m sure that will have no impact whatsoever.
If the banana seller isn’t there, you’ll get a different local snack like a tapioca cake, sometimes known as a cassava cake. They’re nice and spongy and taste nothing like tapioca pudding, in case you were considered. Our guide said that they were made with different fruits, but ours had raisins in them.
5) Anse La Raye
Anse La Raye is a still-operating fishing village of about 6,000 people. We got out for a short walk here to get a feel for the close-knit community. It’s right on the beach, so you can watch the fishermen work if the timing is right. If not, you can dip your toes in the water. The time is always right for wet toes, as my grandmother used to say.
In Anse La Raye there are shopkeepers and small craftspeople selling their work on the beach. My favorite was a young lady who made decorated bowls and jewelry out of calabash. I thought calabash was the name of the marquis in Puss in Boots, but it turns out that I was wrong and I don’t even know what a marquis is.
In fact, calabash is the national tree of St Lucia. Thid tree produces a gourd that is shaped vaguely like a bottle which can be hollowed out and dried. The young artist who made my bowl wrote my name on the inside, which I appreciated. I suppose this will make it harder for a thief to steal the bowl and pass it off as his own. And now I have a souvenir from St Lucia that will last forever, unlike my banana sauce!
6) View of Pitons
Of course you can’t say you’ve been on the best St Lucia shore excursions without a glimpse of St Lucia’s World Heritage Site, the Pitons. Those are the two spiky peaks you can see in the right part of my photo. They’re actually volcanic plugs, which means they’re made from magma. St Lucia is home to the only drive-in volcano in the world, which we won’t see on this itinerary. Guess you’ll have to come back to St Lucia another time!
Aidan told us you can hike both the Pitons, but the Grand Piton is easier to hike. He didn’t recommend that we try the Petit Piton. I don’t recommend that you try to say Petit Piton together five times fast, although perhaps it’s easier if you’re a native French speaker.
7) Toraille Falls
The last stop on the scenic drive portion of the best St Lucia shore excursions is a stop at Toraille Falls. These waterfalls are near the famous volcanic mud baths of Soufriere, so a lot of people come here to wash the mud off. You usually have to pay a fee to visit this waterfall, but for us, it’s already included in the price of the tour.
Lots of people were bathing in the waterfall, which was totally allowed, but I didn’t because I didn’t bring my swimsuit. Don’t let this happen to you, Internet Stranger! Say yes to life, and don’t be scared to get a little wet!
Best St Lucia Shore Excursion
Afternoon: Eat Your Face Off!
We’ve already experienced some of St Lucia’s delicious food by visiting a banana field and eating tapioca cake. Now we’re going to dig into its chocolate and coconut. Plus a spectacular lunch awaits! Let’s not waste any more time!
Three Fun Facts: St Lucian Food
1) What’s This About Chocolate?
Our next stop was at the Mourne Coubaril estate where our knowledge of the agriculture and industry of St Lucia was deepened. Also we got to stare at some pretty flowers. Mourne Coubaril was the home of Philippe de Vaux, a wealthy Frenchman who moved to St Lucia in the 1700s. The plantation was originally used as a coffee plantation before it turned to sugar production.
Nowadays sugar cane juice is still made on the estate, with the help of this adorable mule who drives the press. But the estate is primarily devoted to a different kind of production…chocolate!
On these St Lucia shore excursions, we actually got to watch the early steps of the chocolate making process. First they press the beans in these massive machines, then they dry them, and then the dry beans get mushed up even more when this guy, who presumably has very clean feet, dances on them.
What would it be like to have “Chocolate Dancer” on your resume? (I’m your chocolate dancer, a dancer for money, I do what you want me to dooooo.)
2) Um, Can I Actually Eat Some Chocolate?
Of course you can! Chocolate bars are still made on the island. You actually get to taste a ripe cocoa bean before going into the cocoa house. (It is kind of slimy and tastes more like lychee than chocolate.) Much like a fine wine, the cocoa bean actually has to get fermented before it is dried and polished. Then it is ready to turn into delicious chocolate!
For a small fee, you can enjoy the rich, delicious chocolate beverages as you stroll around the grounds. It’s much less sweet and more sophisticated than Swiss Miss back home. You’ll feel Very Fancy Indeed sipping this as you stroll around the estate.
If you need more of a chocolate fix, the chocolate bars are available at the store. I was warned by the lady at the store that the Mourne Coubaril chocolate is not too sweet, and that’s true. But again, that’s how you know it’s a classy kind of chocolate bar. You should eat this stuff one square at a time and truly savor it on the tongue.
Sweet, sweet chocolate isn’t the only thing they make on this estate. You also get the chance to watch some expert coconut husking in action. This is basically a dude with a giant, scary knife who cuts open coconuts with an alarming skill and expertise. Basically I’m glad this man went into the coconut industry and not the head-chopping industry.
Normally the coconut meat gets dried in the estate’s ovens, but tour guests get a special treat. You can actually eat the fresh coconut and drink the water straight out of the freshly butchered shell.
Some of the other guests on my tour group didn’t want the coconut or the water, and I don’t understand that. It’s free and it’s healthy! Also you get to stand and drink your coconut with this amazing view!
Just ignore the man with the giant knife standing behind you and it’s super relaxing!
Finally, as you wait for your Aiden to get the van to take you to the last stop, you can sip on some complimentary local tamarind juice. Truly, these St Lucia shore excursions have everything!
3) Is an actual meal coming up any time soon?
You sure have great timing with this question, Internet Stranger! After all that adventure, it was time for an extremely late lunch. But we had sort of been filling up on bananas, chocolate, banana sauce, and coconut, so it wasn’t a problem. Our restaurant of choice was a buffet at the hotel Villa des Pitons.
The nice thing about a buffet is that you can provide options for adventurous eaters who want to try the local cuisine, and also sad bowls of white bread and plain rice for people who hate flavor.
I tried a little bit of everything: local fish, jerk chicken, and local root vegetables like dasheen (taro) and cassava. After the heavy food you get on most cruises, this buffet was quite light and refreshing. Also refreshing? These views!
This was literally the view we got while we were eating. It was probably the best view during all our 24 hours in St Lucia. Can you see now why the hotel is called Villa des Pitons? The only way you could have a better view is if you were in the Pitons. (Actually your view would be terrible there because you wouldn’t be able to see anything but the Pitons. Sometimes I speak without thinking.)
24 Hour Treasure
You’ll probably have a little time to kill before you head back on the ship, so head to the famous Castries Market which will be near your cruise port. You need to take your time looking at all the crafts so you can separate the special treasures from the ordinary.
I bought a pretty painting of St. Lucia’s pitons that was all done in purple. I doubt it will ever become so valuable that I can see it and retire, but it’s pretty and it makes me smile whenever I look at it. So be sure to give the paintings a chance.
The Best St Lucia Shore Excursions
Evening: Ship Time!
After taking in the best St Lucia shore excursions, the evening is yours to do with as you please. Revel in the evening’s entertainment, which may be a magician who can read your thoughts. Or join in on Trivia nights. I made friends with a couple at my dinner table, and they convinced me to join their trivia team.
We ended up developed a sort of heated mock competition with a group of traveling Canadians. I guess it’s not as hard to rile up Canadians as I had previously thought.
Whether or not you enjoy trivia, everyone can agree that this towel frog is a thing of beauty. I wanted to bring him home in my suitcase, but I didn’t think he’d last. Also it’s not nice to steal towels from a cruise line, no matter how enticing the towel sculptures are.
St Lucia Shore Excursion
How To Get There
Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a box of the finest rum. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to the Caribbean.
But I can tell you that I used a lovely airplane to get from my hometown NYC to London, and then I took a shorter flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where my cruise was docked. I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight to the Caribbean at the best time of day.
You can even use Expedia to rent a car so you’ll be all set when you arrive at your destination. (I can’t drive, but if you can, this must be helpful.)
Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight, so you can head out on your St Lucia shore excursion ASAP.
That’s the Best St Lucia Shore Excursions!
What would you do on the best St Lucia shore excursions? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in St Lucia right now? Have you ever eaten a ripe cocoa bean before? And is that a man with a giant knife and a bunch of coconuts standing right behind you? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the best St Lucia shore excursions. If you want to see some of the other itineraries from my cruise, check out St Thomas, St Kitts, Barbados, and Antigua.