Know Before You Go: Five Facts About St. Lucia
Taking a trip to sunny St. Lucia? Here’s what you should know about the island before you touch down!
1) One of the major indicators of St. Lucia’s colonial history is the French Creole language spoken by its locals.
People usually know that St. Lucia’s official language is English but once you get to the island you may be interested to discover that Patois is more often the language St. Lucians use to communicate with each other. St Lucian Patois was developed by the enslaved Africans who were brought to the island by the French in the 1600s. Prohibited from speaking their own language and with no formal French language training, they mixed elements from their African languages with French as well as with the Carib language already spoken on the island to create what 95% of St. Lucian natives speak to this day.
2) The island’s two iconic mountains- The Pitons- are a must see
You will certainly be left breathless when you first catch a glimpse of the two monumental peaks erupting from the depths of the Caribbean Sea. The pair were actually created out of hardened volcanic material and are located close to the town of Soufrière. You can view this UNESCO World Heritage Site by boat or, for a more intimate experience of the mountains, hike the taller of the two (the Gros Piton). While hiking the Piti Piton is not sanctioned by the government of St. Lucia due to the steep and dangerous nature of the trail to the top, the summit of the Gros Piton promises sweeping views of St Lucia’s colorful villages and lush coconut groves.
3) The mud baths at Sulphur Springs promise to make you look twelve years younger.
One of the most visited attractions in St. Lucia are the Sulphur Springs mud baths. Labelled as the world’s only drive-in volcano, the last major eruption in the area was over 40,000 years ago. Due to the geothermal activity that still lingers today, underground water gets heated to around 45 degrees Celsius and streams out into enclosed concrete pools that are open to the public. Visitors can first take a quick dip to open their pores before being slathered head to toe with volcanic mud. After standing in the sun for a few minutes to dry, the next step is to head back into the heated water to wash away the mud. Even though the scent of the sulphur in the water and mud is less than appealing, it cleanses and purifies the skin leaving it soft and smooth. So soft and smooth that you look exactly twelve years younger, according to local lore.
4) St. Lucia has both white AND black sand beaches
Dreaming of sipping a cocktail while watching turquoise waves playfully lap against powdery white sand? Sure, that’s possible in St. Lucia! But you can also have the more unusual experience of spending the day lounging on a black sand beach. The island’s history of volcanic activity isn’t only responsible for its majestic Pitons or its rejuvenating mud baths. The fragments of lava and minerals from the centuries old volcanic explosions have also been broken down by the ocean to create striking stretches of onyx colored coastlines. Visit one of these beaches to marvel at the juxtaposition of the bright blue ocean with the smooth inky sand. Pro tip: Anse Chastanet is said to be one of St. Lucia’s most impressive black sand beaches.'
5) St. Lucia is the only sovereign nation in the world to be named after a woman
Okay, so I admit that this isn’t a need to know fact, but the feminist in me had to include it in this article. The island was originally named "Iouanalao" by the Arawaks, then "Hewanorra," by the Caribs. Both words mean "Island of the Iguanas." However the first European visitors were shipwrecked on the island on the 13th of December, the feast day of St. Lucy of Syracuse, and decided to name the island after her. There are 195 countries in the world and only St. Lucia is named after a woman? That’s hard to believe but it certainly makes the island paradise even more unique.
Interested in experiencing all that St. Lucia has to offer but don’t have a plan in place? Not to worry! Road Trip TT frequently organizes unforgettable excursions to St. Lucia and other regional destinations. See their Funcation Guide for dates and details.
Nitya Gittens is a Freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator based in Trinidad and Tobago. She considers herself a true culture vulture and spends an irrationally large amount of her free time planning vacation trips and befriending other people’s dogs.
She also enjoys sharing her experiences as an adventurer and a traveller through her articles written for Road Trip TT.