Castries is the capital of St Lucia and is located on the northwest side of the island. It is a busy port of call for Caribbean cruise ships which use its deep harbour. Consequently there are plenty of duty-free shops and a bustling market. The town itself is quite newly built, having been destroyed by fire several times in its long history. A holiday villa in Castries provides the perfect base for exploring further afield by road or by boat.
Castries offers unrivalled shopping with its colourful daily market and tempting duty-free prices. Buy local crafts, fresh fruit and Indian spices from the local women in their traditional dress and cotton headdresses. Dining out in Castries is also excellent, particularly at some of the fish restaurants which overlook the busy waterfront. Views from the top of Morne Fortune make this walk well worth the effort. The area is within easy reach of your Castries holiday villa. The hill is the site of Government House and a tour of the exotic gardens is well worth doing. Visitors can also explore the military cemetery, the Old Battery and the Powder Museum, all relics of St Lucia’s colonial past. St Lucia has many fine sandy beaches which are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, diving, boat trips, watersports and even turtle-watching.
Castries itself has very little history although the original sea defenses are worth seeing. The central point of the town is the Derek Walcott Square with the Cathedral which is beautifully decorated with candles and flowers. It is in the shade of a huge samaan tree which is thought to be 400 years old. To the south of the square are some of the older French buildings which date back to the 19th century. Just outside Castries is the Marquis Estate, one of the largest on the island. It offers tours of the working plantation, a visit to the old sugar mill and boat rides on the river. Other places to visit include the weekend street party at Gros Inlet and the beautiful beach at Marigot Bay.
St Lucia enjoys year-round tropical sunshine, and temperatures range between 29-31°C (84-88°F) making it a popular holiday destination at any time of year. The rainy season is from June to November, but it generally falls as short tropical afternoon showers.
Visitors to holiday rentals in Castries generally fly into the main Hewanorra (UVF) International Airport which is at Vieux Fort in the south of the island, about 2 hours drive away. Airlines from the USA, Canada and London all frequently use the airport for scheduled flights from all over the world.