Saint Lucia was a bit of an unexpected gem and an island paradise on my 2021 – 2022 Caribbean trip. I flew into the George Charles International Airport from Barbados. This was actually a curious one as the country’s other airport is actually bigger and is known as the “UVF Airport” – definitely something to raise a sneaky smile for anyone who grew up in Northern Ireland. So on arrival, I had my COVID vaccinations and PCR test loyals all tested – it was a nightmare time for testing – I did about 17 COVID tests since COVID began just so I could go backpacking!
I based myself at the Harbour Vista Inn in the capital city, Castries. Many people love to visit Saint Lucia for the casino, the nightlife, the beaches and the diving. Or even the hiking, however I was happy to backpack the main sights of the capital city to start off. Later I headed north to Rodney Bay and Gros Islet. But here are my top sights in the capital city.
1.Derek Walcott Square
Derek Walcott is a famous poet from Saint Lucia who has won a Nobel Prize. It’s only fitting that the central square is named after him and has his head bust on a statue there.
2.John Compton Statue
The first president and the father of the nation – John Compton – has a statue in another small square just down from Derek Walcott – this is located off Laborie Street.
The main library is a striking building in the centre of the city and reminded me of British style architecture. This is Castries main library, also the best library in the country. It’s red and white.
4.Castries Cathedral: The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception
I witnessed a mass at the main cathedral here – the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
There are a few markets in the city centre. The vendor’s market was actually closed when I backpacked the sights – it’s the market closest to the sea.
Although the Vendor’s Market was shut, I was able to buy some spice and souvenirs in the main market – Castries Market which is enclosed in a hall. Spicy food is all the rage in Saint Lucia.
7.Vigie Football Stadium
As a football geek, Saint Lucia does actually have a fully FIFA recognised international football team. However, I was to learn that their original stadium was actually located in a city called Vieux Forst on the south of the island. I didn’t make it to Vieux Fort, though I did visit the national cricket and football stadium at Gros Islet / Rodney Bay. In Castries, I watched locals in a practice match at Vigie Football Stadium.
The main government and parliament are located in central Castries.
Near my hotel down by the harbour front were a few impressive murals, some featuring animals and the Saint Lucia Flag.
10.Ferry Port (to Martinique)
A hint of sadness comes here as my next stop on my Caribbean Tour was supposed to be Martinique. I was due to get the 14.00 (2 p.m.) ferry from Castries to Martinique on my third day. But sadly my PCR test only came through at 16.30 (4 p.m.) that day so they wouldn’t let me buy a ticket, or get on board. I still managed to visit 9 countries on my Caribbean tour – Barbados, Grenada, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Guadeloupe, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Beef Island and Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and Antigua and Barbuda.
Why whack a hospital into the top sights of a city? Well because it was the most important sight of all!! I had to queue for about 3 hours here on a hot day just to get a PCR test (for about £100) just so that I could leave the country and enter Dominica where I was headed to next!
Here are some vidoes from my time backpacking in Castries, Saint Lucia: