Why go to St Lucia now?
As if the of Pitons and the sunshine were not enough, if you need just one good reason to visit St Lucia it’s this: this island is launching its first SOLEIL Festival this year (2017) to entice more Brits. The festival comprises a series of festivities that take place from May to October which means the island will be alive with music: jazz, soul, and blues carnival, art and culture and food festivals all summer long.
Prime Minister, Hon. Allen Chastanet, told dignitaries gathered for the launch was that the idea was to create an excuse for tourists to come at any time and “stay all summer long”. Not a bad idea, given that it’s a nine-hour flight out from London and eight-hours coming back.
What else is on offer?
This upmarket Caribbean destination offers secluded, romantic places to stay. Hotels offer appealing rustic facilities such as outdoor showers, private plunge pools, and hammocks strung across balconies.
Rodney Bay Village near the capital, Castries, in the North, is designed for families. It is less bustling, far more tranquil South and this is where you’ll find its Pitons – those dramatically tapered and iconic twin mountains.
The beaches there are not as white as the north; in places quite dark and volcanic, in fact. But inland it’s quite lush and green with trails in the interior rainforest leading to waterfalls – and you’ll hardly go a day without seeing a wedding taking place somewhere.
Otherwise, it’s friendly and the people are mainly affable and eager to please.
What’s the weather like?
The new festivals begin in May when the peak season traditionally ends, which means accommodation costs are usually significantly lower, although the weather at this time, wetter and more sticky, is less welcoming. It’s worth noting that St Lucia generally gets more rain than other less mountainous islands nearby, such as Antigua or Barbados.
Beware the hurricanes
But be warned, the hurricane season begins in June so it’s probably wise to be one of the first out in May. There’s traditionally a lot of Brits round then anyway – for just that reason. That, and an event that has been around for quite a few years already – the annual jazz festival.