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Castries, the Perfect Base for Exploring the Islands



Castries, the Perfect Base for Exploring the Islands View large version Castries is the capital city of Saint Lucia even though it is not a very populated area. The town mostly serves as a port, where many cruise ships dock while on their way to explore the islands. Castries has a certain appeal, however, since many people get off the cruise ships here to enjoy a lot of shopping in the duty free shops.

There is not much to see in Castries, as far as old sites or interesting architecture is concerned, for good reason. During its history, the town was attacked and destroyed time and time again, so most of the buildings you see now are actually new. The market here, however, is a great place to be if you are looking for an authentic experience. Sundays are the only days when the market is closed. You can also spend some relaxing moments in one of the restaurants located on the waterfront.

Here are a few sites to visit in Castries. One is Derek Walcott Square, and it was named to honor the local writer that won the Nobel Prize in 1992. Here, on the square, you will also find the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, which impresses through its solemn atmosphere. The tree that shadows the cathedral is a 400 year old samaan. You will also notice a few French constructions bordering the square that were erected during the 19th and 20th centuries. They are made of wood and feature fretwork balconies. The central market is not far away, and you can go there to shop for some great souvenirs. Items are sold here by women dressed in traditional costumes that are very colorful.

If you want to experience life as it is in Santa Lucia, you will need to visit an authentic plantation. The most visited by tourists is Marquis Estate, which is located not far from Castries. Here, you will be given a tour during which you will learn about the growth of the crops. You will also be able to walk by the northeast coast and visit the countryside where you can embark on a river boat ride and see a sugar mill.

You do need to leave town in order to visit Morne Fortune, or the Hill of Good Luck, which can be accessed from Castries through the Bridge Street. Here, important battles between the British and the French took place during the 18th – 19th centuries, when it was unsure who will eventually rule the island. The top of the hill may not be easy to access, but the physical exertion will be worth it since you will be rewarded with some amazing views of the city. Here, you can also see the Government House that features some really beautiful gardens.



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