Saint Lucia is the beautiful Caribbean island that has it all and more. Home to the magical Piton Mountains, Saint Lucia offers unspoilt rainforest, sun-soaked beaches, a world-class choice of accommodation, delicious dining and a whole range of unique and thrilling activities for everyone to enjoy.
There’s a new tourism experience in Saint Lucia; going back to school.
Tour operators and travel agents tell us that people are increasingly looking for authentic experiences when they go on holiday. Having the opportunity to find out more about the destination they are visiting makes for a better holiday and a good story to tell friends and family back home. So, if you’re the inquisitive or adventurous type read on, this might just be for you.
Bay Gardens Resorts– made up of four properties on the island, including its four-star Beach Resort and Spa – has opened up its community initiative to holidaymakers. The Monchy Feeding programme provides healthy breakfasts to less fortunate children at Monchy primary school in the north of Saint Lucia.
Visits run during term time and will be escorted by a teacher and a member of staff from Bay Gardens to explain how the scheme runs. You will also get an introduction to daily school life in Saint Lucia and the opportunity to read with the children.
The programme started in 2012 following an impromptu visit to Monchy School by Bay Gardens’ Beach Resort and Spa General Manager, Waltrude Patrick. A former teacher, she had dropped in to see her old colleague, the principal, on the way to her grandmother’s house. Whilst there she saw first-hand that some of the children came to school without breakfast and struggled to concentrate on their studies as a result.
Bay Gardens Resorts set up The Monchy Feeding Programme to give a nutritional boost to pupils and now, every year, food worth over £7,000 is given to the school providing breakfasts to 70 pupils.
Waltrude is incredibly proud of what has been achieved to date. “I didn’t realise how many children turned up to school without having had their first meal of the day. I’d left teaching and worked at Bay Gardens at that time so once I’d seen it, I talked to my managers and they were really supportive. This is a family-run business which comes to the fore with schemes like this.
“The programme is thriving now and we provide a healthy breakfast to those children who would otherwise go without. They can choose cereal, fruits, eggs, milk, chocolate mix, cheese, sausages, bread and juices. We saw a real need as being well fed is essential to being attentive during classes.”
Experience a real summer in Saint Lucia
Unlike summers in the UK, summers in Saint Lucia are a year-round affair with guaranteed hot weather, beautiful scenery and an unmistakable friendly vibe. So what better way to celebrate Lucian summer than with our Soleil Summer Festival; five great events throughout the year giving you a chance to experience our rich culture, warm hospitality and stunning scenery.
What type of festival goer are you?
Soleil 2018 Jazz Lineup HD Broadcast - YouTube
We have two great festivals for those that love music. We have Saint Lucia Jazz from 6th – 13th May with live performances from international, Saint Lucian and Caribbean artists including Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway, Aziza, Pauline Jean, Denys Baptiste, Zara McFarlane, Avery Sunshine, Boo Hinkson and many more. Watch the video above or visit www.stlucia.org/jazzfestival for more details. Tickets can be purchased online now.
Soul connoisseurs and reggae fans will love our Roots & Soul festival from 31st August – 2nd September. The festival is dedicated to musicians who are setting new trends in reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afro-punk and R&B. Performers last year included reggae artist, Christopher Martin, R&B singer Musiq Soulchild, Etana, David Rudder and Morgan Heritage.
Soleil Saint Lucia Carnival 2018 - YouTube
The ultimate street party in Saint Lucia is Carnival with Gros Islet ‘Jump Up’ a close second! The celebrations for Carnival actually start in June with beauty pageants, steel band competitions, beach parties, ‘fetes’, J’ouvert and culminates in the two-day parade through the streets of Castries on 16th & 17th July. Get ready for an explosion of colourful costumes, pulsating Soca music and some serious dancing! So grab a Piton beer in one hand and your horn-blower in the other and party! For the Carnival activities calendar, watch the video.
Foodies For the foodies, we have the Food & Rum Festival in January celebrating the culinary excellence of international and Caribbean chefs with bespoke dinner menus, live cooking demonstrations and food and rum tasting. A highlight of the festival was renowned chef, Marcus Samuelsson who presented a Saint Lucian twist on his menu from President Obama’s first State Dinner. The festival this year also launched the first Caribbean Rum Awards. See what you missed, by watching the video here.
Culture enthusiasts For the month of October, Saint Lucians celebrate their rich Creole heritage with musical and theatrical performances, seminars, lectures, varied culinary experiences, street parties and art exhibitions. The Festival culminates on the weekend of 28 & 29 October with a celebration of International Creole Day in designated communities.
For more details, visit www.stlucia.org/summerfestival
Having visited Saint Lucia several times, over more than a decade, Senior Product Manager at Elegant Resorts, Caroline Beckett, wanted to venture further off the more typical tourist path and discover what’s new and enhanced for 2018…
A renowned Caribbean gem with a bounty of natural treasure to explore, what does lie beyond the majestic Pitons, castaway romance and barrels of local rum? For those wishing to explore outside their luxury hotel or resort, there is a plethora of creole culture, vibrant fishing villages, historic remnants and delicious produce — including chocolate, honey and seafood accompanied by a cool rhythm of Jazz — to discover.
If you can bare to break away from the mesmerising vistas and look past the idyllic backdrops, exquisite suites and indulgent hotel pampering, there is an exciting Soleil Summer Festival – five events to steal your gaze, engage your attention and have you dancing on your feet — such as January’s Food & Rum Festival and Saint Lucia Jazz Festival in May (6th – 13th). The sizzling melody of creole culture, island rhythm, barbecued cray-fish and carnival fever is bound to captivate every visitor and have them dancing down the colourful narrow streets of Gros Islet, near Rodney Bay.
The north and south of Saint Lucia are quite distinct, so the island can provide very different experiences. It’s well worth trying to incorporate the livelier north, before relaxing in the scenic south — however there are a plethora of outdoor adventures to enjoy there, too! From snorkelling below the surface in the Marine Park at the base of the Pitons, to horse-back riding, or flying high on a zip-line, there is plenty to thrill the senses! Of course, there are some sublime hotel spas for those less adventurous types!
While the cuisine available in Saint Lucia has certainly evolved with world-class fine dining — including private cellar dining and paired wine tastings — widely available, so too has the level of luxury accommodation. Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort has introduced sensational beachfront Residences, whilst boutique East Winds has created a new bar, enhanced its restaurant and re-styled interiors. Guests staying at the exceptional Jade Mountain can indulge further with the addition of their new chocolate factory, whilst BodyHoliday, in Castries, is all about tempting you into a new health and wellness routine, whilst staying in breathtaking surroundings.
With so many spectacular natural sites to see, delicious island tastes to savour and thrilling island activities to enjoy, visitors can find a world of adventure on one special island destination. At only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, verdant Saint Lucia is a sparkling Caribbean gem with a bounty of inspiring attractions to enjoy.
Essential Saint Lucia experiences not to miss:
• Sample a ‘Chairman’s Reserve’ or ‘Spiced’ rum to taste an extra special tipple
• Enjoy fine dining at The Cliff at Cap restaurant, with its Champagne zip wire
• Feast at The Estate House at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort with cuisine to complement the view!
• For sheer fun, experience Rodney Bay on a Friday evening and dance all night
• For a stunning perspective, take a boat charter to see the island from the sea
• Visit Fond Doux Plantation to see a working cocoa plantation in action
• See 30 species of birds, including the Saint Lucia Parrot, at Millet Bird Sanctuary
To create your first travel adventure in Saint Lucia, or to discover a host of new island attractions, please contact our expert Travel consultants on 01244 897 991 or visit Elegant Resorts