Arvia is officially ON SALE to Caribbean, Baltic and Ligurian tier members of the P&O Cruises Peninsular Club, with general sale available from tomorrow. We’re celebrating 2022 / 2023 holidays on the new P&O ship by getting beneath the surface of the places she’ll sail, thanks to the shore experience partners tasked with showing you all the Caribbean has to offer. First up is Eleanor Rae’s guide to St Lucia.
Tell us about the famous Pitons of St Lucia…
The Pitons are the iconic landmark of St Lucia. Located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are hiking trails on both peaks but the more popular is hiking to the summit of Gros Piton. This World Heritage Site is also home to the world’s only drive-in volcano – Sulphur Springs. It’s been extinct for hundreds of years but you can see the bubbling hot mud pool emitting the sulphurous steam.
Where is your go-to getaway on St Lucia?
Pigeon Island Landmark. This is inside the park at Pigeon Island, so it offers the privacy of the beach, with shaded areas of the overhanging trees, but also the history of the location where Admiral Rodney defended the island of St Lucia against the French. You also have the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll around the park to view the many ruins and, if desired, hike up to Fort Rodney for a panoramic view of the bay. On a clear day, you can see Martinique.
What local specialities should we try?
As the saying goes, ‘variety is the spice of life’ and here in St Lucia, choices are abundant. But you’d have to try our national dish, Green Figs (bananas) and Salted Fish. The bananas are boiled, and the salted fish is marinated with onions and tomatoes and seasoned with hot peppers.
Where’s a good place for souvenir shopping?
The arts and craft section of our local Castries Market is where you’ll find authentic clay, straw and wooden craft along with souvenir items that support the local communities such as Choiseul, which is known as our craft basin.
Can you recommend an adventure off the beaten track?
A visit to Grande Eden Estate high in the hills of Soufriere offers hiking trails, organic farmlands, a bird sanctuary and magnificent vistas. The high point is the owner, who will regale you with many anecdotes as he walks with you. There is also a very good chance you’ll be blessed with a sighting of the island’s national bird – the Amazona Versicolor parrot.
Can you recommend an interesting place to soak up local culture?
Fond Latisab is a heritage site in the north-eastern section of the island in a community called Chassin. Here, you’ll see the traditional method of making cassava bread along with the skills of cutting of wood. The highlight is learning a couple our traditional dances.
What makes you most proud of living in St Lucia?
The island’s astonishing natural beauty – rain forests, mountainous terrain, lush vegetation, contrasting coastlines from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and last, but not least, the people. St Lucians are warm, friendly and engaging, and always willing to help.