St Lucia is the ideal destination for a family holiday. Discover fun chocolate-based activities and favourite dining options in this Caribbean paradise.
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The restaurants of St Lucia boast fresh dishes made with local produce, from green plantain and white fish to seafood and superb tropical fruit that makes for child-pleasing smoothies (and adult cocktails). And unlike many Caribbean islands, gated resorts don’t define the tourist offering. There are plenty of local Creole/Caribbean restaurants that are casual, affordable and supremely family-friendly.
Read up on more delicious cities, once-in-a-lifetime foodie experiences and must-visit hotels in our ultimate travel hub.
Top 6 places to eat in St Lucia
1. Sugar Beach
This is a resort that excels at interesting food choices for all the family, and its kids’ club events leave parents free to try the more grown-up offerings. The Terrace offers generous breakfasts, lunches and informal dinners, the colonial Great Room does refined modern Caribbean fusion, and there’s arty sushi at the Cane Bar. The casual toes-in-the-sand Bayside serves pizzas, salads and a tapas-style menu that includes a sticky octopus tostada that’s a winner with kids, too. Pizzas around £12, mains £12-23, kids’ menus from £11.
2. Café Olé
This place is one of the casual, wooden-decked restaurants overlooking Rodney Bay’s smart marina. Inexpensive lunches, informal dinners and a range of coconut-based fruit smoothies (£3), make this a firm favourite with families, along with wraps (£5) and salads (£7).
3. Gros Islet's Jump Up
Fish Fridays are a Caribbean tradition, combining a street party, food and music – and St Lucia’s Fish Friday offerings are numerous. The most popular is Gros Islet’s Jump Up, with rum shops, live DJs and BBQ-a plenty. Get there before sunset to avoid the crowds.
Fish Fridays at the village of Anse La Raye are less raucous than some. Head here for grilled and fried fare, including lots of local veggies (corn, plantain and breadfruit).
Dennery is home to a thriving wet fish market (most mornings before noon) and hosts a Fish Fiesta on Saturdays (4pm till late). Eat fresh fish, crab, conch, lobster, shrimp and authentic Creole dishes served from little tents, backed by the sounds of soca, zouk, reggae and dancehall (£3-10).
6. The Coal Pot
This local food landmark is located at the Vigie Marina, across the bay from Castries. Head here for a casual lunch or arrive early for a dressier, but still family-friendly, dinner, with the best tables found on the veranda right by the water. Menus are chalked up daily and might include such French-Caribbean staples as crab backs (spiced, stuffed crab), callaloo soup, figs and salt fish, mussels provençale and coquille St Jacques. Dishes are around £8 (tel: +1 758-452-5566).
5 fun foodie activities
1. Tree-to-Bar Experience, Hotel Chocolat
After a tour of the Rabot Estate’s cocoa groves, learn how to crush nibs from its high-grade trinitario cocoa pods, grown, fermented and dried on site. Add sugar, butter and lots of elbow grease to produce a rich brown liquid that’s left to set in a mould to produce your very own chocolate bar. The hotel and spa offer more adult-friendly relaxation. From £50 per person.
2. Zip lines and Creole buffet, Morne Coubaril Estate
For cracking coastal and mountain views, ride over the rainforest on zip lines secured 20 feet up. Then have a Creole lunch of green banana, white fish, rice, peas and fried conch in the simple shack at this old sugar plantation. Up the road, Soufriere Sulphur Springs offers the chance to slather yourself in volcanic mud.
3. Castries Market
Open every day, but at its bustling best on Saturdays, this 19th-century market offers such exotic fruits as cherimoya (custard apple) and soursop. Take in the aromas of local cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg, sample freshly caught seafood, try dishes such as roti stuffed with curried veg, meat and potato pancakes, or opt for baked breadfruit stuffed with spiced meats. Buy souvenirs, too – pick from iridescent hot sauce, even brighter sarongs and bullet-strong herby rums.
4. Catamaran cruise, Carnival Sailing
Enjoy some supervised snorkelling among tropical fish, then climb back on deck for local seafood grilled to order, canapés and a fine selection of international wines. This is a real VIP treat. Half-day Explorer tours from £60 per adult and £30 for under-12s. Under-fives go free.
5. Chocolate massage, Sugar Beach
With its little rope bridges, Sugar Beach resort’s Ewok-like village of thatched wooden spa cabanas set in the cliff-side rainforest promises plenty of adventure. It also offers organic chocolate massages for kids (where tasting is encouraged), body wraps and scrubs. From £30 for children five and up.
Tax and tips: Many restaurants charge 10% service charge along with 10% VAT, so be careful not to accidentally tip twice.
Road sense: With sheer peaks and hairpin bends into deep half-moon bays, St Lucia is spectacular – but pack travel sickness pills for the kids.
How to do it:
British Airways, TUI and Virgin offer flights from around £420 return. Kuoni offers seven nights at Sugar Beach in May, from £9,879 per family of four, staying in a Grand Luxury Villa, including return flights with BA from Gatwick and transfers.
For more information, visit stlucia.org.
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Travellers are advised to read the FCO travel advice for the country they are travelling to.