Saint Lucia: Castries Market

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IMG_1770This March break, I found myself in Saint Lucia for an entire week. This is the second year my family has gone to the Caribbean, and I would be very happy if we went for the rest of my life. Last year we went to Jamaica, which is a whole other ballpark, compared to Saint Lucia (really it’s just a whole other island).

St. Lucia has many stores, office buildings, and is much more similar to Toronto than I expected. The houses are all various colours, ranging from sky blue to lilac to sunset orange. It’s very picturesque. There are lots of shops and restaurants around the island, especially in Rodney Bay, though it is a tourist area. The two major cities, Soufriere and Castries, are really beautiful and interesting as well. Perhaps I’ll talk about Soufriere in another post, but today I really want to talk about Castries.

Castries is the capital of Saint Lucia, and from what I’ve seen it’s crowded pretty much all day. According to our tour guide, 70% of Saint Lucians live or work in Castries, which explains the crowd. When we went into the city, it was about noon and the sun was blazing in the sky. We took the public bus, which was actually a minivan with 20 people stuffed inside. There weren’t many bus stops along the route, the  buses stopped for people the same way a cab might, which was very different from what I’m used to. It was a bit of a bumpy ride, as the roads are narrower there and people drive quite fast.

When we got there, we walked around a bit and grabbed ice cream. The Supreme Court, parliament buildings, library, and other government buildings were all in the same square so we walked around there before heading to the Castries market. The market had everything you could possibly need: mangoes, spiced rum, spiced rum making kits, coconuts, cinnamon, soap, and a whole boatload of other stuff. We ended up buying 6 perfectly ripe mangoes, hot sauce, and a bag of whole cinnamon bark (all for $12!). It’s safe to say the mangoes were the best I’ve had in my life. I ate four of them with just my hands…

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Though we’ve done our grocery shopping in grocery stores while we’ve been here, I’m pretty sure the locals do most of theirs at this market.

Castries is a really beautiful city, with so much to offer. If you’re ever in Saint Lucia, be sure to pay it a visit! If you’ve already been, I’d love to hear your experience, be sure to let me know!

-Sara

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