Why I Love St Lucia

Toraille Falls, St Luciaby Michael Shaw

St Lucia’s not the most daring destination for a Brit. We share a language, a monarch, certain administrative similarities & a painful colonial past with this Caribbean island. However, once you’ve stepped off your quintessentially British BA plane at Hewanorra airport, you’ll realise that anything slightly familiar is turned thoroughly exotic by the lush location. In fact, the French & Creole influences are far stronger.

The beaches are the most obvious attraction, although by no means the only one. They are truly spectacular, & brilliantly varied for such a small island. I love the beach, but I prefer it rugged – sunbeds aren’t really my thing. Don’t get me wrong – there are several pristine stretches of St Lucia beach where I’ll happily lie around for a while, cocktail bar in easy reach, & it all feels tropically lavish. I just can’t sit still for long without getting restless.

If you do prefer white sand & gentle seas, stick to the north-west. These are the most accessible beaches in St Lucia, & closest to the hotels, so they’re usually the most lively.

All the beaches on St Lucia are public, although some hotels make it awkward to access their particular patch – & will probably charge you for sunloungers if you’re not their paying guest. By the way, nude sunbathing is illegal here – don’t try, even if you think you’re secluded, as there’s usually a local going about their business somewhere nearby.

Don’t forget your surf-sandals if you head to the south-west, where the dark volcanic sand radiates heat. Anse Couchon, surrounded by forest, is very sweet with good snorkelling, although it’s better at Chastanet, with its marine reserve just offshore. Many of these beaches are only accessible with a boat, which you can hire on the pontoon in Soufriere.

When you need to travel by road, & you’re on any sort of budget, you’re probably best off looking for a cheap car hire company. I tried to do St Lucia by bus, which was lots of fun but not entirely reliable. It’s not really viable if you’re here to kitesurf & you’re bringing lots of kit, either. Taxis are available but riddled with overcharging & nepotism. The water taxis are much nicer, although not economical for everything.

For more energetic watersports, head to Cas en Bas, which is actually on the north-east tip of the island. It’s no good for swimming but wicked for everything else – windsurfing, kitesurfing, it all goes on here, with constant on-shore trade winds to guarantee some action.

St Lucia really isn’t all about the beaches, though. I was fascinated by its inland tangle of rainforest, and headed off on a guided hike into the jungly interior. This was actually my favourite part of the holiday. I do love my shoreline & a little kitesurfing, but the rainforest was something entirely new, & so easily accessed.

We stopped off at Toraille Falls – a beautiful cascade of volcanic mineral water – before heading up into a lush tangle of climbing palms & heavily scented orchids, full of hummingbirds & parrots squarking overhead. Although I’d hesitate to recommend this to anyone who’s scared of wildlife, I urge you to check it out if you’re on St Lucia for anything other than a suntan!

(Photo: Snap Man)

The Holetown Festival 2011

The Holetown Festival runs from Saturday Feb 12, 2011 to Sunday Feb 20, 2011.

1627 to 2011 The Holetown Festival To celebrate the Anniversary of the First Settlement of Barbados

The Holetown Festival runs from Saturday Feb 12, 2011 to Sunday Feb 20, 2011.

1627 to 2011 The Holetown Festival: To celebrate the Anniversary of the First Settlement of Barbados

For up to date information check the Holetown Festival website

SATURDAY, February 12

12.00p.m. – 4.00 p.m. Holetown Fish Fry – hosted by the American Women’s Club at 69 Cherry Ave, Sunset Crest.

SUNDAY, February 13

4.00 p.m. Opening Celebrations at the Holetown Monument (in Super Centre car park) with Dancin’ Africa, the Queen of the Festival Sakina Alleyne and the contestants for 2011, St. Leonard’s Boys Choir, Torisha Holder, Sabrina Fallah, The Advent Boys, saxophonist Ricky Niles, Rhea Borman and presentation of awards. Presentation of the Haringey/Holetown Twinning Document. Blessing by Pastor Victor Payne and Feature Address by the Honorable Stephen Lashley.
5.30 p.m. The Ceremony of Beating Retreat by the Zouave Band of the Barbados Defence Force. The evening presented with the compliments of SUPER CENTRE, HOLETOWN
6.30 p.m. – 12.00 midnight BARBADOS LIGHT & POWER COMPANY LTD Pan Fest featuring The Olakunde Steel Orchestra, the Reddy Panners and Haringey Young Musicians from England

MONDAY, February 14

10.00 a.m. The Alfred Pragnell Memorial Talk “Duppies, Hags and Steel Donkeys – The coming of Light, the Disappearance of Myths in Barbados” by Dr. Pedro Welch at the Holetown Methodist Church. Compliments of ROTHERLEY CONSTRUCTION INC.
10.30 a.m. Opening of Exhibition “Heritage Sites” in the Holetown Library
6.00 p.m – 12.00 midnight The Holetown Liming Tent opens with the BANKS/COCA COLA Karaoke competition from 9.00 p.m
7.30 p.m. PRICESMART NIGHT at the Seaside Theatre (Free Concert) featuring Sing Out Barbados, the Ziggy Walcott Ensemble, The Singers, Signers and Dancers from the School for the Hearing Impaired, Kathy Payne, Sabrina Fallah and 2 Island Girls

TUESDAY, February 15

9.30 a.m.1st Bus Tour of Historic Holetown with Morris Greenidge (Limited seating)…Tickets $10.00 from the Holetown Festival Information Booth. Bus leaves from the Holetown Library.
10.30 a.m.Exhibition continues “Heritage Sites.” in the Holetown Library
12.00 p.m. 2nd Bus Tour of Historic Holetown with Morris Greenidge (Limited seating)…Tickets $10.00 from the Holetown Festival Information Booth. Bus leaves from the Holetown Library.
12.30 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.Lunchtime Concert, featuring Haringey Young Musicians from England at the Surfside Restaurant
6.00 p.m – 12.00 midnightThe Holetown Liming Tent opens with the BANKS/COCA COLA Karaoke competition from 9.00 p.m
7.30 p.m. GOSPEL FAVORITESat the Seaside Theatre (Free Concert) featuring The Royal Diedems, Solid, Kimberley Inniss, comedian Carson Small and Praise Academy of Dance

WEDNESDAY, February 16

10.00 a.m. The Alfred Pragnell Memorial Talk. “Investigating the Barbados Environment” by David Ellis at the Holetown Methodist Church Compliments of ROTHERLEY CONSTRUCTION INC.
10.30 a.m. Exhibition continues “Heritage Sites” in the Holetown Library
6.00 p.m – 12.00 midnight The Holetown Liming Tent opens with the BANKS/COCA COLA Karaoke competition from 9.00 p.m
7.30 p.m.SURFSIDE RESTAURANT NIGHT at the Seaside Theatre (Free Concert) presenting Willie Kerr and friends, The Redmen, Urban De Coda, Lisa Griffith and the Festival dancers

THURSDAY, February 17

10.00 a.m. Bus Tour of Historic Holetown with Morris Greenidge (Limited seating)…Tickets $10.00 from the Holetown Festival Information Booth. Bus leaves from the Holetown Library.
10.30 a.m. Exhibition continues “Heritage Sites” in the Holetown Library
12.30 p.m. – 3.00 p.m.Lunchtime Concert, featuring Haringey Young Musicians from England at the Surfside Restaurant
6.00 p.m – 12.00 midnightThe Holetown Liming Tent opens with the BANKS/COCA COLA Karaoke competition from 9.00 p.m
7.30 p.m. RBC ROYAL BANK (BARBADOS) LIMITED/RBTT NIGHT at the Seaside Theatre (Free Concert) featuring Ayana John and Blue, Rhapsody of Barbados, Lorenzo and Mikey Richard Stoute, Adrian Clarke, Desmond Weekes and Extra Hype Dancers

FRIDAY, February 18

10.00 a.m. The Alfred Pragnell Memorial Talk”Barbados Magna Carta, the foundation for freedom in Barbados” by Robert “Bobby” Morris at the Holetown Methodist Church Compliments of ROTHERLEY CONSTRUCTION INC
10.30 a.m. Exhibition continues “Heritage Sites.” in the Holetown Library
6.00 p.m – 12.00 midnight The Holetown Liming Tent opens with the BANKS/COCA COLA Karaoke competition from 8.00 p.m
8.00 p.m CHEFETTE RESTAURANTS NIGHT
Grand Floodlit Tattoo and night march at the Trents Playing Field with the band of The Royal Barbados Police Force, The Mounted Police, and the cadets of the Regional Police Training School. Reserved seating by Ticket ($5.00) available at Surfside Restaurant and the Holetown Festival Information Booth.
12.00 midnight STREET FAIR STALLS CLOSE

SATURDAY, February 19

The 35th BANKS/COCA COLA Street Fair…Bajan Arts and Crafts… Food from Barbados and the Caribbean…The Prison Service Arts and Craft Centre, This That and T’other Shop… The Banks Beer Garden. Traditional Tuk Band Music. Ital food, books, jewelry, shoes, clothing, Kiwanis Health Centre, Children’s Play Park, toys and lots more
11.00 a.m. THE MEGUIARS/AUTOMOTIVE ART STREET PARADE featuring Vintage and Classic Cars, The Queen of The Festival Sakina Alleyne and the contestants for 2011, the Barbados Cadet Corps, Dancin’ Africa, The Barbados Regiment Band, St. James, Gordon Greenidge, Erdiston and Luther Thorne Primary Schools, the Learning Centre, The Reddy Panners, Haringey Young Musicians from England, Youth Uprising and the Parish Ambassadors.
12.00 noon The Holetown Methodist Church…Food for the Body and Soul…A home cooking restaurant on the lawn and in the flower decorated Church, short recitals by performers from 1.00 p.m to 6.00 p.m (Performances co-ordinated by Maurice Greenidge)
1.30 p.m. Radio controlled auto racers display
2.00 p.m. THE BARBADOS TOURISM AUTHORITYpresents “The Holetown Dooflicky” with Folk Parade and Bajan Carnival.
3.00 p.m. Mini Concert at the Chattel Stage
6.00 p.m THE BANKS / COCA COLASunset Concert with the Royal Barbados Police Force Band at the Seaside Theatre.
8.00 p.mDJ Face Off with Verseewild and other popular DJ’s
12.00 midnight STREET FAIR STALLS CLOSE

SUNDAY, February 20

9.00 a.mThanksgiving Service at the Holetown Methodist Church…To mark the Anniversary of the First Settlement in 1627
10.00 a.m. Street Fair Stalls re-open
3.30 p.mThe Barbados Pathfinder Band drill and musical display
3.30 p.m. The Michael Parravicino Memorial 7K Road Walk, from Speightstown to Holetown. Sponsored byREALTORS LTD and organized by St. Clair Ward for Walk Barbados
4.15 p.m. FESTIVAL 7K Road Run on the same route. (Organized by Jim Wedderburn)
5.15 p.m. Presentation of Prizes at the Chattel Stage
6.00 p.m. Gala Concert “CLASSICAL STEEL” at the St. James Parish Church. (Tickets $20.00 from the Holetown Festival Information Booth and the Church)
6.30 p.m. The Spiritual Baptists Candlelight Procession and Worship Service at the Seaside Theatre
7.30 p.m. The Grand Finale… THE QUEEN OF THE FESTIVAL PAGEANT with seven beautiful contestants in the Auditorium of the St. James Secondary School
(Admission $30.00 – Tickets at the door)
8.00 p.m. STREET FAIR STALLS CLOSE

Things To Do In Barbados #32- Visit Brighton Farmers’ Market

Things To Do In Barbados #32- Visit Brighton Farmers' Market
There's art and craft on offer at Brighton Farmers' Market.
Things To Do In Barbados #32- Visit Brighton Farmers' Market
Brighton Farmers' Market - a great place to hang out.

Fifty-one weeks of the year, locals and tourists alike mingle at the Brighton Farmers’ Market where there are freshly grown organic vegetables, a selection of breakfast and other foods, great coffee and art and craft stalls. It’s a wonderful way to start the weekend.