Caribbean, Wanderlust

Exploring Castries market in St Lucia

I love a good market. At home or abroad, there’s something about wandering aimlessly, seeing what you stumble upon and snaffling a bargain (even if that involves using my rusty haggling skills).

And Castries market in St Lucia definitely didn’t disappoint. Split into different sections for food, drink and spices, as well as areas for carvings, jewellery and souvenirs/tat (depending on your point of view), there’s almost as much to see as there is to buy.

Castries market in St lucia - where to buy your chocolate on the island

More than 300 regulars come to sell their wares, more on special market days. Wander in from Jeremie street and you could spend 20 minutes soaking in the atmosphere, or longer strolling and browsing.

Starting outside is the fresh fish, brought straight from the main harbour over the road, some almost as brightly coloured as the trays it’s sold from.

Fish from the harbour across the road at Castries market in St Lucia

And someone to fillet it… (Now that’s what you call a fish knife)

Local man filleting fish with a huge curved knife at Castries market in St Lucia

Fruit and veg, fatter, juicier, more colourful and definitely more exotic than at home… We saw mangoes, jackfruit, soursop and breadfruit growing all over the island, as well as more we had no name for. Glossy and vibrant, I loved the shining greens as they lay piled up.

Some of the array of bright fruit and vegetables on sale at Castries market in St Lucia

Then spices galore – nutmeg still in its mace fruit, packets and packets of powdered versions, cocoa sticks to make chocolate tea, rum and more rum, plus sauces including banana ketchup mostly for just a few dollars. St Lucia’s chocolate growing history stretches back centuries – we tried a bean to bar tour, so couldn’t resist picking up one of the sticks to bring back home.

Spices and bottles on sale at Castries market in St Lucia

And plenty of brightly coloured stalls selling food to eat on the go, including the national dish of salt fish and green bananas – if I hadn’t been short on time, I’d have been very tempted to stop and try some.

Thankfully Minnie is too young to have grasped pester power just yet as the stallholders laughingly tried to persuade her to ask me to buy everything from a reversible doll to a crochet dress to a kids’ T-shirt.

And while it’s a working market rather than an attraction, everyone’s welcome.

It’s easy to wheel a buggy round, while older kids would love the bustle and colour just as much – and with plenty of locals shopping, chatting and eating, it’s a great glimpse into a very different world from the average supermarket shop at home.

PIN FOR LATER: CASTRIES MARKET IN ST LUCIA

Castries market in St Lucia is one of the island's most buzzing hubs - and this part of the capital is a perfect place to buy solid spiced chocolate from the island plantations, as well as spices or simply watch the locals as they shop for fresh produce, fish and more.

Images copyright MummyTravels/Cathy Winston

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