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Castries is the capital and a major port city of St Lucia, located in the northwestern part of the island. It was founded four centuries ago by the French, and today you will still see the colonial influence in its beautiful architecture. The city of Castries does not have too many attractions to offer for the visitors, but it does have a nice atmosphere and charming personality. The weather is pleasantly warm all year long, with average temperatures in the upper 20s C.
Castries has a bustling harbor that constantly receives ferry boats, cargo ships, yachts and cruise ships. Cruise ships usually dock at the spot called Pointe Seraphine, which is north of the Castries harbor. Near the harbor there are many duty-free shops, as well as many bars and restaurants that offer all kinds of cuisines, ranging from Caribbean to Indian. Castries can be easily explored on foot, but there is also a good public bus transport and relatively cheap taxi service. There are also regular water taxis that connect quays, so tourists can quickly go from place to place while enjoying great views on the city.
In the center of the city you will find one very attractive open-air market where locals sell all kinds of goods and products. There are freshly produced tropical spices, fruits, local crafts, interesting wood carvings, leather goods, colorful batiks and many more things. Near the market there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, and there is a strong French influence in most of them, with Creole flavored dishes being especially popular.
Castries has several attractive landmarks which you can visit, including the Derek Walcott Square, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Fort Charlotte, the Government House and the City Library. There are also several beaches very close to Castries, such as Choc Beach, Vigie Beach, La Toc Beach and Malabar Beach.
You can start exploring Castries by visiting its charming Old Town. There you can see the Derek Walcott Square, which got its name by the Nobel Prize winner for literature. There are several interesting colorful old buildings surrounding this square, built with British and French influences. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is right beside Derek Walcott Square and it is the largest cathedral in the entire Caribbean region. It dates back from the 19th century and its interior is decorated with beautiful murals and colorful iconography. South of the Castries center you will find Morne Fortune. Today it is also known as Fort Charlotte and it is an interesting landmark to visit. There you can visit the military cemetery and a museum, both evidencing the battles that took place here between the British and French for control of the island. From here you can also enjoy some scenic views on the sea and the coast of St Lucia.
If you want to explore more of the region, go to the harbor and join one of the numerous excursions with high-speed catamarans that can take you to the nearby islands of Martinique, Dominica or Guadeloupe.
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