Perhaps the best time to visit during high season is around Christmas, which is a special event on St. Lucia. Many vendors at the Castries Market—an open-air destination with farmers and craftspeople selling everything from fruits and vegetables to handmade artwork—customize their stands for the holidays. In February, locals gear up for their own special brand of Carnival that rivals the celebration in New Orleans, with parades, rollicking calypso bands, and parties that go until dawn. Easter is equally compelling, since many St. Lucians celebrate it in a way that could be mistaken for Christmas, with presents, festive parties, and meals of feast-like proportions.
May’s shoulder season features the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, which brings big-name musicians and bands to strut their stuff in front of thousands of fans from all over the world. High season attracts the European crowd.
The legendary Friday-night Gros Islet Jump-Up, a spirited block party just north of Castries, is held year-round, but if you go during the off-season—generally from mid-May to September—you’re more likely to eat, drink, dance, and mingle with St. Lucians and not other tourists. In August, don’t miss the Rose Festival, which resembles a royal wedding—St. Lucian style, of course.