Once a simple fishing village on the northern tip of St. Lucia, Gros Islet has become a major tourist destination because of its secluded beaches, calm waters, and simple lifestyle appealing to that relaxed Caribbean sensibility.
Much like the rest of the island nation, Gros Islet traded hands between the French and British since it was first explored and settled. Gros Islet was even the site of a historic British naval base in 1782 and renamed to Fort Rodney for a time. The historic and seemingly quaint island town attracts tourists through Caribbean charm, crystal clear waters, and relatively uncrowded beaches.
As the town has grown in population and popularity, so has its accommodations and amenities. Gros Islet is perhaps best known for its inclusive and exciting “Jump Up” street parties which occur every Friday night. The area around Dauphin Street are closed and the nightlife wakens to the sounds of Caribbean dance music, the scents of food carts being parked along the streets, and partygoers having a fun time with the locals. (Check out the video below).
If you’re more interested in daytime fun, there are several excellent beaches around Gros Islet. Reduit Beach is perhaps the most popular of beaches and within walking distance to Rodney Bay Marina where you can find a number of shops, tour options, and fine dining restaurants. Less crowded and more secluded is the Cas en Bas Beach, a popular site for kite surfing but remaining largely untouched.
While you’re on vacation you might want to stop by the Baywalk Shopping Mall, the island’s newest and biggest duty-free shopping destination. Here you may find favorite stores like U.S. Polo Assn. or explore unheard-of boutiques popular on the islands. There is also a two-story casino on site for gaming entertainment.
While there are excellent beaches near Gros Islet, sometimes you just want to play around at a water park. If this sounds like you, head to the Splash Island Water Park, the Caribbean’s first open-water park located on Reduit Beach. Splash around with the inflatable water sports, climb through the monkey bars and jungle gyms, and more in this protected and safe water play area.