A sleepy fishing village on the west coast, Anse La Raye offers a slice of the real Saint Lucia with small boats bobbing in the little port, old wooden houses sitting beneath palm trees and banana plantations blanketing the hills. French and English colonial-era architecture can be seen on the streets, there’s a little bakery producing Creole bread and coconut turn-overs in a wood-fired oven, and an uninhibited warmth to the local people. It’s a place to relax and unwind in a tranquil setting, soak up low-key local culture and perhaps join the Friday evening fish fry for a taste of traditional local life.
Two rivers flow into the bay here and the town gets its name, the ‘Bay of Rays’, from the rays frequently seen in the water. One of the most important buildings in the village is the Roman Catholic church, which was built in 1907, though a chapel has been present on the site since 1762. Peek inside to see murals by the St Omer family. More murals by Dunstan St Omer, Saint Lucia’s most renowned artist, and his sons can be seen along the sea wall.
Other nearby attractions include the River Rock Falls where you can swim in the large pool at the base of the falls, and the Anse la Raye Falls which are reached along a path through lush rainforest. You can also snorkel and dive in the clear, turquoise water, go kayaking or paddle boarding, or simply sit back and relax with a cool drink and watch the vivid sunsets seen here.
On Friday nights, the town bursts into life however for the weekly public fish fry. The main street is closed to traffic, food stalls set up, music plays and crowds gather to feast on fried and barbecued catch of the day which might include conch, lobster or crab. The prices are low and the atmosphere celebratory with steel bands, local DJs or live music providing entertainment for young and old.
Even if you’re not staying in Anse La Raye, attending the local fish fry is a chance to experience authentic local culture and dining, enjoy the island’s best seafood and if you stay late enough, to party well into the small hours.