Composed of two peaks joined by a saddle, Pigeon island is a 44 acre historic site with numerous forts such as an 18th-century British fort and Fort Rodney both used by the British to spy on French Ships from neighbouring Martinique. In 1979 it was named a national park and again in 1992 it became a national landmark under the control of the Saint Lucia National Trust.
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Pigeon Island is located in Gros Islet in the north of Saint Lucia and is now a living museum and one of the most important monuments of Saint Lucia’s history.
Pigeon Island is known for the large open spaces with good walks, two peaks with excellent views, the ruins of the fort, beaches and visitor amenities.
Below: Pigeon island seen as you arrive.
Things to see and do on Pigeon Island:
- Ruins of military buildings used during the battles between the French and the British for the island of Saint Lucia.
- Fort Rodney
- An Interpretation Centre describing the rich history of the island.
- Two beautiful beaches.
- A restaurant featuring local cuisine.
- A pub and restaurant with a historical theme.
- A lookout point at the top of the Fort which gives a panoramic view of the Northwest coastline.
- Plenty of amenities.
- The lime kiln.
- Historical sites and buildings, some in ruins.
- Today, Pigeon Island is the home and major venue of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, Rodney Bay Gros-Islet
The Arawak people, the original inhabitants of Pigeon Island, were driven out by the Caribs around 1000 A.D. The Caribs lived in caves along the shore of the island, and hunted for fish, shellfish, small animals and birds. They also foraged for plant food. For those of you feeling energetic there are many miles of paths all over the island.
Below: The old fort.
In the 16th century, a French pirate, François le Clerc. He had a wooden leg and was known to the French as Jambe de Bois, used Pigeon Island as his base. He forged an agreement with the Caribs, so that they would not attack his ship.
The island is easy to navigate and get around.
Below: The paths on pigeon Island are well kept and way marked. The post boxes are familiar to anyone from the UK.
The history of Pigeon Island:
The French who owned the island in 1778 declared war on the British, who retaliated by attacking them in Saint Lucia and capturing the island. The British then built a Naval Base at Gros-Islet Bay, heavily fortifying Pigeon Island. Below is a view from Fort Rodney.
Below: There are plenty of ruins as well as old fort building on Pigeon island thanks to its military past.
In 1778, Admiral George Rodney took over Pigeon Island, expelled the natives, and built a fort on the smaller of the two peaks. This fort is known as Fort Rodney. To establish clear sight lines, Rodney ordered all trees on Pigeon Island to be cut down. From the higher peak, Signal Hill, Rodney was able to observe the French naval base on Martinique.
Over the next several years, the British built several other structures on Pigeon Island, including two barracks, a mess hall, and a lime kiln. The ruins of which can still be seen on the island.
In 1782, Admiral Rodney sailed from Pigeon Island to confront the French fleet, which he defeated in the Battle of Saints.
In 1824, a barracks which had been destroyed by a hurricane in 1817 was rebuilt. The island has also been a whaling station.
Pigeon Island Location:
Pigeon Island is in the very far north of the island of Saint Lucia at Gros Islet.
When is Pigeon island open:
Pigeon Island is open to visitors 365 days a year from 9 am till 5 pm.
The entrance fee is $10 EC for residents, and $10 USD for visitors to St Lucia and $3 for children 5 years to 12 years old. The Guide book is $5.
How to get to Pigeon Island:
Pigeon Island is in the very far north of the island of Saint Lucia.
You can drive by following the coast road north from Castries, the turning is well sign posted and there is plenty of parking on the sand spit.
There is also a bus service, the Gros Islet route 15 from behind the market in Castries..
You can walk from any of the local towns or hotels.
You can take a taxi or water taxi.
Most of the resorts and hotels on the island offer sight seeing trips that can be booked.
The facilities and amenities at Pigeon Island:
The amenities and facilities on Pigeon Island are excellent.
There are toilets, including accessible as well as several local establishments selling a variety of food and drink.