A Day at Pigeon Island, St Lucia
Pigeon Island in St Lucia is a must for anyone visiting the Caribbean island. It is full of rich history and amazing views. Therefore, it has been named a National Landmark. Located in Rodney Bay, it consists of 44 acres of forests, peaks, grassland and beaches. Previously an island, it was connected to the main land in 1972 via a causeway.
Pigeon Island dates back to the 1550s. This was when St Lucia’s first settler arrived. The Norman Captain, Francois Le Clerc, also known as Jambe de Bois (meaning peg leg), used the island as a base for raiding Spanish ships passing by.
Explore the Ruins
Pigeon Island was key in battles between the British and the French. When the British occupied the island, they built a Naval Base. This left behind military ruins that you can now wonder through. As you explore the park you’ll find the stone ruins of the officers quarters and mess, the soldier’s barracks and the previous officers mess which has now been turned into an interpretation centre on the lower part of the Island.
If you head uphill you’ll find Fort Rodney. While Pigeon Island’s history dates back to pre-Columbian times, one of its most famous roles is in the Battle of the Saints in 1782. Here the British captured the island and it was fortified under the command of Admiral George Rodney. From here he was able to monitor Fort Royal on the Island of Martinique and intercept and defeat the French troops.
The historic fort sits atop the lower of the two peaks on Pigeon Island. Fort Rodney houses the old cannons pointing out to sea and offers amazing views out over Rodney Bay. If you go on a clear day, then you can see the nearby island of Martinique from the top. Fort Rodney is a much easier climb than the 330ft Signal Peak. Follow the winding uphill path to the ladder at the top of the hill which you climb to get to the fort.
Pigeon Island is a nature lover and hikers dream. With the higher Signal Peak sitting at 330ft, it is reached from Fort Rodney by walking across the adjoining grassland. It is a bit more of a trek up to the peak as the path isn’t as clear as the one to Fort Rodney. You have to climb over some rocks to get to the top so make sure to wear trainers! We wore flip flops and, although we made it to the top, it was a bit slippery at certain points. The views from the top out to sea and over Rodney Bay are definitely worth the climb! If you manage to go on a clear day, you can also see the Pitons on the southern part of the island.
Beaches & restaurants
After all the hiking, you will probably want some time to sit and relax. Back down on the lower part of Pigeon Island, there are 2 small beaches which were fairly quiet and secluded when we visited. You can also stop off at the ocean-side restaurant Jambe de Bois and enjoy some of the local seafood.
You can get to Pigeon Island in St Lucia multiple ways. It’s easy to find and if you are driving then it is around 5 minutes from the town of Gros Islet. If you are staying in Rodney Bay and are up for a walk, it takes 20-30minutes depending on your location. You can also easily get a taxi from Rodney Bay and the surrounding area. From Reduit beach, you can also get a water taxi to and from the island.