Sometimes referred to as a “living museum”, Pigeon Island National Landmark is a must-see attraction when you visit St Lucia. Rich in both wildlife and history, Pigeon Island is the perfect day trip destination for all the family.
A mere few minutes away from one of St Lucia’s most popular resorts, Rodney Bay, is Pigeon Island. This picturesque 44-acre nature reserve was once fully an island, completely surrounded by water; but in 1972 a causeway was built, linking the island to St Lucia’s mainland. In its lifetime Pigeon Island has been a stronghold of Amerindians, pirates, and both French and British troops. Today, the island is a national park, a national landmark, and a popular destination for day trippers.
Pigeon Island’s first inhabitants were the Arawaks, who were driven out by the Caribs in about 1000AD. Centuries later a band of pirates, led by a captain called Francois le Clerc, took up residence. This colourful character had a wooden leg, and the French called him “Jambe de Bois” (“Peg Leg”).
In 1778 the French, who owned Pigeon Island at that time, declared war on the British, who then attacked St Lucia and captured the island and built fortifications there (the fort – Fort Rodney – can still be visited today). The island from then on played an important strategic part in battles between French and British troops.
In 1979 St Lucia’s government, in recognition of the need to preserve such a historically important site, designated Pigeon Island a national park; later, in 1992, it was declared a national landmark. To this day, the island is maintained as one of St Lucia’s most beautiful and popular visitor attractions, which is open to visitors 365 days of the year with a small fee payable by visitors who want to explore this very special place.
When you visit Pigeon Island there’s plenty to do and see. Photography is the obvious activity; with so much beautiful scenery and such fantastic views once you’ve climbed either (or both) of the island’s peaks, you’ll really kick yourself if you forget your camera, so make sure you remember to pack it! There are two beautiful white sand beaches at Rodney Island, with ‘kayak safaris’ available for those who enjoy watersports. Walking and exploring of course are very popular activities, and once you’ve finished exploring you can rent a beach lounger and relax in the sunshine.
There’s also a pub and restaurant with a historical theme, an interpretation centre where you can learn about Pigeon Island’s history in more detail, and of course the ruins of the military buildings that were in use during the battles between the French and British. At the interpretation centre there is much emphasis on the late eighteenth century, with plenty of information about the Battle of the Saints. And there’s also an excellent shop on Pigeon Island, where you can buy souvenirs, books and gifts to take home with you.
Wildlife is also prevalent on Pigeon Island; you may even see kestrels, or mongoose, during your exploration. And with its close proximity to Rodney Bay, once you’ve finished your tour there’s even more to see back on the mainland.
When you visit Pigeon Island, it’s advisable to be well prepared: remember to pack plenty of drinking water, sunscreen, comfortable/sturdy shoes for walking, and swimwear; after all that walking, you’re bound to want to cool off a little in the sea!
Our guests love to visit Pigeon Island by water taxi from Marigot Bay. If you’re staying at Marigot Beach Club and Dive Resort and would like to arrange a trip to Pigeon Island, remember to speak to our front desk team who can help you organise a water or land taxi to get you there and back.