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Sailing in Saint Lucia: Anchorages, Sailing Tips & More

Are you planning to go sailing in Saint Lucia?

Then I hope you’ll find this article useful!

I’ve spent several months sailing in St Lucia and in this article I want to share detailed information about Saint Lucia’s anchorages, plus some information about the island’s two marinas and additional tips for anyone who plans to sail in Saint Lucia.

Tip: if you want to rent a sailboat in St Maarten (or in other parts of the Caribbean) check out Sailo.com.

Anchorages in Saint Lucia

This is a map of all the anchorages in Saint Lucia where you are allowed to stay overnight.

I’ll give a description of each anchorage below. And at the end of the article I have added a video with drone footage of the anchorages (minus the ones too close to an airport to fly a drone), to give you a good visual image of what anchoring at each location is like.

1. Pigeon Island Beach – Rodney Bay North Anchorage

anchoring in Saint Lucia at Rodney Bay
Anchoring in front of Pigeon Beach, Rodney Bay

The northernmost anchorage in St Lucia is on the north end of Rodney Bay.

It’s a nice and sheltered anchorage under the rock of Pigeon Island.

The holding is good when the anchor grips, although this take a couple of goes. The depth is about 4 to 7 meters (14 to 23 feet) with some unexpected shallow patches.

Watch out for the depth changing rapidly towards the beach. We suddenly found ourselves from 7 meters to 2.5 meters.

The beach here is nice and popular with locals. It offers a few laid-back beach bars on the north end and Sandals resort to the south of that. The resort offers day passes, in case you are interested in spending a day at the resort, but their part of the beach is otherwise a private beach you can’t use.

It can get noisy at this anchorage, both during the day and in the evening. During the day watersports boats from the resort will move around the area and at night the resort tends to play loud music.

If you can I’d recommend putting down a second anchor as squalls at times exceed 40 knots.

This anchorage is great for watching sunsets from the boat, it gives easy access to Pigeon Island and you’re close to the Friday Night Jump Up.

If you stay all the way on the north end you’re the most sheltered and right in front of the public beach with beach bars. But that does put you a bit further away from the town of Rodney Bay, and from there it takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get into the marina.

The beach bars have wifi which you should be able to pick up from your boat.

There are no mooring buoys here and no public dinghy docks. If you go into Pigeon Island National Park you can leave your dinghy at their private dock for the duration of your visit. And I have read that sometimes during the evening Sandals will allow you to use their dock, but we never had any luck there.

2. Reduit Beach – Rodney Bay South Anchorage

view towards the south side of Rodney Bay
In the middle, close to the entrance to the marina, is the most popular anchorage

The other side of Rodney Bay is where the Yacht Club is, plus a few nice restaurants right on the beach.

It can get a bit rougher here than on the north side of the bay which is why more people choose to anchor north of the entrance to the marina than south of it.

Especially on a monohull the rolling might annoy you.

Another reason to favor the north side is that the water is clearer on the north side of the bay than it is on the south side.

There is no dinghy dock here either and the beach landing is a steep one, which on rougher days might not be the best idea.

There is a buoy in front of the yacht club that you can use to tie your dinghy to, but it’s too deep to stand there so it does mean swimming to shore.

The main advantages of anchoring here are that it puts you right next to the entrance to the marina and that it’s generally a quiet anchorage.

The yacht club does have wifi but wouldn’t give us the password and the restaurant next door gives out a voucher for just 30 minutes of wifi. Getting wifi on the boat is therefore trickier here.

Rodney Bay Area & Rodney Bay Marina

Rodney Bay is the best area to resupply, to find parts for your boat, or local help with any boat repairs you may need.

The marina has a boatyard with haul-out facilities, a fuel dock, a chandlery, a sailmaker, and a rigger. Plus there are several nice restaurants in the marina, a few shops, and there is a hardware store across the road.

Rodney Bay is a port of entry and you can find customs and immigration in the marina.

There are two shopping malls nearby with good supermarkets, a range of shops and a few cafes and restaurants. There is a dinghy dock here but it’s not the safest.

Note: we’ve spent 10 days docked at the marina and they also have mooring buoys available at a fee. Both are pricey though and unless you have a good reason to stay in the marina (we had some major repairs to do) I’d recommend anchoring and just taking your dinghy into the marina.

3. Castries & Vigie Creek Anchorages

Vigie Creek anchorage
Vigie Creek anchorage

Unless you, like us, have decided to try all the anchorages in St Lucia, or have an important reason to spend time in Castries, I’d avoid anchoring here.

But, if you do anchor here, you have two options: Vigie Creek or Castries Town.

Vigie Creek is on your left-hand side just as you enter the harbor of Castries. The other option to anchor, although I didn’t see any boats anchored here at the time, is right at the town end of the harbor, in front of the Castries market.

Vigie Creek offers nice sheltered anchorage, but it’s generally crowded with day charter boats, and the area feels slightly run down.

If there is no space left to anchor inside Vigie Creek you can anchor just outside of it as well.

Vigie Creek does suffer from a surge in a really bad northwesterly swell.

Cruise ships dock right next to Vigie Creek and whenever there are cruise ships docked, the bay is busy with ferries and day charter boats coming and going.

There is one lovely restaurant inside Vigie Creek called Coal Pot. It’s pricey, but the setting is great, the staff very friendly and the food good. You can tie your dinghy up in front of the restaurant on the left side.

We managed to pick up a good open wifi network while anchored in Vigie Creek. I’m not sure where it came from though and whether it will stay open.

The second anchoring option, in front of the Castries market, feels a bit strange because it’s more of a commercial port. But you are allowed to anchor here and it does put you right in the center of town.

There are no public dinghy docks here but you can drop people off at the town quay. We were also assured that we could leave our dinghy there for a while if we wanted to, but never felt safe to do so.

Castries is worth a visit to give you a feel for local life, to check out the Castries market and to do some shopping. But I’d visit by bus while anchoring elsewhere.

And don’t expect too much of Castries: it’s a small capital city that shows a lot of poverty. And most likely the shops won’t have everything you are looking for.

4. Marigot Bay Marina and Anchorage

Marigot Bay with the marina in the background and anchorage in the foreground
Marigot Bay Marina, moorings and anchoring

Marigot Bay is a beautiful, sheltered bay with a very nice, small marina and luxury resort.

As you are sailing down the coast the entrance to Marigot Bay is quite hidden until you’re right in front of it. Once there the entrance is actually well marked and as long as you stay in the channel you should have no problems entering the bay. The minimum depth in the channel and inner bay is 5 meters (16.4 feet).

You can anchor on the left-hand side, just as you enter the bay, before you reach Doolittle’s restaurant. If you can find the right spot, holding is good but it may take several attempts.

Older guides might tell you that you can also anchor on the right side or further into the bay, but that’s not true anymore.

It can get crowded at anchorage and we were warned by several other boaties that robberies here are common.

You can get a mooring buoy in the marina for US$ 30 a night. And although that might not be an expense you were looking for if you were looking for where to anchor in Saint Lucia, in this case I would recommend it.

Taking a mooring buoy means you can use the resort facilities. And the resort is lovely! It’s a nice bit of luxury for a few days, lounging around the swimming pool, surrounded by perfectly landscaped gardens, for a fraction of what the resort guests have to pay.

When entering the bay you might be approached immediately and offered a mooring buoy. These are unofficial buoys, not owned by the marina, and some of them are in a bad state and go adrift.

I’d recommend phoning the marina ahead of time to make sure you take one of their moorings and know where to go. You can call the marina on VHF channel 12, or you could walk into the marina office as you arrive.

Marigot Bay is definitely a more high-end location and a popular destination for luxury yachts. There are several restaurants around the bay, all of which are nice yet pricey. You can also find a few shops in the marina, acceptable bathrooms, laundry service, and taxis waiting for you right outside of the marina.

There is good wifi both in the marina and in the restaurants around it.

There are several dinghy docks around the bay: in the marina in front of Hurricane Hole and in front of the resort, at Doolittle’s restaurant and at Chateau Mygo’s restaurant.

If you are dining at restaurant Chateau Mygo and are a group of at least five people, they will allow you to tie your boat to their dock, if there is space.

Marigot Bay is a port of entry and you can find customs and immigration inside the marina, next to the marina office.

Note: there are often a lot of mosquitos in the bay. More so than at any of the other anchorages in St Lucia.

5. Anse La Raye Anchorage

A view of anchoring at Anse la Raye
anchoring at Anse la Raye, Saint Lucia

Anse La Raye is a really picturesque anchorage in front of a bustling fishing village.

The first things you’ll notice are the crystal clear water, kids playing on the beach, a large church on the seafront, and a friendly laid-back vibe.

The bay offers very sheltered anchorage, especially on the north side of the bay under the cliffs. The northern part of the bay shoals quite rapidly but you can find a good spot in 5 to 3 meters (16 to 10 feet).

It’s a sandy bottom and good grip.

On Friday night the town organizes a ‘Fish Friday’ which is a lively get-together in the streets just in front of the beach. With lively music, an abundance of freshly caught seafood grilling on barbecues and coal pots, and plenty of alcohol, the event attracts both locals and tourists.

There is a large dock used by fishing boats but you can normally find space to tie your dinghy to it.

We couldn’t pick up any usable wifi networks here, but cell phone reception was better than in many other parts of the island. I bought a local Flow sim card in Rodney Bay, which offers data at good rates.

Don’t expect any fancy restaurants or shops here, or even a real supermarket. But the local shops do carry everything from rum to plumbing supplies, and you’ll find fruit and vegetable vendors around town as well.

There are several small bars around town and you can buy rotis and local bakes from vendors on the street.

Plus, the people here are incredibly friendly, feel more genuine than in some of the more touristy places and at least here you know your money goes into the local community.

I’d definitely recommend stopping here for at least a day or so.

6. Anse Cochon Anchorage

Anse Cochon anchorage from the air
Anchoring at Anse Cochon

Anse Cochon is a beautiful little bay with crystal clear waters and a nice beach.

Anchor in the middle of the bay because the north side is used for snorkeling by charter boats and the south side is used by dive boats.

The depth in the center of the bay is around 6 to 7 meters (20 to 23 feet). There is no coral in the center you could damage, you’re anchoring in sand and seagrass, and the hold is generally good.

It can get a bit rolly because you are not as well protected here as in Anse La Raye, and during the day it can get busy with day charters.

The bay is known for its good snorkeling and scuba diving.

I wouldn’t say snorkeling is the best I’ve ever seen, but it definitely isn’t bad. I preferred the south side of the bay over the north side, and the south side has some nice little caves as well. In the middle of the bay, on the outer end, you can find a red buoy. That buoy marks the Lesleen M wreck, which is a popular dive site. When snorkeling you can see the top of it, so I’d recommend going out there to have a look.

Also Read: The Best Dive Sites in the Caribbean

On the south side of the bay you find the charming Ti Kaye resort. They offer a bar, two restaurants, a wine cellar, and a spa. They have a dock, but do ask if you are allowed to use it, as the dive boat uses it during the day.

Alternatively, you can beach your dinghy, swells permitting.

Ti Kaye has wifi which you should be able to pick up from your boat.

Anse Cochon is a place you anchor at if you enjoy snorkeling or diving, a day on the beach, or a visit to a resort. Other than that there isn’t anything around here that you can easily get to.

When we were here there were a lot of sandflies on the beach. So much so that we left the beach after 10 minutes.

Note: I had read in a guidebook that there are mooring buoys here you can use, but there aren’t (anymore).

7. Anse de Canaries Anchorage

aerial view of Canaries anchorage
Anse de Canaries anchorage

This is a bit of a strange anchorage.

The anchorage here is north of the town of Canaries, under the cliffs. It’s not as sheltered as the previously mentioned anchorages in Saint Lucia and instead of facing a nice beach or fishing village, you face a steep cliff.

If you are the only boat here anchoring, which is likely since this is not one of the most popular anchorages, it feels a bit unsafe.

Right after anchoring here a young boy came up to us in his kayak, asking for money and spending a lot of time paddling around the boat, looking into every hatch.

That being said, the rest of the local guys coming out to us in their kayaks were very friendly, politely offering to sell us some fruit and vegetables or simply saying hi as they were passing.

But, we felt the anchorage was too isolated to leave our boat alone long enough to explore the area.

Allegedly you can hike to two waterfalls in the area and the town has some shops to buy supplies and a few bars and restaurants.

There is a pier in town, but it’s not usable for dinghies. Beaching your dinghy is possible on calmer days, but because you are less protected here I expect fewer calm days (we had none).

The water is crystal clear, you’ll anchor in around 5 meters (16 feet), in sand and grass.

On windier days the gusts from the cliffs can be quite violent and coming from every direction.

I’d probably skip this anchorage in St Lucia unless you have a specific reason to be here.

Note: you might have read that there are mooring buoys at Canaries. Apparently there have been, but we’ve been told they were stolen, and I don’t know if and when they will be replaced.

8. Anse Chastenet Anchorage

the anchorage at Anse Chastenet
Anchoring at Anse Chastenet, north of the resort

Anse Chastenet is managed by the Soufriere Marine Management Association (SMMA).

SMMA manages the entire area from here down to Anse L’Ivrogne, just south of the Pitons.

The fact that this is a protected area means that you can’t just anchor anywhere. And there are hefty fines if you anchor in the wrong place or do any damage to the area.

They have rangers patrolling this area who are incredibly friendly and helpful. They patrol at night as well, which makes this area feel safer than some other parts of the island.

Anse Chastenet is supposed to have moorings, but the ranger told us they have been removed because they needed maintenance and it doesn’t sound like they will be put back any time soon.

For that reason, we were allowed to anchor here, next to the dock, just north of Anse Chastenet.

Do phone SMMA before anchoring here though to see what the current anchoring restrictions are. Phone: (758) 459-5500, mobile: (758) 724-6331 or VHF channel 16.

The anchorage around the pier is mainly sand and seagrass, although there are some patches of rocks and coral. It gently shells from 11 to 6 meters (36 to 20 feet).

The anchorage is not really sheltered which means it can get quite rolly. You’ll also have a lot of motorboats (both fishing boats and recreational vessels) passing during the day, making this a more rocky place to stay.

Snorkeling around this anchorage is really nice and you are right in front of a nice beach bar on Anse Mamin beach and the Anse Chastenet Resort on Anse Chastenet beach.

Anse Chastenet offers some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean.

You should be able to pick up the resort’s wifi from your boat, especially if you have a wifi range extender.

SMMA charges a fee of US$ 20 per night or US$ 120 per week for vessels up to 70 feet. This fee is charged for staying anywhere inside their protected area, whether they have mooring buoys available or allow you to anchor.

Note: some navigation apps say you can anchor or use moorings on the south side of Chastenet beach. That is not correct. That area is right in front of the resort and is used by day charters and dive boats. SMMA’s marker buoys around this area make it very obvious where you cannot go.

9. Soufriere – Rachette Point, Malgretoute Beach & Pitons Bay

This is where the anchorages get a bit confusing.

Different pilot books and navigation apps show different anchorages (either with moorings available or without) around Soufriere.

The SMMA rangers assured us though that, apart from anchoring at Anse Chastenet, there are three areas with mooring buoys that you can use.

I will describe these three anchorages around Soufriere here.

Rachette Point or the Bat Cave

anchoring around Soufriere
The Bat Cave is a convenient mooring option close to town

This is the area just west of the town of Soufriere, right by a bat cave, hence the name.

There are only a few mooring buoys here but it’s a good, sheltered area and the closest to town. Plus there is a dinghy dock in front of Hummingbird Beach resort, which is just past this anchorage.

Malgretoute Beach

moorings around Soufriere
Good moorings closer to town than the Pitons

This is a quiet, sheltered anchorage just south of Soufriere, which has several mooring buoys.

It is less gusty here than in between the pitons, which can be a good reason to choose this anchorage, but it is also less scenic.

Snorkeling here is nice on the south side, where there is also a hotel restaurant with friendly staff and a sandy beach.

Pitons Bay or Anse de Pitons

anchorage in between the Pitons
The most popular anchorage when sailing in Saint Lucia

This is the most popular anchorage around Soufriere, and quite possibly the most popular anchorage in Saint Lucia, as it is right in between the two Pitons.

The setting is definitely impressive but the wind gusts can get intense and there is often a strong current. If you are lucky it’s calm here, but it can also get quite rolly.

On top of that, you get a lot of day charters here (snorkeling and diving on the north side of the bay are very popular activities) and a lot of boat boys.

But, for the spectacular view I do think it’s worth staying at this anchorage, even if it’s only for one night.

And I’d also recommend snorkeling on the north side. The crystal clear water and relatively healthy reef are lovely.

The resort here has a dock that you can generally use to tie your dinghy to, but it is also actively used by day charter boats so I would recommend asking ask them for permission when you put your dinghy here. The restaurants and bar at the resort are open to outside guests.

Note: some other sources might call this anchorage Jalousie Plantation Beach, or simply Jalousie. It’s all the same anchorage.

General Information About Anchoring Around Soufriere

Unless specifically instructed by the rangers, you cannot anchor at any of these three sites. You have to use the mooring buoys.

The area is notorious for boat boys. Most likely you’ll have someone approaching your boat long before you anchor. The person approaching us told us he was part of SMMA, which he wasn’t, and that he was sent to help us anchor. He then tried to get us to tie up to a non-SMMA buoy so that we would pay him.

There are several buoys around Soufriere that don’t belong to SMMA. Instead they belong to local fishermen, are often poorly maintained and you are therefore better off not to use them. SMMA’s buoys are white with a blue stripe whereas the fishermen’s buoys are generally all white.

Again, just phone SMMA before arriving. They will tell you exactly where to go.

By calling SMMA in advance you can also reserve a mooring. There aren’t that many moorings so during busy times this might be a good idea.

As I mentioned before there is a dinghy dock in front of Hummingbird Resort. But that is a bit further away from the center of town and you will on most days be approached by a local guy immediately, offering to watch your dinghy for a fee.

The pier in the center of town also allows dinghies to tie up, on the interior side of the pier. This not only puts you right in the center of town, but it also has security.

There is no actual fuel dock, which some pilot books claim, but there is a way to get fuel. Just ask the security at the dock directly south of the main pier. They’ll explain how it works (it involves getting the fuel truck to drive onto their dock).

Soufriere is a port of entry for pleasure yachts. You can find customs and immigration next to the police station on the waterfront.

Soufriere is a lovely town with good facilities and there is a lot to do in the area. I definitely recommend anchoring here for at least a couple of days.

Note: SMMA says the following about anchoring in front of Hummingbird Beach Resort: ‘’This is a ‘’Fishing Priority Area’’. However, the Soufriere fishermen recognize that this area is probably the safest area for anchorage during rough seas and have agreed to allow pleasure boats to seek shelter in this area during foul weather. In the event of impending foul weather, boats in the SMMA will be notified via VHF when the Hummingbird Beach area has been opened to anchoring.’’

10. Laborie Anchorages

Laborie beach looking out towards the anchorages
Sandy Laborie Beach, in front of which you find one of the anchorages

Laborie is one of the more tricky anchorages in Saint Lucia.

There is a large reef to the west of town and several very shallow patches right in front of the town.

There are three areas to anchor here: in front of the beach to the left of the pier, directly off and to the right of the pier, and just around the corner south of town, called Petit Trou on most maps.

Most chart plotters and pilot books warn you about the reef and we had read that you shouldn’t rely on these navigation aides blindly, because they may not accurately show the reef and rocks.

Out of the three anchorages here, Petit Trou is the easiest, but also the most exposed option. You’ll anchor in around 5 meters, have good grip but the swell can get bad.

Chart plotters and pilot books show different channel markers. When we came to anchor here none of these markers were still here and it doesn’t look like they will be replaced soon.

If you arrive in the dark, definitely don’t try to anchor in front of the town. It’s simply impossible to see where the reef and rocks are. Anchor at Petit Trou instead.

But if you do arrive during daytime I would probably still recommend Petit Trou, simply because it’s an easy and safe anchorage.

If you do want to anchor in front of the town, be careful, compare different charts and take your time.

The anchorages in front of Laborie are sheltered and give you a great view of a very cute, laid-back town.
You can tie your dinghy to the pier.

This fishing village feels like a great, friendly community. With many unpaved roads, no pushy boat boys and several nice, easy-going cafés and restaurants, it has that great island life feeling to it that many other places in the Caribbean have lost.

11. Vieux Fort

Vieux Fort is the southernmost anchorage in Saint Lucia and the only anchorage I decided to skip.

After hearing and reading several negative stories about safety here, we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth it.

Pilot books advising against leaving your boat alone at any time of day, stories of theft, and even a murder on a boat some years ago, put me off.

Plus, Vieux Fort is only a short bus ride from Laborie, so I’d recommend keeping the boat in Laborie and visiting Vieux Fort by bus, or by taxi.

I spent several months in Saint Lucia and didn’t meet a single yachtie who anchored in Vieux Fort, so maybe that says something as well.

And that’s it, these are all the anchorages in Saint Lucia you can stay overnight.

Below is some drone footage I took of most of the anchorages in Saint Lucia.

 

Final Thoughts About Sailing in St Lucia

sailing around Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is a beautiful island. It might not be the most popular or best island in the Caribbean to visit by boat, but it does have some gorgeous anchorages and plenty of things to see and do.

Saint Lucia mainly caters to honeymooners and high-end resort guests. The island has some INCREDIBLE resorts! But, this also means that I often felt treated like a resort guest who is on a one-week vacation with a several thousand dollar budget. I felt overcharged a lot.

Yes, you can find some great local bars where you can actually get to know locals and pay local prices, but in many bars, restaurants and shops that are easy to get to from the boat you’re just seen as, and treated as, a tourist with a lot of money to spend.

But, on the flipside sailing in Saint Lucia does give you easy access to some beautiful beach resorts, most of which allow outside guests to visit their bars and restaurants.

Saint Lucia also has some stunning nature to explore, good snorkeling and scuba diving, and generally incredibly friendly people.

Anchoring in Saint Lucia is free, apart from the locations described above inside Soufriere’s Marine Protected Area.

There are some negatives too though.

The number of dinghy docks around Saint Lucia is limited compared to other Caribbean islands. This sometimes makes it difficult to get ashore.

The constant visits of boat boys trying to sell you fruit, vegetables, or random trinkets, in my opinion, gets tiring, although I, of course, understand they are just trying to make a living. Just keep in mind that their prices are generally a lot higher than the prices at local markets or shops.

And then there are the safety issues associated with sailing in Saint Lucia.

In certain areas, most of which I’ve mentioned previously in this article, it’s just not safe to leave your yacht alone. And on many beaches and at some dinghy docks it’s not safe to leave your dinghy without keeping an eye on it. I know that this is definitely not unique to Saint Lucia, but that doesn’t make it any better.

Therefore, make sure you lock your dinghy, and if you can, hoist it up on your davits, especially at night. We’ve heard too many stories of stolen dinghies, both when ashore and from the boat.

And lastly, if you are planning major repairs to your boat while in the Caribbean I’d recommend St Maarten over St Lucia because you’ll most likely need parts to be shipped in, and that can get tricky, expensive, and time-consuming here.

Have a Great Time Sailing in Saint Lucia!

I hope this article has given you an idea of what sailing in Saint Lucia is like, and a clear overview of all the anchorages you can choose from.

And if you want to see more photos and videos of the different anchorages in Saint Lucia and some of the highlights of my time in Saint Lucia, please go to my Instagram account. There, watch the highlighted stories titled ‘’St Lucia 1’’ and ‘’St Lucia 2’’.

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Practical guide to sailing in Saint Lucia

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Sailing in Saint Lucia: Anchorages, Sailing Tips & More

Author: Sanne Wesselman
A traveler, wanderer, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Owner of marketing company A to Z Marketing.
I spend most of my time living and working abroad and use this website to share "the good, the bad and the ugly" of traveling and living abroad. Visit the About Me page for more info.

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