Written by Karen Rollins

Destination guide: Pigeon Island

pigeon

Pigeon Island is a picturesque, 44 acre island reserve, off the north-west coast of St Lucia.

The island, which gained its name from the common wood pigeon that used to nest on it, was originally surrounded by water but was joined to the mainland via a man-made causeway in 1972.

The site has a unique history as it was initially occupied by the Amerindians, mainly Caribs, before being briefly taken over by pirates. The French then owned the territory for several decades before it was captured and heavily fortified by the British in 1778.

The island subsequently played a key role in ongoing battles between the British and the French for control over various Caribbean islands.

It became a whaling station in 1909 before legislation to control the practice brought an end to operations in 1952.

In 1937 the island was leased to British actress Josset Agnes Hutchinson, and she stayed there until the outbreak of World War II, before briefly leaving and then returning again in 1947.

The island began to gain a reputation as a paradise retreat after Ms Hutchinson established a thriving yachting industry, and entertained many guests, including dignitaries. She relinquished the lease in 1970 and went back to England where she died in 1978 at the age of 90.

Pigeon Island was restored by the National Trust and designated by the government as a National Park in 1979 and a National Landmark in 1992. It is known for its stunning views, beautiful beaches, and unique heritage attractions.

Visitors can go over to Pigeon Island any day of the year for a fee of $10 (EC) for residents and $8 (US) for visitors, including a $3 (US) fee for non-local visitors aged five to 12 years old.

Source: St Lucia National Trust

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