Every Friday night in the quaint little fishing village of Anse la Raye on the west coast of St. Lucia, the local people host a tradition that’s been present in their culture for decades. It’s called the Anse La Raye Fish Friday, and alongside being a local favorite, it’s also become a “must-do” activity for people visiting the island. So in the post we’re going to share our recent experience at the festival and give you a few tips along the way for a great experience!
The Anse La Raye village itself is located along a long beach with a pier jetting out from its middle. It’s a small but picturesque little town that most people pass through when driving between the north and south ends of the island, and few visitors really stop here besides for the fish festival.
If you do get the chance to pop by during the day though, we recommend giving it a try! The locals are a very friendly bunch, and a casual stroll along the beach will give you a little glimpse as to the authentic St. Lucia culture of a typical fishing village.
Colorful fishing boats line the beach, with fishing nets hung out to dry and cleaning tables still bearing the residue of the most recent catch.
Upon speaking to a local on the beach, we learned that the yellow boat you see here in the middle is actually an old hand-dugout canoe that’s still in use today!
But the little town sparks to life as the sun begins to set over the horizon and behind the fishing boats.
You literally see a peaceful little fishing village turn into a bumping, island-favorite night out.
Speakers are brought on trucks, vendors set up their food stalls with their oil drum barbecue grills, and the fresh catch of the day is brought in from the beach.
And that’s when the night begins.
Right around 7 pm is the best time to show up, which is right around sunset. But you could show up anytime into the night if you wish. You could also arrive a bit earlier if you want to take some photos on the beach and the fisherman and everyone getting setup – like we did.
Take your pic of fresh seafood from the vendors lining the main street. Options include everything from scallops, shrimp, fish guts, crab cakes and claws, and steamed fish.
In terms of sides, you have the option of plantain, macaroni pie, salad, baked potatoes, and my personal favorite, johnny cake.
Below are some red snappers of varying sizes steaming nicely next to some johnny cakes getting nice and toasty.
A good tip is to always confirm the price before ordering. A plate like the one below, which includes a meat dish and all the sides (quite a big portion for one person) will set you back about $14 USD.
There’s plenty of drinks available as well.
If you’re a rum drinker, we definitely recommend to try out one of the local homemade spiced rums. It’ll make you feel irie in no time!
It’s important to note that this after all, a street party in a way – albeit very tourist friendly. Expect loud (louder) music as the night progresses, and also a bit more rowdiness (some locals really like to sing along).
There’s no doubt that it is a very safe event. That being said, we recommend you take similar precautions you would at home should you be attending an event like this. We recommend going in pairs, which isn’t an issue anyway since we organize a sort of guided evening for you. If you’re staying with us at one of our villas in Marigot Bay, we arrange for a taxi driver/guide of ours to pick everyone up from the bay and bring them to Anse La Raye. The guide will stay at the event with you until everyone is ready to go home.
As another quick tip on that note, a couple of the locals have a habit of asking you to take their photo, hoping for a small “contribution” afterwards. If you’re not interested, just politely but firmly tell them no.
But with good drinks come good food. Here is our favorite dish of the Fish Festival, which is red snapper steamed in garlic, herb, and lemon juices…
The street is not big, so there’s no worry of getting lost in the shuffle or anything like that. You’ll most likely meet other guests from around the island though and get a chance to socialize a bit.
And if you’re in the dancing mood, that comes around 11 pm, although it’s safe to say some like to start earlier.
The main attraction is the food though, and we’re pretty sure you won’t be disappointed!
The event will continue well into the night, generally until 2am. Feel free to stay as late as you wish, but if you’re a part of our evening excursion, we try to all agree on a reasonable time when everyone would like to go home. In general most guests leave the party around 10pm.
We hope you come out to try this wonderful of the St. Lucian culture! Find more info on our Fish Festival excursion here.
Wishing you sunny days!