Laid Laborie Back
Unspoiled and Timeless
Laborie is a village on the south coast of Saint Lucia. It was originally called l'Islet a Caret after the Loggerhead sea turtles that were found in the area. The name Laborie comes from the Baron de Laborie, a former French governor of the island of Saint Lucia during the Ancien Régime from 17841789. Laborie is still not an uncommon surname in France. But "Borie" is a French word from the Occitane dialect originating from the south of France – meaning a dry shed made of stockedup rocks in remote parts of the land, where farm workers would store their farming equipment, their harvest, their animals and sometimes also to protect themselves against the elements. The French introduced large estates to the island and after the British took control of Saint Lucia in 1814, many French landowners remained on their estates. In 1838 the first school in Laborie was opened. Known as the "Mico School" because it was opened and operated by the Lady Mico Trust, it had 80 pupils and lasted until 1891. By this time a Catholic school had opened in the village. In 1907, the 18th Century church was replaced by a larger church which opened in 1914. During World War II, American forces opened a radar station on the hill of Morne le Blanc to help protect the airfield that is now Hewanorra International Airport. The remnants are still visible today. The Creole heritage of the southern fishing village is also very visible today, both in the local culture and in the Kwéyòl language that is still widely spoken in the area. The traditions are everywhere: in how people live and talk, in the architecture of the homes, in the food and drinks, in the festivals celebrated throughout the year, in the music and the arts and in the faces of the people.
Why visit Laborie?
Laborie Beach is one of the most beautiful bays on the island, fringed by palm trees with the most turquoise water on the island, lined with fishing boats and real working fishermen’s shacks, surrounded by lush green hillsides scattered with pretty houses. It is only a few minutes drive from Vieux Fort, right off the highway. Rudy John Beach Park has interesting arts and craft stores and other amenities, so it’s a great place to use as a base for exploring the village. There are shallow reefs close to shore and right off the beach park, where snorkeling uncovers bright tropical fish, undersea corals, some interesting rock features and drop-offs. The village has great old traditional houses, a tiny marketplace and a lots of local rum shops and small restaurants. Saturday mornings are bustling and colourful as the village gets stocked up for the weekend. Laborie Catholic Church is a focal point and well worth a visit if open.
The village is full of traditional old buildings and houses.
Laborie Bay is dotted with fishing boats and a favourite anchorage for visiting yachts to the south.