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Friday-night "jump-ups" are weekly street parties where islanders let it rip. These jump-ups, especially for guests of all-inclusives, offer a real opportunity to get out and mix with the locals. For reggae and hot times, head for the gatherings at Gros Islet, attracting both St. Lucians and the visiting yachties from Rodney Bay. You won't go hungry: Stall after stall hawks barbecued meats along with such sides as rice 'n' beans and a tuber called dasheen, as seafood sizzles over hot coals and the smell of barbecued chicken whets appetites. More jump-ups take place at Anse la Raye on St. Lucia's western shore. Rum and reggae flow from about 6pm to midnight or beyond. Stalls along the Anse la Raye waterfront often sell fresher and better seafood than you get in the upmarket dining rooms of the all-inclusives -- conch, lobster, mahimahi, and even "potfish." Islanders claim that if you drink a "sea-moss shake" (seaweed, milk, sugar, and fruit), you'll keep jumping up throughout the night. In the winter, at least one hotel has a steel band or calypso music every night of the week. Otherwise, check to see what's happening at the Green Parrot (tel. 758/452-3399), in Castries.

If you'd like to go barhopping, begin at Shamrocks Pub, Rodney Bay (tel. 758/452-8725). This Irish-style pub is especially popular among boaters and gets really lively on weekends.

At Marigot Bay, where the 1967 version of Doctor Doolittle, starring Rex Harrison, was filmed, the memory is perpetuated at Doolittle's, part of the Marigot Beach Club Hotel (tel. 758/451-4974), lying 14km (8 3/4 miles) south of Castries. The Marigot Bay ferry takes you to the palm-studded peninsula of the resort; tickets cost $1.90. On Saturday nights -- when Doolittle's offers a lavish seafood and barbecue buffet along with a steel band -- this is the best place to be on the island. You can come here for drinks (try the Singapore Slings), or for dishes like chunky pumpkin soup, jerk chicken, or lobster and coconut shrimp Creole.

St. Lucia Jazz

Amazingly, the St. Lucia Jazz Festival is now ranked number two in the Caribbean, eclipsed only by Trinidad's Carnival. It takes place every May. Leading jazz artists from all over the world descend on St. Lucia at this time, offering varied shows that range from New Age jazz to rhythm and blues. Shows range from formal performances to late-night open-air venues. The tourist office has complete details of the festival, and information is also available online at www.stluciajazz.org. There's a downside to all this: Many hotels take advantage of all these arrivals to jack up room prices.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.