Jammed with traffic, VIEUX FORT is St Lucia's second largest town, a busy commercial centre for businesses based around Hewanorra International Airport, just north of downtown. Both the town and the airport lie on a relatively flat plain that slopes gently towards the north and the south-central mountains, and as the southern tip of St Lucia comes to a point around Vieux Fort, Hewanorra's runway stretches almost entirely from the east to the west coast of the island.
Vieux Fort itself is more of a place of business than one to explore; most visitors only glimpse it on their journey to and from the airport. However, just south of town at St Lucia's most southerly point lies Moule à Chique Lighthouse, actually intended for Saint Lucia Cape in South Africa but brought here by mistake. It's one of the finest viewpoints on the island, reached by bearing left onto New Dock Road at the town roundabout and then left again into the hills. The Anse de Sables Beach stretches about a mile from the foot of the cliffs here to Pointe Sable, and is the favoured place to swim near Vieux Fort, as well as to wind- and kite surf thanks to excellent conditions and the presence of watersports operator The Reef (9am–7pm; Tel:758/454-3418, Web: www.slucia.com/windsurf ). The expansive seashore is usually windy and has few trees for shade; nor are there toilet facilities except at the restaurants – but it's a still a pretty spot. At the southern end of the beach is the Maria Islands Interpretation Centre, the meeting point for all visits to the Maria Islands.