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St. Lucia

St. Lucia Travel Guide

Why St. Lucia?

  • The Pitons
  • The Caribbean's only drive-in volcano
  • Jeep Safari Tours
  • Diamond Mineral Baths, built by Louis XVI for his troops
  • Hiking through the rain forest
  • Yachting
  • Black and white sand beaches

St. Lucia Island Guide

If your dream vacation includes lots of variety, both in scenery and activities, then St. Lucia has it. The island is well-known for its changing landscape that includes the towering Pitons, black and white sand beaches, volcanoes, and rainforests. There's also a healthy sprinkling of bustling city life, so whatever your interests, there's something for you when you rent a villa in St. Lucia. Use the information here to help you as you plan your trip to this diverse island.

St. Lucia Weather/Climate

Average Temperatures
Highs Lows
January 82 ° F 76 ° F
February 82 ° F 76 ° F
March 83 ° F 77 ° F
April 84 ° F 78 ° F
May 86 ° F 80 ° F
June 85 ° F 81 ° F
July 85 ° F 80 ° F
August 86 ° F 80 ° F
September 86 ° F 80 ° F
October 86 ° F 79 ° F
November 84 ° F 79 ° F
December 83 ° F 77 ° F

Average Rainfall
January 2.22
February 1.75
March 1.45
April 1.5
May 1.8
June 3.69
July 4.61
August 4.41
September 5.3
October 5.8
November 5.24
December 2.42

Overview

The first thing visitors to St. Lucia will notice is how exotically green it is. The 238-square-mile island is dotted by protected parklands that preserve its lush foliage, which serves as home to parrots, wild birds and a range of four-legged critters that would rather avoid human contact.

Topographically speaking, St. Lucia resembles nearby Dominica in its mountainous, volcanic appearance. In fact, its two most widely known landmarks are Les Pitons, twin mountain peaks that drop dramatically to the water's edge near Anse des Pitons on the island's west coast. The site is beautiful and alluring.

The island has been occupied by a number of European invaders, but the influence of the French is still most deeply felt today, in the names of its cities, towns and bays, in the architecture still evident today and in the French-inflected patois spoken by islanders here. English, however, is spoken at all the major hotels and in island restaurants.

One of the island's main attractions is the Sulphur Springs Volcano, where visitors can get up close to bubbling pools of lava and steaming sulfurous spouts. Another popular site is Diamond Waterfall and Mineral Baths, where visitors can splash in the sulphur-infused waters or take pictures of the lovely falls. Nearly every type of water sport -- water skiing, snorkeling, windsurfing and the like -- is offered here, either by hotels or local operators. Diving is a very popular pastime for visitors, and the west coast is most commonly the choice because of its calmer waters. Similarly, most hotels are located on the west coast. Although a few more budget-oriented inns and small hotels are located directly in the capital city of Castries, the great majority tend to be located on or very near the beach.

Visitors should be aware that long drives are part of the deal with a St. Lucia vacation; the roads do not provide quick, direct access from Vigie or Hewanorra airports, located at either end of the island. Hotel guests are advised to stay out of Castries on cruise ship arrival days, as the narrow streets are a mob scene and not fit for man nor beast!

Hotel types run the gamut, from sophisticated hideaways with spectacular views or tiny places known only by the cognoscenti to more commercial inclusive hotels and the like. In addition, vacationers who really want to get away from everyone can choose some off-the-beaten-track places to stay, such as villas, private homes and tiny inns.

Nature lovers, divers and those who want to experience an exotic Caribbean island with still many of the modern conveniences of home will find St. Lucia to far exceed their expectations.

History

Like many islands in the Caribbean, St. Lucia was inhabited long before the Europeans arrived. Arawak Indians had settled in St. Lucia about 2,000 years ago. The second wave of settlers were the warlike Carib Indians who had pretty much removed the Arawaks by 800AD. They called the island "Hewanorra" . The island was not referred to as St. Lucia until the late 1500's.

In 1746, the French established the first official settlement in St. Lucia - Soufriere. They built more towns and sugar plantations over the next 40-50 years and prospered with cheap, imported slave labor. In 1814, the island changed hands. The abolition of slavery in 1838 by the English Parliament was the beginning of the end for the sugar industry in St. Lucia.

Indentured labour from India arrived in the 1880's to alleviate the chronic agricultural labour shortages, and many of them settled permanently. However, it could not stop the overall decline of the industry and by the early 1960's the sugar industry had totally disappeared.

After the Second World War, St. Lucia sought increasing autonomy in a strive for total independence. St. Lucia became fully independent on February 22, 1979. It remains a member of the British Commonwealth.

Top 5 Things To Do

Top 5 Thing to Do

Castries Market

Plan a Saturday trip to Castries market for fresh produce and lots of interesting things to look at.

Jeremie Street, Castries, St. Lucia. Discover St. Lucia's colorful, friendly nature while visiting the 100-year-old Saturday Market in the capital of Castries. Here you'll find bountiful bananas, the day's seafood catch, local spices such as mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa and hot pepper sauces, which make great gifts and souvenirs. In the adjacent Craft Market are baskets, brooms and other straw goods, wood carvings, pottery and local artist's wares at excellent prices.

Top 5 Thing to Do

Rainforest Excursion

If you are a little adventurous and up for a bit of a hike you will be rewarded with spectacular scenery.

If you like the outdoors and you want to experience the island of St.Lucia away from the beaten track - we have the right tours for you. Choose between 3 different trails from beginners to advanced leading to secluded waterfalls in the rainforest. Visit a restored 18th century sugar mill on the way down the scenic west coast road. The hiking tours are followed by a delicious buffet of local dishes at a secluded bay. There you have enough time in the afternoon to go snorkeling or swimming. On all tours you can probably see the rare St.Lucian Parrot You will be transported in an open Land Rover jeep & we promise you a real off-road ride when we reach the outskirts of the rainforest! Only small groups Hiking shoes or sneakers & a willingness to get wet and have fun are required!

Top 5 Thing to Do

St Lucia Helicopters

See the most amazing scenery in the Caribbean - its breathtaking!

Few places anywhere offer the spectacular scenery that is St. Lucia's. And there is no better way to take it all in than by helicopter. Your pilot's informative and lively commentary rounds out the experience which you won't soon forget. St. Lucia Helicopters offers three aerial tours. They both take off from Castries which is central to most of the Island's hotels (roughly 15 minutes by taxi), and the Cruise Ship Jettys. Airport shuttles, scenic tours, photography flights and private charters for up to 6 passengers in air-conditioned comfort.

Top 5 Thing to Do

Scuba St. Lucia

For the best diving and snorkeling on the island head to Anse Chastanet beach and rent your gear right there at Scuba St Lucia.

It is located at Anse Chastanet Resort, which is nestled amidst a 600-acre tropical estate with two soft sand beaches bordering on pristine coral reefs. It is just a mile and a half from the picturesque town of Soufriere on St. Lucia's southwestern Caribbean shoreline. They offer boat diving, night diving and wreck diving - as well as guided snorkel tours.

Top 5 Thing to Do

Anse La Raye fish fry

You can not miss this great event, tourists and locals mix and have fun!!!

Anse La Raye fish fry is a popular Friday night destination for locals and visitors alike, the west coast village is just twenty minutes drive from the capital. Long-established and enjoying continued popularity is the Gros Islet Friday night street party. The generally sleepy fishing village takes on a whole new dimension by sunset Friday night when vendors set up their stalls and the first revellers stroll in for sundowners. By 9pm, the place is heaving, music emanates from towering speakers and the smell of great local food wafts through the festive air.

Transportation on St. Lucia

Getting to St. Lucia and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.

Entry Documents

One form of identification, either a photo ID or passport as well as an on-going or return ticket, is required for U.S. citizens. Others will need a passport or visa depending on the country of origin.

Airlines Flying Here

Air Canada, Air Caraïbes, Air Jamaica, American Airlines, American Eagle, BMI, Caribbean Airlines/formerly BWIA West Indies Airways, British Airways, Carib Aviation, Caribbean Star, Delta Air Lines, LIAT, US Airways, and Virgin Atlantic From the US: A

Airport

Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) and George Charles Inter Island Airport

Departure Tax

US$20

Driving

On the left. Seat belts are mandatory.

Local Transportation

There are plenty of car rental agencies on the island. Bicycles, scooters and motorcycles can also be rented. Roads are steep, narrow and winding with few guardrails, and often poorly marked. To rent a car, you will need an international driver's licen

St. Lucia Weddings and Honeymoons

Vacationers don't just stay in St. Lucia villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons! You must be in St. Lucia for two days before the wedding.

After the two days, a local Solicitor can apply for a license on your behalf. You need to have received this two working days before the wedding date. Most tour operators can make all the arrangements.

You must bring the following documentation: Passport; birth certificate;

Decree Absolute (if one of the parties is divorced); in the case of a widow/widower a Death Certificate of first spouse is required.

Also, if a name has been changed, a Deed Poll is required. If one of the parties is under the age of 18, evidence of a consent of parents is required in the form of a sworn affidavit stamped by a Notary Public.

If any required documents are not in English, an authenticated translation must be available

See our favorite villas for weddings.

See our favorite villas for honeymoons.

Know Before You Go...® - St. Lucia Travel Tips

Before making their way to St. Lucia villas, vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in St. Lucia even more relaxing.

Capital: Castries
Population: 165,500
Size: 238 square miles.
Electric Current: 220
Time: 06:35 am zone:-4 (GMT/UTC -4)
Official Language: English
Topography: Mountainous, tropical
Telephone: Local area code is 758.

St. Lucia Tourist Board

Pointe SeraphineCastries, St. Lucia

(758) 452-4094
(758) 453-1121
www.stlucia.org

St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association

(758) 452-5978
slhta@candw.lc
www.stluciatravel.com.lc
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