St Lucia island guide
St Lucia - a place for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation for the adults and lots of outdoor fun and
thrills for a family holiday
with the kids.
Although under British rule for many years, the French legacy is obvious in the
wonderfully aromatic Creole food, the native Patios and the place names. The island interior is
mountainous, with hot, steamy rainforests, but most hotels
sit on the flatter north-western end of
the island where cooling trade winds bring relief. Many southern beaches have dark volcanic sand
but the main tourist beaches of the north-east are beautifully golden. Popular with honeymooners who
fall in love with this small piece of Eden.
First discovered by Columbus in 1493 and later colonised by the
British today's visitors will find an island is full of culture and diversity.
Rarely humid with less rain than many other Caribbean islands and
cooled by soothing trade winds, the island is generally level with
gently rolling hills and flowering trees.
Getting to St Lucia
St Lucia is a rarity having two airports. Most international flights – and all widebodied jets -
land on the southern tip of the island at Hewanorra Airport (UVF) making for quite long transfers across
the winding countryside to most hotel
and resorts in the North.
Baggage reclaim may be slow but relax, this is the Caribbean!
UK flight services are more frequent, but not daily, so book early if you must travel at a particular date, or
consider a flight via Barbados
with an inter-island connection to Vigie Airport in the north. Vigie
is just outside the capital Castries, and close to most of the hotels so transfers are only 10-15 minutes.
Flying from Hewanorra and don’t fancy the road journey to your hotel
? Then take a helicopter transfer instead
although it is likely your baggage will come by road to be reunited at your chosen hotel
, so this
option is best reserved for the trip home.
Out and about
Visitors arrive to St Lucia all year round and the island host major tourism events, one being the popular Saint Lucia Jazz Festival
which has become one of the most anticipated music events in the Caribbean.
During the month of May each year, the island dances to the beat of jazz when music fills the air and tourism takes on a whole new meaning to this popular
Caribbean destination. The St Lucia Jazz Festival
is set for 30 April - 12 May 2013, so book your holiday early.
Previous acts include Diana Ross and Shaggy, performances in set in a few venues around St Lucia, most in the North. We can not purchase Festival tickets on your behalf, but we can book your holiday at a great price.
Please read FAQs about the event and ticket information at www.stluciajazz.org
Getting around. Minibuses (mostly private with huge sound systems) are cheap and quite frequent especially
between Castries and the hotels
around Rodney Bay Village.
Recently, many roads and signposts have been improved, so hiring a car or jeep makes for a fun day out exploring.
Watch out for mudslides after heavy rain and carefree local drivers, especially on tight mountain roads. Taxis are everywhere and a
number of tour firms offer great value island tours so you can keep your eyes on the scenery and not the road.
Taxis have fixed fares for standard trips are readily available from the Hewanorra airport to Castries and the North of the
island (80-100 minutes). Official taxis have "TX" on the license plate.
Sightseeing in St Lucia
Superb natural scenery means visitors are spoilt for choice on a St Lucia holiday
Must sees include the twin peaks of the Pitons, the drive-in volcano at Soufriere where the sulphur springs are good for clearing the nasal
passages. Also at Soufriere are the botanical gardens and a house where Marie Antoinette once lived.
Marigot Bay, 20 miles south of Castries, is a stunning natural harbor that once provided a hideout
for pirate ships, Marigot Bay also served as the setting for the 1967 film Dr. Doolittle.
Take a tour by sailing down the West coast and then using taxis locally to see the in-land sites. Organised trips normally
include food and plenty of rum punch for a memorable day out! Sunset cruises are plentiful although
eco-friendly excursions offer the chance to walk or even mountain bike in the rainforest.
St Lucia is recognised as one of the leading whale watching sites in the area. Over 20 species are regularly spotted
throughout the year, including humpbacks, pilot whales, sperm whales and spinning and spotted dolphins.
St Lucia beaches and activities
The sheltered leeward side (the West Coast) has sheltered swimming and the best beaches. The
north-west has numerous golden sand beaches and Reduit Beach is the most famous. Some
further South, import white sand from South America. All beaches are public so beach vendors
are present but rarely a nuisance.
All manner of watersports are available, with motorised activities such as
parasailing, jet skis and water-skiing payable locally. Other popular beaches include Choc Bay,
Labrellote, Pigeon Island and Vigie (great for plane spotters with the airport runway close by!)
Discover the equally beautiful underwater world and go diving or snorkelling off the west coast.
Besides golf (one 9 hole course in Castries and a revamped 18 hole course in Cap Estate) tennis
and mountain biking are popular. Discover hidden mountain villages, waterfalls, plantations and
secluded beaches - only for the fit and best enjoyed with an organised tour. Tennis courts at the St
Lucia Racquet Club are excellent and the club hosts tournaments and celebrity matches (Ille Nastasie
is a regular!) If you haven’t ridden a horse give it a try with one of the local stables which offer
fun riding trials and treks along deserted east coast beaches.
Eastern Caribbean Dollar US$1=EC2.68 (rate varies)
Independent nation; Member of the British Commonwealth
Banks Mon to Thurs 8am-3pm; Fri 8am-5pm.
Shops Mon to Fri 8.30am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4pm, Sat 8.30am-12noon.
Credit cards widely accepted. Many Shops stay open later if a cruise ship is in port.
220 volts AC, 50 cycles
-4 GMT - St Lucia Time does not operate UK Daylight-Saving Time.
St Lucia Departure Tax EC$68 (US$26) approx £14 for passengers over 12 years. Tax is included in your long-haul flight cost.
Its is payable if you island hop.
St Lucia has two airports Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort (UVF)
is the main ariport located 40 miles south of
Castries. The smaller George F. L. Charles Airport (SLU) is close to the Capital of Castries.
Ceremonies are conducted Monday to Friday excluding Public Holidays. Standard Licence: Not including your arrival day you must be in St Lucia two full working days, the ceremony can take place the following day at the earliest.
A Special Wedding Licence (aditional cost) allows you to get married within 24 hours of arrival.
18 or over
- Birth Certificate
- Valid 10 year Passport.
- If divorced the Decree Absolute
- If widowed, you need the Death Certificate of former spouse
- If name changed by Deed Poll, you need legal proof
- You must take originals (not copies) of all required documents with you
- All documents must be in English
- You should be aware that it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.
- Further travel advice from www.fco.gov.uk
St Lucia resorts and hotels
Head north where most hotels can be found facing small cosy golden sand beaches. If you are looking
for plenty of facilites outside your hotel
the Rodney Bay near Gros Islet Village is the place for you.
Rodney Bay Village has a variety of restaurants, bars, shops and night-spots. Have the best of both
worlds and stay close to Rodney Bay Village to sample the nightlife before returning to your more tranquil spot.
Alternatively get away from it all and find a more private beach side retreat on the gorgeous West Coast.
There are large all-inclusive hotels
and some small, luxury boutique hideaways which
means St Lucia offers a wide choice of accommodation to suit everyone.
Eating and drinking
All tastes are catered for and although McDonalds has not made it to St Lucia, Kentucky Fried
Chicken has. Local Creole dishes are excellent using locally grown vegetables, fresh fish and
spices. West Indian favourites like roti, jerk chicken and pepper-pot dishes can be found at many
places. Expect the delectable Plantain banana to accompany almost all dishes. Piton is the local
beer and the rums are good - mix with ginger, plenty of ice and a dash of Angostura Bitters. Service
can be slow but a tip is still expected.
Arts and crafts are thriving with local artists using everything from bark to banana peels and clay.
A number of good shops can custom make designs for you. Take a camera and head for Castries market
where the vivid colours and wafting aromas will hit the senses. Saturday is market day (and very
busy) so go another day and miss the crowds. Fresh orchids make a popular gift (the airport sells
these in handy travel proof packaging).
Weather in St Lucia
St Lucia weather is lovely year-round with little seasonal variation.
There is more of a noticeable rainy season in St Lucia than some other islands (May to November)
but showers tend to be short sharp bursts followed by sunshine and it keeps the scenery lush and green.
Temperatures range between 70 degrees in winter months and 90 degrees in the summer. Blue
skies and a strong tropical sun are constant features of St. Lucia weather, but visitors will rarely
feel stifled; St Lucia weather is tempered by mild trade winds blowing off the water. Higher
altitudes can also offer respite from the hottest St. Lucia weather, but most people find that a
nice shady spot on the beach is all they need to keep cool. The island experiences the majority of
its rainfall in the summertime, when St. Lucia weather is at its hottest and most humid.
Hurricane season is from June to November and affects Florida, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
Although the odds are pretty small that a hurricane will hit a particular Caribbean island
while you're on holiday, they are higher in hurricane season than for stays from December to May.