St Lucia

A tropical paradise rich in natural beauty. Volcanic mountains with soaring Pitons, surrounded by lush green rainforests and plunging coral reefs. St Lucia one of the most desirable islands to visit.

Island Guide
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.

Castries

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
UK flight services are daily from Gatwick with schedule airlines. A weekly Manchester to St Lucia flight operates Thursdays in 2014 with flights up to 30 April 2015 providing 7 night and 14 night stays.

St Lucia is a rarity having two airports. 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!

St Lucia Helicopter Shuttle
Arriving at St Lucia Hewanorra Airport in the South and don’t fancy the road journey to your hotel in the North? Then book a helicopter shuttle directly with St Lucia Helicopters. The helicopter shuttle operates between the main Hewanorra Airport in the South (airport 'UVF') and George F. L. Charles Airport, in Castries in the North (airport 'SLU'). If you book your one way helicopter shuttle, we can arrange a one way road transfer when you book a St Lucia Holiday with us.

Marigot Bay


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 - 10 May 2015, so book your holiday early. 50 world acclaimed entertainers and artisans over the 11 day festival with performances in set in scenic venues around St Lucia, most in the North. We can not purchase Festival tickets on your behalf, but you can book your holiday with us at a great price. 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.

Exploring


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 hotels 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.

St Lucia FACT FILE
Capital
Castries

Population
153,000

Currency

Eastern Caribbean Dollar US$1=EC2.68 (rate varies)

Official Language
English

Status

Independent nation; Member of the British Commonwealth

Business

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.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50 cycles

Time

-4 GMT - St Lucia Time does not operate UK Daylight-Saving Time.

Local airport departure tax

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.

St Lucia Weddings


Minimum stay

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.

Minimum age

18 or over

Documents Required

  • 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
Note local laws and customs

  • 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 then 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.

Watersports


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.

Shopping
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.
Holiday Payment
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