St. Lucia

 

St. Lucia’s dramatic twin coastal peaks, the Pitons, soar 2,000 feet up from the sea, sheltering magnificent rain forests where wild orchids, giant ferns, and birds of paradise flourish. Brilliantly-plumed tropical birds abound, including endangered species like the indigenous St. Lucia parrot. The rainforest is broken only by verdant fields and orchards of banana, coconut, mango, and papaya trees.

St. Lucia has been inhabited since long before colonial times, and its cultural treasures are a fascinating melange of its rich past and its many different traditions. The island’s people have earned a well-deserved reputation for their warmth and charm, and the island itself is dotted with aged fortresses, small villages, and open-air markets. There is a broad array of exciting and exotic activities available on St. Lucia. The island’s steep coastlines and lovely reefs offer excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. The rainforest preserves of St. Lucia’s mountainous interior are one of the Caribbean’s finest locales for hiking and birdwatching. Of course, the island also possesses excellent facilities for golf, tennis, sailing, and a host of other leisure pursuits. Not to be missed is St. Lucia’s Soufriere volcano, the world’s only drive-in volcanic crater.

Quick Facts

Weather
Average temperature High/Low. Summer 95/75 degrees F. Winter 85/65 degrees F. Humidity ranges from 66-94%. Average rainfall 3 to 5.7mm. Approximate sunrise-0535. Approximate sunset 1829.
Clothing
Visitors should bring cool, comfortable clothing. While jacket and tie are rarely requisite, overly casual beachwear is rarely appreciated off the beach.
Currency
The Eastern Caribbean dollar is fixed to the US$ at US$1.00 = EC$2.60. Most credit cards are accepted and traveler’s checks are generally accepted.
Language
English, French Creole called patois is spoken by St. Lucians
Time Zone
St. Lucia is 4 Hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, 1 hour behind Eastern Standard Time
Taxes
Departure tax-EC$54.00 or US$20.00. Room tax-8%. Service charge-10%
Entry Requirements
All persons entering the Island including Canadian and US subjects must carry valid ID and proof of return ticket. Visas are not required by citizens of the US or Commonwealth countries.[ /accordion ] General emergency: 911
Behaviour
Some French influences still remain alongside the West Indian style of life. The people are friendly and hospitable, and encourage visitors to relax and enjoy their leisurely lifestyle. The madras and foulards are not often seen in towns, but are sometimes worn at festivals such as the Feast of St Rose of Lima in August. Casual wear is acceptable, although some hotels and restaurants encourage guests to dress for dinner. Beachwear should not be worn in towns.
Driving
Traffic drives on the left. All major centres are served by a reasonably good road network. The main cross-island route runs from Vieux Fort in the south of the island to Castries in the north. Seat belts must be worn at all times. Temporary license/permit requirements-On presentation of a valid license and payment of a fee of EC$54.00 or US$20.00 at the airports or police station. International driver’s license holders obtain permits free. Temporary licenses are valid for up to three months.
Airlines
Air Canada from Toronto. Air Jamaica from Montego Bay and New York (all other connections via Montego Bay). Atlanta, Miami and New York. US Airways from Philadelphia. Air France and AOM are via Martinique. American Eagle from San Juan. British Airways, Caribbean Airlines. Delta Airlines from Atlanta
Flight Duration
Houston – 5.5 hrs. London – 8 hrs. Miami – 4 hrs. New York – 4 hrs. San Francisco – 8 hrs. San Juan – 2 .5 hrs. Toronto – 6.5 hrs.
Airport Details
(UVF) Hewanorra Int’l airport, 37 mls drive from the capital, Castries; (SLU) George F.L. Charles Airport, 3 mls from Castries.
Taxis
Taxis are easily available at taxi stands or by telephone and minibuses can be hired as taxis for groups. They generally can take up to 10 persons. Some guideline fares are from Castries to Hewanorra Airport (EC $120 up to 4 persons), Castries to Rodney Bay (EC $40 up to 4 persons).
Best Beaches
Reduit Beach – Rodney Bay, Jalousie Beach, Anse Chastanet (ideal for snorkelling), Pigeon Island National Park, Grande Anse
Marriage
Application to be married must be made by a local solicitor to the Attorney General who prepares and signs the license after a two day residency period in St. Lucia. The Attorney General should receive the application at least 4 working days before the wedding date.
Tipping
Tipping is not automatically added and is customary at about 10% to 12% of bills. Tips are generally accepted by bell hops in hotels, taxis and other persons providing service.
Electricity
220 Volts. 50 cycles. Converters are usually available in hotels.