Top events in St Lucia

October
10

Anglers from across the Caribbean come to together in this Billfish tournament to catch fish. The Blue Marlin is considered to be the best catch (...

June
01

Arguably the biggest and best-loved festival in St Lucia, Carnival sees the streets burst to life in a riot of colour, music and celebrations....

St Lucia's Piton Mountains
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

St Lucia's Piton Mountains

© 123rf.com / Richard Thomas

St Lucia Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

616.3 sq km (238 sq miles).

Population

162,781 (2013).

Population density

264.3 per sq km.

Capital

Castries.

Government

Constitutional monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1979.

Head of state

Queen Elizabeth II, represented locally by Governor-General Pearlette Louisy since 1997.

Head of government

Prime Minister Kenny Anthony since 2011.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs generally have three square pins (as in the UK), but some sockets do take American flat-pin plugs.

With lush rainforests, undulating agricultural landscapes, unspoilt beaches and trade winds keeping temperatures on the right side of hot, St Lucia is a beautiful island. So far, so Caribbean. There are a host of natural wonders here, from the UNESCO heritage site of the Pitons, the rainforested twin peaks that herald visitors in the south, to the Qualibou volcano with its boiling sulphur springs, as well as tropical flower-lined roadsides. The gorgeous landscape and relatively low key vibe of the island is one of its major draws and makes St Lucia a popular spot with many travellers, honeymooners in particular.

Still, what sets St Lucia apart from most of the other Caribbean islands is the sheer range of activities on offer. Other islands may have the sand and the sea views but beach lovers beware, for you might find yourself tempted out of that sun lounger and into the ocean – St Lucia’s coastline boasts coral reefs and a plethora of marine life, making scuba diving and snorkelling popular things to do, and there are plenty of watersports such as kiteboarding and windsurfing on offer too.

Alternatively, head away from the sea completely and venture into the island’s interior instead. Go hiking through the lush mountains, ziplining through the rainforest canopy, and visit a volcano, all in a days’ work. And if you’ve still got the energy to go looking for some night life, there are also regular Friday night parties in the north of the island, where visitors can partake in the wonderful local cuisine, as well as the islanders’ friendliness, hospitality and leisurely lifestyle.

Aside from the activities on offer, the other factor that entices tourists is the island's unique cultural heritage, which has a considerable British and French influence still felt today - the island changed hands between Britain and France no fewer than 14 times between 1660 and 1814. The British maintained control until 1979, when St Lucia became independent but this cultural diversity is still evident in St Lucia, from the colonial-style plantations dotted about the island to the French influence felt in the patois spoken throughout the country. The result is an island that will captivate visitors, long after those emerald green peaks disappear over the horizon.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 28 May 2015

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Crime

Most visits are trouble-free, but there have been incidents of crime including murder, armed robbery and sexual assault.

You should maintain at least the same level of personal security awareness as you would in the UK and make sure your accommodation is secure. This also applies if you are staying on a yacht. Be vigilant at all times. Take care when walking alone off the busy main roads and avoid isolated areas, including beaches, particularly after dark.

Only use licensed taxis and take particular care at late night street parties, especially during the festival season.
Don’t carry large amounts of cash or jewellery. If possible, leave valuables and travel documents in a safety deposit box or hotel safe. You should check that the hotel safe is securely fixed before using it to store your items.

Road Travel

Driving is on the left. To drive on the island you must get a local temporary driving licence. The car hire companies will usually help with this. You must present a valid UK driving licence.

Take care when driving on the roads as there can be potholes and speed bumps. Observe the speed limits. You should take extra care on minor roads and in rural areas where there are narrow roads and blind corners. Pedestrians often walk on the roads and indicators are not always used.

Take extra care when driving at night as some roads are unlit. Road signs and hazards may not be easily visible.

Don’t stop if you’re flagged down by pedestrians. Keep car doors locked when driving.

In the event of an accident, call the police and don’t move the vehicle.

Taxis aren’t metered. Standard taxi fares exist for most destinations. Agree the fare in local currency with the driver before you set off. You can often pay in US dollars as well as EC dollars.

Take care especially on the main east coast road to and from Hewanorra International Airport.

Public transport is available and cheaper. Minibuses drivers may drive above the speed limit.

Newsletter