Saint Lucia is a volcanic island state in the Caribbean Sea. It is included in the Windward Islands of the West Indies. The island is situated between Martinique and Saint Vincent. Saint Lucia is washed by the waters of the Saint Lucia Passage and the Saint Vincent Passage. The capital city is Castries.
The weather in Saint Lucia is hot all the year round. The average annual temperature is +24 °C — +28 °C. From May to December is a wet season and from January to April is a dry and warm weather. Heavy rainfalls can occur in Saint Lucia at any time of the year and at the end of summer tropical cyclones are very probable. The best time for traveling to Saint Lucia is from December to February.
The majority of the population in Saint Lucia are the Africans and Mulatto (the descendants of the African slaves who were brought to the island by the European colonizers). Almost all people on the island are the Catholics. The official language is English but the locals can speak French well.
Saint Lucia is a destination, predominantly, for those who like active holidays. Clear-cut coasts make an ideal beach zone. The landscape in Saint Lucia is, mainly, mountainous and trekking and mountain bike tours are gaining popularity among the tourists.
The tourists who prefer country holidays will especially enjoy their stay in Saint Lucia. Wonderful green valleys, thick tropical forests and mountains constitute a unique landscape of the island.
To the west of Saint Lucia, near a small city of Soufriere, one can see picturesque peaks of two volcanoes covered with a green forest.
The fans of diving and snorkeling will appreciate a fantastic underwater world of the island. Saint Lucia Passage is believed to be the best place on the entire island for kitesurfing, windsurfing and traditional surfing. Take a trip to Saint Lucia Passage to enjoy deep sea hunting and fishing. Yachting tours along the coastline are arranged every day from Castries.
Saint Lucia was formed due to the volcano eruption and the tourists will see a lot of volcanic thermal springs and hot mineral springs. In the last decade, a wellness tourism is gaining popularity in Saint Lucia.
In Saint Lucia as in other Caribbean islands, there are duty-free shops. If you cannot live without shopping, go the large malls in Castries Point Seraphine and La Place Carenage.
The flight is the most convenient and comfortable way to get to Saint Lucia for the EU and CIS citizens.
The travelers can get to Saint Lucia through the neighboring islands such as Grenada, Barbados, Martinique, Trinidad or Puerto Rico. The tourists can also take a transit flight with a stop in London, San Fransisco, New York, Houston, Toronto or Miami. LIAT, Air Caraibes, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways offer the flights to Saint Lucia.
On the island, there are two international airports: Hewanorra and George Charles.
International cruise ships arrive at the ports in Castries, Soufriere and Vieux Fort.
The company L’Express des Iles offers ferry routes from Dominica to Saint Lucia.
The travelers from Russia, CIS countries and European states can travel to Saint Lucia and stay there for 6 weeks visa-free.
When crossing the border, the tourists must show the confirmation of booking, international passport, return tickets and money to confirm their financial sufficiency.
If one wants to stay on the island for a longer period, he or she can go to Castries and extend the visa in the Migration Office.
The tourists can import and export national and foreign currency in any amount.
Adult tourists can bring in Saint Lucia cigarettes and alcohol for personal purposes. It is prohibited to export objects having historical, cultural or artistic value.
The tourists from the British Commonwealth are allowed to bring pets with them but only if they have all the necessary documents such as an international vet certificate, vaccination card and a permit from the State Veterinary Service of Saint Lucia. All the pets except birds must be chipped.
The staple food on the island is seafood and rice. No dish is served without fried bananas.
Being in Saint Lucia, try stuffed crab. The local chefs can fantastically cook the clams and the dish received the name Lambi. Spices and lemon juice are mixed in a secret proportion and this makes this delicacy a true culinary masterpiece. Before frying the fish, the locals first salt down the fish and this is a secret why it is so delicious when cooked over the charcoal. The local chefs use a lot of spices and different sauces.
Bananas in Saint Lucia play a very important role in the economy of the island. Saint Lucia is one of the leading banana exporters in the Caribbean. Bananas are the ingredients for salads, appetizers and desserts. The locals fry and stew them, add to cream soups and even mix with the seafood. The tourists will be offered fresh shrimps with curry and Tostones (fried bananas). Reveal the exotic taste of the dish Callaloo (a vegetable soup with spinach and taro leaves) and banana and fish mix. Do not leave the island without trying Accra, fish patties from salt cod with green ginger.
Meat and by-products take an important place in the diet of the people. These dishes are under the influence of the British and French cuisines. Steaks, black pudding, roasted whole poultry, lamb roasted over the charcoal, ham, sausage and much more are served in the local restaurants.
The fruit drinks in Saint Lucia are both very delicious and beneficial for health. The tourists will surely like the taste of the non-alcoholic drink from the juice of unripe apples which is named Golden Apples. The locals prefer tea mate or black coffee with ginger and cinnamon.
A traditional alcoholic drink in Saint Lucia is rum. Python is the most popular light beer produced on the island.
There are two currencies which are officially and legally are allowed in Saint Lucia. Eastern Caribbean Dollar is the official currency but US dollars are also widely accepted. In some touristic resorts the prices for goods and services are given only in the American currency.
One can exchange currency at banks and in hotels. The best exchange rate is for US dollar and Euro.
The cards Diners Club, MasterCard, American Express and Visa are accepted in malls and hotels in Castries and Rodney Bay. On the markets and in taxis, cash is more willingly accepted.
There are ATMs in airports, banks, hotels and in large stores.
If you take traveler’s checks, get the checks in US dollars.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Saint Lucia
The symbol of Saint Lucia is two volcanic peaks Petit Piton and they are connected with each other by the Piton Mitan ridge. These volcanoes can be seen from any place on the island. The peaks are located not far from the city of Soufriere and they constitute the Pitons Management Area which under UNESCO protection.
The Pigeon Island Nature Reserve was founded in 1550 by a Frenchman Jambe de Bois (that was his nickname) to watch the sea maneuvers of the enemy. Today, this is an entertainment place for the tourists. In Pigeon Island, the tourists will see the ruins of the Rodney Fort built in the 17th century by the British Admiral J. Rodney.
The Friget Island Nature Reserve is the habitat for the rare bird species oriole and pigeon ramier. In Maria Island Nature Reserve, there lives a very rare cow snake. In summer, this reserve is not open because thousands of sea birds are nesting here at this time of the year. People on the island opened a small museum, the Maria Island Museum devoted to the reptiles and birds.
Snorkeling and diving are available on the artificial and natural reef in Saint Lucia. The tourists have a chance to see the turtles, sharks and sea horses. Anse Chastanet, Anse le Raye, coral gardens in Gros Piton and Fairy Land are the most popular places for diving.
Souvenirs in Saint Lucia
The shape of the island Saint Lucia reminds an almond and that is why many souvenirs are connected with this nut. The tourists usually buy pottery in the form of an almond decorated with ethnic ornaments.
Wooden figurines cut from the cedar or the rosewood are very popular souvenirs among the tourists.
The best gift for any women will be cosmetics with beneficial thermal mud.
In the old Devo Mansion, there is a cultural center Vichy-Foklo with an exposition of the Creole culture objects. In the center, there is a small souvenir shop where the tourists can buy Creole woven and leather goods.