St. Lucia holidays

Experience St. Lucia

Best Places to Visit

The Sulphur Springs to the south of Soufriere are among the island's main attractions. Hot water naturally flows into a pool that is open to the public, so visitors can swim to their heart's content. There is an entry fee and visitors should note that this is higher if you want to enter the water. It’s also typically higher for tourists than for residents, at a premium of about four times the price.

Head to Gros Islet and you find yourself in one of Saint Lucia's newest towns, having recently been promoted from its previous village status. It may seem like Gros Islet is scarce, but be sure to check out the nearby beaches and marinas. On the other hand, every Friday night the streets are closed and a street party takes place, with street vendors selling food and the bars serving drinks until late - a very good reason to start your holiday here!

The charmingly named Cas en Bas is situated on St Lucia's northern coast. While local amenities are few and far between, here you will find a kite surfing school and a handful of quaint restaurants. For tourists, a trip here can feel like you've travelled to your own private island – with restricted roads and broken paths, you may well be one of only a few people to enjoy the stunning sights.

Inland, St Lucia has rainforests, and while you might not want to trek into these on your own, there are official hiking routes that you can follow for a little extra safety. Importantly, this not only helps you to know where you’re going and how to get back safely, but it can also help to ensure that if you do get lost, there is a better chance of knowing approximately where you are! Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a sun goddess, holidays to St Lucia cater for everyone’s taste.

Top Landmarks

Gros Piton, one of two mountains south of the town Soufrière, is free to be climbed. Many physically fit visitors to the island embrace this challenge, as climbing it can be a tough feat. From a starting point some 600 feet above sea level, you face a relatively arduous two-hour hike, ranging in effort levels from normal to quite demanding, although for anyone in good overall shape, it should be achievable. The summit is at 2,600 feet, or about 800 metres, and what goes up must come down - meaning you should leave about an hour and a half to descend. The good news is that getting to the starting point of the trail is not too challenging, and you can take a local bus service or a taxi to get you there.

Pigeon Island might not sound like a landmark in the conventional sense, but it has some of the island's oldest buildings, and for this alone it is worth a visit on St Lucia holidays. You should also be able to see across to Martinique, too. Among the ruins on Pigeon Island are the remains of military buildings, and these are a testament to how valuable St Lucia was when the British and French fought bitterly for control of the island. Climb to the top of the fort for great views along the coastline, with panoramic scenery awaiting you.

Entertainment

Be prepared to get wet, as much of the island's entertainment is based on its coastline. Snorkelling is one way to experience the coast up close, with shimmering reefs and diverse sea creatures nestled against the island’s shores. If you prefer to go a little deeper, then you can hire scuba gear and explore the waters at Pigeon Island or the area between the twin Pitons.

If you want to visit any of the attractions, be prepared to pay more than the locals. In some cases, holidaymakers will be required to pay as much as four times as much for tickets. However, there is one way to get a bit of value back, and that’s when it comes to buying your souvenirs. Look out for duty-free stores, which appeared on St Lucia in response to the cruise ship trade. Here you can make a few purchases without having to pay the usual level of tax. However, you may need to show ID that proves you are a visitor, and not a permanent resident of the island - although given the choice, most people would probably opt to stay on St Lucia indefinitely and not worry about the duty-free!

Dining Out

Food on package holidays to St Lucia is quite simple, healthy and satisfying, with fresh ingredients from the island prepared together in classic recipes. Fish, vegetables and fresh fruit dominate, while stews, curries and jerk dishes are popular, too. If you want to try a Roti - a flatbread typically served with curry - then bear in mind that these are usually prepared first thing in the morning. As such, the best time of day to have one is as early as you can bring yourself to take lunch. If you're not sure where to find the best Roti in your area, just ask a local.

On Fridays, barbeques of chicken and pork appear across the island, and the firmly spiced and marinated meat, cooked over coals, packs plenty of flavour. If you're not a fan of the grilled taste, then try fried fish or chicken instead, along with any other traditional dishes you can find served up on street stalls as part of the weekly Friday-night festivities.

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Need to know

Language

While English is the official language of St Lucia, a large amount of the population speaks a French dialect called creole. This is a complete language, meaning it’s not a patois or built up of broken French. This language is so highly esteemed that there is a yearly festival held to celebrate it called Jounen Kwéyòl. Try learning a few basic phrases before heading off on holidays to St Lucia, the locals are bound to appreciate the effort made.

Currency

The currency used is the East Caribbean dollar, but this isn’t the only currency that is accepted on package holidays to St Lucia. The exchange rate with the US dollar is fixed, so you may find that it could be more beneficial to use this instead of East Caribbean dollars in some situations. You can exchange sterling at banks on the island, and there are ATMs where you can withdraw cash directly in the local currency - including at the airport, if you need to get some money on arrival.

Visas

You generally won't need a visa before embarking on all-package holidays to St Lucia, as long as you have no intentions of staying longer than the specified period. You can't work while you’re there, and obviously if you do need to stay past the expiry date, the St Lucia Immigration Department will need to give you permission. You will need a valid passport in any case, and you should make sure that this will remain valid for at least six months after you leave St Lucia, to avoid any problems when departing.

Climate

St Lucia’s weather is hot, especially on the beaches, and it's recommended to take light cotton clothing to cover up with so you're not exposed to the sun for lengthy periods. There's not much range between summer and winter - from about 30°C to about 28°C - and cotton will dry quite quickly if you get wet. You should dress quite conservatively when leaving the beach and out in the towns, so again, light cotton clothing is ideal for all kinds of weather conditions and activities on St Lucia holidays.

Main Airports

When arriving on St Lucia, there are two airports with routes to the rest of the island. The larger of the two is Hewanorra International, adjacent to the town of Vieux Fort. So big is the air traffic control tower that it can be seen from the town. Unfortunately, the passenger entrance to the airport site is at the opposite end, some two miles away from the town. That means an uncomfortable walk in hot weather or the prospect of taking a bus from the airport gate - and bear in mind that you may be asked to pay for a second seat if your luggage is large.

Flight Options

George F.L. Charles Airport, located close to Castries, is an option if you’re staying in one of the popular all-inclusive holiday resorts. Again, the distance from the airport to the town is about two miles, but is manageable if you are travelling light. The approach to landing at this airport is spectacular, as you come in over the water to a runway flanked by hills. While Hewanorra is further from the northern resorts, some visitors to St Lucia opt to land there anyway. They use the journey as a chance to do some sightseeing early in their stay, and this act as inspiration if you’re not yet sure what to do with your visit.

Travel Advice

If your flight home is due to depart from George F.L. Charles Airport, try to head there early in the day so you can soak up the sun on the nearby beach. If you plan on flying to Hewanorra and transferring to one of the resorts in the north, check your arrival time - it would be best to land in daylight so that you can enjoy the scenery en route to your resort. It's a missed opportunity if you take the road trip in the dark, and it might even be worth considering spending your first night in Vieux Fort if possible so that you can set off in the morning and drive north in daylight.

Other Transport Options

Flying is by far the easiest way to travel on holidays to St Lucia. If you’re travelling from a neighbouring island, however, there’s nothing like crossing the crystal clear ocean by boat.

Getting Around

If you allow your hotel to arrange a taxi or tour for you, it will likely end up being the most expensive option. If you approach taxi drivers yourself and ask them for a price to take you to one or more locations, it should be significantly cheaper. To reduce costs further, look into hire car options - if you want to explore, these can be good value for money.

Car

For the best value for money, rent a car and explore the hidden sights of St Lucia. There are two main highways that circle the island, so you can access some of the more scenic areas (especially from the west coast road). There are a variety of well-known car rental companies based at the airport.

Bus

An affordable option is to catch one of the small local buses. These usually have the capacity for around ten people and have a party atmosphere. The buses are often decorated quite distinctively, with Caribbean music playing throughout the journey. At least once during your stay, catch a water taxi. The asking price for these can be a little high, but it's possible to haggle, and the experience of sailing the seas is not one you will forget in a hurry.

MAP

ST. LUCIA`S WEATHER TODAY

Mostly cloudy °C

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MONTHS

AVERAGE RAINFALL (mm)

  • 129

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MONTHS

FACTS

  1. St Lucia is also often seen spelt as 'Saint Lucia', and this helps to distinguish it from the town of St Lucia in South Africa.
  2. The twin peaks of Saint Lucia, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, are considered one of the scenic natural wonders of the Caribbean, with their asymmetric cone shapes nestled against the deep blue skies.
  3. It’s believed that Saint Lucia wasn’t occupied until after biblical times - its first inhabitants likely arrived from South America between the third and fifth centuries AD.

FACTS

  1. St Lucia is also often seen spelt as 'Saint Lucia', and this helps to distinguish it from the town of St Lucia in South Africa.
  2. The twin peaks of Saint Lucia, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, are considered one of the scenic natural wonders of the Caribbean, with their asymmetric cone shapes nestled against the deep blue skies.
  3. It’s believed that Saint Lucia wasn’t occupied until after biblical times - its first inhabitants likely arrived from South America between the third and fifth centuries AD.

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