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St. Lucia

Language: The main language in Saint Lucia is English although many St.Lucians also speak French and Spanish.

Climate: Like all Caribbean countries tropical storms are common especially between June and November but St Lucia also has more than its fair share of rainfall hence the lush rainforest.

Humidity is at its highest from August to October.

Tip: Choose accommodation with air-conditioning. Ceiling fans on their own are not always sufficient.

Currency: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the unit of currency but British Pounds, US and Canadian dollars and Euros are easily exchanged. Most prices are quoted in US Dollars.

Flight Time From UK: Approx 8� hours

Departure Tax: All passengers 12-years and over are required to pay Departure Tax of about �13*or $21*.

*Check locally for latest charges.

Time Difference: 4 hours behind GMT.

It is customary to tip about 10% to 12% for good service. Have a few dollars handy for the airport porters on arrival.

What's it really like?

Where the lush green Piton mountains plunge into the turquoise sea it creates a breath-taking, almost pre-historic landscape that seems almost untouched.

The dense rainforest comes at a price which is the St Lucian weather. For three months, August to November the country soaks up more downpours than many of its neighbouring islands put-together.

The moist climate in the rainy season is also a magnet for insects so pack plenty of mosquito repellent.

Despite its Commonwealth ties to the UK St Lucia has a French feel as a result of the many battles, won and lost between Britain and France who both fought to claim the island as their own.

The two tourists areas are grouped on the north west and western coasts, concentrated around the best beaches. The south of the island, which offers the hotel resort, Coconut Bay is lapped by the Atlantic Ocean.

Rodney Bay is the liveliest town thanks to its marina, shops and restaurants.

Although the island is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide driving through the mountainous interior can be a challenging journey, especially during the rainy season . Many hotels arrange airport transfers by helicopter for a price.

Days Out

The dull business-like capital, Castries is probably way down the list of places to visit unless you want to take advantage of the duty-free shops and market.

Barbados is also close enough for an excursion for a day or two.

On an island full of beautiful places Marigot Bay is probably the jewel in the crown. The green hills plunge down into the Caribbean to create a tranquil, memorable touch of natural beauty.  

The restaurants clustered around the shoreline offer mostly simple food against a chic backdrop thanks to the many yachts moored off the coast

St. Lucians are justifiably proud of their corner of paradise and they have made a concerted effort to maintain the integrity of the island and balance economic considerations with ecology and providing unique experiences for visitors.

Organised trips to the breathtaking Piton Mountains attract climbers, walkers and bird watchers. Diamond Falls and the nearby drive-in volcano are also worth a visit. 
The volcano still belches sulphur-laden steam and day trippers can take advantage of the so-called 'purifying' hot spring and mud pool.

Boat trips are a great way of enjoying the truly stunning coastline scenery and also include whale-watching, scuba diving and fishing.

Hiring cars in St Lucia requires even tourists to obtain a local driving licence from the rental company.

The historic ruins on Pigeon Island are tempting to explore but it's a steep walk and you'll need sensible shoes.

St Lucia is also a paradise for divers, either beginners or experienced who appreciate the dazzling variety of marine life that swarms around the many reefs.

  • The Key Hole Pinnacles: Voted one of the "10 Best Dive Sites" by Caribbean Travel & Life.
  • Anse Chastanet is a popular spot on the southwest of the island with a reef wall that plunges 140 ft close to Soufriere.
  • Lesleen M Shipwreck: A 165 ft ship that was sunk deliberately to provide an artificial reef. Divers can explore the ship in its entirety.
  • Superman�s Flight: So-called because it was used as a scene for Superman II. There's good visibility created by strong currents.
  • And watch out for 'The Thing': Said to be St Lucia�s own �Loch Ness Monster on Vacation�

Shops: Rodney Bay has a small shopping mall but most tourists prefer to barter with the market stall holders and beach traders.

Beaches: Like its neighbour, Barbados the calmest of St. Lucia's coastline is on the west in the sheltered Caribbean.

In places the sand is imported and tends to be volcanic and pebbly, not the white variety that some islands are blessed with.

Overcrowding is a problem on the best beaches and there are strong currents in places.

Nights Out: St Lucia's nightlife isn't as vibrant as some other Caribbean islands but the bars and restaurants in Rodney Bay's marina attract lots of visitors in the evenings.

Eating out offers a small variety including; Creole, French, Italian, Chinese, Indian and Mexican

Bucket and Spade Brigade:

Strictly for undemanding beach babes so make sure your hotel has entertainment laid on. The climate may not suit the very young.

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