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St. Lucia Vacations
St. Lucia is one of the Windward Islands, located in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean chain. Its terrain is a combination of high mountains, forests, low-lying lands, and beaches. Mountain ranges run the length of the island and forests dominate the mountains, while jasmine, scarlet chenille, and wild orchids provide splashes of color to the lush green slopes. The average annual temperature range is 75°-85°F.
St Lucia, One of the Windward Islands, it is located in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands and is approximately 21 miles south of Martinique and 90 miles northwest of Barbados. Castries (population 50,000) is the island’s capital and is situated North-west of the island.
St. Lucia is the sort of island that travelers to the Caribbean dream about–a small, lush tropical gem that is still relatively unknown. One of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles is located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, and north of Barbados. St. Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado (depending on your taste). The Atlantic Ocean kisses its eastern shore, while the west coast beaches owe their beauty to the calm Caribbean Sea.
In natural beauty, St. Lucia seems like an island plucked from the South Pacific and set down in the Caribbean. Its 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 mélange 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.
Saint Lucia Activities
The beauty of Saint Lucia provides the perfect backdrop for the casual adventure – or the adventure of a lifetime. Take a lofty, laid-back ride above the rainforest canopy, renew yourself under the cascade of a refreshing waterfall, or take a stroll through the rainforest.
For the adrenaline seekers: hop aboard a Segway, horseback ride along the coast, or climb Gros Pitons mountains. With island terrain that ranges from tranquil beaches to lush rainforests, the variety of things to do is unending.
The turquoise waters surrounding the island of Saint Lucia offer many rejuvenating and restorative adventures to build the body, mind, and soul. Fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, snuba, sea trekking, snorkeling or simply floating atop some of the clearest waters in the world – the adventure awaits. Find Your Activity…..
Getting Around the Island
Minibuses and Taxis
Minibusses serve as the main ground transportation for the island. These buses run at varied times depending on the route. Fares range from EC$2.50 to EC$8.00. Allminibussess have a green number plate with an M prefix. Taxis are easily available at taxi stands or by telephone. All authorized taxis have a light blue number plate with a TX prefix. Fares vary by destination and nature of the trip. Before you hire a taxi, confirm the fare. From Hewanorra International Airport to Castries takes around an hour.
Cars, 4-wheel drive vehicles, and scooters can be booked in advance through your travel agent or locally at airports, hotels, or car rental offices. A temporary driving license is required for visitors and may be obtained upon presentation of a valid driving license on arrival at the airport, the police station in Castries, or the car rental offices. Remember to drive on the left side.
Those who prefer to do much of their traveling on the water will find that Saint Lucia is well-serviced by ferries, making it easy to include Saint Lucia in any island hopping tour. Several ferry lines connect Saint Lucia with Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe. Visit www.express-des-iles.com which operates a ferry service between Saint Lucia and Martinique. Other ferry services are available on www.stlucia.org
Spectacular aerial tours of Saint Lucia are possible, and helicopter transfers between Hewanorra and George FL Charles airports reduce the travel time between the south and north of the island. For more information, visit www.stluciahelicopters.com.
Sub-tropical climate kept mild by cooling trade winds makes St. Lucia a year-round delight. From June to November be prepared for sporadic tropical showers.
Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort is located 40 miles south of Castries. George F. L . Charles Inter Island Airport in Castries.
The currency of St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar which is linked to the US Dollar at the exchange rate of 1 US$ to 2.70 EC$. US$ is widely accepted on the island.
The duty-free allowance into St. Lucia is 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco or 50 cigars, and one liter of spirit or wine. Duty-free shopping is available at Pointe Seraphine, La Place Carenage, and at the departure lounge of Hewanorra Airport. Luxury items include Jewelry, Batiks, Giftware, Local Crafts, Liquor, Cigarettes, and Cigars.
A Departure Tax of EC $68 (US $26) for all passengers over 12 years is applied to ticket prices at the time of purchase.
Domestic Travel within the Island
Minibusses serve as the main ground transportation medium for the island. These buses run up to varied times depending on the route one desires to ply. Buses to Gros Islet, for example, run until around 10.00 pm: (longer on Friday nights when the weekly “jump-up” takes place at Gros Islet). However, there is no scheduled bus timetable. Bus fares: Castries – North end of the island EC $2.50, Castries – South end of the island (Vieux Fort) EC $8.00. Car travel via the new West Coast Road from Castries to Soufriere takes about an hour. From Hewanorra Airport to Castries takes around an hour.
For your added comfort, Helicopter transfers are available from Hewanorra to Castries. There is a Heli-pad located at Vigie Hanger and the Jalousie Hilton Hotel. This can be booked directly with St. Lucia Helicopters Ltd on Tel: 758 453 6950, Fax: 758 452 1553, or Paradise Helicopters at 758 450 9203.
220 volts, 50 cycles AC (a few hotels are 110 volts, 60 cycles). Most sockets take 3-pin square plugs (UK standard) but some take 2-pin round plugs or flat American plugs, which are rare. Adaptors are generally available at the hotels.
Visitors must carry valid passports. Visas are not required where the visitor is a citizen of the USA or certain Commonwealth countries, or where there is an agreement for exemption between the home country and St. Lucia.
Best Time to Visit: April to June.