St Lucia - Abbey Travel, Ireland

St Lucia


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Welcome to St Lucia

St Lucia

St Lucia is indeed a Caribbean dream: a small, lush tropical gem of an island that is still relatively unknown and undeveloped, although it does offer a good variety of accommodation for tourists, including a few discreet resorts. St Lucia is one of the Windward isles of the Lesser Antilles, situated midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain between Martinique and St Vincent, just north of Barbados. It is tiny - only 27 miles (43km) long and 14 miles (23km) wide, shaped like an avocado.

The volcanic island's main landmarks are the Pitons, two soaring peaks on its southern coast that rise up from the sea and shelter magnificent dense rain forest where wild orchids grow and brilliantly-plumed tropical birds abound. The Creole people of the island are as warm as the tropical climate, and visitors are treated to plenty of smiles as they make the most of the island's natural beauty and secluded golden beaches, where coral reefs beckon snorkellers and scuba divers.

Most visitors are day-trippers who arrive on cruise liners at the island's main port, Castries, and generally do little more than shop for souvenirs. Those who have time to explore, however, are enchanted by the walks, cycling trails and natural beauty spots on the island, including the fascinating Soufriere volcano, with its bubbling sulphur springs.

The island has been left with a distinct French flavour, although its earliest colonists in the 17th century were British. The colonial history of the island, first settled by Arawak Indians around 200 AD, is a long saga of battles for control between the French and British. Britain eventually won the war in 1814, and granted independence under the Commonwealth to St Lucia in 1979.

Information & Facts


Due to its popularity as an offshore banking location, business dress in St Lucia requires a level of formality. Handshakes for both men and women are the common form of greeting at the beginning and end of meetings, and business cards are usually exchanged. Business hours are generally 8am to 4.30pm throughout the week and 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.


Like all Caribbean islands, St Lucia enjoys a hot, tropical climate throughout the year. The average daily temperatures of 80°F (27°C) tend to be tempered by trade winds. The driest time on the island is between January and March but showers can occur throughout the year, however they are usually over quickly. Hurricane season is generally from June to November.


The international access code for St Lucia is +1 758. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom); the outgoing code is not needed for calls to Canada and the US. City/area codes are not in use. Pay phones accept coins and pre-paid cards, available at shops throughout the island. AT&T calling cards can be used for cheaper international calls. Mobile phone operators provide good GSM 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 network coverage of the island. Email and Internet access is available at Internet cafes throughout the island.


It is an offence for anyone to dress in camouflage clothing. Homosexuality is illegal.

Duty Free

Travellers to St Lucia may bring in 200 cigarettes or 250g tobacco, and 1 litre wine or spirits without paying customs duty.

240 volts, 50Hz. Three square-pin plugs are standard.

There are few health risks associated with travel to St Lucia, although the mosquito-carried dengue fever is a risk throughout the island. HIV/AIDS is prevalent and precautions are always advised. Bilharzia is endemic. No vaccinations are required, however a yellow fever certificate is necessary for travellers arriving from infected areas. Health care costs are high on the island and health insurance is recommended, which should cover medical evacuation. EHIC card holders are entitled to emergency medical treatment in the case of evacuation to Martinique, on the same terms as Martinique nationals, of which 70 percent of the costs can be reclaimed.

English is the official language, but St Lucian Creole is widely spoken.

The unit of currency in Saint Lucia is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which is tied to the US Dollar. The EC$ is divided into 100 cents. US dollars are also accepted at most tourist establishments and ensure a better exchange rate. ATMs are available in Castries, Rodney Bay, Soufriere and Vieux Fort. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 2pm, some are open till 5pm. Major credit cards are accepted at all large hotels, shops and restaurants. Most hotels will exchange foreign currency, and there are change bureaux in Castries.

Passport Visa

Visitors must hold documents for the next destination, return or onward tickets and sufficient funds. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. The wearing of camouflage clothing, or to be in possession of camouflage bags is illegal in St. Lucia for anyone not in the military services. Travellers with such items will be asked to change or remove the camouflage articles, which will then be confiscated. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Most visits to St Lucia are trouble-free, but visitors should take common-sense precautions against robbery and theft. Isolated areas, such as beaches, should be avoided after dark. Hurricane season is generally from June to November.

Local time is GMT -4.

A service charge is not automatically added to bills and about 10% of the bill is expected. Taxi drivers, porters and chambermaids also expect small tips.

St Lucia may not have coral reefs, but it does have perfectly clear emerald waters and brightly coloured tropical fish, perfect for snorkelling and other aquatic activities. All of St Lucia's beaches are public and travellers can pop onto any of the island's most famous stretches of sand. Some of St Lucia's best beaches include Anse Cochon or the solitary beaches on Anse Comerette. Anse Louvet is one of the best beaches for snorkelling, while the sheltered bay at Anse Chastanet is great for younger and more inexperienced swimmers.

Children will go mad for this exciting tour aboard the Brig Unicorn, the actually boat from the Disney Pirates of the Caribbeanmovies. The 140-foot (42-metre) replica 19th-century tall ship takes passengers from St Vigie Cove sailing south towards Soufriere into the open waters to explore the mystical Caribbean Sea where lucky sailors will even get to experience the ship's cannon being fired, walk the plank or swing into the sea from the ship's ropes. The ship drops anchor at Pigeon Island where old ruins can be explored. Lunch and drinks are served on the cruise back to St Lucia. Booking essential.

Located in the Diamond Botanical Gardens, the Diamond Waterfall is a popular attraction and a great walk for the whole family. This waterfall is careated by the water from the bubbling sulfur springs of the Diamond Mineral Baths and changes colours a few times a day, from yellow to black then changing to green and finally grey.

Children as young as two years old can enjoy riding at the International Riding Stables with trained guides, while older children can enjoy riding ahead, depending on their experience level. Children will also love the riding tour with a beach picnic at Cas en Bas, a scenic ride through the countryside and a stop on the beach for swimming and cantering through the lapping waves.

Although the mountain bike trails may not be the easiest in the world, they are definitely extremely beautiful. An attraction geared more towards the older children, jungle biking is a great way to see the island and get outdoors with the family for a fun-filled day. Bikers will ride past an18th-century French-Colonial ruins of a sugar mill, an old church, and a reservoir. Children's bikes and helmets available.

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