21 miles south of Martinique and 90 miles North-West of Barbados, St. Lucia lies right in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean island chain. The island is 27 miles long, and 14 miles wide, encompassing an area of 239 sq. miles (620 sq. km). The island is home to a diverse and colourful history, culture and topography, all of which provide something to captivate our visitors.
History & CultureThe regular changes of occupying nation throughout St. Lucia’s past has resulted in a diverse and interesting blend of cultures, influences and architectural styles. The island has been inhabited by a variety of differing races, from the Arawak Indians and the Caribs around 200-400 A.D., through to Europeans such as the British and French, until the island finally gained independence, on the 22nd February 1979. St. Lucia remains a Commonwealth Realm, still recognising Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State, but has it’s own government, senate and democratic election system that gives the islanders control over their own policies and laws.
The political instability the island experienced between 1667 and 1814 as it was fought over by the French and British, has resulted in mix of architectural styles, cuisines and even language variations. The island has some great history and this is evident wherever you go. Pigeon Island National Park and Fort Rodney are but two examples of how this military action has resulted in some unique and captivating environments and scenery.
The islanders love cricket and drive on the left side of the road as well as predominantly speaking English, but add to that mix, Kwéyòl St. Lucia’s second language, Caribbean based rum and beers, Creole cuisine, carnivals, festivals and open-air markets and you have an exciting place that will constantly surprise and delight.
LanguageEnglish is the official language of the island, and spoken everywhere amongst the 150,000 inhabitants! Kwéyòl, St. Lucia’s second language, is also commonly used and is not as many think, a broken version of French. The language has its own rules of syntax and grammar and is spoken by a large proportion of the population, from bankers to street cleaners.
ClimateSt. Lucia experiences a tropical climate, with rainy seasons from June to November, and temperatures between 21 and 32 degrees Celsius (70 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit).
Banking & CurrencyThe Currency used on St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) but it is easy to exchange any other countries tender at our banks.
Normal banking hours run from 8:00am to 2:00pm, with some banks remaining open until 5:00pm on a Friday. There are a number of banks and ATM machines around the island, with the banks at the Rodney Bay Marina open on Saturday from 8:00am to 12:00 noon.
- Major Credit cards are widely accepted.
- Duty Free Allowance into St. Lucia is 250g of tobacco, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, one litre of wine or spirit. There are a number of duty free shops on the island.
- A departure tax of EC $68 for non Caricom National passengers over 12 years old, and EC $35 for Caricom Nationals, exists when leaving the island.
- Most Electricity sockets are 3 pin square plugs (UK Standard) and adapters are generally available in hotels for those who require them.
- 911 - Emergency number for Police, Fire and Ambulance services.
- 758 452 2854 - Police HQ telephone number - Bridge Street, Castries
- 758 452 5968 - St. Lucia Tourist Board telephone number
- Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid immunisation is recommended before visiting.
- Tap water is safe to drink with mineral water also readily available
- Hotel & Restaurant bills have a Government tax of 8%
- A service charge of 10% is regularly employed on the island
- St. Lucia is 4 hours behind GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)