St Lucia - Holidays, Flights and Hotels
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Flight Time to St Lucia from the UK
Approx 8 hours 45 min
The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 m above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's most famous landmark. They are located near Soufrière, on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that flaunts a drive-in volcano.
The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort. The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds, with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from May to November.
Second only to bananas, tourism is vital to St Lucia's economy - and it is hard to imagine that tourism will not become even more important in the future. Provided one visits during the dry season (January - April), St Lucia has all the ingredients necessary for a great holiday in the sun: warm temperatures, gorgeous beaches, crystal-clear waters and friendly natives.
But St Lucia also has character: there is more to see than just the beaches. The "World's only drive-in Volcano" is a great day out (the smell not with standing) as is the wonderful Botanical Gardens. The fact that the island is not over-developed is also a plus-point: there are lovely beaches without hotels, sweeping mountains and impenetrable rain forests.
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Flights to St Lucia | Car Rental | Resorts and Hotels in St Lucia |
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St Lucia is the second-largest of the Windward Islands. It has some of the finest mountain scenery in the West Indies, rich with tropical vegetation. For such a small island, 43km (27 miles) by 23km (14 miles), St Lucia has a great variety of plant and animal life. Orchids and exotic plants of the genus anthurium grow wild in the rainforests and the roadsides are covered with many colourful tropical flowers. Flamboyant trees spread shade and blossom everywhere. Indigenous wildlife includes a species of ground lizard unique to St Lucia, and the agouti and the manicou, two rodents, common throughout the island.
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Ticking all the right boxes, St Lucia’s jungle-clad peaks, the Pitons, rise dramitically from the sea. This picture book Caribbean island has honey coloured beaches and coral reefs, sulphur springs and magnificent waterfalls. Scattered with banana plantations and the occasional clapboard rum shop, listen out for the French-based patois dialect and spot the rare St Lucia parrot in the rainforest.
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Picture the perfect Caribbean island ? honey coloured beaches, coral reefs, sulphur springs, magnificent waterfalls ? and you have St Lucia. You'll find the best beaches in the north- or south-west, but for the truly dreamy palm-lined coves and bays scattered around the coast you'll need to hop on a boat. The turquoise waters offer superb diving and snorkelling and a trip to the rainforest may reward you with a sight of the rare St Lucia parrot. A visit to a clapboard rum shop is a must, as is bargaining for souvenirs in Castries Market. And after dining on callaloo soup and pepperpot stew, end the perfect day at one of the live music bars or clubs.
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The embracing scenery of the capital city of Castries and the mountainous peaks of the steep sided forested volcanic Pitons on the southwest coast make up the second largest of the Windward Islands, St Lucia.
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Most visitors view this from the comfort of an all-inclusive resort lounger. There is a string of resorts around the coast where people try limbo, dance to steel bands and get married under flowery bowers, but all hotels offer excursions by boat and road, and these are well-worth taking.
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Public Holidays in St. Lucia
Monday January 01 - New Year's Day
Tuesday January 2 - New Year's Holiday
Thursday February 22 - Independence Day
Friday April 06 - Good Friday
Sunday April 08 - Easter
Monday April 09 - Easter Monday
Tuesday May 01 - Labour Day
Sunday May 27 - Whit Sunday (Pentecost)
Monday May 28 - Whit Monday
Thursday June 07 - Corpus Christi Day
Monday August 06 - Emancipation Day
Monday October 01 - Thanksgiving Day
Thursday December 13 - National Holiday
Tuesday December 25 - Christmas Day
Wednesday December 26 - Boxing Day
St Lucia Visa Requirements
Entry requirements for UK nationals: British nationals must have a valid passport. No visa is required.
Getting Around In Saint Lucia
The main way for tourists to get around St. Lucia is by taxi, either arranged by the hotel, taxi agency or individual operators. The tours arranged by resorts are usually the most expensive way to travel but might offer food and drink. Using a local taxi operator to plan your own adventure will be much more affordable. Your hotel staff should provide you with a number of a taxi agency or operator that they use regularly. The prices are generally fixed but you can shop around to get the best rate if given several numbers. Many taxi drivers that run from the resorts to the marketplaces will offer tours of the island for around $145 (about £75) per van load. Each van will hold between 6 and 12 people.
However, if you are a small group 1-4 people and just want to travel to Castries Market or Vieux-Fort try taking the local transports. They are small vans which hold around 10-14 people and vary in quality. They run irregularly, but frequently from rural towns to urban centers, (i.e. Soufriere to Castries, Soufriere to Vieux-Fort, Vieux-Fort to Castries), each day most travelling to Castries in the morning and returning to Soufriere late afternoon. They are very affordable and provide a unique experience each time; the vehicle operators often decorate the interiors and play their own music, either a mix of Caribbean flavours or country. If you want to try and take a transport discuss your route and travel time with one of the local staff familiar with the bus system. Many of them likely take a transport to and from work.
A helicopter taxi can be taken from Hewannora airport to Vigie airport and is a quick and spectacular way to get to the resorts on the Northern end of the island.
1) All beaches on St. Lucia are open to the public, even at the resorts.
2) Nude sunbathing is illegal on St. Lucia (that includes topless bathing).
Eating In Saint Lucia
St Lucian food consists mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and a variety of curry, jerk, rice and stewed dishes. The coal pot is a delicous stew, traditional to native carib cultures and can be found at many local restaurants in Castries, Soufriere and Vieux-Fort. Vegetarian and meat rotis can be found at a number of small local restaurants, ask any local for the best roti shop and they'll tell you how to get there. Roti's are usually made fresh in the morning so if eating a spicy early lunch is of interest, its highly recommended. Local cuisine is prepared throughout the island, so depending on where you are staying ask a local if they know someone/somewhere that prepares local food and you will be sure to be welcomed somewhere nearby. Many rumshacks in rural towns also prepare food if given advanced notice. Fish, veggie, chicken, and goat meals are very common and usually come with a number of sides including salad, plantain, breadfruit, macaroni, and rice prepared a number of different ways.
For a quick snack, bar-b-ques with chicken and pork can be found in any community on a Friday night. The food is well marinated and spiced, soak up the sauce with a barbequed or fried bake. Fried chicken and fish can also be found, and is quite delicous.
There are weekly parties and festivals held in various communities throughout the island where you can also sample a range of local foods, including sea food, bar-b-qued meats, salads, and drinks. These festivals are filled with dancing, drinks, food and music. Let your hair down, try some cuisine and lime it up. Be sure to ask what is in the pots before you sample the food. For those environmentally conscious, blackfish is porpoise.