St. Lucia Travel Tips

So, you are all packed and excited about your trip to the beautiful island of St. Lucia.  The itinerary is all planned and you can’t wait to board the plane to fly to your destination.  Before the anticipated vacation, here are some general travel tips to ensure a fun-filled, exciting, and safe trip.3

  • First, and most important, a passport is required for U.S. and Canadian citizens to enter St. Lucia. The passport has to valid for a minimum of six months. You must also have an ongoing or return ticket.  If you are cruising, a passport is not required if the cruise leaves from the U.S. and returns to the U.S.  But be advised that if need to disembark in the case of an emergency, you may have problems staying in or entering a foreign country, and even re-entering the United States.  To be on the safe side, it is best to have a passport.
  • US. dollars are accepted in most places, but your change may be given in Eastern Caribbean dollars (ECs), which is the official currency. Traveler’s checks and major credit cards are also accepted at many places in St. Lucia.  If you use an ATM, you can only get local currency.
  • Crime rates in St. Lucia are described as “moderate,” but it is still recommended that you use the same precautions that you would at home. Do not leave valuables unattended or out in the open for easy accessibility.
  • Lucia has one private hospital, and two public hospitals. Take precautions in the sun with protective covering and sunscreen to prevent overexposure.  Drink plenty of water which will keep you hydrated and protected from heat stroke.  Some of the things to watch for in St. Lucia is the fer-de-lance, one of the most poisonous snakes in South and Central America.  They especially flourish along the coastline of St. Lucia.  If you are going hiking, be sure to wear sturdy leather boots and stay away from ditches and stream edges.  Also, always wear insect repellent to protect against mosquitos.  They are prevalent during July through November which is the rainy season, and in the evenings.  The dengue fever mosquito is common in this area.  Medications should be packed in clearly labeled, original containers. You should also have a note from your doctor  which states why you need the medication.  Things like aspirin or ibuprofen, antacids, bandaids, and topical disinfectants can be packed in a small Travel Medical Kit.
  • Do not drink any river water in St. Lucia because it contains giardia which is a parasite that gets into the small intestine and causes diarrheal illness. Tap water is considered safe, and there is plenty of bottled water available at restaurants and hotels. Be sure to wash and peel any local fruits and vegetables before you eat them.
  • If you are coming with your children, it’s also advised to bring your strollers with you (get a cheap one for the trip)
  • There are two airports in St. Lucia – George F.L. Charles Airport and Hewanorra International Airport. Airlines servicing St. Lucia are American Airlines, JetBlue, Delta, US Airways, Air Caraibes, and LIAT.   The larger jets fly to Hewanorra, which is convenient if you are staying near Soufriere, and the smaller aircraft fly to George F.L. Charles Airport (also called Vigie Airport) in Castries.  Many travel packages include ground transportation, but if not, taxis are available at the airports to take you where you need to go.

It is a good idea to visit the U.S. Embassy site and sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which will update you with security and safety announcements.  Also connect with the U.S. Embassy  in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, and the Bureau of Consular Affairs.  All of these resources will offer valuable information about traveling to St. Lucia.

St. Lucia – what is it?

St. Lucia – The Island

St. Lucia is Caribbean island that is located between the North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Caribbean Sea.  Known as one of the Windward Islands, it got its name from Saint Lucy of Syracuse. Saint Lucy was a young Christian woman who died during the Great Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. She is considered a saint by the Lutheran, Anglican, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.  Her name as well as the Blessed Virgin Mary and seven other women, are commemorated in the Canon of the Mass. There is also a feast day which is held in St. Lucia on December 13th each year in her honor.

The French were the first Europeans to settle in St. Lucia, and they named the island. They signed a treaty with the Carib Indians, who were natives of the island, around 1660. From 1663 to 1667 England took control of Saint Lucia, and went to war with France a number of times.  After bouncing back and forth between French and British control so many times, St. Lucia finally became an independent nation in 1979.

The Land

St. Lucia has many mountains and is considered a volcanic island. It is the only island where you can actually drive through a volcano! Its two most famous landmarks are the twin coastal peaks called the Pitons. These peaks rise 2,000 feet up from the sea, and are volcanic landforms that were created when magma hardened on an active volcano.  The island is 27 miles long, and 14 miles wide.  Some people say it is shaped like an avocado or mango. St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, which boasts brilliant rainforests, tropical birds, and natural beaches.  There are also traces of its colonial history in the old fortresses, open-air markets, and small villages.  The highest peak in St. Lucia is Mt. Gimie which stands at 3,117 feet, and offers a magnificent view of the island.


The volcanic soil here is fertile, so the island has a rich supply of mangoes, pineapples, guavas,coconuts, passionfruit, bananas, and soursops. They are one of the top banana exporters in the Caribbean.  Dishes like Callaloo soup, pepperpot stew, and Creole style meals, are just some of the delicious, mouthwatering creations that make up St. Lucia’s cuisine (some of them you can cook at home if you have proper cooking appliances).  They have received international recognition and earned several gold medals by competing in some of the most prestigious culinary competitions in the region.

The People

The Caribs and Arawaks (also called AmerIndians) were the first people to inhabit St. Lucia.  They were highly skilled farmers, fishermen, hunters, and artists.  With the arrival of the British and French French, the AmerIndians were all but wiped out.  Only a few St. Lucians can trace their roots back to the AmerIndians.  After the Europeans arrived, Africans began to arrive as slaves and indentured labourers. About 85 per cent of the people in St. Lucia are of pure African descent. After slavery was abolished, East Indians came to St. Lucia as indentured servants. Today, English, African, and East Indian cultures all contribute to the diverse make up of St. Lucia. The main language of this island is English, although St. Lucian Creole French is also popular as a secondary language. 85 percent of the population is part of the Roman Catholic community.

St. Lucia is an island full of appeal with its captivating cultural heritage and rich historical background.   Their motto sums it up best – “The Land, The People, The Light.”

Wildlife at St Lucia

The Caribbean – a vast area consisting of 700 unique and great islands divided into different groups. Each island tells a story about itself and its inhabitants and so does the volcanic member of this community named Saint Lucia. Inhabited by if I may say the most polite people and a variety of animal species can easily grant the attribute of earth’s heart. All we can say is that Columbus scored when discovering them back in 1942 “by mistake”, Saint Lucia stands out by its demographics. It’s known that it is one of the most mountainous islands in the group. Among the tasty seafood served by the locals, taking a tour or a morning hike is a must. You will see a very unique nature and green areas. Charging your lungs with one of the purest fresh air to be found on earth, you will feel 10 years younger. After all “what is life full of care when we can’t stand and stare”? Every human once in a while needs to escape the buzz and overcrowded places. Roughly only 2 percent of the island is inhabited which means there is a lot of wild life to be explored beside the woods themselves. The wildlife consists of reptiles, fish, birds, stingrays and many more. The list can be updated to 270 different species while some of them are known to be endangered anyway, if you ever decide to visit the island of Saint Lucia there are some recommendations. Here is a list of places to visit: Rodney Bay, The Pitons, Margot Bay, The Pigeon Island and Virgie Beach. Margot bay has been described as a most beautiful bay in the Carribean by the American novelist James A. Michener and it is also the place where history was made. Numerous battles between the Royal navy and the French sailors occurred here. The bay is known to be used in multiple movie scenes as well such as the movie adaptation of Doctor Doolittle. As for the volcanic mountains known as The Pitons, climbing them is a real adventure. Especially for the “Petite Piton” where a welcome center is nowhere to be found in difference of The Grose Piton.

You probably have to even hire a local guide who knows the route to take you to top. This type of climbing includes some primitive methods like climbing ropes so preparing for a trip like this there is a list of essential things. Not knowing what you are doing can be potentially life threatening. While for real adventurers a survival knife number one on the list since it can replace a lot of other tools, and might come in handy even if you spend the night under open sky unprepared. Packing only a flashlight, a set of matches and few other things won’t be enough, trust me. The pocket knife can be used for a lot of things such as skinning, trapping, cutting wood etc. You can even use it to start a fire while it can serve as a kitchen knife as well.


St Lucian Food

In the Caribbean there are about a thousand species of fish, including sharks (bull shark, tiger shark, silky shark and Caribbean reef shark), flying fish, giant oceanic manta ray, angel fish, spot fin butterflyfish, parrotfish, Atlantic Goliath grouper, and tarpon and moray eels documented. Throughout the Caribbean there is industrial catching of lobster and sardines (off the coast of Yucatan Peninsula). Saint Lucia is one of the many islands to be found on The Caribbean. It stands out of all other islands by its demographical, geographical characteristics and great nature overwhelmed with different and unique animal species. Which brings up the fact that when it comes to seafood St. Lucia has a lot to put on the table. Just by walking on the streets in the small town you could smell somewhere at great distance in couple of miles food being cooked. Locals are cooking in many traditional ways which attracts additional number of tourists, when taking a walk through the town just ask the locals for a restaurant recommendation they will be happy to help, very polite people indeed.

There are many restaurants offering great views and sightseeing beside food, it’s a real pleasure and privilege to have a lunch in one. I prefer lunch, because at that time the temperature drops at optimal, the sun drops down a bit and the warm wind is blowing into your sleeves. I got so amazed I asked one of the waiters if I could give the chef a visit, it took him less than a minute to come and invite me himself. As I was going spicy smell was being carried by the wind and I could hear the sound of frying shrimps. The loud guests and running waiters were making a real atmosphere. I went to the kitchen and I cooked my own meal with the chef, amazing right? Well I had just a couple of oil spills but all went good. What caught my eye, despite the traditional ways of cooking there are restaurants that follow the modern trend of cooking by using gas cookers, rice cookers, deep fryers like these ones, modern stainless steel blades and etc. But still their food is delicious and their skills are truly unique. While I was cooking the chef was able to switch deep fryers in under a second. And by delicious food I mean seafood. They are tremendous at cooking shrimps, fish, catfish, salmon combined with rice for the winner menu. They even offer whale and eel known as rare, not so cheap by the way. I spent the rest of my lunchtime enjoying what I cooked for myself thousands of miles away from my home. A journey I have to go on again definitely.

Five Best Dishes You Can Try In St.Lucia

St.Lucia Island has been a well known travel destination, especially for families. The nice place has luscious vegetation in its favor. There are veggies and fruits grown ubiquitously. The food they offer are excellently home made. You won’t see any food chains in the island. I was amaze and surprise about how relaxing each corner looks. When I had my chance to visit the lovely island, I got the opportunity to try on their best dishes, which mostly have rice as the main ingredient. Since it’s very easy to cook, especially with rice cookers, they made a great deal in spicing up. Here are my top five:

  1. Hot Curry and Rice- I love chicken curry and rice, that’s one of my favorite. The aroma is captivating and it’s perfect to keep you warm during cold seasons. The locals in Bermuda preferred a tomato based style. Some would just want variety of spices to achieve a sumptuous curry taste. The latter would work for me.
  1. Spanish Rice- Another popular dish in St.Lucia is Spanish rice. The first you will notice is the colorful look and most of the recipes have the same ingredients. However, all of their recipes are altered based on the preferences of the chef. Upon tasting it, I could sense the sweet, spicy and mild flavor.
  1. Curried Goat- Another dish that you should miss is their curried goat West Indian style. If you are a spicy eater then this will be perfect for you. I find this one as a savory dish that could be quite satisfying. Ease your hunger with this unique dish. I enjoyed it immensely.
  1. Fish ChowderThis dish is St.Lucia’s national dish. It was once considered as their people’s food, since it was made from leftover bones of fishes, it can be easily made and is readily available to fill your empty stomach. At first glance, you will see a rich broth and spices would include tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and variety of herbs and spices. What makes it so special is the sherry pepper and black rum sauce that’s added to it, just right to put on the table.
  1. Sautéed Fresh Fish- This dish was quite remarkable. I never thought my favorite fruit, bananas, could be used to sauté a delicious dish. The texture is tender and its flavor is sweet, somewhat the same as the sea bass. In St.Lucia, savory and sweet was a great combo, especially in this dish. Lots of fishes can be cooked in this kind of style, some may tend to be dry but still taste good.

When you visit St.Lucia, be sure to taste these five dishes, I promise you won’t be disappointed. During my last visit, I have explored their local restaurants and tasted more than twenty dishes. And since I love rice so much, I have included them on my list of top five. Still, our preferences may be different and you may have a totally different list of top five, however, it’s nice to have an idea of what to try out when you go to St.Lucia.

Five Reasons to Visit St. Lucia

St. Lucia is the ideal place to go to escape. Whether you are looking for an exotic getaway on a tropical island, or a fun-filled family vacation experiencing the intriguing culture and delicious cuisine of the St. Lucians, this island offers something for everyone.  The scenery alone is magnificent.  Weather here is hot year round with sea breezes and northeast trade winds that provide a nice cooling tropical breeze. The average temperature is 72 to 86 degrees Farenheit in the dry season which lasts from December through May.  From June to November is the wet season, and temperatures vary between 74 and 86 degrees.  Below are five reasons why you should visit this amazing island.

  1. Beaches

Many people who go to a tropical island for vacation are thinking about laying out on a beach under a glorious sunshine with an exotic drink in hand.  From the northwest coast to the east coast, St. Lucia beaches offer the most breathtaking views.  Some of the beaches are accessible by car, but some you have to take a boat to, or walk to.  You might see a long stretch of beautiful white sand, or you may see black volcanic sand adding a touch of fantasy, which is due to the geography of the land. There are a number of beaches to choose from. Anse Chastanet Beach is filled with lush palm trees that enable you to enjoy a day of lounging on the beach.  There are separate areas for snorkeling and diving and  a reef filled with all kinds of interesting marine life.  The beach is surrounded by green hills and paints a vivid picture against the black sand. Jalousie Beach is stunning with its clear water and beautiful white sand.  The view of the two volcanic peaks, the Gros and Petit Piton, lends a gorgeous backdrop to this scene. These are only a few of the many beaches in St. Lucia.

  1. The Volcano

It is said that the St. Lucia Sulphur Springs is the world’s only drive-in volcano.  The volcano is located in a small town called Soufriere which was once the capital of St. Lucia. Rich in natural resources and cultural history, many visitors love this town, just for its beauty alone.  In 1955, there was a fire that completely destroyed most of the town. It was eventually rebuilt and today strongly resembles the town that stood 50 years ago. People who live in Soufriere are proud of the fact that they have a drive-in volcano, and many live within the perimeter of the craters.

The last steam eruption of this volcano happened in the late 1700s.  There is still activity in the form of boiling mud, water and steam that comes from the crater, but the volcano is considered dormant.  The boiling sounds can be heard from a distance even before you get near the volcano.  Fascinating colors are created at the surface because of magnesium, carbon, calcium oxide, iron, sulfur and other minerals that are deposited.  People believe that the formation is linked to the ocean because during a full moon that results in high tides, the activity of the formation increases.  People also believe that the water from the volcano has medicinal qualities, and they go there to remove skin blemishes.  You can no longer walk through the crater because a guide fell into a pool of boiling water while jumping up and down on it.  A strong odor of sulfur comes from the formation.  The smell is extremely strong at night, but weaker in the daytime.  If that smell were not present, it would be a sign of volcanic eruption.

  1. Adventure

If you are the adventurous type, St. Lucia has much that will appeal to you.  You can dive off the waters of St. Lucia whether you are an expert or beginner.  Dive operators are available to offer lessons to beginners.  There is nothing like seeing the array of exotic fish and deep sea wildlife underwater.  It’s like being in another world, not to mention all of the secret coves you can explore.

Excursions are popular and offer jungle biking, beach snorkeling, beach kayaking, bow hunting (make sure you get proper archery equipment), and dive and discovery adventures.  Hike through a magnificent rainforest and enjoy the scenic beauty of nature, or spend an afternoon ziplining and taking in the gorgeous view of the island. Visit a real plantation that has a working mill where you can see the process of making sugar cane syrup, coffee, and cocoa.  You can also see how coconuts are processed for food products.

  1. Botanical Gardens

The Diamond Botanical Gardens of St. Lucia are located near Soufriere.  Planting for these gardens was started in 1983 and due to the climate, they have grown into an impressive collection of nature’s best in St. Lucia.  The gardens are in a sheltered gorge at the bottom of the Pitons.  Mineral baths and a waterfall are fed from the underground hot springs and volcano sulphur springs.  An old mill and waterwheel built in 1765 to crush sugar cane still stand on the site.   When the sugar industry went down, the mill was used to crush limes for lime oil.  Later on it provided electricity for Soufriere.  While walking through the gardens you will see tropical flowers like the scorpion orchid, allamanda (golden trumpet), waxrose, and the anthurium (heartflower), just to name a few.

  1. Cuisine

St. Lucia cuisine is definitely something that you want to experience.  It is influenced greatly by Indian and French culinary styles.  The chefs in St. Lucia emphasize presentation of food, so they pay close attention not only to how food tastes, but how they present it to you.  Whether you try traditional dishes like callaloo soup, pepper pot stew, or spicy soup with crab and callaloo leaves, or dishes with plantain and breadfruit, your palate will be grateful.  One thing you must try is St. Lucia’s national dish made of green figs and salt fish.  There is also an abundance of fresh fruit like coconut, mango and banana on the island.