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.
- 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.
- 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.