This guide to St Lucia discusses everything you need to know about travelling to this Caribbean destination. From the weather to the people, customs requirements to emergency contacts, this free travel guide gives you the insight and knowledge you need for your travels.
In case you don't know where St. Lucia is, it is an island country in the southern Caribbean, just above Venezuela. There are approximately 175,000 people living in St. Lucia today.
To tell you a little bit about this highly anticipated vacation spot; St. Lucia is a volcanic island and is more mountainous than the majority of Caribbean islands. The Pitons Mountains also known as the "twin peaks" on the western side of the island are one of St. Lucia's infamous landmarks. The climate is tropical and there are two seasons the wet season and the dry season. The wet season is from December to May and the dry season from June to November.
St. Lucia's economy depends primarily on revenue from tourism and banana production; although the banana industry is now in a decline.
Anthem: Sons and Daughters of Saint-Lucia
Time Zone: UTC -4
Languages: English, St.Lucian Creole, and French
Power Outlets: 220V-240V, 50 Hz
Currency: East Caribbean Dollar (XCD)
Credit Cards: All major credit cards are accepted.
Traveller Checks: Traveller checks accepted.
Side of road to drive on: Left
Legal drinking age: 18
Canadians and Americans may visit St. Lucia with alternative proof of citizenship such as a birth certificate and drivers license. Be sure to bring something with a photo ID.
In addition, citizens of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) may also enter with their drivers license, identification card or passport.
Visitors from all other Commonwealth countries require a valid passport. Visas are not required for the citizens of those countries, however, they are issued an immigration form which is valid (when completed) for a period of stay of up to six months.
Immigration Department, Visa Office
Telephone: (758) 456 3825
Facsimile: (758) 456 3823
Do not risk entering a country with any prohibited goods. Severe penalties and deportation could be the result. These materials are items considered detrimental to the general welfare of Saint Lucia. Prohibited imports will be immediately seized by Customs, and as mentioned, could result in serious repercussions.
-Counterfeit currency and coins.
-Food unfit for human consumption.
-Pornographic and/or indecent articles, books, artwork, records, videos or any other indecent articles or matter.
-Matches which contain white or yellow phosphorus.
-Any type of pipe or container used for illegal consumption of drugs.
-Opium, morphine, cocaine, LSD, marijuana and other narcotic drugs.
-Any type of firearm.
-Counterfeit stamps, as well as any materials capable of making such stamps.
-Condoms manufactured by MONKOK LATIX of South Korea.
-Weapons such as flick knives and blades, night sticks, and other similar and familiar knives with flying blades.
-Shaving brushes made in or exported from Japan.
-All publications, articles or other matter associated with black magic, secret magic obeah, witchcraft or other magical arts and occultism.
-Goods the importation of which is prohibited by any other enactment of the State.
-Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances except under license of the Chief Medical officer.
-Ginger and dry coconuts except under license from the Ministry of Agriculture.
-Any goods which bear the coat of Arms or the Flag of St. Lucia or any other facsimile imitation, or representation thereof, except with the approval of the Prime Minister's Office.
-Rare or threatened species of animals or plants, their products and derivatives except such goods which are accompanied by the appropriate permits issued by the CITES authorities.
-Foreign currency exceeding the prescribed amount unaccompanied by exchange control permission.
-Goods the exportation of which is regulated by any other enactment except in accordance with such enactment.
Visitors will be screened and searched by St. Lucia customs officials. You should be aware that there are severe penalties for all drug offenses including attempts to defraud. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry anything through customs for anyone else.
Visitors are not required to declare personal effects and the amount of currency in their possession. Licensed firearms must be declared and are subject to immigration and police regulations. An application must be made to the Commissioner of Police for a local firearm license. Undeclared and unlicensed firearms will be seized by the authorities.
All dutiable and duty-free goods must be fully declared.
St Lucia Sales Tax: While shoppers are exempt from sales tax in the island shops, hotels and restaurants will add a government tax of 8 percent.
St Lucia Airport Taxes: There is a Departure Tax of EC $68
(US $26) for all passengers over 12 years leaving the island.
Emergencies: For an ambulance or fire the emergency number is 911. For police the emergency number is 999.
Hospitals: Medical care is limited. There are two public hospitals and one private hospital in St. Lucia.
We urge all travellers to St. Lucia to obtain health insurance as medical expenses can be very costly and doctors and hospitals will expect payments upfront.
Bringing in Prescriptions: If you carry prescription drugs, keep them in their original container, clearly labeled with the doctor’s name, pharmacy, and contents. Always carry your medication in your carry-on luggage.
Vaccinations: All travellers are warned to have all their routine vaccinations up to date as well as a Hepatitis A vaccination.
Crime, including armed robbery, does occur in St. Lucia. Violent crime is often connected to narcotics trafficking. Petty crime also occurs. Efforts by the St. Lucian authorities to improve public safety on the island are ongoing. Valuables left unattended on beaches and in rental cars are vulnerable to theft. Visitors should use caution, especially at night and in less frequented areas.
Accused of a Crime in St. Lucia: Persons violating St. Lucia laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in St. Lucia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
Victims of Crime: If you are the victim of a crime in Saint Lucia you should contact the local police and your embassy and or consulate for help. This includes the loss or theft of a passport. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, help you find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends, and explain how funds may be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local Saint Lucian authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.
Travelling to St. Lucia with a criminal record: There are currently no restrictions on travellers with a criminal record to travel to Saint Lucia. We do recommend however to verify with your embassy/consulate prior to travelling to verify that these requirements have not changed.
Car Rental: There are many car rental agencies in St. Lucia and renting a vehicle is really simple. A local permit is required unless you have an international driving permit.
Taxi: Many taxi drivers in St. Lucia are also fully trained and licensed guides. Taxis can be obtained at taxi stands or by telephone. Visitors can also simply flag down taxis, which are distinguished by a red "TX" on the license plate. Taxis in St. Lucia are not metered, but have fixed fares for standard trips. Before hopping in a taxi the traveller should remember two things, one; the agreed fare, and two; whether it will in US Dollars or East Caribbean Dollars.
Public Transportation: St. Lucia has an inexpensive bus service. Buses are privately owned small transit-minivans which can seat 14 people. All buses are registered with a green ’M' license plate and are labeled with a yellow sticker on the front of the bus, displaying their route. The service does not operate on a time schedule; however, buses are more frequent on main routes during the weekdays and Saturday mornings.
Drivers License Info: Visitors to Saint Lucia who do not possess an international driving permit must purchase a temporary permit in order to drive in Saint Lucia. The permit is good for three months and costs $54 EC or $20 US. Permits can be obtained from the immigration department at either airport on island or at any police department. You must present your driver's license. They are also available at most major car rental companies. International drivers must have their permit stamped at immigration at no extra charge.
Wardrobe: St. Lucia has a hot and humid climate throughout the year. Light summer clothing, made from natural fabrics like cotton is best for everyday wear. Casual dress is acceptable for most situations and occasions but some establishments may require a more semiformal dress code (elegantly casual attire). It is always advisable to check beforehand on dress regulations, if any. Bathing suits should not be worn in the streets or stores.
Etiquette: St. Lucia still has a strong British influence as well as a strong presence from the Catholic Church. Due to these factors St. Lucians are a little reserved and traditional when it comes to their culture. While beach ware is appropriate at the beach, this is the only place it is appropriate. It is best to stick to a more conservative wardrobe while visiting. St. Lucians are very respectful and good manners go a long way here.
Tipping: 10-15% is customary for tipping in St. Lucia and more for exceptional service.
The Pitons are two extinct volcanoes. Rising to 798m (2619ft) above sea level, these are probably St Lucia’s most famous landmarks. They are located in Soufrière it is the second-largest settlement on the island.
The road between Soufrière and Fond St Jacques runs eastwards through the rainforest; here is Sulphur Springs - St Lucia's drive-in volcano.
Diamond Botanical Gardens Waterfall and Mineral Baths near Soufriere, were originally built in 1785, prior to the French revolution, funded by King Louis XVI. The baths have been restored, and for a small fee, you can tour the grounds and gardens, and enjoy a steaming, healthful bath.
Pigeon Island National Landmark is an island reserve off Pigeon Point, joined to the mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway. At various times it has been conquered by Amerindians, pirates, the French and the British, and visitors can see the ruins of military buildings used by the latter two during their territorial war.
-Always walk like you know where you are going, even if you don't. This
means keep your back upright and eyes straight ahead. When asking for
directions keep your voice low so others don't know you are lost.
-Take precautions. Do not wear a lot of jewelry or conspicuous clothing while travelling to avoid being a target of crime.
-Be cautious when taking a taxi and always look for the appropriate documentation which should be posted in eyes view. Never take a cab from the airport that is off by itself.
-If your hotel or resort recommends staying on their property you should follow these precautions.
-Never leave valuables in a soft material. The seam can easily be cut. Often the crime takes place long before it is noticed. This applies to purses, bags and luggage.
-Do not invite strangers to your hotel room.
-Do not agree to meet strangers by yourself. Even those you consider new friends and fellow tourist's.
-Plan for the unexpected, this includes extra money and medication that is required should your stay be extended.