Saint Lucia Travel Tips
St. Lucia is best known as a romantic getaway but can also offer something for the family or for a group of friends. Who doesn’t love a tropical island with long, sandy beaches and beautiful, natural surroundings? It is located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, between Martinique and St. Vincent, and is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. There are beautiful birds hanging out through out the island and orchards full of bananas, coconuts, mango, and papaya trees. Throw in some world class diving, white sand beaches, and crystal blue water, and this place is paradise on earth.
- Accommodation: St, Lucia doesn’t really do hostels but the cheapest budget hotel comes in at around $50 USD per night. Another option is to stay in a family run guest house, which usually work out cheaper than budget hotels, starting at $40 USD per night.
- Food: Lunch and casual meals cost between $4.50 USD and $9 USD, with prices for dinner starting at $15 USD. Fruit is cheap here.
- Transportation: A bus ride around the island will come to $2.50 USD, with taxis costing around $2 USD for a trip around Castries.
- Activities: In general, activities are inexpensive at around $4 – $9 USD. Diving, however, is expensive. Expect to pay $40 USD for a single tank dive.
Money Saving Tips
- Go duty free – St. Lucia has a wealth of duty free shops where you can pick up discounted designer goods such as perfumes and jewelery etc.
- Book online - If you’re planning on going diving, or doing any other expensive activities, be sure to check online for discounts before. You can usually find many online.
- Travel off season - In May to October, you’ll find huge discounts on accommodation and activities.
Top Things to See and Do
- Snorkeling and Scuba Diving – St. Lucia is a great place to explore the ocean. Its clear waters and vast array of sea creatures to study makes it a relaxing and rare experience that you’ll want to do again and again.
- Hiking – The Barre de L’isle Rain Forest Trail includes a climb to the top of Morne la Combe which is not for the faint-hearted. The hike takes three hours in total. The Union Nature Trail is for those who want to get up close to nature and learn about the different species and exotic wildlife that grow and live here.
- Bird watching – St. Lucia offers many opportunities to spot beautiful birds. The Bois D’Orange Swamp, the Rain Forest, and Boriel’s Pond are the best places to go bird spotting. Local species include the St. Lucian Parrot, the White Breasted Thrasher, the St. Lucia Peewee, the St. Lucia Oriole, and the St. Lucia Wren.
- Castries – Castries is the capital of the island and history buffs will enjoy its historical site of the La Toc Battery, its Cathedral, and the Central library. Check out the Morne Fortune (Hill of Good Luck) where the French began constructing a fortress which was then finished by the British in the 17th century.
- Weekly Market in Castries – This is a large market with a vegetable market where the vendors are more than happy to chat and tell you about their products. It is vibrant and has lots of interesting things to look at and to buy including baskets, mahogany statues and bowls, and souvenirs.
- Gros Islet - These weekly entertainment nights in the village of Gros Islet which go on every Friday night are for locals and visitors alike. There is street music and vendors selling local food and drinks and a general carnival atmosphere that puts everyone in a good mood. Other activities on the island include deep sea fishing, water-skiing, windsurfing, golf, tennis and horse riding.
- Pigeon Island – Pigeon Island, an islet situated on the west coast is a nature park where there are marked trails with lots of historical sites like the remains of an 18th-century British fort and Fort Rodney.
- The Pitons – The Pitons are two now dormant volcanoes, Gros and Petit Piton. Take a guided tour to them and marvel at the view from the top.
- Diamond Falls - The Diamond Falls waters are laced with minerals as its stream emanated from rainwater mixed with volcanism which also gives the 10-15m tall falls a beautiful colorful appearance. There are of course other waterfalls to admire on the island but this one stands out from the rest.
- Marquis Estate - There are lots of plantation tours on the island. Visiting Marquis Estate is just one of those on offer. It is situated just outside Castries and is the largest estate on the island. The tour includes a visit to an old sugar mill as well as a guided tour along the north coast of the island and a boat ride on the Marquis River, finishing up with lunch in the working plantation house.
- Sulfur Springs – One of the main attractions on the island, these hot springs are just to the south of Soufriere. There is a distinctive pool that water is constantly flowing through so remember to take your swim suit.
- Gros Piton – This hike is a challenging 2 hours from the trailhead at 600 feet to the summit point at 2600 feet. It is a requirement to have a guide—entrance is about $30 USD.
- Shopping – There are many places to pick up souvenirs, jewelry, and even high fashion goods. Castries market, JQ Shopping Mall, and La Place Carenage are all popular places to go. Keep a look out for the duty free shops.
- Eat local – St. Lucian food is unique and delicious. Fresh fruit aside, vegetables and fish are often prepared curried, jerked, stewed, or with rice. The coal pot is a traditional, native dish and can be found in just about any restaurant.