Caribbean Island of St. Lucia Caribbean Island of St. Lucia St. Lucia (Loo-sha) is a volcanic mountainous island deep in the Caribbean. The island of St. Lucia is approximately 623 square kilometers (roughly three and a half times the size of Washington, DC). The climate is tropical, and the main source of revenue for the island is generated by the banana trade, with tourism coming in a close second. St. Lucia gained its independence from British rule in 1979 after many years of being ruled by France and later by the British. While St.
Lucia is an independent state, its structure remains similar to that of the British parliamentary system, and it still has close relations with Britain and is an active member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Geography St. Lucia is an island in a collection of islands known as the Windward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean just north of Trinidad and Tobago. Its total land mass is approximately 623 square kilometers with a coastline of approximately 158 kilometers. At its widest part it is approximately 14 miles and approximately 27 miles long.
The land is volcanic and mountainous, with impressive rugged twin volcanic cone shaped peaks that stand high above the island, known as the Petit Piton and the Gros Piton, contrasting with the peacefulness of the island’s black and white sandy beaches, exotic wildlife and colorful foliage. St. Lucia has a long standing tradition of preserving its natural resources such as: the sandy beaches, the ocean, the forest, minerals, and mineral springs. The island’s fertile volcanic soil helps banana, coconut, mango, and papaya plantations to thrive. Climate and Weather St.
Lucia, just as any other island in the Caribbean is warm and humid year round. St. Lucia’s tropical climate is divided into just two seasons, winter, and summer. Winter, the dry season, runs from November to April with pleasantly warm temperatures averaging 72°F and with low humidity. Summer is the wet season and runs between May and October with high humidity and temperatures averaging 81°F, however; the northeastern trade winds and the sea breezes help keep the temperatures from becoming extreme. Rainfall is heaviest in the summer season, between August and November; these months are also heart of the hurricane season, though St.
Lucia – for the most part has been lucky to escape the wrath of the sea. Temperature (c) Humidity (%) Rainfall (mm) Demographics St. Lucia has about 172,000 inhabitants of which approximately 81% are of African descent, the rest of the population comprises several minority groups including Indo-Caribbean or Indian groups as well as a small European group. All this, with a population growth rate at 1. 21%. Of this population approximately 66. 4% are between the ages of 15- 64 years (male 51,593/female 54,843) The median age of the population is just 29. years, and a life expectancy rate of the total population of 72. 31 years. Of the population, approximately 60,000 live in and around the towns of Soufriere, Gros Islet, and Vieux Fort, although approximately one-third of the populations live in the capital city of Castries. The unemployment rate is approximately 20%. With a labor force split up into agriculture: 5%, industry: 15% and services industry at 53. 6%. Traveling to St. Lucia St. Lucia has two airports: Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort and George F. L. Charles Airport (Vigi Airport) near Castries.
St. Lucia is also a popular port of call for cruise lines such as: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Princess Cruise Lines. Pointe Seraphine is the port of entry for these cruise ships which bring thousands of tourists a year onto the island of St Lucia. There are several major air carriers that service St. Lucia. American Airlines, US Airways, Air Jamaica, and Delta Airlines are just a few of the air carriers that service St. Lucia from all over the world. Although French Creole patois is commonly spoken throughout the country, the official language of St.
Lucia is English so most visitors should have no concerns about being able to communicate. U. S. citizens need a valid passport, past six months of validity passed date of travel; however a visa is not required. An important fact to note is that there is a departure tax of EC$54 for all passengers leaving the island. There are many rental car agencies in St. Lucia, but if one decides to drive, a local temporary driver’s license is required. Temporary driver’s license’s can be purchased at all car rental offices and from the transportation office in Gros Islet. Be prepared to drive on the left side of the road.
Throughout the island the roads are reasonably well paved, however; paying close attention to the poorly marked, narrow and winding roads is essential, as accidents are common practice since drivers are in such a hurry to arrive at their final destination. Accommodations St. Lucia has many types of accommodations ranging from deluxe beach front resorts to camp grounds for the budget minded traveler. The majority of these hotels offer all-inclusive meal option, providing all meals, drinks, and activities for their guests. For best prices and deeply discounted rates, travel during the off-season, usually from July to early December.
There are several ultra deluxe, unique hotels on the island; some so unique that the rooms only have three walls! One of these, the adult only resort of Ladera, is located in Soufriere. The resort has only 25 rooms, which are all without phones, televisions, and air conditioning. The property sits 1000 feet above sea with panoramic views of the Pitons http://www. ladera. com. Another deluxe, unique resort is Jade Mountain located in Soufriere. Jade Mountain is another property that sits high above the sea, perched on the hillside. The rooms offer 270’ sweeping views of the Pitons, ocean and the sky http://www. ademountain. com. On the opposite end of the spectrum are numerous inns, and bed and breakfasts (approximately 37 properties in all). For the discerning traveler, the Green Parrot Inn with only 55 rooms offers a beautiful alternative to the “all inclusive” resorts common in the Caribbean, located in Castries, just 15 minutes from the airport http://www. greenparrotinn. com. Natures Paradise is an elegant Bed and Breakfast located high above Marigot Bay offering spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. The sunsets and rainbows are simply beautiful.
A point to make note of is that, as a service based economy, bell hops and other persons providing service are expected to be tipped with standard gratuities generally around 10-15% Dining in St. Lucia For such a small island, St. Lucia offers a large variety of excellent cuisine, ranging from European and International restaurants offering romantic candlelight dinners and sophisticated ambiance to casual dining that features savory local specialties like callallo, curry, and pepper pot stew. Whatever the choice, dining is likely to be al fresco, where the islands natural beauty compliments any palate.
Considered to be the best fine dining on the island is the restaurant Dashene, located at the resort of Ladera, in Soufriere. Offering patio dining and spectacular views of the Pitons, chef Nigel Mitchel has created fresh, delicious, and inventive dishes to include “rhythm of rasta pasta. ” “seventh-heaven carrot soup,” and one of his famous dishes: saltfish with green-fig salad. The restaurant is not overly fancy, but many people dress for dinner. For those seeking something a little more casual, Anse La Raye is located in the authentic fishing village of Gros Islet, with most of the tables located on the beach.
The menu consists of anything that comes out of the sea: Lobster; Octopus; Conch all cooked in butter, lime juice, and plenty of garlic. An important fact to note is when tipping, if the service fee has not been added to the bill, tips should be around 10 – 15%. Sightseeing and Activities If one never does anything else but lie on one of the many beautiful white sandy beaches along St. Lucia’s coastline, drinking pina colada, one will be content. However, for someone who wants to see a little more of the island there are many beautiful sites.
The Rain Forest Aerial Tram, located in the mountainous region of Chassin, is an eight seat gondola that begins the experience 2000 feet above sea. The gondola takes passengers for a ride above the trees and vines of the deep thick rain forest. Passengers also have the option of strapping themselves into a harness, and zip lining 500 feet above the ravines, rivers, and dense treetops. Something a little less adventurous and more laid back is the Saturday market in the Derek Walcott Square, in Castries with its Roman Catholic Cathedral and 400-year-old Samaan tree.
Here one can shop for local arts and crafts alongside the clothes and tropical fruit. At Pigeon Island, a National Park on the northwestern coast, one can hike up to Fort Rodney (the smaller of the two hills) and visit the museum exhibits showing the islands complicated history. Pigeon Island is also the site of the St. Lucia’s two week long Jazz Festival, held annually in May, which brings thousands of tourists and headliners such as Kenny G, and the Isley Brothers. If nightlife is what one is looking for, The Boatyard in Rodney Bay is the place to go, especially on Friday nights.
The Boatyard, a small pub on the water’s edge attracts patrons ranging from the islands affluent to the local Rasta’s. There are many nightclubs close by, but close attention to where the crowd leads is recommended, as the nightclub that is popular one night, may not be the next. Follow the lead of the crowds, to enjoy a night of entertainment listening to the music of the islands and drinking concoctions whose ingredients are known only to the bartender. Last Word of Advice The U. S. State Department urges U. S. itizens to take every precaution when traveling outside of the United States, and to take care of their belongings for their own personal safety and security. Crime in St. Lucia does happen; often these crimes are associated with narcotics and tourists are sometimes a target for petty crimes such as pick pockets. Keeping a photocopy of one’s passport in a safe location makes it considerably easier for a temporary replacement passport to be issued to return to the United States. There is no U. S. Embassy on St. Lucia; the closest Embassy is on the island of Barbados.
St. Lucia is served by privately owned and operated mini-buses. While most services operate only on weekdays during daylight hours, some may operate at night and on weekends and holidays. Taxis are available at generally reasonable rates; however, tourists can be vulnerable to being overcharged. Before leaving the hotel, check with the hotel’s concierge for a reputable taxi service. St. Lucia’s currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, however; the U. S. Dollar is widely accepted as well as all major credit cards and travelers checks.
The most important thing that any tourist should remember when they are leaving the island of St. Lucia, as the St. Lucians would say “Irie mon, see you next time. ” References The World Factbook. Retrieved December 2, 2009 from Central Intelligence Agency website: https://www. cia. gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/st. html St. Lucia – Country Information. Retrieved December 1, 2009 from Kemps website: http://www. kftv. com/countrydetail-lca-lc. htm St. Lucia. Retrieved November 28, 2009 from Cariblist website: http://www. cariblist. com/stlucia/about%20st%20lucia/index. asp St.
Lucia: Simply Beautiful. Retrieved November 10, 2009 from Geographia website: http://www. geographia. com/St-Lucia/lctsp01. htm Background Note: St. Lucia. Retrieved November 12, 2009 from U. S. Department of State website: http://www. state. gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2344. htm St. Lucia. Country Specific Information. Retrieved December 2, 2009 from U. S. Department of State, Travel. State. Gov website: http://travel. state. gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1027. html#country St. Lucia Climate and Weather. Retrieved December 2, 2009 from Worldtravels website: http://www. wordtravels. com/Travelguide/Countries/St+Lucia/Climate/