St. Lucia Travel Tips
Part 1

Be aware of 2 airports

Island Descriptions

Hotel Search

Cruise Planning

Island Tours

Caribbean Recipes

Caribbean Weather

St. Lucia Travel Tips

238 square miles; 24 miles long, 14 miles wide.

Population: 150,000.

Language: Officially, it's English but the locals favor a thick patois that is incomprehensible even to those who speak French. This French-based Creole is known as Kweyol.

Time Zone: Atlantic Standard Time, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Rainy Season: From June through November. December through May is considered the dry period.

THE TWO AIRPORTS SITUATION: This can get confusing as well as time consuming and costly if you choose the wrong airport. The majority of flights and all the larger planes fly into Hewanorra International Airport (airport code UVF) in the southern town of Vieux-Fort. This is the island's largest and most modern airport facility. However, the majority of hotel rooms are located closer to the north end of the island at Castries, which is served by George F.L. Charles Airport at Vigie (airport code SLU). The travel time from the Hewanorra Airport to the northern part of the island is 60- 90 minutes.

Wedding Requirements: Arrive one day, get married the same day. See details.

Getting There: Most international flights land at Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) at the southern end, about 90 minutes from Castries. Those staying near Castries should use George Charles/Vigie Airport (SLU) located just outside the city if the flying time and fares are comparable.

Documents: Valid passport. Also a return or ongoing ticket. Residents of some countries require a visa.

Helicopter Transfer: For those who can afford to fly high, helicopter transfers are available from Hewanorra airport to Castries or Soufriere . There is also a heli-pad at Charles/Vigie airport. The Jalousie Hilton Hotel also has its own heli-pad. Book with St. Lucia Helicopters Ltd ( +1 758-453-6950, Fax: +1 758-452-1553) or Paradise Helicopters (+1 758-450-9203).

Currency: The Eastern Caribbean dollar or EC$, worth about EC$2.70 for each US$1. US$ can be spent anywhere but change is given in EC$. Banks are open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, on Friday from 8-5.

Taxes & Tipping: The government collects an 8% tax on hotel rooms and hotels add a 10-12% service charge to the bill, a combined total of 18%. There's are also a US$26 arrival tax and US$26 departure tax usually included in ticket prices.   

Electrical Current: 220 volts, 50 cycles, although a few new hotels are 110 volts, 60 cycles. Most sockets take 3 pin square plugs (UK standard) but some take 2 pin round plugs

Emergency Number: Dial 911 for police, ambulance or fire.

Internet: If not available for a reasonable price at your hotel, access is available at most shopping malls. at LIME and internet cafes island-wide.

Getting Around: For a rental car, drivers must be 25 years old and possess a St. Lucian driver's license. Driving on some of the crater-pocked roads of St. Lucia is not unlike off road driving over very bumpy terrain. Drive on the left.

The following driving time estimates assume good road conditions:
Cap Estate to Castries: 20 minutes
Castries to Soufriere: 1 hour
Soufriere to Vieux-Fort: 1 ½ hours
Vieux-Fort to Fregate Islands Nature Reserve: 25 minutes
Fregate Islands Nature Reserve to Castries: 45 minutes

Carnival: Held for 2 weeks in July, it embraces all of the nation's art forms: theatre, music, dance, song, costumes and drama. As on many islands, St. Lucia 's Carnival traditionally took place in February, 45 days before the start of Easter.  Realizing that many islands also held their Carnivals at this same time, most notably Trinidad, St. Lucia moved its celebration to July when there is much less competition. Visitors are encouraged to take part in the two-week event by joining one of the carnival bands in costume. Information is available at

Special Doings: Every Friday is fete or party night at Gros Islet, a fishing village near Castries . The Mardi Gras-like street party features crowds, blaring reggae, rum carts and coalpot barbecue cook stands. See all the weekly special events.

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