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St. Lucia views

General Information

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Good to know

Hotels

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St. Lucia's history:

The first visitors that set foot on the island's lovely beaches were the peaceful Arawak Indians. During the 9th century they were expelled by the fierce Carib Indians until the Europeans discovered this island paradise at the time of Columbus.

During the 17th and 18th centuries the French and English battled to become masters and St. Lucia changed hands 14 times.

In 1814 St. Lucia was finally ceded to the British and in 1842 English became the official language.

In 1967 St. Lucia was granted internal self-government by the British and acquired full independence in 1979 with a stable parliamentary democracy.

History

Situation:

This green volcanic island is situated between Martinique and St. Vincent and it has the shape of a mango.

It is part of the Windward Islands with an area of 616 km2 (238 square miles), 43 km (27 miles) long, 23 km (14 miles) wide.

Typical are its twin mountains Gros Piton (2619 ft) and Petit Piton (2460 ft) rising steeply from the sea.

 

Climate:

St. Lucia's tropical climate guarantees pleasant temperatures throughout the year. Cool North-Easterly breezes from the Atlantic Ocean provide regular and natural freshness.

The winter season has temperatures between 18° C and 31° C (64° F and 88° F) and is also the driest season with occasional refreshing showers.

The summer season has temperatures between 23° C and 35° C (74° F and 95° F). This is also the rainy season starting in June and ending in November. Mostly short but heavy showers occur with a rare chance of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Population:

The ± 150.000 inhabitants of the island are mainly of African origin. The St. Lucians are generally very charming and kind. Walking through the streets, you are greeted often with a warm 'hello!'.

English is the official language. The people also speak a kind of French Patois. Some elderly inhabitants, especially from the rural parts of the island, have difficulties to speak English clearly.

Population

Currency:

Prices are mostly indicated in the local currency, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. The EC$ has a fixed rating against the US$ (2.68 EC$ = 1 US$).

US$ as well as Travellers Cheques and Credit Cards are widely accepted in most hotels and restaurants.

 

Economy:

St. Lucia's economy is traditionally based on agriculture. The earlier sugar cane cultivation has been mostly replaced by banana cultivation. The 'green gold' with an average annual export of about 110,000 tons is, still today, an important source of income.

Tourism with its very solid infrastructure, and respect for nature conservation, is now the most important economical pillar. With about 3,500 rooms and a 250,000 nights spend in 1996, the tourism industry increases yearly by about 10 %.

 

Electricity:

Everywhere 220 Volts 50 Hz. The same type of plugs are used as in the United Kingdom, these differ from most other European countries.

Cas en bas

Health:

No vaccinations are required (no malaria). Tetanus and Hepatitis are recommended.

The sun burns easily, take your precautions and use suntan lotions with a high protection factor.

For emergencies dial the emergency number : 911.

Drinking water:

Tap water is perfectly safe but to avoid possible intestinal complaints it is recommended to drink bottled water.

 

Time difference:

St. Lucia uses Atlantic Standard Time, which is 4 hours behind GMT.

As St. Lucia is close to the equator, daylight duration remains more or less the same throughout the year. Sun rises around 5.45 am. and sun sets around 6.15 pm.

 

Passports and Visa:

A proof of identity is sufficient for the residents of :

- The United Kingdom, the USA and Canada for a period of stay of maximum 6 months.
- The OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States).

A valid passport is required to enter St. Lucia for the residents of :

- All countries of the European Union (United Kingdom - see above).
- All Scandinavian countries.
- Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Turkey, Tunisia, Uruguay and Venezuela.
- The British Commonwealth.
- Most East-European countries.
- South-Africa

A visa is required for the residents of all countries not mentioned above.

Attention:

- You need to have proof of a valid return ticket.
- On departure you need to pay a 'departure tax' of 40 EC$ or 18 US$.

Airports:

St. Lucia has two airports :

1. Hewanorra Airport: The international airport situated in the South of the island close to Vieux Fort.

2. George F.L. Charles Airport (Vigie): the Caribbean airport situated in the North of the island close to Castries.

The following airlines fly to St. Lucia (information subject to change) :

- Hewannora Airport : Air Canada, Air Liberté, American Airlines, British Airways, Britannia, BWIA, Caledonian Airways, Condor.
- George F.L. Charles Airport : Air Martinique, American Airlines, BWIA, Helenair, LIAT.

Airport

Car rental:

Where? At the airports or hotel reception desks.

Who? Avis, Budget, Courtesy Car Rental, Dollar Rent a Car, Hertz, National Car Rental, New Frontier Auto Rentals.

How? A local driving licence is mandatory, cost is US$ 22.00 or EC$ 54.00. Your local car-rental company can issue this using your current driving licence. The validity is 3 months.

Saint Lucia Car renting company

Prices? Mostly between 40 and 70 US$ per day, depending on car type and total rental period.

Advice: Be very careful, driving is on the left and the secondary roads are not always in good shape.

Carnival

Top festivities:

In July : Carnival with, as highpoint, the election of the Calypso King and Queen (Calypso music in St. Lucia is like Rock & Roll in the USA).

In May : the yearly Jazz Festival.

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