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St. Lucia

St. Lucia Travel Tips and Visitor Information

St. Lucia cruise port
Castries Harbor. © St. Lucia Tourism Board
Our first St. Lucia travel tip is a simple one for cruise visitors. They should make sure they are standing on the deck when the ship enters Castries Harbor.

It is one of the most beautiful harbors in the Caribbean. Rolling green hills surround it. At the right time of year, red flowers such as the Caribbean Pink anthurium will splash the area with color.

The harbor was one of three experiences that made our visit to St. Lucia so memorable.

The horbar water shimmers with that unique Caribbean green. The city of Castries itself will beckon people off the ship with shops and bustling activity.

The island is ranked 16th in total tourism. Only slightly more people visit the island via cruises than with stopovers.

St. Lucia Attractions

Two other experiences on this trip were memorable and unique to St. Lucia. One was the ATV ride along an equally beautiful, private and unspoiled coastline for some members of our family. The second was the volcano mud bath for other family members.

Whether arriving by ship or plane, visitors will find not only numerous beaches for relaxing but also natural, historical and cultural attractions.

Natural attractions include hiking, biking, horseback and ATV rides, plus that unique excursion to take part in a volcano mud bath. The Central Rainforest Reserve covers 19,000 acres and has numerous hiking trails.

Among cultural and historical attractions are Pigeon Island National Landmark, Fond d'Or Nature Historic Park and Fond Doux Estate.

Noteworthy standard attractions include an emphasis on touring the backcountry by hiking, biking, horseback and ATV mentioned above.

The island has two golf courses within about two miles of Castries. The St. Lucia Golf and Country Club is a par 71 course and the only 18-hole club on the island. The Sandals St. Lucia La Toc Golf course is nine holes and 3,141 yards long.

Tourism / When to Go

Castries harbor
Dock at Castries harbor
Deciding when to go depends on the weather. The annual Caribbean hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, although September and October are the worst months.

As a result, St. Lucia has a heavy number of visitors from December through May, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization. Average high monthly temperatures during that time range from 84 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall reaches its lowest point from February through April.

The number of visitors declines somewhat in June, climbs again in July and drops sharply during the heavy rain months of September through November.

U.S. and Canadian stopover visitors require a passport. Cruise visitors simply need to have their ship ID cards available when leaving the ship and returning.

St. Lucia has strong and consistent visits from December through May. They drop in June and peak in July. The lowest visit months are September and October.

Weather Tips

Temperatures are unusually consistent. The average high temperature is in the mid-80s Fahrenheit year round, while the average low temperature is in the high 70s.

The climate is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds. The dry season runs from January to April. The rainy season goes from May to November. April is the best month for tourism because of a combination of warm temperatures and low risk of rain.

Currency / Tipping

Currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. U.S. dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.

Tipping is typically 10-12 percent of a bill. Hotel and restaurant bills have an 8 percent government tax.

Culture / Geography

English is the official language, but French patois is common thanks to England and France exchanging control of the island 14 times over history. The geography is volcanic and mountainous with some broad, fertile valleys. The economy increasingly relies on tourism and offshore banking.

Sources/ More information

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Travel Tips   

November 15, 2016

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