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St. Lucia

St. Lucia Cruise Port Tips

Beautiful Harbor Introduces Visitors to Lush Landscapes

Fast Facts

  • St. Lucia is known for beaches, scenary and outdoor attractions.
  • Outside of Castries, check out Reduit Beach and the Pitons.
  • Taxis closest to the docks tend to charge the most. Negotiate price.

Overview

St. Lucia photo
St. Lucia cruise port; © St. Lucia Tourist Board
The St. Lucia cruise port of Castries has to be one of the prettiest in the Caribbean. If the flowers are in bloom, all the better.

The Castries Harbor is really a snug hilly inlet -- like a deep comfortable blanket.

Wait until the ship arrives and then walk out onto the deck for the best and most fulfilling view of the trees, water and docks.

The main sea port is Castries and many cruise ships anchor at Pointe Seraphine and La Place Carenage.

Shopping

Duty-free shopping is located at La Place Carenage and the Spanish-style complex of Pointe Seraphine. Goods include fine china, crystal, perfume and leather products.

Designer jewelry and watch brands include Caribbean Hook, Honora, John Atencio, John Hardy, Kabana, Roberto Coin, Starnight, Alfex, Cartier, Concord, Gucci, Maurice LaCroix, Michele, Movado and Wenger.

An outdoor market on Jeremie Street has a wide array of straw goods. The best known products are the hand-silk-screened and hand-printed fabrics and fashions created by local craftsmen.

A variety of shopping malls with extended opening hours offer a wide selection of boutiques and restaurants. Most hotels have boutiques and vendors' markets.

Local shops are generally open weekdays from 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday 8 a.m. to noon.

Higher-end restaurants in Castries or nearby include Tao, Foggie Jacks, Coal Pot at Vigie Marina and Rainforest Hideaway. Fast food restaurants include Domino's Pizza, Burger King and Burger Plus.

Attractions

St. Lucia Pitons
St. Lucia Pitons draw hikers and people trying
the volcanic mud baths; © St. Lucia Tourist Board
St. Lucia is a fairly large island at 238 square miles. Attractions outside of Castries emphasize nature.

Soufrière is both a village and home of St. Lucia's most famous landmark, the Pitons, a pair of dormant volcanos more than 2,000 feet high.

Visitors hike up the mountains and take volcanic mud baths for their reputed restorative powers.

Fond Doug Estate is a Caribbean-style working plantation has a variety of tropical fruits and plants.

Anyone renting a car might explore the fishing villages of Anse-La-Raye and Canaries.

Transportation

Roads outside of Castries are limited, so plan on taking extra time to get to the most popular beaches and attractions.

Minibuses serve as the main ground transportation for the island. Buses run at varied times depending on the route.

There is no scheduled bus timetable. Bus fares from Castries to the north end of the island is EC $2.50. From Castries to the south end of the island (Vieux Fort) is EC $8.

Car travel via the new West Coast Road from Castries to Soufriere takes about an hour.

Major car rental agencies include Avis, Budget, Hertz and National.

Beaches

Anse La Raye St. Lucia
Anse La Raye beach; © St. Lucia Tourist Board
Reduit Beach at Rodney Bay, located about 10 miles north of Castries, is the longest and one of the most popular beaches on the island.

Next to Reduit is Pigeon Island National Park, a popular spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Grande Anse lies on the east coast of the island and is a few miles farther from Castries as Reduit. It is a popular beach for turtle watching.

About eight miles south of Castries is Anse Chastanet, another popular beach known for long stretches of white sand and some stretches of black volcanic sand. It also has good snorkeling and scuba diving.

Smaller nearby beaches for anyone with limited time include Vigie, La Toc and Malabar.

Weather / Best and Worst Months to Go

Anyone planning to go to St. Lucia on a cruise or thinking about going should know what to expect with the weather.

The island's average high temperature ranges from the low 80s Fahrenheit in January and February to the mid to high 80s for the rest of the year.

Rainfall varies greatly month to month. The island receives about three to four inches of rain from December through June.

It starts to climb in July during the Caribbean hurricane season and reaches a high point of eight inches in September and October.

Other Tips

  • The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). U.S. dollars, credit cards and traveler's checks are widely accepted.

  • Tipping is usually 10-12 percent of the bill.

  • There is an 8 percent tax on restaurant bills.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

 > Category: Cruise Ports   

August 19, 2016

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