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St. Lucia Visitors Guide

How to Get There, Things to Do & More

Updated December 2022

St. Lucia Visitors Guide. The best things to do in St Lucia.
St. Lucia Visitors Guide. The best things to do in St Lucia.

Welcome to St. Lucia

Lounge in the shade of a palm tree next to magnificent turquoise waters, soothe your tired feet in cool white sands, and revel in spectacular views of the Pitons’ volcanic peaks! St. Lucia is the breathtaking Caribbean oasis you’ve been seeking. Get away from life’s hustle and bustle and explore this tranquil island’s small fishing villages, lush mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and colorful markets. Unearth her rich history and culture while adventuring across land and sea, and rediscover the wonder life has to offer.

Lounge in the shade of a palm tree next to magnificent turquoise waters, soothe your tired feet in cool white sands, and revel in spectacular views of the Pitons’ volcanic peaks! St. Lucia is the breathtaking Caribbean oasis you’ve been seeking. Get away from life’s hustle and bustle and explore this tranquil island’s small fishing villages, lush mountains, beautiful waterfalls, and colorful markets. Unearth her rich history and culture while adventuring across land and sea, and rediscover the wonder life has to offer.

St. Lucia Map

Contents

St. Lucia Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Lucia.

A Bit Of History

St. Lucia was originally inhabited by indigenous people known as the Arawak. However, it was later dominated by another tribe called the Carib. They knew the island as Louanalao, but it was renamed St. Lucia during the colonial era.

Both the Dutch and British tried and failed to colonize the island in the early part of the 17th century. However, in 1651 the Carib sold the land to a member of the French West India Company and the island became a colony of France.

This incited a war between the French and the British, until the French surrendered in 1814.

St. Lucia Visitors Guide. The Best Things To Do In St Lucia.

St. Lucia Today

St. Lucia achieved independence from the British in 1979 but remains a part of the Commonwealth of Nations. Today, St. Lucia is thriving with an ample economy and independent government. The culture of the Carib prevails, infused with African, English, French, and Dutch influence.

St. Lucia is truly a melting pot of cultures offering an extraordinarily unique travel experience. Today, visitors can experience the island’s history by visiting archaeological sites, walking through the old town of Vieux Fort, and savoring the distinct flavors of the local cuisine.

Is St. Lucia Safe?

Is St. Lucia Safe?

St. Lucia is a relatively safe place to travel to, despite the slightly higher crime rate than some other Caribbean islands. The island can easily be traveled safely and stress-free, as most visitors don’t have any troubles.

However, it is advised that robberies and theft of tourists aren’t unheard of, and acts of petty crime do take place. Increase your safety by avoiding traveling alone at night or in non-touristic places on the island.

Where is St. Lucia?

St. Lucia Caribbean Map

click map to enlarge

St. Lucia is an island state in the Caribbean Sea. It is the second largest island in the Lesser Antilles which includes popular destinations including St. Kitts and Nevis, the US Virgin Islands, Dominica, Antigua and St. Barts. It is just above Saint Vincent and Barbados, hovering over the northernmost point of Venezuela.

The Best Time to Visit St. Lucia

Looking for the best time to go to St. Lucia? The temperature in St. Lucia remains relatively consistent throughout the year, ranging between 70-90 F. However, there are predictable dry and wet seasons, as well as the dreaded hurricane season, which travelers should be aware of.

Looking for the best time to go to St. Lucia? The temperature in St. Lucia remains relatively consistent throughout the year, ranging between 70-90 F. However, there are predictable dry and wet seasons, as well as the dreaded hurricane season, which travelers should be aware of.

December – April

December to April not only brings the largest crowds to the island, but these months also have the highest room rates. The island’s breeze makes these months some of the most desired, since the temperature ranges from the mid-70’s to mid-80’s.

May to June

May and June are likely the best months for travel to St. Lucia. The crowds are small, the accommodation prices are decent, and the weather is gorgeous. Temperatures are normally in the mid-80s, and the wet season doesn’t usually roll in until the later summer months.

July to November

While you may find a great deal from July through November, you risk having your trip canceled or cut short due to peak hurricane season.

December – April

December to April not only brings the largest crowds to the island, but these months also have the highest room rates. The island’s breeze makes these months some of the most desired, since the temperature ranges from the mid-70’s to mid-80’s.

May to June

May and June are likely the best months for travel to St. Lucia. The crowds are small, the accommodation prices are decent, and the weather is gorgeous. Temperatures are normally in the mid-80s, and the wet season doesn’t usually roll in until the later summer months.

July to November

While you may find a great deal from July through November, you risk having your trip canceled or cut short due to peak hurricane season.

  When Is St. Lucia Hurricane Season?

St. Lucia hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, with the peak season being August through October. Hurricane season isn’t a huge cause for concern in St. Lucia. It’s rare for a hurricane to hit the island directly and the likelihood of this happening during your visit is incredibly low, but you will most likely experience hotter weather and heavier rainfall. St. Lucia’s Marigot Bay is known to be a hurricane safe zone, an area where the topography shelters boats from harsh winds. Be sure to check weather reports before your trip, and we always recommend getting travel insurance during these months just in case of inclement weather.

How to Get to St. Lucia & Around

There are a few ways to get to and around St. Lucia. Note that some larger resorts in St. Lucia may provide free airport transportation, so check ahead.

Arrival by Air

Getting to the island is easy as there are many direct flights from North America to St. Lucia. There are two airports on the island Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in Vieux Fort is located around 40 miles south of Castries, the capital city. While George F.L. Charles Airport is an inter-island airport just outside Castries, you’ll fly into this airport if you are coming from another Caribbean Island.

Popular carriers who fly to the island include JetBlue, American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines and these airlines all offer direct flights from major cities in the U.S.

Visitors can also fly to St. Lucia from other popular Caribbean islands through local airlines such as LIAT, Air Caraibes, Air Antilles and Caribbean Airlines.

You’ll need a valid passport to travel to St. Lucia. If you are from the U.S. or Canada you will also need to provide departure details, and accommodation details upon arrival.

  Search for great deals on flights here.

Arrival by Cruise

St. Lucia is a popular stop on many Caribbean cruises. Most cruise ships dock in Castries on the island’s northwest coast. There are a few other docks at La Place Carenage, right in the center of town, or at Pointe Seraphine, just across the harbor.

These major cruise ports welcome around 300 ships per year. Many different cruise lines stop in St. Lucia, and you can explore rates with Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruises.

The St. Lucia Cruise Port terminal offers bars, cafés, tourist information, restrooms, restaurants, and duty-free shopping.

  Search for great deals on cruises here.

Shuttle

Shuttles in St. Lucia

  Shuttles or private transport can be pre-arranged to pick you up and take you from the airport to your accommodation. You can easily book ground transportation from the airport to your hotel here.

Rental Cars in St. Lucia

Renting a car in St. Lucia gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. You can rent cars, four-wheel drive vehicles and scooters in advance  at the airports, through your hotel or car rental offices. You’ll find car rental agencies clustered at the airport, in Castries, Soufrière, Rodney Bay and Gros Islet.

Rental cars cost around $54 per day for a standard car, $58 for a full size SUV, and $138 for a luxury SUV.

A temporary drivers license is required for visitors and may be obtained with a valid driving license from your home country. You can get your temporary divers license at the airport, at the rental car offices or at the police station in Castries.

The minimum age to rent a car with most rental companies on the island is 25. Remember to drive on the left side of the road in St. Lucia!

  Search for great deals on rental cars here.

Taxis in St. Lucia

Taxis in St. Lucia can easily be requested at taxi stands or by phone. They are typically silver or black sedans and authorized taxis will have a light blue license plate with a TX prefix.

Fares vary, but it is wise to agree on the fare before departing. The variation in fares is based on destination, the number of people, amount of luggage and the taxi company.

Typical fares from Castries to Hewanorra Airport are around $90, while fares from Castries to Rodney Bay are about $20 to $25.

Some of the major reputable taxi companies in St. Lucia include Saint Lucia Taxi Service, Saint Lucia Airport Transfers, Saint Lucia Executive, and Real Saint Lucia Tours.

You can also book a water taxi for transport on the west side of St. Lucia.

St Lucia Helicopter

Helicopters in St. Lucia

You can quickly and easily transfer from the south to the north of the island by helicopter. Scenic tours are also available.

We’ve never done it, but it sure looks cool! Check out more info here.

  Prepare For Flight Cancellations

Airlines are canceling thousands of flights a month these days, so it pays to be protected. Missed connections, hotel stays, tours, etc., can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. That makes travel insurance a must in our opinion. A trip policy can reimburse you for travel losses, while also covering emergency medical needs, lost or stolen luggage (it happens) and more. We think it’s an absolute no-brainer.

  Compare the top rated travel insurance policies here.

Things to Do in St. Lucia

St. Lucia's Top Highlights

St. Lucia is a nature-lovers paradise! From hiking through lush mountain forests to exploring the diverse marine landscape, there is something for everyone. Here are just a few of the activities to enjoy on St. Lucia!

See the Pitons

The Pitons are the two towering green mountainous peaks that St. Lucia is known for. They were formed by volcanic activity hundreds of thousands of years ago and are now an UNESCO World Heritage site. Both the large and small peaks are able to be climbed but are most often viewed from afar.

There are several ways to see the Pitons. One of the top places to get a great panoramic view of the Pitons is from the fishing village of Soufriere. Another hugely popular option is to take a tour that visits the Pitons by boat. Truly adventurous types meanwhile can confront the summit head-on by spending the day hiking to the top!

 To visit numerous wonderful sites around St. Lucia by land and sea, check out this top rated tour that sees the Pitons by boat!

Feel like taking a hike? This epic early morning hike to the top of Gran Piton is incredibly popular for a reason.

For those looking for an easy sightseeing tour by land, this popular minibus tour heads to Soufriere to see the Pitons and also visits Sulpher Springs and the Botanical Gardens.

Explore all your Piton options here.

Explore the Coral Reefs

There are so many snorkeling and diving options available in St. Lucia. Those adventuring undersea can see an array of colorful coral and fish, including the eccentric frogfish! The ecosystem is also home to many lobsters, crabs, and eels.

One of the most popular places to snorkel or dive is Anse Chastanet coral reef. For those even more adventurous and skilled at diving, there is a world of wonder waiting at the Pitons’ underwater cliffs. There are several different companies that can take you on a snorkeling or diving experience.

Explore a variety of popular snorkeling tours here.

There are a number of scuba diving options here for beginners and experienced divers.

Hike to Panoramic Lookouts and Waterfalls

If you want to get away from the beach for a bit and head out into nature, hiking parts of St. Lucia can be very rewarding. The Tet Paul Nature Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails that offers many beautiful views of St. Lucia. This park goes through tropical forests of the Pitons Management Area and takes about 45 minutes round-trip.

On the short hike, you’ll be able to view and learn about the plants and trees, including many tropical fruit trees, and will eventually reach the “Stairway to Heaven,” steep steps leading to a 360 view of the countryside. There is a small fee to enter this trail. There are other hikes available in St. Lucia as well.

In Soufriere many enjoy the beautiful hike up to Sapphire Falls, a beautiful narrow waterfall surrounded by rain forest. Hiking trails are also available up the Pitons, but please note that they can be a bit strenuous for inexperienced hikers.

This half-day tour ascending Tet Paul’s “Stairway to Heaven” also includes a stop in Soufriere and the cocoa and banana plantations of Morn-Fortune!

Check out this cool catamaran boat tour that also includes a hike up to Saphire Falls!

If you’re looking for a real challenge this hike to the top of Gran Piton might be the perfect choice.

Visit Sulphur Springs Park

Mount Soufriere, or Sulphur Springs Park, is certainly a unique experience. This park is named after the sulphur that was once mined there and still bubbles in the pool you can see from an observation deck. There is a road that goes around the edge of the crater, bringing you near the volcano’s mouth. While the volcano has been quiet for the last 40,000 years, it still vents out sulfur and heats the pools. After exploring the park, you can relax in the nearby springs and mud baths.

This Sulphur Springs tour will guide you through a natural spa day, from the detoxifying mud baths to the cleansing waterfall.

Feel like creating your own day? Book a private island tour and customize your visit to a variety of attractions. Hotel pickup, transportation and private guide included.

Stroll Through Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens

Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens is a part of the Soufriere Estate and includes three main attractions. Travelers can enjoy gardens that grow coconut, cocoa, mahogany, red cedar and a wide variety of flowers from around the world. There is also a beautiful waterfall that flows a burnt-orange color from the mineral deposits.

In addition, visitors can also enjoy bathing in hot springs that were originally built for King Louis the XVI of France. Near the Diamond Spring section, there is a historical estate, the Old Mill, which has been converted into a restaurant and offers a Caribbean-style buffet.

This scenic tour of the island’s west coast features a guided tour of Diamond Falls’ flora and fauna as well as historical education regarding the natural landmarks.

Feel like creating your own day? Book a private island tour and customize your visit to a variety of attractions. Hotel pickup, transportation and private guide included.

Discover Pigeon Island National Park

If you love both nature and history, you’ll probably enjoy a visit to Pigeon Island National Park. This park has beaches, trails, lookouts and the old ruins of buildings once used by British troops during their many battles with the French. Those not as interested in history will still enjoy the 360 views of the northwest coast of St. Lucia, beach access and the onsite Caribbean restaurant. Make a day of it!

Experience all that Pigeon Island has to offer with this private day tour.

Feeling sporty? This bike tour to Pigeon Island has excellent reviews.

Lounge at Marigot Bay

One of the most beautiful bays on St. Lucia, Marigot Bay overlooks lush green hillsides, palm-lined beaches and crystal clear waters. The bay is famous for its historical significance to the British, who hid from the French in the deep harbor. In addition, the original Doctor Doolittle movie was filmed on location here in the 60s and many local establishments are named in reference. Visitors can easily get to Marigot Bay by tour or water ferry.

Feel like creating your own day? Book a private island tour and customize your visit to a variety of attractions including Marigot Bay. Hotel pickup, transportation and private guide included.

Where to Stay in St. Lucia

There are all types of accommodations in St. Lucia. From all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels to hostels and more. Location and amenities are the two top things to look for. For great hotel info and recommendations, check out our St. Lucia Hotel Guide or our St. Lucia All Inclusive Resort Guide.

St. Lucia Hotel Guide: Harbor Club St. Lucia By Hilton

For hotel recommendations for every budget, check out our St. Lucia Hotel Guide

What to Eat in St. Lucia

You can find a wide range of wonderful bites to eat on St. Lucia. If you’re looking for a culinary adventure, check out our St. Lucia Restaurant Guide.

The Best Restaurants In St. Lucia

For great restaurant recommendations, check out our St. Lucia Restaurant Guide

What To Pack For Your Trip!

The Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime here. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a checklist to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. Check out our What To Pack For Your Trip Guide.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. If St. Lucia isn’t the best place to vacation ever I don’t know what place is! Island Life you are amazing, I swear to god, this is the best guide ever!

  2. We climbed Gros Piton last time we were in St. Lucia. Definitely only recommend it to people in pretty good shape and bring lots of water.

  3. My family loved hiking the Pitons (it was quite exhausting for some of us though!), but seeing them from the water on a boat is an incredible view.

  4. This is one of the best guides to St. Lucia I have found so far! It has everything needed to plan the perfect trip, thank you!

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