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Saint Lucia is a British Commonwealth country that is an island in the Caribbean, off the coast of Central America. It lies between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago.
Tourism is vital to Saint Lucia's economy. Its economic importance is expected to continue to increase as the market for bananas becomes more competitive. Tourism tends to be more substantial during the dry season (January to April). Saint Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its numerous beaches and resorts.
Tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season from January to April, rainy season from May to August; Experiences hurricanes.
St. Lucia has two airports, George FL Charles Airport (SLU), which is near Castries. Hewanorra International (UVF), which is near Vieux Fort. This airport is immediately next to the town of Vieux Fort. From the town, it's easy to think that it's just a few minutes walk to the airport terminal.
- George FL Charles Airport is closer to many of the all-inclusive resorts, has a modest terminal and runway able to easily support inter-island commercial flights. For less-experienced pilots in high-performance aircraft, the over-water approach and hills on both sides of runway can seem a bit harrowing, but prevailing winds are usually favourable. The airport is right next to Vigie beach, so it's possible to top up your sun tan while you wait for your flight. The terminal is about two miles from downtown Castries, so it is walkable if you do not have much luggage.
- Hewanorra is larger, but can be an 1 hour by taxi from most of the major resorts in the north. However, the journey north is a good way to see the island except if you arrive at night.
More information on both airports can be found on the official website for the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority
Ferries to and from neighbouring islands are available, if rather expensive.
The most extensive official service is operated by Express des Isles, which runs services to Martinique, Guadeloupe, etc.
The main way for tourists to get around St. Lucia is by taxi, either arranged by the hotel, taxi agency or individual operators. The tours arranged by resorts are usually the most expensive way to travel but might offer food and drink. Using a local taxi operator to plan your own adventure will be much more affordable.
Water taxis are a main source of income for many locals and can be a much quicker, convenient and picturesque method of travelling short distances to private beaches or coastal towns.
A helicopter taxi can be taken from Hewannora airport to Vigie airport and is a quick and spectacular way to get to the resorts on the Northern end of the island.
Renting a car is also possible at rates similar to those found in the United States or Canada. Driving is on the left-hand side and drivers require a permit, which you will get on arrival by the local agent.
English (official), French patois
Virtually all residents will be able to converse with travellers in English.
Pigeon Island nature reserve - just north of Gros Islet, the park has some of the oldest buildings on St.Lucia and affords views across to Martinique.
The Sulphur Springs, these hot springs are one of the main attractions on the island. There is a pool that the hot water runs through, so make sure to take your swimming trunks and go for a dip.
Rainforest hikes - there are several official hiking routes on the island. The Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries site has links to information about the ones they support.
Climbing the Gros Piton is an achievable goal for most people.
Snorkelling is popular and a number of beaches are suitable.
SCUBA diving - done at Pigeon Island, one of the island's Historical Landmarks, as well as between The Pitons, a World Heritage Site.
The East Caribbean Dollar is pegged to the US dollar at 1 USD = 2.7 XCD. Cash machines on the island dispense XCD. Do bring US dollars, because you will most often (but not always) get better value spending in US dollars than in East Caribbean dollars. You cannot easily get USD on the island.
St Lucian food consists mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and a variety of curry, jerk, rice and stewed dishes. The coal pot is a delicious stew, traditional to native carib cultures and can be found at many local restaurants in Castries, Soufriere and Vieux-Fort. Vegetarian and meat rotis can be found at a number of small local restaurants. Ask any local for the best roti shop and he or she will tell you how to get there.
For a quick snack, barbeques with chicken and pork can be found in any community on a Friday night. The food is well marinated and spiced. Soak up the sauce with a barbequed or fried bake. Fried chicken and fish can also be found, and are quite delicious.
There are weekly parties and festivals held in various communities throughout the island where you can also sample a range of local foods, including sea food, barbequed meats, salads and drinks. These festivals are filled with dancing, drinks, food and music. Let your hair down, try some cuisine and lime it up. Be sure to ask what is in the pots before you sample the food. For those environmentally conscious, blackfish is porpoise.