St. Lucia – Information for visitors.
Useful information for visitors to St. Lucia
Scuba Steve’s Diving is pleased to provide visitors to St. Lucia with some basic travel information. If you would like additional information, or have a specific question, please email us. Please click the links below to take you straight to the information you need.
Climate & Weather
St. Lucia has a tropical climate. The daytime temperature during the cool season (November to February) is approximately 80F/27C, with a night temperature around 70-72F/21-22C. December and January are the coolest months. August and September are the hottest two months with temperatures reaching 95 – 100F/35-37C. Trade winds provide cooling breezes most of the year.
St. Lucia enjoys an average of 7 – 11 hours of sunshine daily all year round. The sun in St Lucia can be very strong and it is very easy to become sunburnt. A sun hat and sunscreen (SPF15 or above) is recommended at all times.
Rainy season is between June and September with average rainfall of between 9-11″/228-279mm per month. Dry season is January-April with average rainfall of 3-5″/76-127mm per month. The rain falls in short but very heavy tropical downpours which have a cooling effect. Humidity is particularly high during August and September (the hottest months) as the Trade Winds ease off. This is a great time to be in the pool or better still out in the sea diving!
St. Lucia has two airports: – Vieux Fort (Hewanorra) at the southern end of the island (airport code UVF) which accepts wide-body jets and direct flights from the UK and USA, and Vigie (G.F Charles) at the north end of the island by Castries (airport code SLU) which accepts small jets and inter-island commuter planes run by LIAT and Caribbean Star etc.
The travel time by road from Vieux Fort to the Rodney Bay area (which is where most of the Hotels are situated) is around 90 minutes with the route following the Atlantic coast road before rising to cross over the centre of the island through picturesque plantations and rain forest before entering Castries, (the capital city), by the harbour and then following the Caribbean coast road up to Rodney Bay.
Travel time by road from Vigie to the Rodney Bay area is about 20 minutes. As an alternative, there are Helicopter transfers available from Vieux Fort to Vigie which take about 12 minutes flying time and give you a birds eye view of the stunning beauty of St. Lucia.
Drinking Water & Beverages
The mains water supply in St. Lucia is chlorinated and considered safe to drink, but may taste a little strange if you are not used to the chlorine. Ice served in drinks is usually made from tap water and is also considered safe to drink. Bottled mineral water is available from Hotels and Shopping Malls and is inexpensive if you prefer not to drink tap water.
You can get the usual variety of carbonated drinks, Tea, Coffee and Chocolate etc. in most Hotels and Restaurants. Fresh fruit juices and Coconut Water are also plentiful. Alcohol is cheap in St. Lucia, especially in local bars rather than Restaurants. The local Piton Lager is very good (also Piton Shandy) and local Rum is ROCKET FUEL!!!
In the Rodney Bay area within walking distance of most Hotels, there are a wide variety of excellent restaurants and numerous small bars. You will find Fish, Steak, Lobster, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Thai, Sushi, Local Food, International Food, Pizza, Burgers and Fried Chicken.
Eating out can be quite expensive as food in St. Lucia is not cheap to buy as most of it has to be imported. A typical meal for two with a Starter and Main course with a bottle of wine will cost around US$60 -100. It is usual for Restaurants to add a 10% Service Charge to the bill and Hotels can add up to 18% (10% Service Charge + 8% Government Tax).
The mains electricity supply standard is 220VAC 50Hz and the outlets are 3 pin UK style. Items fitted with UK plugs will connect directly without the need for a travel adapter. Some Hotels and Guesthouses also have US style 115VAC 2/3 pin outlets but this is not the standard so US visitors need to be careful when connecting 115V appliances.
Currency in St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$ or XCD). The exchange rate is fixed to the US$ with US$1 buying you EC$2.67. Most Hotels quote prices in US$ and will accept payment in US$, however, change is usually given in EC$. Keep a watchful eye on any conversions as rates (and the quality of the math!) can vary quite dramatically. Taxis and most shops will also take US$ and GBÂ£, again, change is always given in EC$. The approximate conversion rate from GBÂ£ is Â£1 will buy you around EC$5. Unlike the US$, this rate is not fixed and you need to shop around if you are changing significant amounts of currency. Most Hotels and Shopping Malls, accept major Credit Cards and Travellers Cheques.
There are two public and one private hospital in St. Lucia, none of which provide the same quality of care found in an American or British hospital. There is a hyperbaric chamber at Tapion Private Hospital in Castries. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for medical treatment. Visitors to St. Lucia are strongly advised to have travel insurance covering Medical fees. If you are going to be Scuba diving, please click HERE for further information.
Taxis & Busses
Taxis are regulated and can be distinguished as their licence plates start with TX. Always negotiate the fare before setting off. Taxis can be obtained from the Airport, your Hotel or from Taxi Stands. Be careful to determine whether the fare is in US$ or EC$.
Busses have green licence plates starting with M. Castries, Gros Islet and Rodney Bay, have a regular service until approximately 10:00 p.m (later on Fridays). There is no timetable. Fare from Castries to the Rodney Bay is EC$2.50 and from Castries to the south is EC$7.50.
Car Hire & Driving
Cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles can be booked in advance through a travel agent or at airports, hotels or at car rental offices. The rental rate per week ranges from US$295 to US$390 depending on the type of car and the company. The average daily rates are US$65.00, not including insurance, which can be an additional US$15-20 per day. A temporary driving licence is required for visitors and can be obtained on production of a current driver’s licence on arrival at the airport, at the police station in Castries or at the car rental office. The cost is EC$58. Please remember in St. Lucia driving is on the LEFT British style.
There are a number of very informative websites which will give you more detailed information on the topics discussed briefly above. Please try the following links: -