Island Overview, Getting around, Saint Lucia attractions
The North of St Lucia is the island’s main center of activity and population. Castries, Gros Islet and Rodney Bay offer numerous resorts and guesthouses, st lucia beaches, shopping, a cruise port, two marinas, golf, entertainment and nightlife. While the North may be too crowded and commercial for some, a visit to St. Lucia would not be quite complete with a trip to the nation’s capital. Worth seeing is the Castries market, the Derek Walcott square and the Cathedral, as well as the La Toc battery, the Howelton House (Caribelle Batik), and the Government House on Morne Fortune. Further North, popular saint lucia attractions include the Rainforest tram and zip line, Pigeon Island National Park, Fond Latisab, and Lushan Country Life.
The West Coast is mountainous and lush, with a scenic but narrow winding road. Soufriere, a popular saint lucia attraction, is known for the majestic Pitons (a World Heritage site) and Sulphur Springs “drive in-volcano.” This area is also one of the best scuba diving spots in the Caribbean. Soufriere offers fine st lucia dining and exclusive high-end resorts and villas. Popular attractions include the Gros Piton Trail, Fond Doux Estate, Toraille Waterfall, Spyke waterfall, Piton waterfall, Sugar Beach, Anse Chastanet Beach, the En bas Saut Trail & waterfall, Tet Paul Trail, New Jerusalem Hot Springs, Morne Coubaril Estate, Hotwire Zipline, Soufriere Estate and the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens. Further north there is the Canaries waterfall, La Plas Kassav, la Sikwi Sugarmill, River Rock waterfall, Anse Cochon, the Anse la Raye Fish fry, the Rum Distillery and Marigot Bay. Many boat rides, fishing tours and whale watching tours start or end in Soufriere.
The East Coast is wild and rugged, offering dramatic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and coastline. However, keep in mind that many st lucia beaches are not safe for swimming, including the stunning Grande Anse beach where leatherback turtle come to nest. Noteworthy attractions include Marquis Estate, Fond D’ Or Nature and Historic Park, Mamiku Gardens, Latille waterfall, Maria Islands, Errard Estate, the Rainforest Canopy Zipline and the Dennery Fish fry. There is also a parrot trail and an ATV trek near Fond Estate.
The South of St Lucia is authentic and naturally beautiful. The second largest town Vieux Fort and the Hewanorra International airport are the main centers of activity. The Anse de Sables beach in Vieux Fort is a famous wind and kite surfing spot, and also offers horseback riding. The picturesque communities of Laborie and Choiseul offer secluded beaches and the opportunity to experience traditional island life. The main sites and attractions between vieux Fort and Soufriere include the Moule a Chique Lighthouse, Fond Joyeux Waterfall, Laborie, Morne le Blanc Viewing Point, Balenbouche Estate, the Saltibus Waterfall & Trail, the Choiseul Arts & Craft Center, Anse L’Ivroigne, and La Pointe Carib, a historic Carib settlement.
The Interior of St Lucia is covered with tropical rainforest, home to the indigenous St. Lucia parrot (Amazonas Versicolor) and many other bird species. Most Hiking trails are maintained by the Forestry Department, which manages 19,000 acres of forest reserve. St. Lucia’s tallest mountain, Mount Gimie (3117t.), is at the heart of the island and private guides take small groups of people to the summit. Another great way to appreciate the topography of the island is to take a helicopter ride.
Depending on where you are located, you may be able to explore some st lucia beaches, rivers, nature trails, historic sites, and rural communities by foot. However, always beware of traffic as there are usually no areas for pedestrians, and it is not advisable to be walking in a remote area or after dark unless in a group or in a public, well-lit area.
This is the most affordable, local way of traveling and a great way to experience island life and people. The buses in St. Lucia are privately owned and operated 14 – seater minivans which run specific routes. There is no schedule, you can simply wave them down on the main road. Within larger towns, there are specific bus stops, and buses will not depart until they are full. The disadvantages of the bus are that you may have to wait up to 30 minutes, they stop after 6 pm, and they do not access all parts of the island.
The 4 major bus routes are:
Vieux Fort – Soufriere (4F)
Soufriere – Castries (3D)
Castries – Vieux Fort (2H)
Castries – Gros Islet (1A).
By Rental Car
Rental cars are the best way to get around and are usually more affordable than taxis and organized tours. Daily rates range from US$ 60 for a small car to US$ 110 for a minivan or SUV. A 4×4 is necessary for certain hiking trails and beaches and if you are planning to venture off the main road network. Driving in st lucia is on the left, and you will need a local permit, which costs US$ 22 and is valid for three months (unless you have an international driving license). Most rental agencies have offices at the airports and require a minimum age of 25 and three years of driving experience. Visit our St. Lucia Links page for a listing of car rental agencies in St. Lucia.
Bikes and Mopeds
Bikes, mopeds, and scooters are wonderful throughout the Caribbean; however Saint Lucia’s hilly terrain makes leisure travel difficult. We strongly suggest another mode of transport for primary uses. Main roads are often narrow and could be dangerous for leisure travelers.
Bikes, mopeds and ATVs can be rented for tours or other adventure programs. Enjoy the island’s scenic and beautiful mountains from secluded trails and off road paths.
Taxis in st. lucia are safe, readily available and will take you almost anywhere. They are identified by blue TX license plates. However, the taxi fares are quite high, and you should always agree on the price beforehand. The official rates posted by the St Lucia Taxi association are:
Hewanorra to GFL Charles airport US$ 60
Hewanorra to Balenbouche: US$ 20 or EC$ 55
Hewanorra Airport to Soufriere: US$ 65
Soufriere to Castries: US$ 70
Castries to Gros Islet: US$ 25
Castries to Soufriere: US$ 70
Castries to Anse La Raye US$ 30/EC$ 75
Rodney Bay to Pigeon Island: EC$25/US$10
Rodney Bay to Gros Islet town: EC$25/US$10
Taxi hire for the day: Between US$ 200 – US$ 250
By Organized Tour
Most organized tours depart either from the north of the island or from Soufriere. Several smaller operators cater to visitors outside the major tourist centers. Ask your Hotel or Guesthouse which tours and tour operators they recommend. St. Lucia Heritage Tours offers tours to the best natural, cultural and historic attractions.