Getting around St Lucia
Getting around st lucia is best through a combination of taxis, rental cars, buses and organized tours. Although the island is only 238 square miles, it takes about 2 1/2 hours to drive from north to south, or 3 1/2 hours to circumnavigate the main coastal road. There is no road through the interior forest reverse, and the island is quite mountainous. The speed limit is 40 miles and driving is on the left.
Most visitors use taxis at their main transportation in St Lucia. They are designated by a blue “TX” license plate. However, there is no taxi company or obvious number to call – you basically have to have a private contact, ask your hotel to arrange, wait to be approached (which you will especially in the large towns) or go to the airport. Rates are fixed and quoted in US$, but fairly high – always make sure to confirm price beforehand. Drivers are generally reliable and friendly and will often offer you a deal, especially if you use their services more than once.
Rental cars are the best to experience the island and usually more affordable than taxis and organized tours. Daily rates range from US$ 65 for a small car to US$ 110 for a minivan or SUV. A 4×4 is only necessary for certain hiking trails and st lucia attractions off of the main road networks. Driving is on the left, and you will need a local permit (US$ 22, valid for three months). If you have an international driving license there is no charge but you still need a stamp. Most agencies have offices at the airports and require a minimum age of 25 and three years of driving experience.
The Gizi road map is one of the more detailed maps of St lucia and can be ordered online.
There are many organized St Lucia tours which depart either from the north of the island or from Soufriere. Several smaller tour operators cater to visitors outside the major tourist centers and may do individual pick-ups. There are many and it’s hard to know which ones are really good. It is best to ask your Hotel or Guesthouse which st lucia activities, tours and tour operators they recommend or can arrange, or check out reviews online.
Getting around St Lucia by Public Bus
Buses are the most affordable, local way of getting from point A to B and a great way to experience island life. They are privately owned and operated 14–seater minivans with green “M” license plates which run individual routes between major communities. There is no schedule, simply wave them down along the main road or wait for the bus to fill up at the point of departure. You may have to wait up to 30 minutes for a bus to fill up or stop for you, and in most places they don’t really run after 7 pm. Fares range from $0.80 (EC$ 1.50) for very short distances to about US$ 5. Though you can save a lot of money by taking buses, keep in mind that many attractions and parts of the island are not serviced by public transportation. They do not run after 7 or 8 pm outside of the urban north. They also hardly run on Sundays and holidays in most parts of the island, though if you’re not in a hurry you can still wait along the road – it might just take a couple hours.
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