Saint Lucia On a Budget
The island is a commonly visited island in the Caribbean with the peak months being between January and April. This time also corresponds to the dry season (and of course, North America's winter). It's a wonderful choice if you're looking for an island vacation in the Caribbean.
Most visitors to Saint Lucia fly into one of its two international airports. There is one airport in the capital city of Castries, George FL Charles Airport, and a second, Hewanorra International Airport near Vieux Fort. Many other visitors arrive by cruise ship. It's also possible to travel from other Caribbean Islands on a ferry. Specifically, Martinique and Guadeloupe have extensive ferry connections, but the tickets of quite expensive.
Most tourists choose to travel around the island by taxi. You can arrange an island tour with a private taxi and it will likely be far cheaper than tours arranged for you through your hotel. Alternatively, for those on a tight budget with more time to spare, there are local buses that can take you around the island. This can be a fun option if you want a true Saint Lucia experience.
All inclusive resorts are a very popular way to visit Saint Lucia. These resorts include everything from your meals and hotel to some forms of entertainment, although excursions are often an extra charge. Many times it's a cheaper way to visit the Caribbean, but it can have a very packaged and manufactured feel. If you're looking for a nice vacation with minimal hassle, this is definitely a good option for you.
At A Glance
- St. Lucia is one of the more popular islands in the Caribbean in large part because of its beautiful beaches, dramatic landscape, and relatively easy accessibility. If you're looking for a unique experience that will truly take your breath away, then you are likely to find it here.
- There are two airports on St. Lucia. George FL Charles Airport is just two mile from downtown so you can actually walk to your flight if you're motivated and don't have a lot of luggage. It's also right next to Vigie Beach. This is the closest airport to most of the all-inclusive resorts. Hewanorra International Airport is the larger airport, but is about an hour from most of the resorts. The taxi wide is a nice way to orient yourself to the island though.
- There are several ferry services that run connections to nearby islands, but they can be expensive. Some of the more established companies include Express des Isles and Channel Shuttles, Inc, with the latter option generally being the less expensive of the two.
- If time allows, differently try to explore the island by local bus. They are generally small vans that run between the urban centers and are quite cheap. You'll be entertained by the atmosphere and music which will accompany you along the journey.
- If you're doing some souvenir shopping, you'll have several good options available to you. Castries market is a good option for gift buying, as is JQ Shopping Mall in Rodney Bay. La Place Carenage is a duty free outlet mall right in the harbor area of Castries. If prices aren't set, you can try your hand at negotiating.
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Top Tourist AttractionsPigeon Island Nature Reserve: This beautiful reserve is located just north of Gros Islet. It has some of Saint Lucia's oldest buildings and is a great place to experience both the island's nature and its rich history. You can also enjoy views looking across at Martinique.
The Sulfur Springs: These are hot springs that are one of the island's top attractions. They just to the south of Soufriere and you can enjoy relaxing in a pool of hot water that runs throughout. Don't visit without a swim suit!
Climbing the Gros Piton: This is a realistic option for most people in decent shape. The trail begins at an elevation of around 600 feet above sea level. The hike takes about two hours to reach the summit which is at around 2600 feet above sea level. It'll take you an additional hour and a half to make the descent. You must take a guide with you and the entrance fee is US$30. You can use either a taxi or local bus to get to the trail head.
Popular FoodsTraditional food in Saint Lucia is heavily based on fresh fruits and vegetables. The food is often flavored with curry or prepared in stew or jerk styles. In town you'll find a good number of local restaurants, and if you're in a rural area, the small rum shacks will often prepare food as well. It's a great way to try some of the best local dishes.
Roti: This is a flaky, phyllo like bread that is often served with either vegetables or meat. It is usually served on the side of a meal or as a quick and filling snack between meals. It's similar to the Indian or Southeast Asian form of the bread. Generally this is a cheap option for those who are looking for something hearty but don't want to pay a lot.
Barbeque: On Fridays in most local communities you will often find active and fun barbeques. During these events you are often served dishes such as chicken or pork that have been thoroughly marinated and are served with a rich sauce. The barbeques offer a festive environment and are a quintessential Caribbean experience. If you have the opportunity to attend on, you should not pass it up.
Curry: Caribbean curry is often served with chicken, pork or fish. The meat is generally richly seasoned and the dishes will have a strong flavor. Curry is often served as a meal that is prepared with sides ranging from salad, plantain, breadfruit, macaroni, and rice.