Saint Lucia is a British Commonwealth island country located in the Caribbean, off the coast of Central America. It lies between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago. It is part of the Lesser Antilles, and has a land area of 617 square kilometres (238.23 square miles) and in 2010, had a population of 174,000. Its capital and largest city is Castries. Its official language is English while the vernacular language spoken in the island is Saint Lucian Creole French. Saint Lucia experiences a tropical climate, moderated by northeast trade winds. Dry season is January to April, while rainy season is from May to August. It also experiences hurricanes. Its culture is influenced by African, East Indian, French, and English heritage. Tourism is highly significant to its economy, and is expected to increase as the market for bananas becomes more competitive.
What to see & do
Given that tourism plays an important role to Saint Lucia’s economy, there are numerous attractions that complement the country’s tropical weather, such as its several beaches and resorts. Other places to visit include a drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs (in Soufrière), the Botanical Gardens, the Majestic twin Peaks "The Pitons" (a world heritage site), rainforests, and Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, an old British military base. Saint Lucia is usually part of cruise tours, and where majority of the tourists come from. Castries, Soufriere, Marigot Bay, and Gros Islet are popular locations to visit. Enjoy plenty of exciting activities such as snorkelling, scuba diving, and catamaran sailing.
How to get around within Saint Lucia
To make the most out of your visit, the best way to get around Saint Lucia is by taking a taxi, either arranged by the hotel, taxi agency, or individual operators. A local taxi operator is much more affordable. Another option is to rent a car. However, for budget travellers, or if you simply seek adventure, taking the local bus is a cheap and exciting way to get around. These ‘buses’ are small vans that hold around 10-14 people and vary in quality. There are also water taxis, which serve as main source of income for many locals. These are also much quicker, more convenient, and a scenic way to travel short distances. If you are willing to splurge, a helicopter taxi can be taken from Hewannora airport to Vigie airport. It’s a quick and spectacular way to get to the resorts on the Northern end of the island.
How to get there
There are two airports in Saint Lucia: George FL Charles Airport, which is near the capital and to many all-inclusive resorts; and Hewanorra International Airport, the bigger of the two, which is near Vieux Fort. Air Antilles, Air Caraïbes, Caribbean Airlines, Air France operated by Air Antilles, Caricom Airways, and LIAT are some of the airlines that operate at George FL Charles Airport, flying to and from destinations like Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Port of Spain, Paramaribo, Saint Kitts, Sint Maarten, Saint Vincent, and Barbados. Meanwhile, Hewanorra International Airport is served by Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Caricom Airways, Condor, Delta Air Lines, Grenadine Airways, JetBlue Airways, Mustique Airways, US Airways, and Virgin Atlantic, among others. These airlines fly to and from Toronto-Pearson, Montreal-Trudeau, Miami, New York-JFK, Mustique, Union Island, Newark, Grenada, London-Gatwick, Tobago, and more. Aside from air transit, those who wish to visit the island can also travel by ferry. There are ferries to and from neighbouring islands, although these are rather expensive. The most extensive official service is operated by Express des Isles.
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