The climate on the island of Saint Lucia is tropical with temperatures ranging from 70 - 90 degrees. St. Lucia lies below the hurricane belt. There are cool trade winds that keep St. Lucia's weather delightful. From June to November be prepared for occasional tropical showers, while December thru May usually will be a much drier period.
English is the main language in Saint Lucia although many St. Lucians also speak French and Spanish. Kwéyòl, St Lucia's second language is a French based patois, which is widely spoken throughout the island. St. Lucia is with a combination of high mountains, forests, low-lying lands and beaches. A central mountain range is the majority of the island, with peaks ranging between 1000 and 3145 feet. The mountains here have mostly forests of trees while jasmine, scarlet chenille and wild orchids provide splashes of color to the lush green slopes. The two towering volcanic cones on the southwest coast, Gros Piton and Petit Piton are St. Lucia's famous landmarks. The volcanic origin of the island provides visitors with an opportunity to visit a "drive-in volcano" and to swim in the therapeutic Sulphur springs. St. Lucia's currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC) which is linked to the US Dollar at the exchange rate of US$1 to EC$2.70. US Dollars are accepted widely throughout the island. Some hotels will exchange reasonable amounts of foreign currency, and there are change bureaus in Castries.
SNORKELING & DIVING
Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, and lessons on how to do both are offered at all 3 Sandals Resorts on St. Lucia and are included with your stay. However, some divers like to go off the resort premises to different parts of the island to scuba or snorkel and optional tours can be set up by the resort at an additional cost. You can see beautiful coral reefs and a rich, tropical sea life while diving or snorkeling in St. Lucia. Night dives are also available at an additional cost.
There are currently 2 golf courses on the island of St. Lucia. One is at Sandals Regency Golf Resort and Spa. It is a 9-hole golf course and is included when you stay at one of the 3 Sandals Resorts on the island. Green fees and transfers are included in your package; golf cart, clubs, and caddy would be extra (caddy is mandatory and costs about $1.00 per hole). The other course is called St. Lucia's Golf and Country Club. This is the island's only 18-hold golf course (par 72). This course is not included with your stay at the Sandals Resorts, but you can arrange to go there thru your hotel tour desk. Carts are mandatory here and are an extra cost. Proper golf attire is required for both courses. (Hint: to save money, bring your own golf balls, tees and clubs)
You can fly from Milwaukee with 1 to 2 connections, depending on the airline carrier that you fly. You can also fly from Chicago with 1 connection. There are 2 airports in St. Lucia. Hewanorra is the larger of the 2 airports and is where most flights will be landing. Guests will enjoy a one hour and 15 minute drive thru the scenic Rainforest to get to the 3 Sandals Resorts. George F.L. Charles Airport is smaller and is the closest airport to the 3 Sandals Resorts. It is accessible by American Airlines via San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Those who may be proned to motion sickness, may want to take this route). Once you arrive in St. Lucia, you will be one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. There is a Departure Tax that must be paid in cash at the airport ticket counter in St. Lucia. The Departure Tax is approximately $22.00 per person U.S. Dollars.
For U.S. Citizens, you will need either a passport or an original birth certificate (with the raised seal) and your driver's license (government issued photo I.D.). Ladies who are married, you will need to bring your marriage license, which will show that your last name is different from your original birth certificate because you are married.
Local chefs combine the island's fresh produce with a wide variety of fresh seafood to create Curries, Creole-style entrees, and pepperpot stews. The local soup is Callaloo, which is made from a leafy green similar to spinach. St. Lucia has many tropical fruits such as bananas, mangoes, papayas, pineapples, soursops,
passion fruit, guavas, and coconuts.
TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS
The island of St. Lucia is filled with history. Visit the capitol, which is the town of Castries, to find a uniquely decorated Cathedral-the Immaculate Conception (built in 1897), the Derek Walcott Square (where a 400-year old Samann tree shades the Cathedral), the Central Library and shop the town market. Overlooking Castries, is Morne Fortune (which means the hill of good luck). This was a key battleground during the period of minor battles over colonial possession of St. Lucia. The French began the construction of this fortress in the 17th century, but it was the British who finished it when the French surrendered in 1796. Marigot Bay is another important wartime base, where a British Admiral once ambushed the French by camouflaging his fleet with palm fronds. This picturesque bay is now a yacht haven and one of St. Lucia's most beautiful spots.
Located in the south of St. Lucia is the oldest town called Soufriere. It has a marketplace that is decorated with colorful murals and gingerbread trim. Anse-le-Ray & Canaries is where tiny fishing villages feature one of St. Lucia's main traditions, which is fishing in dug-out canoes. Visit the La Sikwe Historical Sugar Mill & Plantation, which is a 400-acre estate set in a beautiful botanical garden. The tour features an onsite museum and cultural theatre with a 40-foot water wheel depicting the sugar-growing years of the 18th century. Tours must be scheduled in advance and can be arranged through any hotel.
WEDDINGS IN ST. LUCIA
On Friday nights, visit Gros Islet. This fishing village transforms itself every Friday night into a colorful carnival scene, featuring soca and reggae music and street dancing called "jump up".
Guests staying in the Beachfront Room Categories at Sandals Grande St. Lucian Resort and Spa, will see a view of Pigeon Island. Pigeon Island is a beautiful nature park that reflects a thousand years of history. There are marked trails with a number of historical sites, like the remains of an 18th-century British fort and Fort Rodney, where the Admiral for which it is named spied on the French ships from the top of the hill. Visit the Pigeon Island Museum & Interpretive Centre, which displays the island's history housed in a former British officers' mess building. This landmark was restored to its 1808 elegance. Visitors can learn about the first Carib Indian settlers, the island's role in the French/British battles during colonization, and Admiral Rodney's victory in 1782 at the famous "Battle of the Saints." The museum opens daily 9:00am to 5:00pm; admission is EC$5.00 for adults. (prices subject to change at anytime)
St. Lucia has a beautiful, tropical rainforest that is almost 1,800 feet above sea level and is around 19,000 acres with 29 miles of trails that run through it. The rainforest is a home for rare birds that you can see and hear (such as the St. Lucian parrot-the Jacquet or the Amazona Versicolo), plants, orchids- whose scents fill the air, hummingbirds, palm trees and tall trees. Here are some different Rainforest hiking trails, recommended by the St. Lucia Tourist Board, that you can do:
Barre De L'isle Trail (Non-Strenuous)
This one-mile trail is a ridge that divides the eastern and western halves of St Lucia. It takes approximately one hour to walk the trail and another hour to climb Mr. La Combe ridge. It provides panoramic views from four lookout points along the trail. Observe the ragged Mount Gimie and the blue-green mountain rainforest, Cul-de-Sac valley, the Caribbean Sea and community of Aux Leon. View the expansive Mabouya Valley and Fond d'Or beach on the Atlantic coast.
Des Cartiers Rainforest (Strenuous)
Experience a botanical paradise at Mahaut, with one of St Lucia's most hidden lush rainforest Hike through the rainforest and view the wonderful verdant forest and discover some of St Lucia's wildlife on this two-kilometer trail.
Edmund Forest Reserve (Strenuous)
This 3½-hour trail will take you through the heart of the tropical island into Edmund Forest Reserve on the western side of the island, to experience some of nature's pristine opportunities. Numerous plants, such as bromeliads, orchids, mushrooms, lianas and others can be seen attached to their hosts, sitting on large roots or branches on the spongy forest or even cascading the sides of the trail. Continue westward for a magnificent view of Mt Gimie, St Lucia's highest peak.
*Enbas Saut (Moderate to Strenuous)
This trail is within the 19,000 acres of Central Rainforest Reserve; six miles East of Soufriere and at the foot of the highest mountain peak, (Mount Gimie) in St Lucia. The Enbas Saut Falls trail is remote, yet unbelievably scenic, with a combination of Rainforest, Cloud Forest, Elfin Woodlands and wildlife. The hilly terrain of Piton Canarie, Piton Troumassee and Mount Gimie stands predominant not too far from the trail. Enbas Saut when translated to English means "below the falls". Hence the trail is famous for its two cascading waterfalls and pools at the head of the Troumassee River.
For those who would like to get married in St. Lucia, you will need the following:
- You need to be on the island for 3 business days (excluding island holidays) before the wedding.
- Birth Certificate
- Decree Absolute (if one of the parties is divorced)
- In the case of a widow/widower a Death Certificate of first spouse is required
- If a name has been changed, a Deed Poll is required
- If any required documents are not in English, an authenticated translation must be available
Those getting married in St. Lucia will need to pay the Government fees of $225.00 U.S. Dollars.