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Find Something to Hold onto Tightly!!
We had a shuttle take us to our resort from the airport. First of all, there are no lines painted on the roads in St. Lucia. So it is hard to tell where you are suppose to drive. They also wind along the island with LOTS of 180 degree turns so you can't see if someone is coming around the corner. But the shuttle drivers are use to the roads, so they drive at top speeds and come within inches of other cars when they pass one another. It can be quite scary and one of the girls in our car got sick because of it. I personally got a kick out of it, but it can be a little nerve racking. What is great is that there is no such thing as road rage there. They all just smile, honk, and wave at each other like they are all best friends. It's a very laid back culture.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Spa and Resort
Maxi Taxis -the locals taxi
Travelling by Maxi Taxis (mini van's) like the local's is a good way for getting a feel for the people and the culture. These Maxi Taxis often play Calypso music, and bump along to the many pot holes that charaterises the poorly maintained roads of St Lucia.
There are two airports that lie in St Lucia - one near the capital Castries, and one in the South next to View Fort. A ring road connects the Capital and the Southern airport, thus there are two routes from the South.
Anyone travelling to the Capital from the South of the Island using Public transport should AVOID taking the Road via Soufriere (Western Road) late in the afternoon. The taxis do not run the whole way to the capital and terminate at different locations on the way. So you will need to change to connecting taxis in the towns.
Also there is a section of road between Soufriere and Anse De La Raye were NO taxis run in the afternoon. We had to hitch hike along this long and mountainous winding road.
In summary- if you plan to Circumnavigate St Lucia via Maxi Taxi then take the Western Road in the morning and the Eastern road returning in the afernoon.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Most tour companies will try to charge $25-$45 to take you into Castries town. If you go to a local bus stop it will cost you $1 and they stop where you want/ pick up where they find you. This service is friendly and safe. You even get to chat to the local people. Very nice.
Bear in mind that the international airport is located all the way in the South at Vieux Fort, so if you are staying in the North at the Gros Islet area, where most of the resorts like Sandals are, it will take you 90 minutes to get there!
For a 100 bucks you can take a helicopter, which will take 15 minutes at the most!
Taxi drivers double as tour guides
Many taxi drivers will ask you if you're interested in taking a tour. If you say yes, bargain with them on the price for the journey.
I'd read a tip here for it costing $80 for a tour to the Pitons and back from Castries. That sounded like a good idea. However, when the opportunity arose for us, the driver was firm at $100 for that tour. I suppose we could have haggled more, but it didn't seem like it would be productive.
The tour was worth it though, so it was okay.
Aircraft -- that's the way
Generally, if your destination is St. Lucia, you're going to hop on a few planes. From the U.S. West Coast, we had two choices:
Day 1: Fly to Toronto and spend the night
Day 2: Fly to Philadelphia
Day 2: Fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico
Day 2: Fly to Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia
The return flight would have us spend the night in Philadelphia.
Day 1: Fly overnight to Miami or Dallas/Fort Worth
Day 2: Fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico
Day 3: Fly to Castries, Saint Lucia
Ultimately, we went with the airline that had the best price. But you know what? American Airlines SUCKED! They also lost my bag for 24 hours when we got there (so I had to buy a swimsuit from the resort gift shop in order to go swimming on the 2nd day).
TIP: If you're staying in or around Castries, then you want to fly in to Vigie Airport (it's in Castries). Airport code: SLU. If you fly in to the airport at Vieux Fort, you'll have a 1 1/2-2 hour cab ride to Castries.
Airport To Hotel
When you arrive at the airport you'll of course go through customs.. Once through you will have ot find your transportation to your hotel...
If you have booked a tour you will most likely have a ride..
the big problem in saint lucia is that most of the hotels are in the North end of the island and the airport is in the south...It is a long ride 2-3 hours, over mountains and not so great roads to get there...
This can be a trip in it self, you can get some great pictures of saint lucia and it's people..You will most likely see some vehicles off the road over the sides of steep banks etc...
LIke a lot of places locals drive crazy...
Just expect a long trip to your hotel
As with most of the West indies, the best bet is to make a deal with a taxi man for a ride. I know this goes against most peoples sense of adventure, but if you are going anywhere farther than a bike ride, you have to be concerned about a couple things. for one the roads are left hand drive, which could be a problem if you are not used to it. there are also rain trenches about 2 feet deep bordering these roads -some only narrow enough for one car. Not to mention familiarity and not having to worry about where you are going.
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Brig Unicorn - trip on a pirate ship
The trip on the Brig Unicorn, an old replica of a pirate ship, is a wonderful way of viewing Saint Lucia's west coast from the sea. The ship actually appears in the films Roots and Pirates of the Caribbean. The trip starts at about 9 am in Rodney Bay and sails gently in 2.5 hours to Soufriere. During the trip you get beautiful views of Pigeon Island, Castries, Anse la Raye, Marigot Bay and of course the Pitons. After docking in Soufriere you're picked up by minibuses taking you to the sulphur springs and after that to Diamond Falls. Both short but impressive visits. Back on board lunch is served while sailing back north under the continuous delight of reggae music and rum punch. There is a beautiful snorkel stop at Anse Cochon and a detour through Marigot Bay. In the late afternoon you arrive fully relaxed in Rodney Bay.Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
- Family Travel
Hire a cabbie
If you want to see the most of St. Lucia that you can without spending a lot of money on hotel-organized tours.... hire a cab! My boyfriend and I didn't want to go on the guided tours through the hotel, so we called for a cab driver to take us wherever we wanted to go. The cabs offer tours through their services - so for $140 US dollars, we were picked up at our door at 11am, toured almost the entire left side of the island - from Rodney Bay to the Pitons and were home around 7pm. It was great because we didn't have to get up and leave on an 8am tour - wait for anyone else or pay about the same price and only see one or two things. We got to see and learn a lot about St. Lucia and the culture, it was a great way to see the island and I recommend it to anyone visiting there or any island for that matter.
I suggest finding a cab driver (ours was Peter) and asking him to drive you around the island for the day. I think we paid $30 each for the whole day. You can work out a deal with them for groups. They are very hospitable and will teach you about the island as well as take you to little fishing villages to visit the local life.
Try the Helicopter
The roads on St Lucia are very under-developed (although there's plenty of investment, it's slowly improving) so if cost is no issue (actually the prices are moderate) and either you are in a hurry or you want to see how beautiful the island is from the air, try taking a helicopter. It took us about 9 minutes to get from Castries to the Hilton between the Pitons on a St Lucia Helicopters flight and the views were just tremendous.Related to:
- Luxury Travel
- Jungle and Rain Forest
We took a plane to get there.
Took a few taxis around town. That runs into big money really quick. Be sure to deal with he driver who picks you up with the hotel. If you are out and about you are at the mercyf the cab drivers and prices that can be way over the top!
If you have nerves of steel and the ability to drive on the left hand side of the road, you can rent a car. I just didn't have it in me. The roads are narrow, the driving in crazy, and all the honking you hear is most likely everyone honking at their friends!
Water taxi's were great fun, although not to convienant for getting into and around town!
Still the coolest way to see it was by boat!
Even though St. Lucia is...
Even though St. Lucia is rather small it has two international airports, one in the South for Overseas flight and one in the North for short haul flights.
Coming from the French Islands there is a hover craft crossing called L'Expres. It also makes a good day trip to see Martinique.
Getting around the island is fairly easy, taxis are every where. The bus system is simple and car rentals are avaliable.
If you are staying in the tourist area of Rodney Bay, foot is the best method!
Renting a car
If you are going to rent a car I strongly recommend you obtain an international drivers license and get it stamped by immigration when you arrive. This eliminates the need of obtaining a temporary St. Lucia drivers permit from the local police station. St. Lucia, a former British Crown Colony, drives on the left with right side steering wheel. It took a day to learn to signal for a turn without turning on the windshield wipers.
Saint Lucia Hotels
Used to be called Sandals Regency - I've stayed here twice. Grounds are well-kept, rooms are clean...more
100 Anse Chastanet Rd, PO Box 7000, Soufriere, Caribbean
Good for: Solo
Rodney Bay Lot B, Gros Islet, 9999, LC
Good for: Couples
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