Sun Burns...no really.
No really, the Sun is the real deal down here. You can literally your skin cooking in the direct sunlight. Seek shade. We put on A LOT of sunblock. Full covering every few hours and still got fried. We are from New England however...=)
Mosquitos seem to have enjoyed several other guests and my wife as a meal during our trip. My wife who never gets a mosquito bite got at least a dozen large, angry bites on her legs and torso. I had never seen such large bites in my life and some other guest looked like they had chicken pox; they were so covered. We always travel with some bug repellent spray and towelettes which have kept us from being bitten up before but obviously it diddn't work on these insects.
Overly Aggressive Vendors
For the most part during our vacation a simple "No Thank you" sufficed with most vendors on the beach and in the towns. The only problems we had were at the major attractions such as the volcano and sulphur springs. We were swarmed by at leat twenty vendors before we even got fully off the van. We tried to be polite with our No Thank You, Not Interested but they just kept coming. My wife got frustrated enough to use a few choice words and they backed off. I really hate that we have to resort to that but it gets quite intimidating.
You will be Offered Drugs
The one thing that turned me off during our stay was the amount of people asking us if we wanted to buy drugs. No matter what beach it was; someone always approached us to see if we wanted to buy some "smoke". Just say no and walk on as we did. I know we are tourists and the stereotype is that people come to "have a good time" but we are not that type in the least.
Just be on your guard
Anywhere in most places you will be continually approached and asked if you want to buy something.
St Lucia is now different, albeit they all seem alot more friendly than the beggars/touters/ sellers in other places of the world but
on the beach - you will be asked if you want drugs, fruit, a hand made handbag/ hat from leaves.
you will also be approached by people saying they are trying to get oem money to host a cricket match for homeless children.Related to:
- Spa and Resort
- Luxury Travel
My top six in St. Lucia
My top Six Saint Lucia Dangers
1. The most common danger in St. Lucia, or any tropical destination for that matter, is sunburn. As you travel nearer to the earth’s equator the sun is filtering through less of earth’s atmosphere and will burn you much faster than you are used to. Even wearing sun-block (spf-30) you can be severely burned in 3 – 4 hours. Think of spf-30 as if it will keep you from burning for (3x30) about an hour and a half. Spf-50 will keep you from burning for (3x50) almost 3 hours... Actually sun-block it’s self is possibly linked to skin cancer and you should simply avoid being in the direct sun as much as possible when in the tropics. If you are in the direct sun wear a wide brim hat, long sleeves, and stay in the shade as much as you can. If you must stay in the direct sun then be sure to have someone check you for burning every 30 minutes or less, when it is visibly turning red it is already worse than you think! Get out of the sun NOW!
2. NEVER wander off alone. Crime can be a real problem, and “tourists” are targeted. They don’t know if you’re loaded or broke, they just can tell that you’re a visitor. It is doubly obvious if you are white and a visitor, but all visitors need to take common sense precautions. Some places you simply should never go. This is NOT the USA and unfortunately the police in St. Lucia do little to protect you from robbery or assault. Imagine that the criminal is the little brother of the policeman that you are reporting the crime to.... well it sort of works out as if that is what’s real even if it isn’t literally true. Its not like crime is rampant here, but thefts are higher wherever the poorer classes are, and police recovery is highly unlikely.
3. Drowning in the ocean should be considered a very real danger. Rip-tides are not exclusive to tropical islands, but ocean currents can be stronger and much closer to shore than they are near a continent such as the USA! Use caution snorkling and use first rate professionals if going scuba diving.
4. There are a lot of snakes in St. Lucia; fortunately none of them are poisonous, except one. The one snake to avoid is the “Fer-de-Lance”. This snake is brown and/or black with pale yellow or cream-colored bands that crisscross the back and sides of the body, making dark triangular and diamond patterns. The triangles usually connect slightly on the back which some describe as a “butterfly” or an “hourglass” pattern. The head is large, triangularly shaped, and considerably wider than the neck. (Typical for all poisonous snakes, when the head is clearly wider than the neck, and/or triangular, it’s almost always poisonous.) The good news is that this snake if agitated will “rattle” its tail much like a rattlesnake; it doesn’t have rattles like a rattlesnake, but it usually makes a significant noise which should warn you off. The snake can survive most tropical climates, even tropical deserts, but it is most commonly found in lowlands and wetlands, also common-place in plantations because they feed on the rats which thrive there.
5. Mosquitoes will often be a big problem, especially if you have no bug repellent. At the least they will pester you with their bites and little welts; but they can also carry diseases. Because of this it is important to try to avoid getting a large rash of bites. A couple hundred bites is obviously 100 times the risk of a couple bites. Most of them do not carry anything that will really hurt you. Plan on buying repellent in St. Lucia if you can’t bring it with you. If you do bring it, it probably can’t go in your carry-on.
6. Peddlers are EVERYWHERE and in St. Lucia they do NOT like to take no for an answer. You may need to plan ahead on being rude if you want them to understand that you actually mean “NO”. They will lie, cheat, and steel. They do not deserve your sympathy! They will pester you and try to sell you handmade items that will NOT pass customs. It is illegal to take plant based items such as coconut husks and palm-frowns through customs, regardless of how artsy they have been made to look. The items you buy from these peddlers were probably even confiscated and re-sold a few times.... Volcanic rock items and even some necklaces can be confiscated when leaving the country. Especially the street peddlers selling their wears will LIE, LIE, LIE, about this policy just to get your money! These vendors are the exact same crowd that will break into your car, dig through your beach towel, and rob you again at knife-point later that night if you go off the beaten path. Help STOP the criminal element and buy only from legitimate businesses! But even then be ready to haggle on price. The retail shops have prices that are sometimes 2 or 3 times higher than the going rates, and no price is concrete. Haggling 101: If they are asking 10, offer 1. If they counter with 5, offer 2. You may just get it for 3....
7. There are only six, not seven. Missing is my input on local taxi service. I did not use a taxi there. And that is enough said on that....
The Caribbean Sun
I only came up with one warning. I underestimated the strength of the sun on our honeymoon to St. Lucia. Look at the picture to see what 4 hours in the sun with spf 30 sunblock can do. The other parts of my body, like my ankles, which weren't covered in sunblock got burnt much worse.
The sun is strong and skin cancer is always on the rise so avoid getting sunburn. I am very white and burn very easily so I always wear sunblock and take hats when we travel especially to beach locales. On this trip I took several hats for the beach to avoid getting a burn on my head, face and neck while relaxing on the beach. We also avoid peek sun exposure times but heading out of the sun at 11am for an early lunch and coming back after 1pm when the rays are less damaging. Reapplying sunblock after swimming is also important to avoid burning.
You can be robbed and/or assaulted
The police in St Lucia will not help you if you are robbed or assaulted. Sometimes they yell at the tourist who has been robbed. Rumor has it that many of the criminals are close relatives of the police.
Be extremely careful anywhere you go on the Island. At the very best the police are unhelpful.
Don't buy the junk! Avoid the roads!
If you happen to be staying at any of the Sandals resorts, avoid the homeless bums who hang out on the beach daily, hocking their wares. They make palm frond and coconut crafts (which you won't be able to get through Customs). They'll try to sell you one-of-a-kind hematite necklaces, anklets and bracelets "made from stones from the volcano, mon." Don't fall for this trick -- you can find the same trinkets at any of the local market places (which are more like flea-markets). Don't be afraid to haggle, either. In fact, haggling is the only way to buy things there. Almost nothing has a marked price. Start low! There is really only one main road which covers the entire island. The taxi drivers are, for the most part, horrible, but there are some exceptions. The drive from the airport to the resorts (on the northwest coast) takes about an hour and a half. The roads are steep and narrow. In fact, we saw a crane -- yes, a crane -- pulling a car out of a 200-300 foot ravine. Unfortunately, driving is about the only way to get around inland. For sightseeing purposes, hire a boat! If you choose have a limited inland excursion, hire a taxi. You can view the entire island by taxi, but it's really not worth the time, motion-sickness, or hassle. We hired a taxi for a half-day sight-seeing trip for $120US.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
Corn braids and Sun
Corn braids look pretty cool. Must travelers to the Sun spots have them put in their hair. What some people forget is that this exposes part of your scalp that normally does not see the sun. My wife had her hair done and the next day burnt her scalp. It was not fun.
CARE: Buy a hatRelated to:
Safety in Castries and the Island
When in Castries be careful of where you are, don't wander out of the main area and make sure there are other people around, especially if you're white, you are quite likely to be targeted if you wander into a wrong area, the boundaries aren't marked. If you stay at a hotel, ask at reception where the areas to go and not to go are.
Being held up at knifepoint is quite common, and the muggers aren't too scared to use their knives either.
Stick to the normal rules, try not to carry a bag on your back, stay out of Castries at night, only walk anywhere in pairs +. At night, take a taxi.
Rodney Bay is fine up till about midnight, then its not worth walking anywhere, get a taxi, this goes for the restaurant district too, negotiate the price with the taxi man first, if you can, get the restaurant or bar to call you a taxi as opposed to finding one yourself, or use the collective buses.Related to:
- Water Sports
- Diving and Snorkeling
Beware of locals selling trinkets
EVERYWHERE we went on St. Lucia, we were constantly approached by locals telling us their life stories and trying to sell us identical volcanic rock necklaces which they made (meaning they all bought the same kit of beads and strung them onto some fishing line). When we were on the beach, they came. When we were swimming in the sea during a day-cruise, they paddled out in kayaks. When we were on 2-hour horse ride, the half-way rest point was strategically full of them.
I wouldn't normally object, except that they DO NOT take "No, thank you" for an answer. You basically have to be rude and forceful to get them away from you - at which point you walk a little further down the beach and are approached by another.
This was definitely the least enjoyable part of our vacation.
Virgins all over the place! ;-)
One word of 'warning' about the Royal St Lucian. The Virgin cabin crew stay here on a regular basis - it is their allocated hotel in St Lucia. (Obivously a good airline to work for!). They only tend to be there for 1-2 days from what I can gather.
While there was of course no trouble from any of them, there was a slight edge to them - maybe it was just familiarity as they are there so often, but we did feel their presence (afterall there, was about 10 of them!) After a blissful 11 days of virtually having the pool to ourselves, on the 11th day, about half of the terrace was taken up by the Virgin crew - they weren't loud, but they weren't quiet either.
When we went to check out the next morning, we obviously chose the wrong time because in front of us was 10 Virgin crew members all individually checking out.
Of course this was not a disaster - technically they were paying guests and of course had as much right to do as please as anyone else, however, once they arrived the atmosphere wasn't as serene as it had been before because there were so many of them. I feel it worth mentioning this as it can detract from an otherwise peaceful couple of days.Related to:
- Spa and Resort
Many people warned us for the traffic, and in particular for the taxidrivers. In our experience it wasn't that bad at all though. Ok, they drive left and roads are potholed at some places. On our third visit we hired a car, which is dissuaded by most, but we faced no difficulties at all. Get yourself a reliable car (4WD), take your time, avoid the narrowest village streets and keep your eyes on the road. All pretty obvious huh?Related to:
- Road Trip
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