St Lucia's Piton Mountains
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St Lucia's Piton Mountains

© 123rf.com / Richard Thomas

St Lucia Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

616.3 sq km (238 sq miles).

Population

186,383 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

266 per sq km.

Capital

Castries.

Government

Constitutional monarchy.

Head of state

HM King Charles III since 2022, represented locally by acting Governor-General Errol Charles since 2021.

Head of government

Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre since 2021.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs generally have three square pins (as in the UK), but some sockets do take American flat-pin plugs.

Trade winds keep temperatures on the right side of sizzling in sunny St Lucia, where white sandy beaches, crystalline waters and luscious rainforests paint the quintessential picture of Caribbean island idyll.

St Lucia is in the business of creating lasting first impressions: visitors to the island are greeted by the unforgettable sight of the Piton Mountains, which are fringed by coral reefs, sandy shores and swaying palms as they rise majestically from the rolling surf.

While other Caribbean islands lay claim to equally beautiful beaches, St Lucia will tempt you out of the sun-lounger and into the ocean with its bountiful marine life and exquisite reefs, which are a playground for scuba divers and snorkelers. St Lucia’s waters are also prime for kite-boarding and windsurfing, thanks to the aforementioned trade winds. 

It’s not all about the coast, though. A trip to the island’s interior presents the opportunity to hike through verdant mountains, zip-line over forest canopies and watch boiling sulphur springs bubble away atop a volcano, all in a day’s work. If you’ve still got the energy for a night out, there are regular shindigs in the north of the island. Friday nights get particularly lively.  

Here visitors can experience the relaxed flavour of island life, as well as the unique mixture of West African, European and East Indian influences that infuse the local cuisine. St Lucia is also known for its folk music and world-famous Jazz & Arts Festival, which takes place every year amidst much fanfare.  

The island carries a unique cultural heritage, having changed hands between Britain and France no fewer than 14 times. The British eventually lost control in 1979, and St Lucia gained its independence. Various cultural legacies linger, from the colonial-style plantations that dot the landscape, to the French-influenced patois spoken throughout the country.

The result is a destination that will captivate visitors long after the emerald-green peaks of the Pitons have disappeared over the horizon.

Travel Advice

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice.

Hurricane Beryl

A major hurricane impacted the Caribbean from 1 July, causing disruption to some services. Airports have reopened and are operating as usual. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the US National Hurricane Center and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders. See Extreme weather and natural disasters.

Before you travel 

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and see support for British nationals abroad for information about specific travel topics. 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

Travel insurance 

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance. Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency. 

This advice reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in St Lucia set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the St Lucian High Commission in the UK.

COVID-19 rules 

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering St Lucia.  

Passport validity requirements 

If you’re visiting St Lucia, your passport must have an ‘expiry date’ after the day you plan to leave. 

Check with your travel provider that your passport and other travel documents meet requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.  

You will be denied entry if you do not have a valid travel document or try to use a passport that has been reported lost or stolen. 

Make sure you get your passport stamped. 

Make sure the border control officer puts a stamp in your passport. Border guards will use passport stamps to check you have not stayed longer than you’re allowed.  

Visa requirements 

You can visit St Lucia without a visa.  

On entry, you’ll be allowed to stay for a maximum period of 6 weeks. 

To stay longer (to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons), you must meet the St Lucian government’s entry requirements. You’ll need to go to the Immigration Department in Castries to apply to extend your stay.  

It’s illegal to overstay the entry period or to work without a work permit. 

Online immigration form 

Fill in an online immigration form no more than 3 days before you arrive. If you do not complete it before you arrive, you’ll be asked to fill in the electronic form on arrival or fill in a paper form, if available. 

Vaccination requirements  

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the vaccinations and certificates you need in TravelHealthPro’s St Lucia guide

Depending on your circumstances, this may include a yellow fever certificate. 

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of St Lucia. You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty. 

Terrorism  

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times. 

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad

Terrorism in St Lucia 

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in St Lucia, attacks cannot be ruled out. 

Crime 

Large-scale events

Most visits are trouble free but robberies and opportunistic crime may occur during the periods of and around large-scale events such as the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival (30 April to 12 May) and Saint Lucia Carnival (1-17 July).  If you are attending a large-scale event take sensible precautions and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid displaying jewellery or valuable items that may attract attention of criminals. Do not leave your drinks unattended, practice caution at crowded events and have a clear plan to return home safely after attending any events.

Crime and assault

There have been incidents of crime in St Lucia including murder, armed robbery and sexual assault. 

There is a continuing serious risk of homicides, primarily gang related and involving guns. Some incidents have taken place in public areas. 

Take precautions to protect your personal safety: 

  • make sure your accommodation is secure – this also applies if you’re staying on a yacht 
  • take care when walking alone off main roads and during late night street parties 
  • avoid isolated areas, including beaches, after dark 
  • only use licensed taxis 
  • do not carry large amounts of cash or jewellery 
  • leave valuables and travel documents in your hotel safe or a safety deposit box 

Laws and cultural differences  

Laws on clothing 

It’s illegal for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing. 

Illegal drugs penalties 

There are severe penalties for all drug offences. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry anything through customs for anyone else. 

LGBT+ travellers 

Attitudes towards the LGBT+ community are mostly conservative throughout the Caribbean. Certain same-sex sexual acts are illegal in St Lucia. Showing affection in public may attract unwanted and negative attention. It is uncommon for opposite or same-sex couples to show affection in public in St Lucia.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism  

Swimming safety 

Currents can be deceptively strong and not all beaches have lifeguards or warning flags. Monitor all beaches carefully and obey any local warnings. 

Transport risks  

Road travel 

If you’re planning to drive in St Lucia, see information on driving abroad.  

Travellers without a St Lucian driving licence must get a temporary driving permit. You will need a: 

  • driving licence 
  • passport 
  • passport size photo of yourself 
  • 54 Eastern Caribbean dollars or 20 US dollars 

You must go in person to the Department of Transport at the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ports, Transport, Physical Development and Urban Renewal at the Union Complex, in Union, Castries. Telephone +1 758 468 4300 for the latest opening hours. 

Some hire car companies can get the permit for you. Ask your hire company if this is a service they can provide. 

Hire car companies often have stricter requirements for their customers, such as a year of driving experience or a higher minimum age. 

Roads can have potholes and speed bumps. Minor roads and roads in rural areas are often narrow, with steep gradients, hairpin bends and blind corners. Drivers do not always use indicators. Pedestrians often walk on the roads. 

Some roads are unlit at night. Road signs and hazards may not be easily visible. 

Do not stop if you’re flagged down by pedestrians. Keep car doors locked when driving. 

Accidents often happen on the main east coast road to and from Hewanorra International Airport. 

In the event of an accident, call the police and do not move the vehicle.  

Taxis and minibuses 

Taxis are not metered. Standard taxi fares exist for most destinations. Agree the fare in local currency with the driver before you set off. You can often pay in US dollars as well as East Caribbean dollars. 

Minibus drivers often drive above the speed limit.  

Extreme weather and natural disasters 

See extreme weather and natural hazards for information about how to prepare, and how to react if there is a warning.  

Hurricanes  

The hurricane season in the Caribbean normally runs from June to November. Monitor local news and check the World Meteorological Organisation and the US National Hurricane Center

The hurricane season often brings heavy rains, which may cause flash floods and landslides. After a storm or hurricane, power, communications, transport and water supplies can be disrupted. Even in holiday resorts, utility services cannot be guaranteed. Flights to and from the UK may be delayed or cancelled. 

Earthquakes 

Earthquakes are a risk in the Caribbean and tremors are occasionally felt in St Lucia. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency website has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake

Volcanoes 

Check the alert level of the underwater volcano ‘Kick ‘em Jenny’, located 5 miles off the coast of Grenada. Observe any maritime exclusion zones and follow the advice of the local authorities if there is increased activity or an eruption. 

Check the alert level for La Soufriere volcano, located on the nearby island of St Vincent. Its eruption in 2021 sent ash over St Lucia, which caused some disruption.

Before you travel check that: 

  • your destination can provide the healthcare you may need 
  • you have appropriate travel insurance for local treatment or unexpected medical evacuation

This is particularly important if you have a health condition or are pregnant. 

Emergency medical number 

Call 911 and ask for an ambulance. 

Contact your insurance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment. 

Vaccinations and health risks  

At least 8 weeks before your trip check: 

Medication 

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. 

Read best practice when travelling with medicines on TravelHealthPro

The NHS has information on whether you can take your medicine abroad

Carry a copy of your prescription for any medications you bring with you, especially any that may be classed as controlled drugs. 

Healthcare facilities in St Lucia 

The main government hospital can cope with many types of treatment, but serious cases may mean emergency evacuation.  

Medical treatment in St Lucia can be expensive. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation. 

Before choosing to be treated at a private facility, check their policies on pre-payment. Some private clinics may not accept medical travel insurance as payment for treatment. The Tapion Hospital does not accept travel or foreign medical insurance for payment.  

FCDO has a list of doctors in St Lucia.

COVID-19 healthcare in St Lucia 

Social distancing and mask mandates have been lifted. Medical facilities, police stations, businesses and government offices can require them. 

Travel and mental health 

Read FCDO guidance on travel and mental health. There is also mental health guidance on TravelHealthPro

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) cannot provide tailored advice for individual trips. Read this travel advice and carry out your own research before deciding whether to travel. 

Emergency services in St Lucia  

Telephone: 911 (ambulance, fire, police) 

Contact your travel provider and insurer 

Contact your travel provider and your insurer if you are involved in a serious incident or emergency abroad. They will tell you if they can help and what you need to do. 

Refunds and changes to travel 

For refunds or changes to travel, contact your travel provider. You may also be able to make a claim through insurance. However, insurers usually require you to talk to your travel provider first. 

Find out more about changing or cancelling travel plans, including: 

  • where to get advice if you are in a dispute with a provider 
  • how to access previous versions of travel advice to support a claim 

Support from FCDO 

FCDO has guidance on staying safe and what to do if you need help or support abroad, including: 

Contacting FCDO 

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also sign up to get email notifications when this travel advice is updated. 

You can also contact FCDO online

Help abroad in an emergency 

If you’re in St Lucia and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the British High Commission in Castries

FCDO in London 

You can call FCDO in London if you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad. 

Telephone: 020 7008 5000 (24 hours) 

Find out about call charges

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.