There are plenty of reasons to pick St. Lucia as your next travel destination. The island is a tropical piece of heaven with towering mountains, stunning beaches, and excellent seafood. For the avid traveller, it’s among the top 5 exotic islands you may want to visit at least once. Before packing your bags and booking the next flight, here are a few things you need to know about this beautiful Caribbean island.
1. A Different Tipping Culture
St. Lucia is heavily reliant on tourism. Consequently, many tourists are allowed to tip for excellent service as much as their hearts desire.
However, it’s important to note that there’s a different tipping culture in St. Lucia. Here, the costs of food, beverages, and service will include a 10% top-up to the bill, making tipping quite discretionary.
2. You Can Visit Any Beach
There are no private beaches in St. Lucia. Thus, you can pretty much hang on any beach that you like.
Furthermore, while there are private resorts, they’ll not restrict the public from visits to the beach. That said, tourists should be aware that the resort property, such as beach bars and sun lounges, are only for resort guests.
3. Carry Cash
There are plenty of ATMs all around the island. However, they’re also known to sometimes malfunction. Hence, the best and convenient way to pay for services is through cash.
Luckily, St. Lucia accepts US dollars. You may also prefer to exchange your USD to the local currency, which is the eastern Caribbean dollar.
Note that old or torn money may not be accepted and you may receive change in the local currency.
4. Hire A Taxi
US drivers stay on the right. However, in St. Lucia, the drivers stay on the left. Many drivers may not be comfortable renting a car, not to mention that the roads are narrow and winding.
For a more comfortable ride, you’re better off hiring St. Lucia taxi tours as the local drivers are more experienced with the terrain.
5. No White Sandy Beaches
Tourists often visit the Caribbean islands expecting stunning white sandy beaches. St Lucia, on the other hand, is a volcanic island, which means that the sands can be either a striking black or orange. That said, the beaches are beautiful next to an inviting crystal clear waters.
6. Bring Your Hiking Shoes
A trip to St. Lucia is not complete without a visit to Pigeon Island. Note, however, that this is not an actual island but a park set up in the northern parts of St. Lucia.
Moreover, you can make your way to the top of the hill as you pass through amazing nature trails. Along the way, you’ll come across old military buildings that are now taken over by nature.
Fort Rodney lies at the top of Pigeon Island and offers magnificent vistas of the island and beyond. You can take the hike alone, with the company of friends, or hire a tour guide.
7. Be Mindful of Stray Animals
The island also offers its own array of stunning fauna. From hummingbirds, parrots, warblers, iguanas, and, depending on the sea, turtles. On the other hand, some stray dogs and cats inhabit the island, which can often be off-putting to tourists.
Thus, before taking a hike through the island, make sure you understand how to properly deal with a stray dog.
8. Keep Note of Hurricane Season
During the rainy season, St Lucia also experiences hurricanes because it’s located in the hurricane belt. Furthermore, tourists and visitors may want to avoid the period between June and November when there are heavy rains and hurricanes.
Keep in mind that prices are cheaper during these times. If you’re a risk-taker, this may be something to put into consideration. On the other hand, you can enjoy a warm tropical climate between December and May. The temperatures during this time range between 210C and 320C
9. Beware of Beach Vendors and Guides
There are many beach vendors and guides all looking to sell their services or goods. Due to the competition, they can be quite pushy. Therefore, it’s important to know how to remain firm.
Moreover, decide when you want to hire the services of a guide. Alternatively, if you feel uncomfortable with all the vendors and guides, there’s always the option of finding a quieter beach in a different part of the island.
St. Lucia can make for an amazing and unforgettable holiday. Granted the beaches may not have white sands, but they’re stunning nonetheless. What’s more, you can hike to Pigeon Island.