The main tourist season runs from December to May, with December being the best month for sunshine. July is the hottest month. August to November is the wettest season and brings the risk of hurricanes (though expect short rain showers at any time of the year).
HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS
The most widely observed holidays and festivals in St Lucia are:
New Year's Day: 1 January
New Year's Holiday: 2 January
Independence Day: 22 February
Good Friday and Easter Monday: 29 March and 1 April
Festival of Comedy: Sunday preceding 1 May - held at Pigeon Point
Labour Day: 1 May
St Lucia Jazz Festival: 10 days in May - open-air evening concerts, as well as a host of fringe events
St Peter’s Day: 29 June - celebrated as the Fisherman’s Feast, in which all the fishing boats are decorated
Feast of the Rose of Lima and Feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque: 30 Aug/17 Oct - 2 big rival flower festivals
Creole Day (Jouen Kweyol): Last Sunday in October - local food, crafts, music and different cultural shows from 5 selected rural communities
St Cecilia’s Day: 22 Nov (also known as Musician’s Day)
St Lucy’s/National Day: 13 Dec - cultural and sporting activities are held all over the island
Christmas: 25 and 26 December
Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.
Approximate flying times:
From the UK: 8 hours
From Barbados: 40 minutes
From New York: 5 hours
From Miami: 4 hours
From Los Angeles: 9 hours
From the UK:
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly directly from Gatwick to St Lucia. A cheaper alternative is to get a charter flight - contact CaribJet (which can also book onward flights).
From North America:
American Airlines flies to St Lucia via San Juan from major US cities.
From eslwhere in the Caribbean:
LIAT operates a network of flights to neighbouring islands.
St Lucia has 2 airports. George FL Charles Airport (formerly known as Vigie) is near Castries in the North and serves inter-island flights only. Hewanorra International Airport in the Vieux Fort district in the South is where international flights land.
Express des Iles, a high-speed catamaran service, sails daily (except Tuesdays and Thursdays) from St Lucia to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe and back again; each leg takes about 2 hours and costs about €50.
Long drives are part of the deal with a holiday in St Lucia; the roads are not great but are improving. Expect at least a 1-hour drive from the airport to your hotel/villa.
Taxi: Taxis are available everywhere. The cabs are unmetered as rates are supposedly set by the government. Most drivers, who have also been trained to serve as guides, are eager to please. However, always agree to the fare before you get in (if in doubt check with your hotel) and agree whether the quote is in US$ or EC$. A day's tour of the island will cost around US$150.
Car Hire: Car rentals start at around £60 a day (in 2009). You'll need to obtain a temporary St Lucia driver’s licence purchased for US$20 from the Immigration Office upon arrival at the airport or at the car-rental kiosks when you pick up your car. In addition you have to be over 25 years old and show a valid driver’s licence from home. Driving is on the left and the main challenges are avoiding some of the island’s more obvious potholes and negotiating the hairpin bends. See our car rental recommendations.
Buses: Minibuses offer inexpensive and colourful transportation from one town to the next. They're generally overcrowded and filled with produce on the way to market.
Passports are required from all visitors, as well as onward and/or return tickets. Visas are not required for citizens of North American, Commonwealth, EC and Scandinavian countries (except Eire and Portugal), or from Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Upon arrival you're given a 42-day visa. Extensions can be obtained from the central police station in Castries.
No vaccinations are required. Take mosquito repellent and high factor sun lotion. Bilharzia is present, so avoid swimming and paddling in still fresh water.
Tap water is normally chlorinated, but it's advisable to drink bottled water, which is widely available. Milk is pasteurised. Dairy products, meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat.
Offical website:St Lucia Tourist Board