As you land in St. Lucia, you'll see a beautiful paradise ready to be explored. In between the warm Caribbean waters at its western shores and the Atlantic against its eastern edge, a dream vacation awaits you. Whether you're looking to curl up on a hammock with a good book or prefer to head out on the water to explore, you'll never run out of things to do on this island of adventure.
Zigzag up St. Lucia's western shore and you'll see two distinct volcanic peaks, known as the Pitons. Both of these can be climbed, with the bigger of the two (Gros Piton) providing the easier trek. Nearby, coral coves offer spectacular diving and snorkelling.
Follow the East Coast Road north of the airport and you'll pass through the coastal villages of Micoud and Dennery, and eventually, the capital, Castries. Along the way, you'll spot kitesurfers cascading through the air and skimming over the Atlantic Ocean.
Take your eyes off the glittering ocean for just a moment and you'll see endless groves of bananas and coconut palms (two of St. Lucia's biggest exports). Follow the road inland around the mountains and you'll see a spectacular rainforest.
Most all-inclusive resorts on St. Lucia are clustered in the north, starting in Castries and spilling into nearby Rodney Bay. If you're after great dining and nightlife, consider staying in this area. Looking for total relaxation? Check out the resorts along the western shoreline.
With so much variety in St. Lucia, it's no wonder visitors return again and again.
Combine average daily highs of 28 C with cool ocean breezes, and you'll get St. Lucia's tropical temperatures perfect for soaking up the sun year round. The island's dry season typically runs from January to April. Rainfall peaks between July and November, but don't expect a constant downpour. Typically, during the rainy season, you'll find short but intense showers—easy to manage with an umbrella tucked in your bag.
But be sure to pack both your swimsuit and a light sweater since the temperature often cools down in the mountains. Sun and blue skies are the norm here, but the cool breeze off the water offers visitors refreshing breaks from the heat.
What makes it different?
St. Lucia is consistently ranked as the No. 1 honeymoon destination in the Caribbean by the World Travel Awards. But expect more than just beachfront gazebos and posh digs frequented by the likes of Oprah, Denzel Washington and Nicolas Cage. This island offers a variety of experiences for all travellers.
There are many spas in St. Lucia, along with one of the world's first health resorts and numerous top-notch restaurants. There are mountains to climb (20,000 steps will get you up and down Gros Piton's rocky elevation), rainforests to zipline and according to National Geographic, one of the Caribbean's top dive centres at Anse Chastanet. And don't forget about the incredible public beaches offering plenty of rest and relaxation in the area of your choice.
St. Lucia is the largest of the Caribbean's Windward Islands. With 158 km of rugged coastline tucked around its 616 sq. km land mass, it is approximately the same size as Toronto. In the north, it's dotted with lush rainforests and sandy coves. To the south you'll find rugged volcanic peaks and the island's famous Piton Mountains.
Most resorts are found along its western coast leading to the capital of Castries in the northwest. Between Castries and Soufriere in the south lies Marigot Bay, a natural harbour that was once a common hideaway for pirate ships.
There's plenty to discover in St. Lucia's central mountain range and the landscape is strikingly beautiful. Explore lush forests filled with wild orchids and giant ferns. You might even catch sight of the Jacquot—St. Lucia's national bird.
St. Lucia is one destination where a vast array of cultural influences come together, offering travellers a unique cultural experience. English may be the island's official language, but most often you'll hear a distinct mix of French, English and Caribbean tongues, known more commonly as St. Lucian Creole.
You can even taste the island's many cultural influences at local restaurants. From traditional island fare to Indian entrees featuring fresh local produce, to British-inspired pubs, St. Lucia has something for every taste.
Tip: While you're here, make sure you try at least one of the island's 57 varieties of mangoes, as well as cassava and callaloo—vegetables unique to the island.
St. Lucian culture also values traditional customs—many of which are still practiced today. Here, you'll find the practice of obeah (voodoo) and remedies of the local medicine men. In fact, locals will tell you that many traditionalists still visit these natural healers for a range of holistic treatments.
Be sure to visit the Catholic Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. A must-see for those who appreciate unique architecture, the cathedral was completed in 1897 and is the largest church in the Caribbean. It was designed by Jesuit priest Father Scoles and is decorated with murals in prominent Caribbean reds, greens and yellows. The cathedral is also home base of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Castries.
The most efficient way to get around the island is by hailing a taxi. Taxis are readily available throughout the island and the drivers are extremely knowledgeable about restaurants, stores and all of the tourist attractions. Just remember to negotiate cost before accepting a ride since taxis in St. Lucia do not run on a meter.
Bus transportation and bike rentals are also available. Speak with your hotel concierge for more information.
The official currency of St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC). U.S. Dollars are also widely accepted. ATM's are available to withdraw money and both major credit cards and travellers cheques are accepted.
All guests travelling to St. Lucia require a passport valid for at least six months beyond their expected departure date. Proof of return airfare and sufficient funds to cover cost of your vacation are also required.
On board the aircraft, you will need to complete the necessary customs document provided to you by your friendly WestJet flight attendants. Upon arrival at Hewanorra International Airport, you will present this document to an immigrations official.
If you've booked airport transfers with WestJet Vacations, look for a St. Lucia airport transfers representative. He or she will be holding a WestJet Vacations sign and will shuttle you to and from your hotel. Simply identify yourself as a WestJet Vacations guest and you'll be on your way.
From Hewanorra International, it's about an hour to hour-and-a-half long drive to the resorts in Soufrière and Castries.
Smiling WestJetters will greet you at the departure check-in counters, beginning three hours prior to your flight. There is a departure tax from Hewanorra International Airport, but it has been included in the cost of your airfare.
Be sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, malaria, typhoid and tetanus are commonly recommended. Check with your local clinic should you have questions.
St. Lucia uses the 220-240 volt UK Standard three-pin plug. You will need a transformer to convert voltage along with a plug adapter in order to use North American devices. Dual-voltage items, such as laptop computers, will still require a plug adapter. A few of the larger hotels have 110 volt outlets for electric razor use.