The Pitons, St. Lucia Reduit Beach St. Lucia Malgretoute St. Lucia
ABOUT THE ISLANDS  
 
 
 
 
Map of the Caribbean
Map of St. Lucia
Flag of St. Lucia
Toraille Waterfall St. Lucia
Reduit Beach, St. Lucia
Tropical Flowers, Mamiku Gardens St. Lucia
Local Craft shop, St. Lucia
St. Lucia beach
Chouiseul village, St. Lucia
Church in St. Lucia
Fishing boats in Choiseul, St. Lucia
Local fishing boat, St. Lucia
Jalousie Beach, St. Lucia
Diamond Falls, St. Lucia
   
  Saint Lucia  
     
  From Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia

Saint Lucia is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It is also known as the "Helen of the West Indies" because it switched between British and French control so often it was likened to the mythical Helen of Troy.

Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands, named for Saint Lucy of Syracuse. It was first visited by Europeans in about the year 1500 and first colonized successfully by France who signed a treaty with the native Carib peoples in 1660. Great Britain took control of the island from 1663 to 1667 then went to war with France over it fourteen times, and finally took complete control in 1814. Representative government came about in 1924 (with universal adult suffrage from 1953) and from 1958 to 1962 the island was a member of the Federation of the West Indies. Finally, on February 22, 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations.
 
   
  Quick Facts:  
Capital (and largest city): Castries - 14°1 N, 60°59 W  
Official languages: English  
Demonym: Saint Lucian  
Government: Parliamentary Democracy  
Independence: From the United Kingdom February 22, 1979  
Total Area: 620 km / 239 sq mi  
Population: 166,312  
GDP: $866 million  
Per Capita: $5,950  
Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)  
Time Zone : (UTC-4)  
Internet TLD: .lc  
Country Dialing Code: +1 758  
Electricity: 240V/50Hz
 
Electric Plug Details: United Kingdom plug (This is what it looks like!)  
   
 
  Culture:  
  The culture of Saint Lucia has been influenced by African, French and English heritage. One of the secondary languages is Kreole, a form of French patois.  
     
  Festivals:  
  Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Rose and La Marguerite, the one representing the Rosicrucian order, the other one representing Freemasonry, which can be seen on a mural painted by Dunstan St. Omer, depicting the holy trinity of Osiris, Horus and Isis.

Traditionally, in common with other Caribbean countries, Saint Lucia held a carnival before Lent. In 1999, it was moved to mid-July in order to not to coincide with the much larger Trinidad and Tobago carnival, so as to attract more overseas visitors.
 
     
  Music and Dance:  
  A popular folk dance is the Quadrille.

As well as other Caribbean music genres such as soca, zouk, kompa, and reggae, Saint Lucia has a strong indigenous folk music tradition.

Each May since 1992, Saint Lucia has hosted an internationally-renowned Jazz Festival.
 
   
  Demographics:  
  The population of Saint Lucia is of mostly African descent (82.5% ). There is a significant mixed minority representing 11.9%, and with a Indo-Caribbean or East Indian groups at 2.4% and the small European origin minority (descendants of French, British, and Irish colonists). Other or unspecified ethnicity accounts for 3.1%. There are small numbers of Lebanese, Syrians and Asians.

The official language is English, but a creole language called Kwéyòl is spoken by 80% of the population. It evolved from French, Carib and elements of African languages. Saint Lucia is a member of La Francophonie.

St. Lucia boasts the highest ratio in the world for number of Nobel laureates produced with respect to the total population of the nation. Two winners have come from St. Lucia: Sir Arthur Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, and Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. Both were born on January 23rd, but in different years.

About 70% of the population is Roman Catholic. The rest are Seventh-day Adventists (7%), Pentecostalists (6%), Anglicans (2%), Evangelicals (2%) and Rastafari (2%).
 
   
  Economy:  
  The recent change in the European Union import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas have made economic diversification increasingly important in Saint Lucia. The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is the island's main source of revenue. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2001, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future.  
   
  Tourism:  
  Tourism is vital to St. Lucia's economy and the economic importance of such is expected to continue to increase as the market for bananas becomes more competitive. St Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its large number of beaches and resorts.
Tourist attractions include the world's only drive-in volcano, Sulfur Springs (at Soufriere), the Botanical Gardens, the rain forests and Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, an old British military base.
 
   
  Geography:  
  The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) above sea level. The twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton) form the island's most famous landmark. They are striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere that are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean.

They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.

The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort. The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds, with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from May to December.
 
   
  History:  
  The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979.  
   
  Local Cuisine:  
  St Lucian food consists mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and a variety of curry, jerk, rice and stewed dishes. The coal pot is a delicious stew, traditional to native carib cultures and can be found at many local restaurants in Castries, Soufriere and Vieux-Fort. Vegetarian and meat rotis can be found at a number of small local restaurants. Ask any local for the best roti shop and he or she will tell you how to get there. Rotis are usually made fresh in the morning so, if eating a spicy early lunch is of interest, it's highly recommended. Local cuisine is prepared throughout the island so, depending on where you are staying, ask a local if he or she knows someone/somewhere that prepares local food and you will be sure to be welcomed somewhere nearby. Many rum shacks in rural towns also prepare food if given advanced notice. Fish, veggie, chicken and goat meals are very common and usually come with a number of sides including salad, plantain, breadfruit, macaroni, and rice prepared a number of different ways.

For a quick snack, barbeques with chicken and pork can be found in any community on a Friday night. The food is well marinated and spiced. Soak up the sauce with a barbequed or fried bake. Fried chicken and fish can also be found, and are quite delicious.

There are weekly parties and festivals held in various communities throughout the island where you can also sample a range of local foods, including sea food, barbecued meats, salads and drinks. These festivals are filled with dancing, drinks, food and music. Let your hair down, try some cuisine and lime it up.

St. Lucia produces some fantastic rum. Chairman's Reserve (cask-aged dark rum) is highly recommended. Piton Lager beer is brewed and bottled on the island and is very good. If you're a beer drinker, you must have one.
 
   
  Politics:  
  As a Commonwealth Realm, Saint Lucia recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State of Saint Lucia, represented on the island by a Governor-General. Executive power, however, is in the hands of the prime minister and his cabinet. The prime minister is normally the head of the party winning the elections for the House of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of Parliament, the Senate, has 11 appointed members.

Saint Lucia is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
 
   
  Transportation:  
  St. Lucia has two airports, George FL Charles Airport (near Castries) and Hewanorra International (near Vieux Fort). George FL Charles Airport is closer to hotels, resorts and villas in the north. It has a modest terminal and runway able to easily support inter-island commercial flights. Hewanorra is larger, but can be 1-2 hours by taxi from the north.

The main way for tourists to get around St. Lucia is by taxi, either arranged by the hotel, taxi agency or individual operators. The prices are generally fixed but you can shop around to get the best rate. The local transports are small vans which hold around 10-14 people and vary in quality. They run irregularly, but frequently from rural towns to urban centers, (i.e. Soufriere to Castries, Soufriere to Vieux-Fort, Vieux-Fort to Castries). They are very affordable and provide a unique experience each time; the vehicle operators often decorate the interiors and play their own music, either a mix of Caribbean flavors or country. If you want to try and take a transport discuss your route and travel time with one of the local staff familiar with the bus system. Many of them likely take a transport to and from work. Water taxis are a main source of income for many locals and can be a much quicker, convenient and picturesque method of traveling short distances to private beaches or coastal towns. Many water taxi operators in the town of Soufriere can be found at the jetty. A helicopter taxi can be taken from Hewannora airport to Vigie airport and is a quick and spectacular way to get to the resorts on the Northern end of the island.
 
   
  Souvenirs:  
  Castries market is a good place to buy gifts, although most of the stalls stock more or less the same thing. The supermarkets have quite good prices on rum, hot sauce and tropical jams.

There is a duty free mall (at dockside, Point Seraphine, Castries) with jewelry, souvenir, art, liquor and other stores typical for cruise shoppers. Their friendly staffs offer many decent buys.
 
   
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