Saint Lucia is a volcanic formed island in the Caribbean noted for its mountainous terrain and fantastic beaches and resorts. Castries is the countries main city and is located in the center of North St. Lucia. It is one of the more popular destinations along with Rodney Bay, which has some of the top Saint Lucia beaches as well as popular nightlife spots. While this area is harder to get to from the international airport, still most visitors stay in this region during a visit. The island, while only forty five miles long seems much bigger because of the steep terrain on the southern half.
Soufriere is the town in the center of South St. Lucia. The town’s name comes from the sulfurous aromas created by the volcanic vents. Located nearer the natural wonders of the island like the Saint Lucia Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens and the iconic Pitons. Visitors into hiking and exploring the rain forests and waterfalls often use Soufrière as a base.
Where Your Ship Docks
Cruise ships call on the town of Castries in the center of North Saint Lucia and can dock at a couple of locations. One is the Pointe Seraphine Cruise Port that sits across the harbor from the town of Castries and features a welcome center with public facilities and a shopping village. Some cruise ships will tie up at the pier right in downtown Castries.
Disembarking – Pointe Seraphine Cruise Port has a developed cruise ship pier but the ease of disembarking varies by the individual ships gangway designs. For passengers using wheelchairs there can be a moderate ramp incline to deal with.
Port City Characteristics – This port has a moderate geography where there can be elevations and inclines to deal with. Otherwise wheelchair infrastructure is typical of Caribbean ports. The waterfront and near port area has moderate inclines in sidewalks but the city itself can be more difficult. Intersection crosswalks may have curbs or other wheelchair obstacles.
The island has moderately priced taxis and taking a tour can be negotiated. Minibuses are the main means of Saint Lucia transportation for locals. These buses run at various times depending on the route but information can be difficult to locate. Fares range from $1.00 to $4.00. All registered minibuses have a green number plate with an M prefix. This is an island where taking a cruise shore excursion may be the best option for a single day ashore.
Saint Lucia is part of the Eastern Caribbean Common Market and the currency is the EC Dollar with US$1.00 = EC$2.60. American Dollars are often welcome as well as most credit cards.
Pigeon Island is one of the top Saint Lucia landmarks and was a separate island until 1972, when the government built a causeway between it and the main island. Pigeon Island is where the infamous pirate, Jamb de Bois, created a base to attack merchant ships. Home to Fort Rodney built by the English to fight the French in the 1700s, it is a National Park featuring some great snorkeling and diving just off the shores.
The Piton Mountains are twin volcanic cones rising steeply from the Caribbean Sea and are among the most recognizable natural wonders of the West Indies. Designated a World Heritage Site, they’re blanketed with pristine forest that supports many rare plant species. Gros Piton is the higher of the two at 2,619 feet. It’s possible to hike to the summit with a guide, and the views are spectacular. The steeper but shorter Petit Piton at 2,438 feet is only for serious climbers. For the best views of the Pitons take a boat trip out on Piton Bay.
Rainforest Aerial Tram – A cable car that uses 16 open-air gondolas taking passengers up to the ecological park in the high forest. Each gondola includes a nature interpreter, who points out the native plants (such as giant ferns and heliconia) and can identify the many birds by their calls or plumage.
Rodney Bay Village is one of the most popular destinations on the island. The original crescent-shaped bay has been embellished with a man-made lagoon covering 80 acres and one of the Caribbean’s best yachting marinas. The nightlife is lively, with a collection of bars and clubs and Saint Lucia’s only casino.
Diving and Snorkling – is incredible from many beaches like Anse Chastanet and you can explore shallow reefs very near shore. Visit the remote sandy beach of Anse Cochon to find the Ti Kaye resort, with its 33 cottages and a great dive centre that caters to all abilities. Experienced divers can explore the Soufrière Marine Reserve along with the many ship wreck sites around the island.