About St. Lucia
St. Lucia is a green volcanic island rich in culture and history. Situated between Martinique and St. Vincent, St. Lucia is part of the Windward Islands. The mango shaped island is 43 kilometers (27 miles) long and 23 kilometers (14 miles) wide. To help you prepare for your upcoming adventure, here's a brief overview of our island and its climate, population, currency and more:
The first visitors that set foot on the island's lovely beaches were the eaceful Arawak Indians. During the 9th century they were expelled by the fierce Carib Indians until the Europeans discovered this island paradise at the time of Columbus. During the 17th and 18th centuries the French and English battled to become masters and St. Lucia changed hands 14 times. In 1814 St. Lucia was finally ceded to the British and in 1842 English became the official language. In 1967 St. Lucia was granted internal self-government by the British and acquired full independence in 1979 with a stable parliamentary democracy.
St. Lucia's tropical climate guarantees pleasant temperatures throughout the year. Cool North-Easterly breezes from the Atlantic Ocean provide regular and natural freshness. The winter season has temperatures between 18° C and 31° C (64° F and 88° F) and is also the driest season with occasional refreshing showers. The summer season has temperatures between 23° C and 35° C (74° F and 95° F). This is also the rainy season starting in June and ending in November. Mostly short but heavy showers occur with a rare chance of a tropical storm or hurricane.
St. Lucia's economy is traditionally based on agriculture. The earlier sugar cane cultivation has been mostly replaced by banana cultivation. The 'green gold' with an average annual export of about 110,000 tons is, still today, an important source of income. Tourism with its very solid infrastructure, and respect for nature conservation, is now the most important economical pillar. With about 3,500 rooms and a 250,000 nights spend in 1996, the tourism industry increases yearly by about 10%.
The 150,000 inhabitants of the island are mainly of African origin. The St. Lucians are generally very charming and kind. Walking through the streets, you are greeted often with a warm 'hello!'. English is the official language. The people also speak a kind of French Patois. Some elderly inhabitants, especially from the rural parts of the island, have difficulties to speak English clearly.
Prices are mostly indicated in the local currency, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. The EC$ has a fixed rating against the US$ (2.68 EC$ = 1 US$). US$ as well as Travellers Cheques and Credit Cards are widely accepted in most hotels and restaurants.