St Lucia Basics

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The Basics

Time: Local time is GMT -4.

Electricity: 240 volts, 50Hz. Three square-pin plugs are standard.

Money: The unit of currency in Saint Lucia is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which is tied to the US Dollar. The EC$ is divided into 100 cents. US dollars are also accepted at most tourist establishments and ensure a better exchange rate. ATMs are available in Castries, Rodney Bay, Soufriere and Vieux Fort. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 2pm, some are open till 5pm. Major credit cards are accepted at all large hotels, shops and restaurants. Most hotels will exchange foreign currency, and there are change bureaux in Castries.

Currency Exchange Rates

XCD1.00 = USD 0.37GBP 0.30CAD 0.49AUD 0.55ZAR 5.61EUR 0.34NZD 0.59
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: English is the official language, but St Lucian Creole is widely spoken.

Entry requirements for Americans: US citizens require a passport valid for the period of intended stay in St Lucia. US citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: UK citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. UK citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadian citizens require a passport valid for the period of intended stay in St Lucia. Canadian citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks. Stays can be extended for up to a maximum of one year.

Entry requirements for Australians: Australian citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. Australian citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Entry requirements for South Africans: South African citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. South African citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. New Zealand citizens (except those with a passport issued by the Cook Islands) don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. Irish citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Passport/Visa Note: Visitors must hold documents for the next destination, return or onward tickets and sufficient funds. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after the intended date of departure from St. Lucia. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Travel Health: There are few health risks associated with travel to St Lucia, although the mosquito-carried dengue fever is a risk throughout the island. HIV/AIDS is prevalent and precautions are always advised. Bilharzia is endemic. No vaccinations are required, however a yellow fever certificate is necessary for travellers arriving from infected areas. Health care costs are high on the island and health insurance is recommended, which should cover medical evacuation. EHIC card holders are entitled to emergency medical treatment in the case of evacuation to Martinique, on the same terms as Martinique nationals, of which 70 percent of the costs can be reclaimed.

Tipping: A service charge is not automatically added to bills and about 10 percent of the bill is expected. Taxi drivers, porters and chambermaids also expect small tips.

Safety Information: Most visits to St Lucia are trouble-free, but visitors should take common-sense precautions against robbery and theft. Isolated areas, such as beaches, should be avoided after dark. Hurricane season is generally from June to November.

Local Customs: It is an offence for anyone to dress in camouflage clothing. Homosexuality is illegal.

Business: Due to its popularity as an offshore banking location, business dress in St Lucia requires a level of formality. Handshakes for both men and women are the common form of greeting at the beginning and end of meetings, and business cards are usually exchanged. Business hours are generally 8am to 4.30pm throughout the week and 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.

Communications: The international access code for St Lucia is +1 758. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom); the outgoing code is not needed for calls to Canada and the US. City/area codes are not in use. There is wifi access in St Lucia, but the connection speeds can sometimes vary. Most accomodations and restaurants have wifi access. Network providers such as Digicell offer sim cards with local calling plans or calling/data plans, which are a good, inexpensive option if you cannot connect to wifi.

Duty Free: Travellers to St Lucia, over the age of 18, may bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 225g tobacco, 1.2 litre wine or spirits, and other gifts or souvenirs to the value of $250 without paying customs duty.