Saint Lucia

Situated to the south of Martinique and to the north of the island of Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia forms part of the Leeward Islands. This two-faced island offers a warm welcome, is cheerful and has diverse sceneries which built its identity.  In the south smiles are spontaneous, people are outgoing while in the north, they are more sensible and quiet.

Basic Fact Sheet

Flight Price: Around 650 to 800 Euros. Flights from France have to make a stopover in Martinique. There are possible direct flights coming from Great Britain. There is a ship which links Saint Lucia to Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Requirements: A valid passport is needed.  The duration of stay, if up to 42 days, needs no requirements. However, if the duration is more than this period of time, a residence permit will be required.

Flight duration: around 9 hours from Paris

Time Difference: GMT -5h during winter and -6h in summer.

Language: English is the official language.

Religion: 80% of the population is Roman-Catholics

Currency: East Caribbean Dollar (XCD). The American Dollar is also used.

Health and Safety: no vaccination is required. However, precautions are to be taken due to Dengue fever.

Area: 620 km²

Population: 172 900 inhabitants

History

Named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse, the island was first visited by the Europeans around 1500. After a treaty signed with the native Carib people in 1660, the French colonised the island. Control of the island changed hands many times, going through those of the British and the French several times. Finally, in 1814, the British gained total power over the island. In 1924, a local representative government came about and Saint Lucia achieved independence and became a Commonwealth member in 1979. It became member of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States in 1981. Saint Lucia became black listed by France in February 2010 as an uncooperative tax haven.

Culture

Despite its succulent Creole dishes, it has to be mentioned that the best asset of the island is not its cuisine. Due to the infertility of the soil, goods are necessarily imported. What is more amazing about the culture of the island is its miscegenation, an intermingling and astonishing diversity. The citizens speak Creole and English, but the French have also made an impact. It is maybe in fact thanks to this cultural wealth that Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, while Sir Arthur Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his works on the economic development.

The inhabitants of the island like entertainments of all kinds and are prone to celebrate any event. Indeed, the different festivals taking place demonstrate this taste for amusement: the Jazz Festival and the celebration of the Calypso which is a music competition taking place in July. Also, there are carnivals and the Rose Festival.

Spending a whole day or a week-end in Saint Lucia is a habit for citizens of Martinique. Undoubtedly, the Jazz Festival of May is the main attraction. Even though flights are completely booked, there are loads of sailing boats navigating on the coasts of Saint Lucia. Apart from these different events, the festivals of Gros Islet and of Anse La Raye attract many people and sailboats.

Geography and Climate

Saint Lucia is the smallest island of the Caribbean (54 km long and 28 km wide). Martinique is found at only 40km to its north while the archipelago of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is located at 32km to its south.

Ancient volcanic eruptions have created the two mountains, the Pitons, whose peaks are half-covered by the turquoise water. The beauty of Gros-Piton and that of Petit-Piton marvels visitors. There are tropical storms and cyclones from June to October. Similarly to the Lesser Antilles, the climate is hot and humid.

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