The official language of Saint Lucia is English, though you will also hear the locals using a French Creole, known as Kwéyòl or Patwah, which is spoken by 95% of the population.
As well as French, Kwéyòl draws on West African and Carib influences, and though you will never need to speak any to make yourself understood, the islanders will be impressed if you can manage a few words.
Saint Lucian cuisine mixes Creole, French and West Indian influences, with plenty of spice.
The national dish is green figs (unripened bananas) and saltfish.
Seafood is well represented on most menus, with mahi mahi, lobster and snapper widely available.
Callaloo, a green leafy vegetable similar to spinach, is the basis for a variety of soups, and other local favourites include roti, a kind of Indian flatbread filled with meat or vegetables, and accras, little fish cakes that are usually served with hot sauce.
Rum is a popular drink, while Piton is the best known local beer.
Tipping in Saint Lucia is discretionary and should reflect the service you have received, however, a service charge of between 10 to 12% is recommended. In some restaurants, a service charge of 10% may be automatically added to your bill.
The currency of Saint Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ or XCD), which is pegged to the US dollar. Notes are in denominations of EC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of EC$2 and EC$1, and 25, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.
US dollars are widely accepted on the island, though you will usually be given change in EC dollars, and at a less favourable exchange rate.
Credit cards are widely accepted, and if taking travellers' cheques we recommend taking them in US dollars rather than in sterling, as this will avoid additional exchange rate charges.
The telecommunications infrastructure in Saint Lucia is good, although mobile coverage can sometimes be patchy in areas of dense rainforest.
High speed internet is widely available and there are plenty of Wi-Fi hotspots on the island.
The phone code for Saint Lucia is 758 and to dial from the UK is 00 1 758.
Suggested clothing and other items
Saint Lucia is in the tropics, so cool casual cotton clothing is recommended, and if you're planning on dining in some of the more formal restaurants, men should pack a shirt, tie and jacket, and women a smart dress.
It does tend to get cooler at night, so it's also worth popping a jumper or wrap into your suitcase.
Please note that it is against the law to wear camouflage clothing in Saint Lucia (including children) and to carry items made out of camouflage material. These will be confiscated and not returned.
The annual Jazz & Arts Festival takes place in May, featuring major international performers and drawing big crowds, while Saint Lucia's raucous Carnival takes place in July.
- 1st January - New Year's Day
- 22nd February - Independence Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Whit Monday (50 days after Easter)
- Corpus Christi (Thursday of the week after Whit Monday)
- 1st May - Labour Day
- 1st August - Emancipation Day
- 7th October - Thanksgiving
- 13th December - National Day
- 25th December - Christmas Day
- 26th December - Boxing Day
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
When to go to Saint Lucia
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Saint Lucia.
9 hours (direct)