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Paradise beach at Soufriere Bay with view to Piton at small town Soufriere in Saint Lucia,

Saint Lucia is an island country of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean.  The island was previously called Iouanalao and later Hewanorra, names given by the native Arawaks and Caribs (respectively), two Amerindian peoples. Part of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 617 km2 (238 square miles) with an estimated population of over 180,000 people as of 2018. The nation's capital and largest city is Castries.

The first proven inhabitants of the island, the Arawaks, are believed to have first settled in 200–400 AD. Around 800 AD, the island would be taken over by the Kalinago. The French were the first Europeans to settle on the island, and they signed a treaty with the native Caribs in 1660. England took control of the island in 1663. In ensuing years, England and France fought 14 times for control of the island, and the rule of the island changed frequently. Eventually, the British took full control in 1814, after the fall of Emperor Napoleon. Because the island switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West" after the Greek mythological character, Helen of Troy.

Representative government was introduced in 1924 with universal suffrage being established in 1951. From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the West Indies Federation. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state, while remaining as a Commonwealth realm.

Saint Lucia is a member of the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, the World Trade Organization, CARICOM and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It is also a member of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

Saint Lucia has a total area of 617 square kilometers (238 sq mi). As a volcanic island, Saint Lucia is very mountainous, with its highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 feet) above sea level. The Pitons, two mountainous volcanic plugs, form the island's most famous landmark. Saint Lucia is also home to the world's only drive-in volcano, the Sulphur Springs. There are a number of small islands off the coast, the largest of which are the Maria Islands, located in the south-east of the island.

 

Saint Lucia lies at latitude 14° N and longitude 61° W. The population tends to be concentrated around the coast, with the interior more sparsely populated, due to the presence of dense forests. Many species are endemic to the island, including the Anolis luciae, a species of lizard, and the Boa orophias, a species of boid snake.

 

Saint Lucia has five terrestrial ecoregions: Windward Islands moist forests, Leeward Islands dry forests, Windward Islands dry forests, Windward Islands xeric scrub, and Lesser Antilles mangroves. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 6.17/10, ranking it 84th globally out of 172 countries.

Festival Crowd
Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival

The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival returns with renewed excitement from April 30 to May 12, 2024, featuring a lineup of renowned musicians from Saint Lucia and across the world. Spanning classic jazz to world beats, the 2024 Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival will again attract thousands of visitors from around the world with a lineup of genres including Afro beats, jazz, rock, gospel, Soca, reggae, Zouk, pop, and an array of cultural beats and exciting rhythms.

GETTING HERE

Whether you choose to fly direct, stop off on a cruise or just pop over from one of the neighboring islands, you will find a warm Saint Lucian welcome awaits.

So beautiful she has been nicknamed “The Helen of the West,” Saint Lucia is just 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. She is lined with beautiful palm-fringed beaches, but beaches are just an introduction to the immense beauty that Saint Lucia has to offer.

An emerald blanket spreads over much of the island, covering plunging valleys and rising peaks in lush rainforest. It’s a spectacular setting for adventure. So when will yours begin?

ARRIVING IN SAINT LUCIA BY AIR

From North America, direct service to Saint Lucia is available on American Airlines from Miami; Charlotte and Philadelphia; on JetBlue from New York and Boston; on Delta from Atlanta; and on United Airlines from New Jersey and Chicago.

Air Canada and WestJet also fly direct from Toronto year-round, while direct service from Montreal is available at peak times of the year on Air Canada and some chartered services.

Inter-island travel is well-serviced by several airlines including LIAT, Air Caraibes, Air Antilles and Caribbean Airlines. Check with your travel agent or direct with the airlines for specific dates and availability.

US: American AirlinesDelta AirlinesJetBlue and United Airlines

Canada: Air CanadaSunwing Airlines and WestJet

UK: British AirwaysVirgin Atlantic and TUI

Germany: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic (Connections via London Gatwick year-round or London Heathrow during the winter)

France: Air FranceCorsair and Air Caraibes

Caribbean: Air CaraibesAir AntillesCaribbean Airlines and interCaribbean Airways

 
SAINT LUCIA’S DEPARTURE TAX

Departure tax is included in the price of the ticket for all passengers over 12 years leaving the island via air travel. For passengers leaving via sea travel, the departure tax is EC$33 or US$13 to be paid at the time of the departure.

 
AIRPORTS IN SAINT LUCIA

Hewanorra International Airport (UVF) in Vieux Fort is located 40 miles south of Castries, the capital city. George F.L. Charles Airport is an inter-island airport just outside Castries.

 
TRAVEL BY FERRY & CRUISE SHIPS

Those who prefer to do much of their traveling on the water will find that Saint Lucia is well-serviced by ferries, making it easy to include Saint Lucia in any island-hopping tour.

Visit www.express-des-iles.com which operates a ferry service between Saint Lucia and Martinique.

Image by louis magnotti
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