Things to know and ideas for your own trip to St Lucia
- Regular berth: Pointe Seraphine Terminal
- Regular berth: Queen Elisabeth II Dock
- Harbour shuttle: not available/necessary
- Taxis: usually available at Cruise Terminal
- Buses: privately owned minibuses
- Car Hire*: Guys Car Rental, at Pointe Seraphine Terminal and Castries Airport.
- Car Hire*: Drive-A-Matic, Castries Airport
- Car Hire*: Budget, Castries Airport
- Post Office: General Post Service on Bridge Street
- Tourist Info: at the Cruise Terminal
- Banks and ATMs: very few in the centre of Castries
- Cruise Ship Berths
St. Lucia is regularly visited by cruise ships from well-known shipping companies. Several berths are available in the natural harbour of the capital Castries. The ships dock at the Pointe Seraphine Terminal and/or directly in the city centre at the Queen Elisabeth II Dock. The Pointe Seraphine berth, which is slightly out of the way, has a cruise terminal with tourist information and a small shopping centre. The land route to the centre of town runs along the harbour basin and is about 1.6 kilometres, which takes about 20 minutes on foot. Of course, it is quicker to take a taxi or a water taxi for 2 US dollars per person. Taxis are usually available in sufficient numbers at the berths and the water taxis also go to other destinations along the charming coast.
There are privately owned minibuses on St Lucia. They head for the most important destinations on the island and usually only drive when they are full. The vehicles are marked with an "M" on the green number plate and the destination is written on the top of the windscreen. There are currently eight different routes that run across the island and also have several fixed stops. The drivers also like to stop every now and then to give people a lift or let them get off. Local music is often played at high volume in the vehicles.
Taxis do not use taximeters and mostly charge fixed prices, at least for the most important destinations and standard routes. It is generally advisable to clarify the fare with the driver before setting off. They are also happy to offer their services by the hour for round trips. An official taxi is marked with the letters "TX" on the blue licence plate. Various tours are also available at fixed prices.
- Use of Rental Car
Driving on the island is on the left. To use a rental car*, you must be at least 25 years old and a local driving licence is required, although this can be issued by the rental companies or at police stations. This requires the presentation of a valid driving licence from one's home country and the payment of 50 Eastern Caribbean dollars or 20 US dollars. Except for the main roads, the roads and paths are usually in poor condition and signposting is largely dispensed with.
- Shopping Opportunities
Castries has a few shopping facilities. For example, at the northern berths "Pointe Seraphine" there is a duty-free shopping centre with a few shops, cafés and restaurants. The southern berth also has this to offer with the small shopping centre La Place Carenage. A few steps further on, you will find yourself in the centre of the manageable little town, where more shops, boutiques and restaurants are located. The prices of the goods on offer are highest at and near the harbour. If you have time, you should not buy from the first trader.
- Central Market
The market halls of Castries Central Market are also located at the harbour. Every day, except Sundays, up to 300 traders offer their mostly local products. Mainly fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish are presented there. In between and also in the close vicinity of the market, one or the other handmade souvenir can also be found. The main market day is always on Saturday, when the hustle and bustle is at its greatest. Sales take place in the mornings from 05:00-12:00 and Monday to Friday also in the afternoon from 13:30-16:00.
- Central Square
Not far from the berths of the Queen Elisabeth II Dock is the central square of Castries. Derek Walcott Square, named after the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, is considered the green lung of the city. It is home to some of the oldest buildings in the city, such as the central library. The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, on the opposite side, dates from the 19th century. Rather plain and inconspicuous on the outside, it has an interior worth seeing with wall and ceiling paintings in a colourful Caribbean style. There is also a 450-year-old Samaan tree on the square itself.
- Viewpoint over the Harbour
A beautiful view of Castries and the harbour can be had from the 255-metre-high Morne Fortune, the Hill of Happiness. For example, you can use a small viewing platform near Government House, which was constructed in 1895 and is located directly on the main street. Usually, there are also numerous flying traders offering their wares there. On the land elevation you will also find a small part of the former fortifications of Fort Charlotte, the area of which is accessible free of charge. Some of the remaining buildings have been renovated and are now used for educational purposes. From the southern berth, it takes 30 to 35 minutes to walk to the lookout point, covering a distance of about 1.6 kilometres.
- Vigie Beach
There are some beautiful beaches to be found on St Lucia. One of them is Vigie Beach, not too far away. It runs along Peninsular Road and mostly parallel to the runway of the less frequented George F.L. Charles Airport. The fine sandy beach, which is somewhat sheltered from the wind, slopes gently into the Caribbean Sea, is hardly developed for tourism and is usually quite empty. Shade can be found under one of the numerous trees and palm trees, sun loungers at the adjacent Rendezvous Hotel Resort. Vigie Beach is a 30 to 35-minute walk from the city centre. By taxi or rental car*, on the other hand, it is only a short drive, taking less than 10 minutes. The distance is about 2 kilometres, depending on the starting point and destination.
- Choc Beach
A little further north, you will find Choc Beach, which is usually more frequented than Vigie Beach, but still hardly crowded. This beach, too, is fine sandy, slopes gently into the sea and has a large number of natural shady spots. Some sunbeds can be rented and there is a beach bar where you can get a snack or two. It takes less than 10 minutes by motorised vehicle* to drive the 3.5 kilometres from the moorings to Choc Beach. On foot, it takes 45-50 minutes in each direction.
- Reduit Beach
In the very northwest of St. Lucia there is a beautiful bay called "Rodney Bay", which is quite well developed for tourism. There is also the charming section of beach called Reduit Beach, which is about one kilometre long. It falls somewhat steeply into the water, the water surface is usually quite calm and the section of beach is mostly supervised by lifeguards. Sunbeds and umbrellas are offered by the adjacent hotels for 15 to 20 US dollars each. Showers, toilets and restaurants can be found nearby. Directly on the beach, for example, is the Spinnakers Beachbar. The pub offers a large selection of drinks and a wide variety of food in a prime location.
- Pigeon Island National Park
The northern part of the bay is largely occupied by Pigeon Island National Park. The original small island "Pigeon Island" was connected to St. Lucia by land fill in 1972 and has been a protected national park since 1979. The two hills offer excellent views of land and sea. At about 100 metres above sea level, the viewing platform of Signal Peak is well suited for spotting the neighbouring island of Martinique on the horizon. The other hill measures about 30 metres less in height and is home to the remains of Fort Rodney. Some ruins of military buildings can also be seen near the park entrance, in front of which is Pigeon Island Beach. Open daily from 09:00-17:00. Access to Pigeon Island National Park costs USD 8 per person and it is better to wear sturdy shoes on the trails. Children aged 5 to 12 pay USD 3 each. The centre of Castries is about 14 kilometres away. This distance takes about 30 minutes by taxi or rental car*.
- Marigot Bay
To the south of Castries, you come across Marigot Bay. The bay, which is quite well protected by the surrounding mountains, was once used by pirates as a hideout. Today, smaller boats and yachts find refuge in the natural harbour. The impressive setting has also been used in feature films, such as "Dr Dolittle". A small, palm-studded beach juts far into the bay. During a relaxed walk, you will come across a large number of guesthouses, restaurants and small shops selling mainly souvenirs. Marigot Bay is about 11 kilometres away from the cruise ship berths and can be reached by vehicle* in 20-25 minutes.
The island's landmarks are located near Soufrière, St Lucia's second largest town. The two impressive volcanic cones of the Pitons can be seen from afar. The Gros Piton measures just under 790 metres in height and can only be climbed as part of a guided hike between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., whereby the last part to the summit can be quite demanding and is not to everyone's taste due to its steepness. You can't get up there entirely on your own. The reward for your efforts is an outstanding view of the beautiful island, the coast and the wide sea. You can plan on 4-5 hours for the hike alone, plus about 90 minutes (each way) for the 50-kilometre journey. At 739 metres, the nearby Petit Piton is somewhat smaller, but much steeper, making the summit difficult or impossible to reach for "normal people". Incidentally, the Pitons are the name of a local beer brand, are symbolically represented in the national flag of the island state and have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004.
- Sulphur Springs
Volcanic activity can be seen up close not far from the Pitons. The ideal place to visit is Sulphur Springs, a bubbling sulphur spring field crossed by a road. The smell of rotten eggs is in the air here. A small, quite interesting museum/visitor centre is located above the sulphur springs and provides a lot of information. Below the springs, you can take a mud bath or simply smear yourself in a manageable pool if you wish. The escaping mud is said to have healing powers.
- Botanical Garden
Not far from Sulphur Springs and close to the village of Soufrière is the Diamond Botanical Garden. A wide variety of tropical, partly exotic flowers, plants and trees can be discovered on an area of around 20,000 square metres. To make recognition easier, many of them are signposted. In the botanical garden there is also a mineral bath with small pools that can be used for an additional fee. Furthermore, a hiking trail leads to an old sugar cane mill, whose water wheel dates back to 1765. Another trail leads to the impressive Diamond Falls. The mineral-rich water, which plunges 10 metres into the depths and bathes the surrounding rock in different colours depending on the current mineral content, comes from underground springs. The area was used as a backdrop for some scenes in the film Superman 2. Open Monday to Saturday from 10:00-17:00 and on Sunday from 10:00-15:00. Admission is charged at 7 US dollars per adult. Children are charged half price.
- Toraille Waterfall
East of the botanical garden is another waterfall. At the Toraille Waterfall, cold masses of water plunge about 15 metres into the depths. The amount of water varies depending on the intensity of the previous rainfall, and it is permitted to enter the lower pool for a refreshing swim. Access to the site is possible daily from 09:00-17:00 and costs 3 US dollars per person.
- Excursion Portals and Excursion Providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees in Castries, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small pre-selection of shipping company-independent excursion offers
for, in and around Castries,
we have put together for you here.
- Cruises and Offers
If you haven't booked a Caribbean Cruise yet, but would like to get to know St. Lucia in person and take excursions on your own, you will find great offers with the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff* offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at the best conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Post office opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30-16:30
- Bank opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 08:00-15:00, Friday from 08:00-17:00
- Tourist information opening hours: after arrival of a cruise ship
- Shop opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:30-12:30 and from 13:30-16:00. The major shopping centres are open Monday to Saturday continuously from 09:00-21:00.
- Country code: +758
- General emergency call: Tel. 911
- Police: Tel. 999
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 999
- Fire Brigade: Tel. 999
- Vaccination recommendation: St. Lucia Tropical Institute
- Safety advice: St. Lucia Foreign Office
- City Map: Castries Map
- Climate chart: Castries Climate
- Port Occupancy: Cruise ships in Castries
- Official language: English
- Everyday language: Patois (French-Creole)
- Local currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar, 1 EC dollar = 100 cents. US dollars are also normally accepted.
More port information of popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean