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A practical guide to St Lucia

National holidays and celebrations

St Lucians observe religious holidays and national celebrations throughout the year. To plan your holiday around a particular event, speak to one of our travel advisers about the best times to visit.

Religious public holidays

  • New Year's Day: 1st and 2nd January. St Lucians celebrate a two-day national holiday.
  • Good Friday: Between late March and April.
  • Easter Monday: Monday after Good Friday.
  • Whit Monday/ Pentecost: 50th day after Easter Sunday.
  • Corpus Christi: June: Commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ and his apostles.
  • Emancipation Day: 1st August. Enslaved ancestors revolted against the British Empire to achieve freedom.
  • Christmas Day and Boxing Day: 25th and 26th December.
  • Boxing Day: Like in all other Commonwealth nations, the originally British Boxing Day holiday falling one day after Christmas.

Non-religious public holidays in St Lucia

  • Independence Day: 22nd February. Liberation from British rule back in 1979.
  • Labour Day: 1st May. Celebrates the accomplishments of labourers.
  • Thanksgiving Day: Second Monday of October.
  • National Day: Commemorates the nationhood of St Lucia with parades and rallies.

Other special celebrations throughout the year include:

  • St Lucia Jazz Festival: May.
  • St Lucian Carnival: July.

Money

The national currency in St Lucia is the East Caribbean dollar (EC$). US dollars are also accepted by some cab drivers and larger hotels and resorts.

  • For the best rates, take British pounds and exchange on arrival at local banks or exchange bureaus.
  • To get the most for you money, pay in Eastern Caribbean dollars rather than US dollars.
  • Credit/debit cards are widely accepted in restaurants and large shops.
  • ATMs accept international credit/debit cards and are accessible across the island.
  • When eating out, expect a service charge of between 8 and 10 per cent to be added to the bill.

Eating Out

St Lucian cuisine has strong French and British influences, with many flavours borrowed from neighbouring Caribbean islands. Presentation is key for local chefs and food tends to be generously-spiced with typical Creole cuisine flavours. At most hotels and beach bars you'll also find food to suit a range of international palates.

Some of the most authentic dishes are based around Salt fish, which is served with banana, breadfruit or green figs. Other national specialties include "callaloo" (spinach soup), conch fritters, breadfruit, accra fish cakes, pepperpot stew, cassava bread and plantains. St Lucia also has plenty of delicious tropical fruits such as mangoes, papayas, coconuts, guavas, passion fruits and the exotic 'soursop'. No St Lucia holiday is complete without trying some of these local delicacies.

Vegetarians will also be pleased to find that the St Lucian diet is mainly based around starches, fruit and vegetables, whilst meat eaters are certainly not excluded and can enjoy local meaty favourites such as pork hocks, chicken back and pig tail. Popular seafood dishes include fresh lobster and stuffed crab back, as well as 'mahimahi' and 'potfish'. We find that the stalls along Anse La Raye's waterfront serve the freshest seafood.

Climate

St Lucia enjoys sunshine and warm weather all year long with daytime temperatures averaging 29°C and dropping to around 18°C at night with cooling breezes. Any time of year is good to visit although most Europeans and North Americans choose to do so in the winter time to escape freezing temperatures at home.

  • The hot and humid climate is moderated by northeast trade winds, making weather conditions comfortable and offering a welcome respite from the heat.
  • Due to its geographical position close to the Equator St Lucia doesn't have very well defined seasons. The hottest summer months are June through August with temperatures sometimes peaking at 35°C.
  • St Lucia sees a rainy season from June to November with the driest weather seen on coastal regions.
  • The dry and cooler season runs from December to June with slightly lower temperatures but still plenty of radiant sunshine.
  • Like in the rest of the Caribbean, hurricane season runs from June to November in St Lucia but isn't likely to disturb your holiday as hotels are well prepared to cope with storms.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 272626272728282828292828
Minimum °C 242323232425252525252524
Maximum °C 302929303031313131323131
Sunshine (hours) 8891099988988
Rain (cm) 1095666141717182316

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