A Caribbean Paddling Paradise
It may seem like you are on a movie set while paddling along the emerald coastline of St. Lucia. And you wouldn't be wrong. The island's lush landscapes have been featured in a number of films, and the twin peaks of the Pitons are one of the most photographed landscapes in the Caribbean. Paddling gives you a front row seat to all this natural beauty, along with access to coral reefs, Jungle Rivers and beaches that can't be reached by road. Whether it's an easy sunset paddle at a beachside resort, or a coastal voyage to seaside villages and parks, St. Lucia is ripe with paddling possibilities.
- Best for: Everyone, experiences including watersports, yoga, spas and soft to rugged adventures
- Best season to visit: Year round
- Weather: Steady trade winds account for relatively minor differences in seasonal air temperatures, which range from the 70s into the mid 80s. Rain showers are less common from December to May
St. Lucia Information
Paddle Sports in St. Lucia Overview
Kayaking excursions take place all along St. Lucia's western coast, which is sheltered from trade winds and easterly Atlantic swells. A number of resorts provide kayaks for local exploration, and there are also a wide range of organized tours to enjoy, including longer routes that venture into the mouths of coastal rivers and over coral reefs. Itineraries may also include stops at remote beaches, seaside villages and snorkel sites.
Paddle Sports in St. Lucia Tips
Make your first paddling excursion in sheltered water to get familiar with the equipment and the environment. You don't need to be an accomplished open water paddler to enjoy the majority of coastal tours offered in St. Lucia, as conditions will range from glass-calm to small chop or swell. Discuss options with the tour company if you are unsure of your abilities.
Best Places for Paddle Sports in St. Lucia
A sunset paddle to The Pitons is not to be forgotten. Trips to Pigeon Island include shore leave in a nature park and an 18th-century British fort. Take a relaxing paddle through Marigot Bay or try your hand at kayak fishing in the deep blue waters that run close to shore. Take in some local culture with a paddle to the fishing village of Anse La Raye, and then head to Anse Cochon for snorkeling. The shadowed channel of the Roseau River is lined with tall bastions of banyan tree roots and mangroves.
What to Pack for Paddle Sports in St. Lucia
Wear fast-drying shorts, a shirt that allows full and easy arm movement, and sandals that float. Add a compact dry bag for personal items and a towel. Include plenty of liquids in bottles with no-spill lids. A neck lanyard makes it easier to grab waterproof cameras on short notice.
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Passport and/or Visa Requirements
U.S. citizens need a valid passport that must be valid 6 months beyond the date of entry into St. Lucia, with available space for entry stamp. No visa is required with proof of onward or return ticket and accommodation confirmation. Check the entry/exit requirements here. A departure tax of $68EC, approx $25.30 should be included in your international airline ticket.
Vaccinations are not required for entering the Caribbean if you're coming from the United States. Before traveling check with the CDC here.
Culture and Customs
St. Lucia is a land of vibrant greens set in a sapphire sea. Rainforests cover the island's interior, providing vacationers with a variety of eco-adventures that range from sedate birding hikes and relaxing rides on an aerial tram to off-road adventures and soaring zip line flights through forested canopies home to endemic birds such as the St. Lucia parrot. The lush surroundings also set the stage for a number of unique resort properties that blend luxury and nature, and provide some of the best dining experiences in the Caribbean. The island's rich volcanic soil yields a cornucopia of tropical fruits and vegetables. This bounty is reflected in the savory dishes of traditional Creole cooking, and it has inspired a new wave of organic and fusion cuisines that have earned island chef's top honors in international culinary competitions. In addition to enlivening resort kitchens, St. Lucia's farms and orchards support a thriving agricultural export sector that includes bananas and chocolate. One of the island's sweetest day trips involves a tour of historic cacao plantations, followed by a chance to create your own chocolate confections. Across the island English influences are obvious, but so too are the cultural contributions of France and Africa. The local version of relaxing is known as “going on the lime” or “liming,” which simply involves stopping by a favorite local pub or rum shop and spending time with friends.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
St. Lucia runs on 220 to 230-volt AC (50 cycles), so bring an adapter if you plan to use U.S. appliances. Some hotels are wired for U.S. appliances.
Check with your local provider to see what plans are available, otherwise, you will be subject to roaming charges. The country/area code for Saint Lucia is 758.
Many hotels offer WiFi.
The local tap water is chlorinated and considered safe to drink. Alternatively, bottled water is available for purchase at restaurants, bars, hotels and local grocery stores.
Language & Currency
English is the official language, but islanders often speak a French-Creole patois or Kweyol similar to that heard on Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Grenada and Dominica.
The currency in St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, (EC$). You can see the current exchange rate here. However, nearly all hotels, restaurants, and shops accept US dollars. Change may be given in EC Dollars. ATMs are available which dispense EC dollars and credit cards are widely accepted.
Saint Lucia is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. St. Lucia is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).
Location, Size and Population
St. Lucia is a sovereign island country in the Eastern Caribbean that is part of the Lesser Antilles. St. Lucia is a mountainous island of 238 sq. miles, located about 25 miles north of St. Vincent and 25 miles south of Martinique and northwest of Barbados.
The population of St. Lucia is 185,868 (2016).