Colorful Reefs Teeming with Life
You won't have to go far to immerse yourself in the wonders of St. Lucia's underwater world. Just yards from scenic beaches, coral reefs rise close to the surface, and are clearly visible in clear Caribbean waters. Warm, calm waters invite extended explorations that will uncover a wealth of marine life. Turtles and majestic eagle rays glide past reefs decorated in multi-hued sea fans and swarming with tropical fish. Shy eels and scuttling crabs hide in crevices, and stealthy hunters camouflage themselves to resemble sponges or pieces of the reef as they await a passing meal. It's another world down there, but one that is yours to discover.
- 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
Snorkeling in St. Lucia Overview
Snorkel sites are located on the calmer western shore of the island, and most are close to shore. A number of premier sites can be reached with a short swim from the beach, while others are best visited by boat. A number of companies offer snorkeling excursions. Below the surface, snorkelers will find volcanic rock slopes covered in dense coatings of corals and sea fans. These growths provide shelter for a wide range of marine life.
Snorkeling in St. Lucia Tips
You'll see plenty of colorful corals, sea fans and tropical fish on the reefs of St. Lucia, but some of the real treasures will require a closer look. Peek into crevices and you may find lobster, small moray eels or an octopus staring back. If you are swimming over the sand, look for the bizarre flying gurnard, which looks more like a bird than a fish when it spreads its pectoral fins.
Best Places for Snorkeling in St. Lucia
At Anse Chastanet Beach, it's just a short swim from shore to one of the most colorful coral reefs in the central Caribbean. A boat ride to the Coral Gardens is just the start of the adventure, as more than 150 varieties of fish and marine life await. When exploring the reefs at Anse Cochon, keep an eye open for passing eagle rays, and check under ledges where docile nurse sharks rest.
What to Pack for Snorkeling in St. Lucia
If you have your own snorkel gear, bring it. If not, a number of hotels, tour boats and beach concessions provide equipment. To prevent sunburn, wear a form-fitting water shirt to keep harmful rays from your exposed back. Use a mesh bag to keep your gear organized on boat trips, and include a small waterproof carry case for electronics and valuables.
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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).