St Lucia is a friendly and welcoming eastern Caribbean country, home to the world's only drive-in volcano (which is thankfully dormant) and an annual jazz festival held each year in May.
It's also a popular destination for cruise ships and a favorite with honeymooning couples.
With a population of approximately 180,000 people, this beautiful tropical island isn't too overcrowded. St Lucians are relatively well-off, and crime rates are low.
There were four incidents way back in 2010 involving local residents in a quiet and poorly-lit area of the Rodney Bay Village, but crime and violent crime remains low in St. Lucia. Like you would elsewhere in the Caribbean, avoid walking down unlit streets of quiet villages late at night alone, and instead try to stick to well lit, crowded areas. If you've got a long, late night walk back to your accomodation, catch a taxi.
The St Lucian authorities are working with the tourism industry to maintain a safe environment for visitors.
Nevertheless, muggings and theft from hotels, yachts or holiday rentals do occur, and occasionally come with violence. There have been a number of serious assaults involving travelers and residents in recent years.
There have been armed robberies at waterfalls in the Anse La Raye area, so be careful traveling to these areas, and it's smart to go with a group of people.
Avoid walking alone in isolated areas, including beaches after dark, and only go camping in large groups.
Take care at popular late night street parties and "jump-ups".
Be cautious about accepting lifts from strangers, and use only licensed taxis.
Most roads are narrow and are in varying states of repair.
In mountainous areas roads can be extremely steep and have sharp hairpin bends, some of which are not clearly marked.
Four-wheel drive vehicles with automatic gearboxes are popular, and in some areas essential. Driving standards are variable and you should negotiate roundabouts with extreme care. Given local conditions, drive slowly and cautiously.
It is common for pedestrians to flag down vehicles in an attempt to get a lift. You should not stop to do so. It is advisable to keep car doors locked when driving.
There are regular mini bus services, which provide relatively cheap, but sometimes dangerously fast, travel between all main towns.
Standard taxi fares exist for most destinations but you should clarify the fare with the driver before the beginning of the journey.
The drive from Hewanorra International Airport to Castries or to Rodney Bay is a winding road through mountainous terrain and takes between 1 to 1.5 hours. If you are prone to travel sickness, some anti nausea medication might be advisable.
Camouflage clothing or luggage are banned in St. Lucia.
Climbing one of the twin Pitons is a popular attraction. Gros Piton is the most accessible option, but ensure you have packed sufficient supplies and are feeling well enough to handle the four-hour return hike.
As on other Caribbean islands, street vendors can be intimidating. A polite "no" should do the trick, so keep walking and avoid making eye contact if you aren't interested in what they're selling.
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