What makes Saint Lucia a unique country to travel to?
St. Lucia is an English-speaking, developing Caribbean island nation. Tourist facilities are widely available.
Crime, including armed robbery, does occur and is rising in St. Lucia. Violent crime, including gun violence and targeted homicides, is often connected to narcotics trafficking. Petty crime also occurs, with tourists being targeted often.
Efforts by the St. Lucian authorities to improve public safety on the island are ongoing. Visitors should inquire about their hotel's security arrangements before making reservations. Valuables left unattended on beaches and in rental cars are vulnerable to theft. Visitors should use caution, especially at night and in less frequented areas.
Take some time before travel to learn how to improve your personal security-things are not the same everywhere as they are in the United States. Here are some useful tips for personal security.
Don't buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
While you are traveling in St. Lucia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don't have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in St. Lucia, your U.S. passport won't help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It's very important to know what's legal and what's not where you are going.
Persons violating St. Lucian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in St. Lucia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
IF ARRESTED: If you are arrested in St. Lucia, authorities of St. Lucia are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest. If you are concerned the Department of State may not be aware of your situation, you should request the police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of your arrest.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
There are two public hospitals and one private hospital in St. Lucia.
Victoria Hospital, Castries - Tel No. (758) 452-2421 - is the main hospital.
St. Jude's Hospital, George Odlum Stadium, Vieux Fort - Tel No. (758) 454-6041 is the second public hospital.
The original St. Jude's Hospital in Vieux Fort was destroyed by fire on September 9, 2009. What started as a temporary facility operating out of the George Odlum Stadium is now operating as a fully functional hospital with two operating rooms, an ER Department, as well as a Medical, Paediatric and a Surgical Ward. There is also an ICU Unit and an Out Patient's Clinic.
Tapion Hospital, La Toc Road, Castries is the private hospital - Tel No. (758) 459-2000. A new hyperbaric chamber capable of treating 6 patients is now in operation at this facility. They are certified personnel in the hyperbaric field who operate the chamber. The Chamber is undergoing the accreditation process by DAN (Divers Alert Network) and continues to be fully operational. However, to-date the certification process has not been completed.
Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning St. Lucia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Vehicles travel on the left side of the road in St. Lucia. Roads are reasonably well paved but poorly marked, narrow and winding, with steep inclines/declines throughout the island. There are few guardrails in areas that have precipitous drop-offs from the road. In spite of these conditions, drivers often travel at excessive speed, and accidents are common. The drive from Hewanorra International Airport to Castries or to Rodney Bay is a winding road through mountainous terrain and takes between 60 to 90 minutes.
St. Lucia is served by privately owned and operated mini-buses, plying licensed designated routes. While most such services operate only on weekdays during daylight hours, some may operate at night and on weekends and holidays. Taxis are available at generally reasonable rates, but tourists are vulnerable to being overcharged. When using minibus or taxi services, travelers should agree to a fare ahead of time. The most commonly used trips such as Castries to Rodney Bay and Castries to Hewanora International Airport are fixed fares, and any dispute should be brought to the attention of the Tourism Authority U.S. dollars are widely accepted, but with less than competitive exchange rates. When using minibus or taxi services, travelers should agree to a fare ahead of time. When hiring a service at night, travelers should take precautions such as having their hotel call a reputable company for service. A local temporary driver's license is required. These can be purchased at all car rental offices and from the Transportation Office in Gros Islet.