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Aside from the usual Caribbean attractions involving beautiful tropical beaches and pleasant warm weather, which are themselves valid reasons to book your next holiday here, Saint Lucia offers a plethora of activities which visitors gladly tear themselves away from their comfy beach chairs to engage in. Visitors can drive around the beautiful coastline and see the twin peaks of the Pitons or head to the world's only drive-in volcano, the Sulphur Springs.
A good network of roads connects major towns on the island. However, roads tend to be poorly marked, narrow, winding and at times, quite steep. Accidents are common due in part to the excessive speed which local drivers tend to use.
Driving licences: a local driving permit must be purchased on presentation of a valid foreign driving licence and payment of a fee.
Which side does Saint Lucia drive on: the left.
Built-up areas: 30mph (48kph)
Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent, the same as the UK limit.
Driving age: visitors must be 25 years old and have held their driving licence for two years to be able to hire a car here.
Seatbelts: must be worn at all times by drivers and passengers. Small children need to be secured in child safety seats.
Mobile phones and GPS: there are no laws governing mobile phone use while driving. GPS and travel maps are available and can be used when driving on the island.
Cost of fuel in Saint Lucia: about the same as in the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: car rentals can be paid for with major credit cards. Petrol stations are mostly small, with many preferring cash over credit card payment.
Insurance: included with rentals but does not always cover damage to the vehicle. It’s best to take out excess to cover all eventualities.
Traffic and parking: parking is difficult to find in the busy areas of the capital, Castries. Visitors are advised to find proper parking spaces, as parking laws are strictly enforced. Traffic is only a problem in urban areas during rush hours.
Taxis are the easiest way for visitors to get around the island. Even though the rates for usual routes, such as Castries to Rodney Bay or Hewanorra International Airport, are fixed, visitors can still ask around for the best price. Visitors need to clarify if the price quoted is in US dollars or in Eastern Caribbean dollars. Hotels and resorts have a list of reputable taxi agencies to take you around. At night, stick with reputable cab companies. The fare from Castries to Rodney Bay is about £10.
Independent travellers or those wanting an alternative island experience may want to take advantage of the local buses which run through the towns of Castries, Vieux Fort and Soufriere. Fares are cheap, at under £3, and most of the buses are small vans which can take 10 to 14 passengers. Yet buses tend to be crowded and their schedules unreliable.
Regular passenger ferries take passengers to Saint Lucia from other Caribbean island nations such as Martinique (fare: £55) and Guadeloupe. Water transport around the island is by water taxis, which are a popular, fast and often scenic way of travelling to and from the many beaches and towns along the coast. Boats can easily be chartered at Castries, Rodney Bay and Marigot Bay for short rides or island hopping.
The island is served by two airports: George FL Charles Airport and Hewanorra International Airport. The former smaller airport, near Castries, is closer to most resorts, while the latter serves the Vieux Fort area. Helicopter taxis run between the two airports, but most people travel the distance by taxi (£28). Flights arrive mostly from other Caribbean destinations, while Hewanorra receives direct flights from London-Gatwick.
The island of Saint Lucia is easy to navigate by car. Rodney Bay should be any holiday maker’s first stop. The beach here is long and sandy and thus the most popular on the island. However, the beach at Anse de Sable is favoured for water sports.
Those who manage to tear themselves away from the beach will want to see the most prominent natural landmark on the island. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Pitons, located along the southwest coastline, are two spectacular volcanic plugs that jut out from the sea.
Exploring the island's rich nature and seeing wildlife up close are popular adventure activities here. The jungles around the Pitons can be hiked, as can those around Bois d'Orange Swamp and Boriel's Pond.
The Sulphur Springs site is a must-see as it is said to be the only drive-in volcano in the world. Visitors can literally drive to the edge of the springs.
Island hopping tours are possible and one island worth exploring is Pigeon Island. It has old buildings and a small museum which educates visitors about the island's British and French colonisers.
The climate in Saint Lucia is tropical and typical of a Caribbean island. Warm weather can be felt throughout the year and is only tempered by trade winds, which help to keep the heat at bay. Temperatures range from 21Ë to 32°C. The dry season runs from December to May and is the best time to visit. June to November sees the most rainfall and is when hurricane season happens.