ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ST LUCIA
Saint Lucia is strategically located between the Americas and is only eight (8) hours away from Europe. Saint Lucia’s closest neighbors are Martinique to the north and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the south. The island is 27 miles long and 14 miles wide with a total area of 238 square miles or 616 square km.
The island is famously known for its two Nobel Laureates – Sir Derek Alton Walcott (Literature 1992) and Sir William Arthur Lewis (Economics 1979). Saint Lucia is also renowned for its iconic twin peaks – the Pitons which received World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2004. The Pitons are regarded as an important landmark and a great nautical guide to travelers. The island is also famous for its tropical rainforests and drive-in Volcano, which is replete with therapeutic hot spring baths.
How Safe is St Lucia
The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force is responsible for ensuring civilian protection and defence. Saint Lucia is a relatively safe country with moderate crime levels. However, nationals and non-nationals must take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and secure their assets from criminal acts of assault, vandalism, burglary, etc.
LIVING IN SAINT LUCIA
The capital city (Castries) is located in the northern section of the island and represents approximately 40% of the population. Individuals have the choice of living in or around major population centers (such as Vieux-Fort and Gros-Islet), or to live in some of the less populated towns or villages (such as Dennery, Soufriere, Anse-La-Raye) within easy reach of the capital.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY FOR SALE IN ST LUCIA
Residential property is available to buy or rent in the city, towns and villages throughout Saint Lucia. The prices vary between locations and are often negotiable. All non-nationals are required to obtain an Aliens Landholding License, in order to purchase property in Saint Lucia. The license is obtained from the Ministry responsible for Physical Development, Housing and Urban Renewal, and has to be registered by a local solicitor. The process is relatively straightforward. For more information refer to the Aliens Landholding Licensing Act or contact a St Lucia Real Estate Agent. The option of renting is also available to executives who would prefer renting instead of purchasing property. Rental prices would vary in relation to location.
HEALTHCARE IN SAINT LUCIA
There are Wellness Centers placed strategically at all the towns and villages around the island. There are thirty-six (36) Health and Wellness Centers, three (3) public hospitals, one (1) private hospital and one (1) Psychiatric hospital equipped with qualified doctors, nurses, caretakers and psychiatrists.
• Major Public Hospital Victoria Hospital (Castries)
• St. Jude’s Hospital (Vieux-Fort)
• Private Hospital – Tapion Hospital (Castries)
• Saint Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre
• Community hospitals – Soufriere Hospital (Soufriere) and Dennery Hospital (Dennery)
• Polyclinic in Gros Islet
A new state of the art hospital – the Owen King EU Hospital located along the Millennium Highway, Castries – is also nearing completion.
All health care in Saint Lucia is privately funded with the exception of health care services at the health centers throughout the island where all Saint Lucians and residents are entitled to free medical treatment at health centers. There are a number of insurance companies on island which provide affordable health insurances to every resident and citizen of Saint Lucia.
The emergency call numbers in Saint Lucia is similar to that of the United States and the western hemisphere. For Police Emergency one should call 999, for Fire and Ambulance Emergency one should call 911, for Disaster Emergency one should call 452-3802, for Electricity Emergency one should call 452-2165 or 454- 6617 and for Water Emergency the number is 451-9812.
Pharmacies (Drug Stores) – There are 24 registered and certified pharmacies on island providing the best medical advice and service to patients.
ST LUCIA EDUCATION FACTS
Saint Lucia’s education system currently comprises the following:
1. Early Childhood (daycare or nursery) which provides educational and developmental opportunities to children from ages 1 to 4 years.
2. Primary school – caters for kindergarten to grade 6. Enrollment of children in primary school begins from the age of 5 to 12 years old.
3. Secondary school – form 1 to form 5. Enrollment of children from age 12 to 17 years.
The academic year begins in September and ends in July and it is divided into three terms: September – December; January – April and; April – July. Investors migrating with children should have ready the child/children’s transcripts and an attendance letter from their previous schools.
The island’s education system provides access to the following:
• 97 pre-schools most of which are privately owned. Ninety (90%) percent of preschools are located in the north of the island (Castries and surrounding communities);
• 39 day-care centers;
• 74 public primary schools;
• 23 public secondary schools;
• 5 special education schools;
• 7 private primary schools;
• 3 private secondary schools;
• 1 Community College (Sir Arthur Lewis Community College) with 2 campuses (one in the north and the other in the south of the island);
• 17 public libraries;
• 1 mobile library;
11 Government libraries and documentation centers;
• 12 specialized information centers;
• Additionally, there are three academic libraries - the Hunter J. Francois Library, Spartan Health Sciences University Library and the University Centre Library;
• There is one national school of music (the Saint Lucia School of music) with campuses located in the north (Tapion and Massade) and south (Vieux- Fort) of the island;
• The island also houses the University of West Indies (UWI) Open Campus Faculty which offers lectures for the first 2 years of one’s degree programs with the option to transferring to UWI St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago;
• The International School Saint Lucia (ISSL) has been providing its students with a very high quality of education as a non-profit private institution since 4th September 2006. The school has had significant growth, currently educating 16 nationalities, with Saint Lucians making up almost 46% of the school population. The school is accredited by the Ministry of Education in New Brunswick and is recognized by the Ministry of Education in Saint Lucia. It offers personalized attention (4:1 ratio of student to teacher) in a rich and engaging learning environment for students through grades 4 to 12. On completion of grade 12, graduates are awarded with a New Brunswick High School Diploma which is accepted in universities and colleges around the world.
For further information about Saint Lucia’s education system, please visit the office of the Ministry of Education located at the Francis Compton Building, Waterfront, and Castries, Saint Lucia or visit the website http://education.govt.lc/
SPORT AND SPORTING FACILITIES IN SAINT LUCIA
Saint Lucia is known for successes at many regional and international sporting disciplines. The most popular played sports on island are football (soccer), basketball, cricket, tennis, volleyball, swimming and netball.
There are a range of sporting facilities located throughout the island which accommodates other types of sports such as squash and various forms of water sports. There is a national tennis center and two private tennis academies. The Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium is an internationally accredited track and field stadium. Saint Lucia’s sporting disciplines have produced outstanding Olympians in recent years. The island hosted the ICC Cricket World cup in 2005 and the region’s junior track and field event – CARIFTA Games in 2009 and the ICC T-20 cricket tournament.
The island continues to host West Indies cricket series. There are many qualified coaches and amateur athletes throughout every sporting discipline who prepare and enable people to play whatever sport they may choose. Saint Lucia is also home to one 9-hole and one 18-hole golf course with the occasional tournament for the golf enthusiast.
ST LUCIA'S CULTURE
There are a number of cultural festivities that are indigenous to Saint Lucia including the La Rose and La Margeurite Flower Festivals. Additionally, the island’s Carnival is celebrated annually on the 3rd Monday and Tuesday of the month of July. The annual Jounen Kweyol (Creole Day) is the premiere cultural festival and is celebrated on the last Sunday in October. Saint Lucia is also known for its quadrille dance and folk songs made famous by the island’s queen of folk - the late Dame Marie Selipha “Sesenne” Descartes.
THINGS TO DO IN ST LUCIA
There are many outstanding natural sites around Saint Lucia, including the famous twin peaks – the Pitons – a World Heritage Site, as well as the therapeutic Sulphur Springs, various protected rainforests and magnificent waterfalls – both warm and cold. There are no private beaches in Saint Lucia, therefore, everyone is able to access all the wonderful white and black sand beaches throughout the island.
During the month of August one can experience the great leather back turtle assembling on a protected northern beach shore to lay their eggs. The island is also home to various unique species of birds, flora and reptiles. Across the island there are many hiking trails and other outdoor activities such as ATV trail riding, cross country biking, parasailing and kite surfing. For more information refer to www.stlucia.org
ENTERTAINMENT, ARTS AND FOOD
The northern most part of the island is famously known as the entertainment hot spot, with exquisite internationally acclaimed restaurants which cater to a wide range of tastes. Although the north of the island houses the country’s famous pubs and bars, there are many other entertainment hot spots around the island that operate every day of the week.
The Saint Lucia’s Jazz and Arts Festival is the island’s highest grossing festival and it is second only to Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival in the Caribbean region. The island is also host to the renowned Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, the Caribbean premiere yachting event. For the spontaneous excursionist and adventure seekers, there is a litany of tour operators and sightseeing guides available daily.
There are five (5) large hotels, ten (10) luxury hotels, nine (9) all-inclusive hotels, five (5) boutique properties, eighteen (18) small hotels, thirty-four (34) villa/cottages, sixty (60) apartments, and sixteen (16) guest houses with a plethora of packages to cater to the needs of every vacationer. There is also a multiplex cinema in the north of the island which adds to the entertainment offerings.
ST LUCIA WEATHER AND CLIMATE
Saint Lucia is a tropical island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast, and the Caribbean Sea on the west, and is located between the Americas. As a result, Saint Lucia has a hot, tropical climate throughout the year, balanced by the northeast trade winds. The average annual temperature is estimated between 77°F (25°C) and 84°F (29°C). There is a two seasoned weather period on the island, like all islands in the region, the driest period on the island starts from February to May, whereas the hurricane season (the wet season) commences from June 1st to November 30th yearly. Though there is a dry and wet season, the island experiences rainfall throughout the year.
DRIVING AROUND ST LUCIA
Driving in Saint Lucia is done on the left side of the road with vehicles configured to UK and Japanese models (right-hand). To drive a vehicle, you will need to complete a driver’s license application provided that you already have a valid driver’s license from your home country. A local license is not required if you are a holder of a valid OECS or International Driving Permit. However, a transfer of license is done.
SHOPPING IN ST LUCIA
This sector caters for diverse people. There are three duty free shopping malls and shops located in the north of the island. Duty free shopping is also available at the island’s airports as well as some resorts around the island. Supermarkets, wholesale purchasing and open food markets, home and garden, furniture and many more shopping options are available on island.