Geography & Location
Known as the “Helen of the West”, St. Lucia lies at latitude 13 54′ north of the Equator and 60 50′ west. It is one of the Windward Islands and is located in the middle of the Eastern Caribbean chain of islands approximately 21 miles south of Martinique and 90 miles northwest of Barbados.
The island is 238 sq. miles (616 sq. km), 27 miles long, 14 miles wide with a combination of high mountains, forests, low lying lands and beaches. A central mountain range runs the length of the island, with peaks ranging between 1000 and 3145 feet. Forests dominate the mountains, while jasmine, scarlet chenille and wild orchids provide splashes of colour to the lush green slopes. The two towering volcanic cones on the southwest coast, Gros Piton (797m) and Petit Piton (750m) are one of the Caribbean’s most famous landmarks. The volcanic origin of the island provides visitors with an opportunity to visit a “drivein volcano” and take a dip in the reputedly therapeutic Sulphur springs.
Castries is the capital city of St. Lucia and is home to about one third of the population. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufriere and Vieux Fort.
As a Commonwealth Realm, St. Lucia recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State, represented on the island by a Governor-General. Executive power, however, is in the hands of the prime minister and his cabinet. The prime minister is normally the head of the party winning the elections for the House of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of parliament, the Senate, has 11 appointed members. St. Lucia is a full & participating member of the Caribbean Community(CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
The population is currently estimated at I50,000 with a workforce of about 65,000. Annual populationgrowth rate is approximately 2%. English is the official language of St. Lucia, however, a French-based patois is widely spoken.This is being preserved by its everyday use in day-to-day affairs and by special radio programs and news read entirely in Kweyol.
Always ready to greet you with a smile, the people of St. Lucia are genuinely friendly and fun-loving.
The climate on the island is tropical with temperatures ranging from 70 – 90 Fahrenheit. During the hottest time of the year, from June to August, temperatures can reach the mid-nineties (32 Celsius).The rainy season is from June to November and the drier period between December and May. Average rainfall is between 160-360cm, depending on altitude.
The unit of currency used in St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) but a wide range of currencies such as US$, Canadian dollar, Euro and British pounds are freely convertible in our banks. The EC dollar is fixed to the US dollar at the rate of US$1 .00 =EC$2.70 and varies in value along with it against the other world currencies. Major international credit cards are widely accepted on the island.