Flag of St Lucia

St Lucia

Saint Lucia is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, north west of Barbados and south of Martinique.

Saint Lucia was named for the Roman Catholic Saint Lucy of Syracuse. It was first visited by Europeans in about the year 1500 and first colonised successfully by France in 1660. Great Britain then took control of the island from 1663-1667 before going to war with France over it fourteen times. The British finally took complete control of the island in 1814. Representative government came about in 1924 and full independence was gained in 1979.

St Lucia more than lives up to the paradisal Caribbean stereotype: a glorious mix of honey sand beaches, translucent waters sheltering reefs swarming with tropical fish, lush interior rainforests, and a thriving culture that encompasses literature and theatre as well as music and dance. However, in contrast to other islands in the region, where the tourism infrastructure has been steadily expanding since the 1960s, St Lucia has only recently begun to attract visitors in any number. As a result, tourism has a much lower profile here, and this low-key feel is one of the island's biggest assets.

Despite the lack of hype, St Lucia's tourist facilities are top-notch, and, unusually, cater to all budgets - you can stay at luxury hotels or inexpensive guesthouses, dine in world-class restaurants or at roadside kiosks, and shop in large duty-free malls or at open-air village markets. With little of the jaded hustle that can mar more established Caribbean destinations, St Lucia makes for a relaxed, informal and incredibly friendly place to visit.

Map of Saint Lucia