Electricity

240 volts, 50Hz. Three square-pin plugs are standard.

Language

English is the official language, but St Lucian Creole is widely spoken.

Money

The unit of currency in Saint Lucia is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which is tied to the US Dollar. The XCD is divided into 100 cents. US dollars are also accepted at most tourist establishments and ensure a better exchange rate. ATMs are available throughout the island; Visa, American Express and MasterCard are widely accepted at shops, hotels, restaurants and car-rental agencies.

Tipping

Most restaurants add a 10 percent service charge; a tip of 10 to 15 percent is standard if a service charge isn't included in the bill. Taxi drivers, porters and chambermaids also appreciate small tips.

Health

There are few health risks associated with travel to St Lucia, although the mosquito-carried dengue fever is a risk throughout the island. No vaccinations are required, but a yellow fever certificate is necessary for travellers arriving from infected areas. Health care costs are high on the island and health insurance is recommended, which should cover medical evacuation.

Safety

Most visits to St Lucia are trouble-free, but visitors should take common-sense precautions against robbery and theft. Isolated areas, such as beaches, should be avoided after dark. Hurricane season is generally from June to November.

Local customs

It is an offence for anyone to dress in camouflage clothing. Certain homosexual acts are illegal.

Doing business

Due to its popularity as an offshore banking location, business dress in St Lucia requires a level of formality. Handshakes for both men and women are the common form of greeting at the beginning and end of meetings, and business cards are usually exchanged. Business hours are generally 8am to 4.30pm throughout the week and 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturdays.

Duty free

Travellers to St Lucia who are over the age of 18 may bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 225g tobacco, 1.2 litre wine or spirits, and other gifts or souvenirs to the value of $250 without paying customs duty.

Communications

The international access code for St Lucia is +758. The outgoing code is 011 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01144 for the United Kingdom). Travellers can purchase local SIM cards for their phones, and most accommodations and many restaurants offer wifi.

Passport & Visa

Visitors must hold documents for the next destination, return or onward tickets and sufficient funds. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from St. Lucia. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US citizens require a passport valid for the period of intended stay in St Lucia. US citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

UK citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. UK citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Canadian citizens require a passport valid for the period of intended stay in St Lucia. Canadian citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks. Stays can be extended for up to a maximum of one year.

Australian citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. Australian citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

South African citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. South African citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Irish citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. Irish citizens don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

New Zealand citizens must hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay. New Zealand citizens (except those with a passport issued by the Cook Islands) don't require a visa for stays of up to six weeks.

Useful contacts

St Lucia Tourist Office, Castries: +1 758 452 4094 or www.stlucia.org

Emergencies: 999 (police); 911 (ambulance).

Embassies / consulates in other countries

St Lucia Embassy, Washington, United States: +1 202 364 6792.

St Lucia High Commission, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7370 7123.

Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States High Commission, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 236 8952.

Embassies / consulates in St Lucia

United States Embassy, Bridgetown, Barbados (also responsible for St Lucia): +1 246 227 4000.

British High Commission, Castries, St Lucia: +1 758 452 2484.

Canadian High Commission. Bridgetown, Barbados (also responsible for St. Lucia): +1 246 429 3550.

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (also responsible for St Lucia): +1 (868) 822 5450.

South African High Commission, Kingston, Jamaica (also responsible for St. Lucia): +1 876 620 4840.

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