SAINT LUCIA

The Helen of the West

With her white and black sand beaches, geological wonders, lush tropical flora and exotic fauna, Saint Lucia’s name and fame is the stuff of legends. Her famous Pitons have been named by Oprah Winfrey as one of the World’s top five must see spectacles and her dramatic land and seascapes continue to provide a backdrop for movies and reality shows.

There is so much that sets Saint Lucia apart from other islands in the Caribbean: it has the world’s only drive-in volcano, some of the best scuba diving sites in the region and not one, but two Nobel Laureates.

Key Facts:

Language English
Currency East Caribbean $
Population 173,765 (2009)
Capital Castries
Airport(s) George F. L. Charles Airport (Castries), Hewanorra International Airport (Vieux Fort)
GDP per capita (PPP) $12,927 (2011)
Area 617 sq km
Location South East Caribbean

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Brief History

The Island was much sought after due to its fine natural harbours at Castries, Marigot and Soufriere, convenient bays and coves and its strategic geographical location. She was fought over by the warring French and British no less than 14 times, until 1814 when the island was ceded to the British.

Saint Lucia achieved its independence February 22nd 1979. It is now a Parliamentary Democracy, where the Head of State is Queen Elizabeth II , represented by the Governor General.

Geography

Located between St. Vincent to the south and Martinique to the north, Saint Lucia’s breathtaking topography extends from the lush Rain Forests of its interior to exquisite coastlines boasting sandy beaches, deep bays and stunning geological features such as arches, wave-cut platforms and caves.

Culture

English is the official language; however, French Creole is widely spoken among the locals. Saint Lucia enjoys a rich artistic and musical sector, home of many talented musicians. It is therefore no wonder that The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival – hosted each year in May – is among the world’s top jazz events.

The country also possesses the highest number of Nobel Laureates per capita in the world: Sir Arthur Lewis was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 1979, and Derek Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

Top Attractions

Stretching over 950 m or 2,700 feet into the air, Mount Gimie is Saint Lucia’s highest point. It neighbours the world famous, conical twin Pitons of Soufriere - Gros Piton and Petit Piton. In 2004, The Pitons Management Area, which contains much of a collapsed stratovolcano known as the Soufriere Volcanic Centre (more popularly known as the Sulphur Springs) and the Gros and Petit Piton, was classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Saint Lucia is also a diving paradise. The island is located at the tip of an underwater volcano, where both beginner and experienced divers alike will enjoy the stunning variety of coral, sponge and marine life

Famous Lucians

Sir Arthur Lewis (economist), Derek Walcott (poet), Levern Spencer (athlete)

Why You Should Go

Go for the rainforest, stay for the beaches!

More Information

Saint Lucia Tourist Board: www.saintluciauk.org.

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