There are various methods of getting around St Lucia. There is a bus service, although it is operated by privately owned minivans and there is no official timetable as such. This is a cheap method of transportation and one which is used by the locals for getting to work, school and getting around St Lucia in general. Buses are generally more frequent on main routes such as the road between Castries and Gros Islet. You can usually get a bus up until about 10pm (later on Fridays). Buses rarely run on Sundays. You can wait for a bus at a bus stop, or alternatively you can flag a bus down if there is somewhere for the driver to pull over. You pay your bus fare directly to the bus driver, who will also tell you when your stop is coming up if you ask him to. Buses are a cheap and reliable method of getting around St Lucia.
It is possible to travel right around the island by bus, however, the service between Soufriere and Castries can be unreliable in the afternoon. The best way to do it is to travel counter clockwise – taking the bus from Castries to Soufriere during the morning and travelling via Vieux Fort on the east coast in the afternoon.
Buses can get very busy, particularly the southbound services, so if you are in the southwest, you might find it better to travel north towards Castries as you are more likely to get a seat this way.
If you hold an International Driving Permit and are over the age of 25 then you can hire a car for getting around St Lucia. You need to get your international driving license endorsed at customs when you arrive. If you don’t have an international license, then it is possible to purchase a license whilst in St Lucia and this can be arranged with your car rental firm. There are a number of car rental firms including big names such as Avis, Hertz and National as well as many local, cheaper car rental firms. All of the car rental companies can be found at Hewanorra International Airport. You can find some very cheap deals on the internet – watch out though as the cheapest cars tend not to have air conditioning, which really is a must! Getting around St Lucia can be a hot and sticky business.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is available as an option. If you take CDW, then in the event of an accident or the theft of the vehicle, you will be liable for lesser damages.
If you are going to be driving extensively on the island then it is recommended to hire a 4WD as some of the roads are not in great condition and can be very steep, winding and narrow. Make sure you have a jack and spare tire available. St Lucians drive on the left and the speed limits are 15mph in towns and 30mph on major roads. It is compulsory to wear a seatbelt.
There are plenty of gas stations which generally open between 0630hrs and 2000hrs, Monday to Saturday. With a few open on Sundays and public holiday but only between 1400hrs and 1800hrs.
If you don’t wish to drive yourself, then there are plenty of taxis available for getting around St Lucia. You can ask your hotel to book one for you or hail one on the street. Fares are regulated by the government but always agree the price before you depart. Fixed fares are on display at the airport or you can check with the tourist office. Registered taxis have red number plates with a TX prefix.
If you are feeling energetic then you might consider hiring a bicycle for getting around St Lucia! If you travel around the island anti-clockwise the up hills are more gradual and the down hills steep and fast.
There are various ways of getting around St Lucia. Talk to your tour company or hotel reception to establish which is going to be the best option for you.