Capital | Castries
Population | 160,922 (July 2010 est.)
Area | 616 SQ KM
Official Language | English
Holidays | Independence Day, 22 February (1979 – from the UK)
Currency | East Caribbean dollars (XCD)
Time Zone | UTC -4
Best Time to Visit | January to April
Connecting with the Culture | Checking out the yachts at Marigot Bay. Playing pirates on Pigeon Island, a base used by ‘Wooden Leg’ de Bois for raiding passing Spanish galleons. Discovering frigate birds, herons and boa constrictors in the Frigate Islands Nature Reserve. Heading for the extremes on Moule a Chique, the island’s southmost point, with views of the Maria Islands and St. Vincent.
Read | Derek Walcott’s Collected Poems, 1948-1984, an anthology by St. Lucia’s favorite son and Nobel prize winner.
Listen | to calypso and reggae – especially at a Friday night ‘jump-up’ party
Watch | Doctor Dolittle starring Rex Harrison – St. Lucia is the backdrop for the film.
Eat | Creole dishes
Drink | the local beer, Piton, brewed in Vieux Fort
In a Word | Bon jour (good day)
Characteristics | pirate hideouts, yachties recruiting for their next voyage, beaches, jungles, bananas aplenty
Surprises | Swimming isn’t always a good idea as Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is endemic to St. Lucia – but only in freshwater. Schistosomiaisis is a disease caused by parasitic worms. You become infected when your skin comes in contact with contaminated freshwater in which certain types of snails that carry schistosomes are living. Schistosomiasis is most often found in Asia, Africa and South America - more than 200 million people are infected worldwide. (Centers for Disease Control)
The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, with a surge in foreign direct investment in 2006, attributed to the construction of several tourism projects