Essential guide for cruisers to St Lucia (Castries port): where ships dock and terminals. The top things to do, the beaches and day-passes, what's within walking distance, shopping, and basics.
The primeval Pitons are one of the most famous natural marvels of the tiny island-nation of Saint Lucia. The scenic landmark is a must-see on a cruise to St Lucia. But the cruise traveler will only have a glimpse of this natural wonder if booked on a shore excursion.
The Pitons in Saint Lucia
Photo © IQCruising.com
- Where cruise ships dock
- Top things to do
- Beaches and day-passes
- What's in downtown Castries
- Shore excursions (Shorex)
Although the Pitons can only be visited on a full-day cruise excursions, the good news is that there are so many other scenic sites, landmarks, attractions, and activities to experience in St Lucia that cruise travelers visiting the island will always find something exciting to do and see.
Jet-skiing in Saint Lucia
Photo by Ana Reljin
The beaches are stunning and relatively close to the cruise port in Castries. Natural attractions such as the Sulfur Springs (a dormant volcano), the Diamond Falls, or the National Rain Forest are sights to behold. Horseback riding, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, or jet skiing are just a few of the many thrilling activities you can experience on a cruise to St Lucia.
Horseback Riding in Saint Lucia
Photo by Marcela Janečková
Where cruise ships dock in St Lucia
There are two main piers (and Terminals) in St Lucia's main cruise port, which is located on a very nice bay next to Castries - the main city and capital of the island. The Pointe Seraphine Cruise Port Terminal is on the northern side of the bay and La Place Carenage Cruise Port Terminal is right downtown Castries.
Photo © IQCruising.com
Pointe Seraphine is around a 1 mile north of Castries. A leisurely walk along the waterfront to the center of Castries will not take more than 20-minutes.
Pointe Seraphine Terminal
Photo © IQCruising.com
Although the bay is wide enough to accommodate large ships, mega cruise ships like Queen Mary II may have to anchor outside the bay. Anchoring ships will transport passengers on their own tender boats to La Place Carenage Cruise Terminal.
► Explore: The Docks and Cruise Port Terminals in Castries (St Lucia)Find out where cruise ships dock and anchor, where is the tender pier, services and amenities at the terminals of La Place Carenage and Pointe Seraphine and more ... Learn More ►
Top things to do and see in St Lucia
Cruise travelers that enjoy mother nature's travails should not miss a visit to the famed Pitons although a tour and trekking of this emblematic wonder of St Lucia may take up to 6 hours.
Parks and Gardens
Less time consuming, a visit to the Diamond Botanical Gardens and Falls is a must. This six-acre retreat is an invitation to walk through lush tropical vegetation, bird watching or bathing in the mineral waters of the spa. The main attraction of the Diamond Gardens is the 17 meters high waterfall. The Diamond Botanical Gardens Website has great information about this highlight of St Lucia.
The Sulfur Springs Park, where you will have the unreal opportunity to visit a dormant volcano, is another must do and see in St Lucia. Besides the boiling springs, do not miss the waterfalls and hot water bathing pools – Black Water Pool and Pool of Love. For more information check the Sulfur Springs Park Website.
Beaches and day-passes
Besides the already mentioned landmarks in Castries (within walking distance) both terminals are close to other attractions, in particular, for those looking forward to spending some time basking in the sun.
Cruise tip: all beaches in St. Lucia are open to the public. However, be aware that nude and topless sunbathing is illegal.
Vigie Beach is the closest to Castries (just under 2 miles north). Although the Editor has walked there from Pointe Seraphine it is a stretch in the sun and a taxi shouldn't cost more than US$10 each way (per trip up to four people).
The same fare (US$10.00) is also how much a taxi should charge to go take you to La Toc Beach, the other beach close by - 3 miles south of St Lucia cruise port in Castries.
La Toc Beach
Photo Public Domain
Along the northern west coast, there are a few other wonderful beaches such as Choc Beach (20-minute taxi ride), Reduit Beach (on Rodney Bay) and Pigeon Island Beach (between US$20.00 and US$30.00 each way by taxi).
Undoubtedly, Reduit Beach is the most popular - the scenery, sand, water clarity and many activities offered are major attractions for the cruise traveler. And also the proximity to the Rodney Bay Marina (with a few nice restaurants), the Splash Island Water Park which is great for families and the Bay Bay Gardens Resort offering a beach day pass.
Photo © IQCruising.com
Marigot Bay (just under 10 miles south) is another very popular beach destination in St. Lucia. The scenery is spectacular but cruise travelers should be aware that the beach is small and can get crowded easily.
Beach club days passes
Therefore you should look into booking a day pass at the Marigot Beach Club. A few miles south, on the off the beaten track Anse Cochon Bay, the Ti Kaye Resort & Spa offers a memorable luxury Day Pass.
Here is a list of links to the best beach club day-passes in St Lucia:
What's in downtown Castries and close by
Cruise travelers interested in exploring historical landmarks will find a few sites in Castries worth a visit. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, usually referred to as “The Cathedral” is 200 ft long (61 m) by 100 ft wide (30 m) and said to be the largest church in the Caribbean. A visit to the interior of the cathedral should not be missed.
The Cathedral is located on another major landmark of Castries - the Walcott Square. This square is, in fact, a quaint garden with wonderful trees, a bandstand and a bust of Derek Walcott, the St Lucian poet, play-writer and Nobel Prize winner after whom the square was renamed in 1993. Ironically, the square is named after a man that was not at all happy with the touristic development of St Lucia island.
Walcott Square, Castries
Photo © IQCruising.com
Don't expect to see or discover much more in Castries close to the Cruise Terminals but do not miss a walking exploration of the town as it can be enjoyed before or after spending some time on a tour or on one of the many beaches close by.
La Toc Battery, Castries
Photo © IQCruising.com
Other landmarks such as the La Toc Battery, the St Marks Colonial House or Governors House are relatively close by but not really within walking distance - if these are in your plans you should hire a taxi or book a tour of the highlights of Castries.
Shore excursions (Shorex) and local tours
Obviously, all cruise lines offer many and diverse shore excursions in Saint Lucia. Celebrity Cruises offers as many 22 shore excursions ranging between $23.99 and $254; and Royal Caribbean has 43 cruise excursions. Carnival lists 17 shore excursions. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has available 22 shore excursions. Oceania Cruises organizes 49 shore excursions, Holland America offers 18 cruise excursions, and Princess has 26 excursions available.
Besides the cruise excursions organized by cruise lines, there are also shore excursions and tours offered by the following reputable private online services:
- Shore Trips
- Shore Excursions Group
- Shore Excursioneer
- Saint Lucia Cruise Excursions
- Tours by Locals
- Get Your Guide
Harry Edwards Shop
Photo © IQCruising.com
Many savvy cruisers argue that the Pointe Seraphine Terminal has better shops than the La Place Carenage Terminal. And, in fact, the cruise traveler will find more stores at the former but also greater diversity in this terminal. For sure you will find the typical duty-free shops selling Perfumes, Jewelry and Watches ubiquitous all over the Caribbean Islands - the likes of Colombian Emeralds, Diamonds and Tanzanite International - but also Harry Edwards that is exclusively Saint Lucian.
Tanzanite International Shop
Photo © IQCruising.com
An art gallery must be mentioned for selling watercolors and prints by Llewelyn Xavier - the most famous Artist in St. Lucia. There are also better and more souvenir shops at the Point Seraphine Terminal, and even a few crafts are available but the Market in Castries is still the best place to go if looking for handmade local souvenirs. If docked at La Place Carenage, and considering that this terminal also has quite a few good stores, you really have to be a serious shopaholic to walk all the way to Pointe Seraphine or cross the bay by water taxi.
Street Vendor in Castries
Photo © IQCruising.com
In one word: the best shopping in St. Lucia is found in both Terminals and in the Crafts Market in Castries. Tobacco, spirits, and liquors are some of the best buys in St. Lucia. Among the most famous local produced items, silk-screened fabrics and clothing are a must, in particular, the batik prints handmade by Bagshaws studio and Caribelle Batik.
Saint Lucia Basic Information
|Language||English is the official language. However, the French-based Saint Lucian Creole (Kwéyòl) - or Patois ("Patwa") - is spoken by the over 90% of the local population.|
|Currency:||The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the official currency and legal tender. However, US Dollars are widely accepted. Be aware that you may be given change in EC$.|
|Phones:||Country Code: 758. To call the United States or Canada dial 1 plus the number. For all other international calls, first dial 011 followed by the country code i.e. 44 (for the UK), 61 (Australia). Many US phones may work but is advisable to check with your provider to avoid roaming charges.|
|Post Office:||Monigiraud Street - Castries.|
|Electricity:||Most electrical outlets in St. Lucia use three rectangular prongs like in the UK with 220 Volts 50 Hz current. However, you may find at the terminal typical US 110 volt 2 prong outlets|
|Rent-a-Car:||All Major Car Rentals are available in St. Lucia such as Avis, Hertz, Thrifty, Budget, Alamo or National. However, when booking online, the cruise traveler should check the availability at each of Cruise Ship Terminals or in Castries.|
|Driving:||Driving is on the left.|
|Drinking:||Legal drinking age is 18 years.|
|Smoking:||Smoking is prohibited in restaurants and public buildings. Bars may allow smoking outdoors.|
|ATM's:||There are a few ATM's in Castries|
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The St. Lucia cruse port at Castries has one beach within a long walk of the cruise terminal. Otherwise, cruise passengers will need transportation to get to different beaches. Vigie Beach is a little more than one mile or about a 20 minute walk from the port for moderately fit people.How far is the beach from the cruise port in St. Lucia? ›
It's about 20 minutes' drive from Castries to Rodney Bay, the island's only resort and the location of the best beach. From Castries to the Soufrière area – location of the Pitons and Sulphur Springs Park – takes about 75 minutes, much of the journey on a very windy road.What port does Royal Caribbean use in St. Lucia? ›
When cruising to St. Lucia, ships dock at Castries which is the capital city. Cruise ships dock at either Pointe Seraphine which is a 20-minute walk to the center of the town or at La Place Carenage which is at the center of the town.Where on St. Lucia do cruise ships dock? ›
Most cruise ships dock in Castries on the island's northwest coast, either at La Place Carenage, right in the center of town, or at Pointe Seraphine, just across the harbor. From Pointe Seraphine, it's about a 20-minute walk or a short water-taxi ride into town.What is Castries St. Lucia known for? ›
The commercial capital of Saint Lucia, Castries boasts the island's busiest sea port and houses nearly one-third of the island's population. Much of the island's history is still visible in the city through its eloquent mix of French and British architecture. Even some of the street names bear testimony to that era.Are the beaches nice in St. Lucia? ›
With its abundance of picturesque coastline, Saint Lucia is perfect for beach lovers. White, gold and even black beaches contrast with azure seas, creating picture-perfect places to kick back, relax and enjoy the sun.Is St Lucia allowing cruise ships? ›
St Lucia tourism officials on Friday said the return of the cruise liner, Celebrity Millennium, to the island on Tuesday sets the tone for the gradual reintroduction of cruise tourism since the closure due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.What cruise ships stop in St Lucia? ›
Obviously, all cruise lines offer many and diverse shore excursions in Saint Lucia. Celebrity Cruises offers as many 22 shore excursions ranging between $23.99 and $254; and Royal Caribbean has 43 cruise excursions. Carnival lists 17 shore excursions. Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has available 22 shore excursions.Can cruise ships go to St Lucia? ›
Lucia has plenty of visitors (including those from cruise ships and a steady influx of honeymooners), parts of the island have largely remained unspoiled due to the locals' commitment to protecting the rainforests and other natural resources.What is the port of arrival for St. Lucia? ›
There are five (5) ports of entry in Saint Lucia, all located on the leeward side of the island: Rodney Bay; Port Castries; Marigot Bay; Soufriere; Vieux Fort.
Royal Caribbean Group.
|Number of employees||85,000 (2021)|
There are two airports on the island of St. Lucia. Hewanorra International Airport at Vieux Fort (UVF) is located on the southern end of the island and serves primarily international flights.What is the rainy season in St. Lucia? ›
St Lucia has a dry season from December to May and a wet season from June to November.What is the hottest month in St. Lucia? ›
Average monthly temperatures
The hottest month of the year is September with an average daily maximum of 31 C and an average low of 26 C. The coolest month of the year is January with an average daily maximum of 29 C and an average low of 24 C.
The beaches on the western side of the island front the tranquil turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and are favored for swimming and water sports, while the wild but beautiful eastern side churns with the more turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean, making it great for surfers and those who like the watch the waves.Is Castries worth visiting? ›
Castries is definitely worth visiting for anyone traveling to Saint Lucia because the city has a lot to offer, from its beautiful scenery and beaches to its rich history and culture. There are also plenty of things to do, whether you're looking for outdoor activities or want to explore the city's landmarks.Is Castries safe? ›
Areas with high rates of crime are the capital, Castries – including the neighbourhoods of Wilton's Yard, Leslie Land, Chaussee Road, Marchand, Morn du Don – as well as the waterfalls in Anse la Raye. As we mentioned above, staying out at night, no matter where you are located is a really bad idea.What can you not wear in St Lucia? ›
Scarf or Shawl, or Light Jacket
Tip: It's illegal in St. Lucia to wear or carry any sort of camouflage or military style print, so don't pack any items with that.
Visit Anse de Sables, one of the most picturesque beaches in St. Lucia, and admire its shimmering white sand that stretches over a mile long. Located just east of the village of Vieux Fort, wade in the shallow bay under the shadow of lush hills that surround this cove.Are there sharks around St Lucia? ›
Are there sharks in St. Lucia? The short answer is NO. an extremely popular tourist destination as of today.
If you want to just enjoy what the Caribbean is most famous for – its beautiful beaches and tropical sea – the Bahamas is probably your best bet. However, if you want to explore a bit more and have some hiking adventures while still enjoying the beach, go to Saint Lucia.Where do cruise ships dock in St Maarten? ›
Cruise ships to St Maarten Island dock at Port Philipsburg - located on the island's southern coast. The port is managed by the Harbour Group of Companies (port authority). The port has two cruise ship piers.Where do cruise ships dock in St Kitts? ›
Where cruise ships dock in St Kitts. Most cruise ships dock in St Kitts in what is known as Port Zante with its fabulous Terminal, which is located within walking distance of the Historical Old Town of Basseterre.Where does the cruise ship dock in Barbados? ›
Bridgetown is the main seaport/cruise port, the capital and biggest city of Barbados. Fka Town of Saint Michael, Greater Bridgetown metro area is within the island's Saint Michael parish.Where is St Lucia located? ›
Saint Lucia, island state in the Caribbean Sea. It is the second largest of the Windward group in the Lesser Antilles and is located about 24 miles (39 km) south of Martinique and some 21 miles (34 km) northeast of Saint Vincent.Does Royal Caribbean go to Barbados? ›
Barbados is also now a homeport for Royal Caribbean, making it one the cruise line's newest jumping-off points for epic itineraries that sail to top-rated islands in the southern Caribbean.What is Carnival in St Lucia? ›
St. Lucia Carnival is one of the top annual party events in the Caribbean. Each year in July, the island of St Lucia turns into a massive celebration filled with elaborate costumes, intoxicating rhythms, parades, pure Caribbean energy, and more.Can I bring a 12 pack of soda on Royal Caribbean? ›
Guests may also bring non-alcoholic beverages as carry-on items on boarding day. Non-alcoholic beverages may not exceed 12 standard (17 oz.) cans, bottles or cartons per stateroom. Milk and distilled water brought on for infant, medical, or dietary use are permitted.What is the number 1 cruise ship? ›
All Royal Caribbean cruise ships serve complimentary dining in the Main Dining Room, Café Promenade and Windjammer Café or Windjammer Marketplace (the name varies depending on which ship you're sailing on, but the dining experience is the same).
St Lucia is fairly new to the rideshare space with a few companies emerging in the last couple of years. Companies like Paycab and Allez follow the Uber and Lyft model by using GPS to match passengers with service providers based on their geolocation.How long does it take to get through St Lucia airport? ›
On most days it takes atleast 45 minutes upwards to 1.5 hours getting through the airport but with our fast track service, you can get to your driver expeditiously without waiting in line.What language do they speak in St Lucia? ›
Saint Lucian Creole French (Kwéyòl [kwejɔl]), known locally as Patwa, is the French-based Creole widely spoken in Saint Lucia. It is the vernacular language of the country and is spoken alongside the official language of English.What is the coldest month in St Lucia? ›
Average Temperature in Saint Lucia
The cool season lasts for 4.0 months, from December 5 to April 7, with an average daily high temperature below 63°F. The coldest month of the year in Saint Lucia is February, with an average low of 52°F and high of 59°F.
The sea in Saint Lucia is warm enough to swim in throughout the year: the water temperature ranges from 27 °C (80.5 °F) from January to March, to 29 °C (84 °F) in September and October.Does St Lucia have a seaweed problem? ›
The island of St. Lucia has suffered due to the impacts of Sargassum seaweed over the last few years. This stinky seaweed washes up on the islands' beaches and has been linked to a combination of released land-based nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen and ocean warming.Is St Lucia always cloudy? ›
Lucia. The climate in Saint Lucia is hot, oppressive, extremely windy, and mostly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 76°F to 87°F and is rarely below 73°F or above 89°F.Are there crocodiles in St Lucia Caribbean? ›
Yes Nile Crocodiles, approximately 1200 of them can be found in and around the Estuary. One can witness these animals mostly on the banks of the Estuary basking in the sun. Crocodiles are opportunistic and remain incredibly cunning. Do Not Swim in the Estuary.What is the national dish of St Lucia? ›
Saltfish is Saint Lucia's national dish and is usually accompanied by unripened bananas (green figs). Salt fish often consists of kippered herring or dried and salted cod that has been cured with dry salt, soaked overnight, and preserved.Can I drink tap water in Saint Lucia? ›
Drinking Water & Beverages
The mains water supply in St. Lucia is chlorinated and considered safe to drink, but may taste a little strange if you are not used to the chlorine. Ice served in drinks is usually made from tap water and is also considered safe to drink.
Yes, all tap water in St Lucia is treated and perfectly safe to drink.Do I need injections to go to St. Lucia? ›
Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for St. Lucia. The National Travel Health Network and Centre and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for St. Lucia: COVID-19, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, yellow fever, rabies and tetanus.Where do cruise ships dock in St Kitts? ›
Where cruise ships dock in St Kitts. Most cruise ships dock in St Kitts in what is known as Port Zante with its fabulous Terminal, which is located within walking distance of the Historical Old Town of Basseterre.Where do cruise ships dock in St Maarten? ›
Cruise ships to St Maarten Island dock at Port Philipsburg - located on the island's southern coast. The port is managed by the Harbour Group of Companies (port authority). The port has two cruise ship piers.Where does the cruise ship dock in Barbados? ›
Bridgetown is the main seaport/cruise port, the capital and biggest city of Barbados. Fka Town of Saint Michael, Greater Bridgetown metro area is within the island's Saint Michael parish.Can you walk to the beach from the cruise port in St Kitts? ›
It's possible to walk from St. Kitts cruise port to the beach in around an hour. The nearest beach within walking distance is Half Moon Bay which is 3.3 miles away. Both South and North Frigate Bay beaches are not far away either at just over an hour to walk.How much is a water taxi from St Kitts to Nevis? ›
The cost of a water taxi is $20US or $50XCD for a single trip or $30US or $80XCD for a return journey. This can be paid on the first trip and you will be given a ticket for your return journey.Can you use US dollars in St Kitts? ›
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the local currency used on St Kitts and Nevis and can be obtained at any bank. Most places accept US dollars, but change will be given in EC. Most hotels and restaurants and larger stores accept credit cards, but local stores seldom do.Can I use US dollars in St. Maarten? ›
The US Dollar is accepted everywhere on the island. Local currency and US Dollar ATM machines (Maestro/Cirrus) are situated throughout the island. Major credit cards are accepted in most tourist establishments.Is Maho beach free? ›
Yes, free beach. There is a parking lot next to the beach, Sometimes they charge for parking, sometimes not.
There are regular taxis for $3 per person or the water taxi for $5 one way or $7 per person for unlimited rides for the day.Can you walk to the beach from Barbados cruise port? ›
The good news is that some of the island's best beaches are close to the cruise terminal where you will dock outside the capital city Bridgetown. You can either walk or easily get a taxi as you exit the Cruise Terminal.Do you get mosquitoes in Barbados? ›
Mosquitoes in Barbados are most active during the day and evenings and as such, the NHS recommends travellers should practice strict mosquito bite avoidance at all times, so travelling with your mosquito protection will be essential.Can you walk around Barbados? ›
Barbados is stunning walking country but it's not easy to know where you can safely wander. I recommend joining one of the friendly three-hour guided hikes that run several times a week for free – though a donation to the Barbados National Trust is appreciated.