St. Lucia

Living in St. Lucia

Iyna Bort Caruso

On St. Lucia, the most famous landmark is formed by nature, the Pitons, twin volcanic cones jutting out of the sea. They are the embodiment of the island’s tropical other-worldliness and surprising natural gifts. Another is near the town of Soufrière, which is touted to have the world’s one and only drive-in volcano.

At the southern end of the Caribbean chain, St. Lucia is a volcanic island more mountainous than any of its neighbors.  The Atlantic Ocean laps at the eastern shoreline and the Caribbean at its western. A central mountain range runs the length of the island dominated by forests and crisscrossed by 29 miles of trails.

The population numbers fewer than 200,000 though it swells with vacationers and second-home owners who enjoy direct flights from the U.S., Canada, Germany and the U.K. St. Lucia is a favorite of yachters. The calm, deep waters on the Caribbean side lure sailors with two state-of-the-art marinas and natural harbors.

Constant trade winds translate into year-round comfort. The green season runs June through November, but even then, rain tends to last a few minutes at a time.

St. Lucia has been self-governing since 1967 after more than 160 years under British control. At one point it was the largest banana producer in the world. Now financial services and tourism drive its economy. Rapid development is balanced by government regulations that protect its rain forests and marine reserves.

English, French and African traditions influence the food, culture and events.

Music and arts festivals as well as its annual carnival have been drawing international crowds for years.

For the most part, the cost of living is generally lower in St. Lucia than in North America. The range of St Lucia real estate options is surprisingly large for an island of its size, from oceanfront condominiums, country homes and golf course residences to hillside estates and properties in resort developments with on-site property managers for those looking for rental income.

The island is divided into parishes. Castries is the capital and home to about a third of the population. In the quarter north of Castries is the one-time fishing village of Gros Islet, now a popular spot famous for its Friday night street parties. Nearby Rodney Bay is the island’s entertainment hub with bars, restaurants, malls and the island’s only casino. Cap Estate, the northernmost point of St. Lucia, is considered one of the island’s most desirable communities with beaches, cliffs, access to the St. Lucia Golf and Country Club and gorgeous sea views.