Exposing Paradise, Living Like a Lucian


The ecstasy you feel as the water caresses your skin, the soft sand squishing between your toes, the cool mist spraying from the waterfalls, and never-ending, heart-stopping adventures, this is what paradise is made of. This is the vision I was carrying with me as I ran towards my friend with open arms ecstatic to be back in the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia once again.

Unfortunately, my elation was quickly crushed as my naivety became my new reality. Beneath all of the glitter and glimmer of island life and the luxury boutique hotels in St. Lucia, there lies some untold truths.

Quick Facts

Before we dig beneath the surface to expose the realities of living in paradise, here are some quick facts you need to know:

  • St. Lucia is part of the commonwealth
  • Gained independence in 1979
  • The island is 27 miles long and 14 miles wide
  • Population is 182,790
  • Average annual salary is XCD $75,874 ($28,022 US)
  • Currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollars (or EC Dollars)
  • Primary language is English with some Creole (also referred to as Patwa, which is very similar to French). This language remains prominent among the older generation.
  • Capital city is Castries
  • Main source of revenue is tourism and banana production
  • St. Lucia is a popular honeymoon destination

Just One Tip: Be aware that when using public washrooms in downtown Castries, there is a fee for toilet paper

Is St. Lucia a Safe Destination for Female Solo Travellers?

The answer to this question totally depends on the comfort zone of the solo traveller. My first solo trip to St. Lucia was in 2010. Being a newbie to solo travel, I was completely naïve, and quite frankly, very surprised to learn the downside to this beautiful Caribbean Island.

Despite feeling uncomfortable, I have returned to St. Lucia three more times by myself. I’ve stayed at friends, in resorts, and I’ve rented a property.

In order to travel to St. Lucia safely as a solo female traveller, I have the following recommendations:

  • stay at a resort rather than booking an independent stay
  • use a tour company or a trusted tour guide
  • remain in tourist areas and don’t wander into unknown territory
  • listen to your gut instincts. They usually aren’t wrong
  • learn a little self defense for solo travellers
  • don’t explore the island alone after dark

Transportation and Driving in St. Lucia

The island is extremely hilly, and I’m not talking rolling hills. The roads are like a roller coaster, and yes, if you are prone to car sickness, it will happen. Driving in St. Lucia is completely opposite to North America. They drive on the other side of the road and car than we do. I avoid driving in St. Lucia at all costs and take the bus or a taxi wherever I need to go.

The buses are minivans and are a reliable form of transportation which will take you from any part of the island to the main downtown hub in Castries. There are multiple bus stops scattered throughout the island, as this is the main means of transportation for the locals.

There are very few, if any, rules of the road in St. Lucia which makes driving extremely treacherous, and some would even say dangerous.

Housing and Infrastructure

At first glance it appears that the housing in St. Lucia is very similar to our homes in North America. Unfortunately this is not so for the majority of the islands residents. There is no planning when it comes to the development of the residential areas. If there is a vacant piece of land, a home will be built which makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to service. My friend’s home, as well as most other homes, was built high up on a hill which did provide a front row seat while watching the sun sink into the ocean every night, but that is where the magic ended. There are no roads that lead to the majority of these homes which means climbing an endless amount of hills for egress and ingress. There are no street lights or other form of lighting system, which makes it difficult and dangerous to maneuver throughout the evening hours.

Homes in St. Lucia are built mostly on hillside with very little planning and no municipal services

I was dismayed to learn that the island does not have a very sophisticated water management system, and in many areas, no water management system at all. Many of the home owners are left to fend for themselves to create their own form of waste management system. Many of the homes have installed rubber or plastic tubing and the waste is often left to flow freely. I learned this the hard way, by stepping in it and going for a joy ride the rest of the way down the hill. Care should be taken especially with small children, as waste often accumulates along the water’s edge which has been known to cause various diseases.

Heating is another North American luxury that the island does without, which left me with the privilege of bathing in freezing cold water. The wealthier folk have installed solar panels to warm their bath water, but I was not fortunate to bath in warm water during this particular visit.

JUST ONE TIP: School supplies are difficult to come by for the locals. When visiting, bring pencils, pencils crayons, note books, erasers, etc. and drop them off at one of the local schools or give them to a worker at your resort who provided exemplary service


While it is necessary for some children to drop out of school at an early age to help support their families, many visitors have the incorrect perception that the residents of St. Lucia are undereducated. In St. Lucia, it is mandatory that all children attend school from the ages of 5 to 15, with a large number of children continuing their studies in university. St. Lucia does has one university, but the majority of students opt to leave the island in pursuit of their post-secondary education. Students of all ages are required to wear uniforms, including those students attending pre-school.

Crime and Safety

Even though St. Lucia has a relatively low crime rate, it is not uncommon to see the police patrolling certain areas in a mass amount of numbers, especially in Castries. The police officers will be people you see walking around wearing army fatigues and carrying rifles.

Just One Tip: I had a police escort to the public washroom in downtown Castries. Stay in the tourist area!

When visiting the capital city of Castries, it is prudent that you stay within the tourist area, as it doesn’t take much to wonder into forbidden territory. In particular, avoid visiting the area of Morne du Don, just outside of Castries. You guessed it correctly, this is the area I stayed when visiting my friend. I was unable to wander, or even leave the house without protection. The people in this area do not take kindly to tourists, especially white tourists. Whenever leaving the house on my own, my friend arranged to have a policeman escort me to my destination. Not all visitors will be afforded this luxury, so wander with extreme caution.

JUST ONE UPDATE: Since 2021, there has been an uprise in crime, including murder, sexual assault and armed robbery, which are mostly gang related.


The Lucian’s are extremely hard working people, often working 6 day weeks, 12 hour days, under difficult working conditions, and for very little money. Despite this, they are extremely happy people that know how to let loose and have fun. Join in their Friday night “jump ups” to see for yourself….a true Lucian experience.

Know Before You Go

When is the Best Time to Visit St. Lucia

St. Lucia is beautiful at any time of the year, however, it’s important to remember that it is a Caribbean Island. The best time to visit the beautiful Caribbean Island of St. Lucia is between November and February when the temperatures tender to be a bit “cooler”.

March, April, October, and November are the best months if you want to avoid the large amount of tourists, however, this is also known as the rainy season.

Hurricane season is known to be during the months of August, September, and October.

Is St. Lucia Expensive

The short answer is yes. It’s very expensive. When visiting St. Lucia, you can expect to pay from $350.00 per night to over $1,000.00 a night. There are no ” budget” resorts to be found on this island.

Lucian Food to Try

The National food of St. Lucia is green fig and salt fish. Green fig is made by boiling raw bananas and then paired with salt cured boiled or flaked cod.

The National food of St. Lucia is green fig and salt fish.

Things to Do in St. Lucia

St. Lucia offers the adventure enthusiast with a plethora of activities to keep busy for a week. With so many options, it will be difficult to choose. These are my personal recommendations:

  • take a tour and climb the world famous Gros of Petite Piton. A guide is not necessary, however, the hike is difficult and at points can be treacherous. A local guide is highly recommended.
  • visit an active volcano
  • take a mud bath at Sulphur Springs
  • ziplining in Dennery
  • visit Pigeon Island National Park
  • Friday Night Jump Up in Gros Islet is a must
  • book a snorkelling tour
  • spend time on the beach
When visiting St. Lucia, book a snorkeling tour that takes you to the Pitons.  This is one of the many things to do in St. Lucia

Living Like a Local

I won’t say that my time living among the locals was all sugar and spice and everything nice. I faced multiple challenges and experienced more racism than I would have liked, but it did teach me not to take my own lifestyle for granted.


Despite some of the difficulties that I experienced along the way, I have absolutely no regrets. There is no better way to experience the true culture and lifestyle of your destination than to live among the locals and I would do it again in a heartbeat!


Kelly xo


50 thoughts on “Exposing Paradise, Living Like a Lucian

  1. tripscholars

    Thanks for all of these useful tips, Kelly! I appreciate learning from your experiences to help us prepare for our own travels. It looks like careful planning really helps to enjoy this beautiful island nation!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Josy A

    Eep! It is a bit worrying that you needed a police escort to go to some areas – I don’t think I have ever visited somewhere like that. It is a bit of a shame that some areas are so dodgy for tourists. That is such a big contrast to the Friday night “jump ups”!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      It is and to be honest, I was shocked when my friend called the police to escort me to the bathroom. I always felt completely safe at the jump-ups (although they say to be careful at those as well). On the up side the I made a friend out of the police officer lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. bye:myself

    What a cool experience! Saint Lucia is still a bit under the radar when it comes to the Caribbean islands so this piece was really interesting – especially coming from kind of a kind local 😉 I see myself totally adding to Saint Lucia’s income – rather through tourism than through bananas, obviously.
    What kind of racism did you experience – towards you as a foreigner or between locals? Because on other islands, I saw subtle racism between locals – the lighter the skin, the better….sadly, it seems to be everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I have stayed in resorts when visiting, but I’ve met so many people that I now either stay with one of them or rent. They are just not use to seeing whites intermingle with blacks and comments would be made like “what are you doing with that white girl”. They love us as tourists, but as a local, not so much.


  4. Sage Scott

    Wow, very interesting article! A fee for toilet paper, possibly no water systems, and no heat.. I couldn’t image. Sometimes you don’t realize how good you have it until you read stuff like this. It saddens my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Mitch

    We’ve never visited St Lucia or indeed any other Caribbean island. I didn’t realise how expensive it is to stay at the resorts. It was really interesting to read about your experiences – both the good and the challenging. As you say, living with local people has given you a real insight into St Lucia. The jump ups sound like fun. Oh, and the green fig and salt fish national dish looked intriguing, we’d definitely like to give that a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Melanie

    Too bad about the water and waste management issues, as that makes a big difference for quality of life. What’s a jump up? I appreciate the honesty in your descriptions. Glad to know that despite the challenges, you still enjoy your time in St Lucia enough to return!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Barry

    I knew St Lucia was expensive, but didn’t realise it would be that expensive. I have a dream of island-hopping around the Caribbean and St Lucia is on that list. Several friends holiday there a lot but have never mentioned any antagonism or racism from the locals, even when they are out at local events or bars. Maybe they had become used to it or only went to places where they knew it would not happen. The crime element here also surprises me a lot and is not something I was aware of -good to know and be forewarned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      Unfortunately, it’s just since COVID that the crime rate has risen. I had been to St. Lucia with my ex-husband and stayed at Sandals and did the typical touristy things and I didn’t experience any racism. They aren’t use to seeing whites and blacks being friends and I think they found it strange and made comments.


  11. James

    Sorry for the difficulties you experienced. Also the cost of travel there seems to be high. On the other hand I imagine it to be very beautiful. I suppose most places have issue and it seemed like you were unlucky on this one. Still, I wasn’t really aware of this place before so thanks for sharing your article.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Stacy

    This is so interesting! I love blog posts like this. I think it’s important to understand local culture and living conditions on any destination you travel too. Even when staying in a resort.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. BlondeAroundTheWorld

    I always enjoy reading realistic and common sense posts that talk not just about the rosy side of travel.
    Although it can be an appealing place to visit, and I’m sure it is beautiful, it is always important that those who go there know and are aware of what they will find, especially in terms of safety.
    Staying with the locals has that advantage, you deal with reality, something that doesn’t happen to those who stay in resorts and often spend their vacations oblivious to what is really going on.


  14. awakenedvoyages

    How lucky that you have been 4 times to St Lucia! It’s the Caribbean island I want to see the most! But as beautiful as it sounds, it’s also important to be aware of the downsides before travelling and I like that you highlight those issues in your blog. Your advice for solo travellers is also very good! I always favour a local experience but for a first time visit I guess staying in a resort would be more sensible if you don’t know any locals on the island.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Emma

    While not a place I’ve yet considered going to, there seems to be a lot of things to draw someone to visiting and I always appreciate tips including safety tips. Loved the very honest review, I think it’s important to know everything going in as while I’m quite a seasoned solo traveler, not everyone is and certain aspects of visiting St Lucia I’m sure could be concerning to first time solo travelers.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. thedctraveler9b7e4f7d4d

    Fascinating post! I’ve never been to St. Lucia – so the tip about the toilet paper is definitely important. It’s interesting that they work so many days for so long for such little money, but yet the island is incredible expensive. I’m assuming that a lot of their economy is tourism based?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. beyondthemilestravelblog

    I’ve always wanted to visit St Lucia. Thank you for sharing info about the locals lives. Staying in resorts in these places, it’s easy to miss the struggles of local’s lives, the things we take for granted that they may not have like hot water. It’s important to know this to have a better appreciation of the island and the people of the island.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Carolin | Solo Travel Story (@SoloTravelStory)

    I can only echo some of the feedback other commenters have already said. Thanks for sharing your impressions, both from a touristy point of view and when you experienced Saint Lucia as a local. The honesty is refreshing and travel is not always fun, especially as a solo female traveller you want to know about dodgy areas or when to be more alert than usual. Your friends house in the middle of the jungle reminded me of rural parts in Australia where the situation is similar. There are no roads or streets leading up to the house and the houses have been built without any planning/structure into the landscape. It’s incredible how people must have carried all the materials up the hill and managed to built solid constructions. At least they enjoy a quiet spot in paradise (too calm for me, I could do it for a day or two but then I would need my city life again)

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I agree. I loved sitting on the porch in the morning with my coffee and evening with a glass of wine. Other than that I needed to get out to explore. At least I got my exercise climbing up and down the hill multiple times a day lol


  19. Luke Young

    Thanks for this insight; that is some constructive advice here; I never knew St Lucia had no waste management system. Neither did I realise how expensive it is!

    It’s a shame you had to get a police escort out of Morne du Don. It is what is, I guess and adds to the adventure.

    Friday night sounds like downtown Jamaica – let’s dance!

    Liked by 1 person

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