Car hire is easy to organise from Hewanorra airport or your hotel, and it's probably the most affordable and interesting way to see the sights. Driving on St Lucia requires a permit - for $22, you will be free to roam the island's roads for three months. Be prepared to tip friendly locals keen to offer you directions.
International flights arrive at Hewanorra International Airport, though it's also possible to fly into George FL Charles Airport from the US and other Caribbean islands.
North America country code: +1; St Lucia: 758.
Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root by Nalo Hopkinson is an anthology of stories from Caribbean authors, providing an entertaining insight into Caribbean culture.
Do go / Don't Go
Though it's hot all year round, the best months weather-wise are between mid-December and mid-April, which predictably coincides with the biggest influx of tourists. June to November is the wettest time of year, and the island is occasionally threatened by hurricanes at this time.
St Lucian Creole food is heavily influenced by French and West Indian traditions, and usually takes its principal ingredients straight from the sea. Mahi-mahi, red snapper and tuna can be found on most menus, barbecued with Creole spices or hot pepper sauce, though the top-end restaurants are more likely to cater for a US palate. 'Fish Friday' will offer you tastes of home cooking, served from rickety handmade stalls along the pedestrianised streets of Anse La Raye. Supplement the dishes with a dash of banana ketchup - a must-try delicacy. The real Caribbean joy, though, is rum, mixed into a punch or served as a cocktail.
Taxis are easily available but expensive. You can flag cabs down in the streets - licensed cars have red number plates. But, beware, the winding roads on the west of the island can make for a queasy journey.
A 10 per cent service charge is included on all bills in St Lucia. Hotel staff and helpful taxi drivers are among those who expect to be tipped.
The currency in St Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, though any of the banks will exchange international currencies.
Sun hat, umbrella, mosquito repellent and deck shoes - ubiquitous with both the locals and the super-yachters.
The island is home to more than its fair share of small boutique galleries, showcasing local art. Caribbean Art Gallery (+1 758 452 8071) in the Rodney Bay Marina, Artsibit (+1 758 452 7865) on the corner of Brazil and Mongiraud Streets in Castries and Eudovic's Art Studio (+1 758 452 2747) on Morne Fortune all exhibit regional paintings, limited-edition prints and carvings. Keep an eye out for work by St Lucian artist Llewellyn Xavier.
Market stalls and tiny local shops sell regional delights such as hot pepper sauce, plantain chips and St Lucian spices. Marina Village in Marigot Bay caters to the upmarket tastes of the yachting crowd, and offers plenty of high-end jewellery and clothing, and local art and crafts. Pay with US dollars for a better deal.
The pitons at Soufrière, Mount Gimie and Morne Fortune form an exquisite backdrop to the island when you're down at sea level. But they're well worth a steep climb for the jaw-dropping panoramic views of the island that you'll get from their summits.
Gros Islet, a small fishing village on the north coast of the island, hosts a street party every Friday that becomes a colourful carnival scene from about 9pm. Reggae and soca provides the soundtrack to an energetic 'jump up,' as dancers take to the streets.
May The St Lucia Jazz Festival is a four-day extravaganza held early in the month. Tickets can be purchased in the hotels or at www.sluciajazz.org. June The Fisherman's Feast is a thanksgiving celebration by the island's fishermen, and the traditional blessing of the boats is marked with parties, lunches and more. July The St Lucia Carnival is celebrated with a parade, during which revellers take to the streets in an explosion of colour and music. August The Feast of St Rose De Lima is one of two rival floral cultural feasts that gives rural communities another opportunity to dance in the streets. Visitors are welcome to watch and participate. October The second of these floral festivals, the Feast of La Marguerite, is another chance to dress up and dance. November The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) is the largest transatlantic sailing event in the world, beginning in Las Palmas in Gran Canaria and ending late in this month in Rodney Bay. December The Festival of Lights Celebration means plenty of twinkling parades, processions and displays throughout the island.