Saint Lucia

Environment:

Saint Lucia (St. Lucia) is a Caribbean island, north of Trinidad and Tobago between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. It is volcanic and mountainous with some broad, fertile valleys. The highest point is Mount Gimie at 950 meters (3,117 feet). The island is marked by striking cone-shaped peaks, the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), now protected as World Heritage by the Pitons Management Area. Environmental issues include deforestation and soil erosion, particularly in the northern region. The government maintains an official Climate Change Website of Saint Lucia. The island’s diesel electricity generator LUCELEC is now working to develop geothermal energy. Waste management is overseen by the St. Lucia Solid Waste Management Authority, and recycling is handled by Renew St. Lucia and Recycle-It St. Lucia. The Saint Lucia Banana Industry Trust works closely with forestry and wildlife related issues on the island.

There are no official Biosphere Reserves in St Lucia; however, there has been a feasibility investigation of establishing one on the northeast coast. There are four protected areas classified as national park in St Lucia: Canaries National Park, Grand Anse National Park, Point Sable National Park, and Qualibou National Park. Other noteworthy protected areas include Marigot Bay Mangroves Marine Reserve, Morne Fortune Historic Area Historic Site, and Pigeon Island National Landmark Historic Site. The volcanic Sulfur Springs are a popular tourist destination. Near the town of Soufriere, there is Diamond Falls botanical gardens and mineral baths.

In the early 1980s, the protection of the Saint Lucia Parrot was a success story, due in large part to a young forestry officer named Paul Butler, now Senior Vice President of the international NGO Rare Conservation, who pioneered the “pride methodology” to inspire local stakeholders. The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is active in St. Lucia with volunteer opportunities, including looking for the elusive snake, the Saint Lucia racer; once considered extinct, the Saint Lucia racer is known as the rarest snake in the world today. St. Lucia is also home to the venomous fer-de-lance, the Saint Lucia “lancehead”. The best time for turtle watching in St. Lucia is between March and July. Working to raise awareness about protecting sea turtles in St. Lucia is the new multimedia visitor attraction, Our Planet. Sadly in 2003, founder of the St. Lucia Animal Protection Society, Jane Tipson, was murdered on the island while campaigning against captive dolphin programs. On St. Lucia’s west coast, Soufriere Marine Management Association is in charge of both Soufriere Marine Management Area (SMMA) and Canaries & Anse La Raye Marine Management Area (CAMMA).

As with other Caribbean islands, rural heritage plantation inns are available. The Balenbouche Estate is a family owned guesthouse eco-retreat. There is also the well known Boucan Hotel Chocolat surrounded by cocoa trees. The Fond Doux Estate holiday plantation offers eco-friendly French colonial cottages. The Tree House St. Lucia is a comfortable stone and wooden cottage with stunning views of the Pitons. Perched on a ridge high above the sea, Cashew Villa and is available for rent. On the funky side, there is the Sankofa Rainbow Roots Farm, a Rastafarian organic farm collective in Dennery & Mabouya.

Island Adventures, Jungle Reef Adventures, Jungle Tours St. Lucia and Smarty Tour provide a variety of nature tours all over the island. Real St. Lucia Tours maintains websites dedicated to the Gros Piton Hike and Tet Paul Nature Trail. Local Joe Knows St Lucia offers guided Gros Piton and rainforest hikes. Adams Toussaint offers guided Saint Lucia Birding. Bike St. Lucia promises mountain biking jungle adventures. Treetop Adventure Park specializes in zip line canopy adventure. Morne Coubaril Estate also does ziplining and tree climbing.

At Anse Chastanet resort, Kayak St Lucia provides ocean kayaking experience. Beth Lygoe’s Kitesurfing St Lucia offers lessons, rentals and kitesurfaris. Captain Mike Hackshaw offers whale watching tours, in addition to sport fishing, as do Mystic Man Tours, Solomon Water Taxi and Tours and Joy’s Cruises. Scuba diving options include Scuba Steve’s Diving, Dive Fair Helen and Scuba St. Lucia.

IUCN Members:

Culture:

Saint Lucia was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries; it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979. Saint Lucia does not maintain a standing army as such, but instead subscribes to the Regional Security System, backed by the United States and Canada. If a country has its own Wikipedia entry dedicated to crime, such as Crime in Saint Lucia, then that merits being aware of. According to the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for Saint Lucia, it is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.

Althought Saint Lucia does not maintain membership in ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, the Saint Lucia National Trust oversees both cultural and natural heritage protection on the island. The Heritage Tourism Association of St. Lucia is a voluntary group providing tours of the island’s heritage. LucianStyle Development Corporation was established with the specific mission to create and improve the tourism product within Saint Lucia’s tourism sector, such as introducing Segway tours. The annual St. Lucia Jazz Festival is the island’s best known event. There is also the annual Lucian Carnival. The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is another important annual event, ending before Christmas at Rodney Bay after leaving the Canary Islands in November.

The Castries Market And Vendor’s Arcade is a colorful island attraction. In Malgretoute, Zaka Caribbean Masks & Totems is one example of the art available in Saint Lucia. There is also a history of Hindu immigration to the island, and there is apparently an Iskcon Jaganatha Temple in Fond Coolie, run by Margaret George. Express des lles provides ferry service to and from nearby islands.

World heritage:

References:

  • Investigating the Feasibility of Establishing a Biosphere Reserve on the Northeast Coast of St. Lucia by M John, 2010
  • Is Tourism Allowing Entrepreneurs to have a Higher Likelihood of Evading Poverty in St. Lucia? by A Charles, 2010
  • Exploring the impact of crime on tourism in St. Lucia by TG Ntuli & PJ Potgieter, 2001
  • Practical strategies for pro-poor tourism: a case study of the St. Lucia Heritage Tourism Programme by Y Renard, A Darcheville, V Krishnarayan, 2001
  • An assessment of the environmental impacts of tourism in St. Lucia: Summary report for British Airways by L Dixley, 1998
  • Sustainable tourism development: a case study of St. Lucia by M Persad, 1997
  • Nature tourism: a case for forest conservation in St. Lucia by C Cox & R Gregg, 1995
  • Socio-cultural impacts of tourism in St. Lucia by G Dann, 1991
  • Tourism and the environment, a case study of the Vieux Fort area (St. Lucia, West Indies) by Y Renard, 1985