St. Lucia is a lush tropical island located midway down the Eastern Caribbean chain, located between Martinique and St. Vincent & The Grenadines, just to the northwest of Barbados.
Although only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, in terms of natural beauty, St. Lucia seems like an island plucked from the South Pacific and set down in the Caribbean. It boasts magnificent rainforests, waterfalls, exotic vegetation and pristine white (and volcanic black) sand beaches. The island’s world famous landmarks are its dramatic twin coastal peaks, the Pitons, which soar 2,000 feet directly from the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea – and this is the home of Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort.
St. Lucia was first settled by peace loving Arawak Amerindians around 200 A.D., however by 800 B.C. their culture had been superseded by that of the warrior Caribs. European settlers first arrived in St. Lucia in the mid-sixteenth Century, when the notorious Caribbean pirate Francois le Clerc, a.k.a. Jambe de Bois established his base on Pigeon Island, from where he set upon unwitting and treasure-laden Spanish galleons.
The French and the British fought vigorously for ‘ownership’ of St. Lucia from the mid 17th Century until 1814, when fighting ceased and St. Lucia became established as a British colony. The island’s French influence remains prevalent and while the official language of St. Lucia is English, a local French Creole Patois is also widely spoken.
Over the next century, St. Lucia settled into the stable democracy and multicultural society that it is today. On February 22, 1979, St. Lucia celebrated independence and since then, it has enjoyed nearly four decades of stable, democratic government.
The World Bank has consistently ranked St. Lucia as one of the top countries in the region in its ‘Ease of Doing Business’ economic research project (www.doingbusiness.org). The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which is pegged to the US Dollar at a rate of US$1 = $2.67 Eastern Caribbean Dollars. US Dollars are also universally accepted in St. Lucia.
St Lucia’s natural beauty, delightful year-round climate, excellent travel infrastructure and friendly, hospitable people has helped the island establish itself as one of the most desirable and romantic island destinations in the world.