Getting to Grips With Driving in St Lucia
Information on driving in St Lucia. Tourists and British expats who've invested in property in St Lucia will need to obtain a local permit or licence.
The beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia is perennially popular with British citizens. It has always been a sought-after holiday destination but, increasingly, many are investing in property in St Lucia with a view to retirement or a sea change abroad.
The prospect of driving a car in a foreign country may be intimidating for some, and it's important to understand not only the legalities, but also the practicalities of taking to the roads abroad. For anyone who's going to be driving on this beautiful Caribbean island, the following information may make things a little easier - especially for those who have purchased a property in St Lucia and are planning to move there permanently.
Anyone wishing to drive on the island is required to be in possession of a valid temporary driving permit or local driver's licence.
Temporary visitors: Even if you're only planning on driving for a couple of days you'll need to obtain a permit. A driving permit can be obtained from the airport (at the immigration desk), a local police station, or can be issued by a rental car company. The minimum age for car rentals is 25, and for those over 65 a medical certificate (valid for six months) is required. A temporary permit is valid for three months and costs USD$20.
***If you're already in possession of an international driving permit issued in the UK, while you won't need to obtain another when you arrive, you will need to have the international permit stamped at immigration in order to validate it.
Expat residents: If you've purchased a property in St Lucia and are a new resident to the island, you'll need to organise a local driving licence rather than just a temporary permit. These are issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport and the process takes one or two days once you've submitted an application.
Once you've obtained your licence or permit you're free to drive legally. As rules and regulations on the road vary greatly between countries, the following basic tips are very useful to know when you're starting out.
The Long and Winding Roads
In recent years there has been a major upgrade by the government of all major public roads – which is welcome news for anyone in the process of, or contemplating, purchasing property in St Lucia.
That said, in many of the more rural areas you'll encounter winding, elevated roads (especially around the scenic West Coast region), so caution is always recommended. Keep an eye out for unexpected potholes and wandering dogs or sheep! If you plan on heading to the more remote areas off the main highway, a 4WD vehicle is advisable.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His indepth local knowledge and wealth of experience in luxury property in St Lucia, are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, one of the most desirable freehold beachfront developments in the Caribbean.