Information for Expats - The Infrastructure in St Lucia
For those investing in St Lucia real estate and considering a move to the Caribbean, learning about the infrastructure may be helpful.
More and more British citizens are considering investing in St Lucia real estate and planning a permanent move to the beautiful Caribbean island - and who could blame them? The relaxed way of life, good standard of living, appealing investment opportunities, and improving infrastructure are, without a doubt, quite compelling.
For those considering relocating to The Caribbean, learning more about the infrastructure of St Lucia may be a helpful incentive.
Getting There – Airports and Seaports
The country has two major airports and two major seaports, so it's easy to access from most international destinations.
The two airports – Hewanorra International, in the south, and G.F.L Charles, in the north – are serviced by a number of high-profile carriers, who between them transport around three-quarters of a million people every year to and from the island.
As a major cruise destination (and a favoured port of call for prestigious cruise lines including Norwegian, Oceania and Carnival) the island supports five seaports. The two primary ones – Port Castries, on the north-western side, and Port Vieux Fort, in the south (mainly used by container ships) – are kept busy with over half a million passengers annually and a high volume of commerce and trade traffic.
Getting Around – Roads
The hard infrastructure (i.e. the roads, bridges, airports and highways) is vital to the island's continuing growth – both in terms of trade and tourism - and in recent years the government has invested heavily in improvements to all the major public roads.
There's a two lane major road that runs all the way around the island, and all the smaller networks come off this highway. Every town and village can be accessed by road (which is good news for those investing in more out of the way St Lucia real estate), although some are not in as good condition as the main roads and include quite a number of unpaved sections. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended in the more rural elevated areas and caution is advised when traversing the less-travelled roads.
Public transport: The very affordable public minivan bus system has a frequent (if somewhat unpredictable) timetable, with direct routes or connections to any part of the island. There are also a number of private and tourism taxi companies.
Getting Connected – Technology
The island enjoys a stable telecommunications network, with several major mobile service providers and multiple Internet providers (including fibre optics and wireless, 2G and 4G networks). Good service is available all over the island and getting connected is as easy as making a phone call or visiting a provider's outlet. Cable TV and landline services can also be accessed with any of the major providers.
Getting a Life - Essential Services
Electricity: There's a reliable supply of electricity to even the most remote regions on the island, delivered via underground cables and overhead lines. It uses 220-volt electricity, so adaptors may be required for existing appliances from other countries that use 110 volts.
As part of the National Energy Transition Strategy, the local provider, St Lucia Electricity Services Limited, has recently called for tenders for the construction of an ambitious three megawatt solar energy farm, due for commencement in late 2016.
Water: Potable, treated running water is in good supply everywhere, but there are also several bottled water companies operating in various parts of the island.
Postal Service: While the postal system is reliable, it is fairly slow. The island service does not deliver to individual street addresses (except in Castries and larger towns), and mail goes to numbered boxes in sub-branches of the post office in each town. For this reason it's essential that the town as well as the post office box number is clearly stated on any mail.
Healthcare: There are five hospitals located in various parts of the island, but treatment can be expensive. The healthcare system is adequate, but private medical insurance is strongly recommended for expats should any specialised treatment be needed that requires airlifting the patient to a major hospital elsewhere in The Caribbean. Local doctors will make house calls, but again this can be expensive without private healthcare cover.
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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 St Lucia real estate, 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.