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Banks and Exchange Services
The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$), but U.S. dollars (not coins) are accepted nearly everywhere—although you may get your change in local currency. Major credit cards and traveler's checks are also widely accepted. ATMs dispense only local currency. Major banks on the island include Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), FirstCaribbean International Bank, and Royal Bank of Canada.
The electric current on St. Lucia is 220 volts, 50 cycles, with a square, three-pin plug (U.K. standard). You'll need a transformer to convert voltage and a plug adapter to use most North American appliances; dual-voltage computer and phone chargers or other appliances will still need a plug adapter, which you can often borrow from the hotel. More and more hotels and resorts have added 110-volt outlets for general use but sometimes only for electric razors. Many hotels and resorts also provide iPod docking stations.
Ambulance and Fire (911.)
Internet cafés can be found in Castries, Soufrière, and Rodney Bay.
Office Mobile (46 St. Louis St., Castries. 758/458-2514.)
Cost-Less Rent-a-Car & Internet Café (Harmony Suites, Rodney Bay Village, Gros Islet. 758/450-3416.)
The General Post Office on Bridge Street in Castries is open weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30; all towns and villages have branches. Postage for airmail letters to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom is EC95¢ per half ounce; postcards are EC65¢. Airmail can take two or three weeks to be delivered.
U.S. and Canadian citizens must have a valid passport to enter St. Lucia and a return or ongoing ticket.
The area code for St. Lucia is 758. You can make direct-dial overseas and interisland calls from St. Lucia, and the connections are excellent. You can charge an overseas call to a major credit card with no surcharge; from public phones and many hotels, dial 811 to charge the call to your credit card. Some hotels charge a small fee (usually about EC$1) for local calls. Many retail outlets sell phone cards to use for either local or international calls from any touch-tone telephone (including pay phones) in St. Lucia. Cell phones may be rented from LIME or Digicel offices in Castries, Gablewoods Mall, Baywalk Mall in Rodney Bay, and Vieux Fort, or you can purchase a local SIM card for $20 (which includes an $8 call credit) in those same locations. The cards may be topped up at hundreds of business locations around the island.
Although crime isn't a significant problem, take the same precautions that you would at home—lock your door, secure your valuables, and don't carry too much money or flaunt expensive jewelry on the street or at the beach.
The departure tax of $26 (EC$68) is incorporated into the price of your airfare. A government tax of 8% is added to all hotel and restaurant bills, although a V.A.T. (value-added tax), may replace that tax in the future. (At this writing, the V.A.T. rate and implementation date have not been set.) Most restaurants and some hotels also add a service charge of 10% in lieu of tipping.
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