While driving within Castries itself is not a difficult undertaking, many of the roads throughout St. Lucia are known for a narrow, winding nature that so easily promotes nausea. The government has been working on this issue in recent years, making it easier than ever to rent and drive a car in Castries.
The rules for renting a car in Castries are fairly simple, if slightly inconvenient for some of the younger drivers out there because you must be at least 25-years-old. On occasion, you may be able to find an agent willing to rent to younger visitors, but it is extremely rare. You will also need to have either an International Driver's License or a local permit. You can get this with most rental agencies, the immigration office at either one of the two airports on the island, or from the police station in Gros Islet for $20(USD).
Several international agencies and a few locally operated businesses work out of the airports, and there are also several spread out throughout town. Guy's Car Rental and are a few of the local spots., , and are names you'll likely recognize while
Check the following chart for the rental agencies located in this area.
|Avis George F.L. Charles Airport||(758) 452-2046||George F.L. Charles Airport - 0.8 mi. (1.3 km) North-Northwest of Castries|
|Guy's Car Rental||(758) 451-7885||George F.L. Charles Airport - 0.8 mi. (1.3 km) North-Northwest of Castries|
|Hertz GFL||(758) 452-0680||George F.L. Charles Airport - 0.8 mi. (1.3 km) North-Northwest of Castries|
|Hertz John Compton Highway||(758) 452-0680||57 John Compton Highway - Castries|
|St. Lucia National Car Rental Services||(758) 450-8670||Massade Gros Islet Highway - Downtown Castries|
|Thrifty George Charles Airport||(758) 451-6150||Near George Charles Airport - Castries|
|(758) 452-2059||Vide Boutielle - Bisse|
When choosing your rental, keep your intended activities in mind. If you're planning a more relaxed, luxurious trip of shopping, dining, and lying on the beaches you'll be fine with an economy car; however, extensive tours of natural sites make a sports utility vehicle with good suspension and four wheel drive recommendable.
The cost of renting a car in Castries will vary based upon a number of variables from where you rent from to the type of car you need, and even the time of year you visit. In general, an economy model at a local agency will run you as low as $47 a day or $285(USD) a week, while you could end up paying over $250 a day or $1600(USD) a week for a large van. You'll find saving by booking your rental as part of a package deal that includes accommodations and air fare, by visiting during the off-season of tourism, and by skipping any unnecessary extra features. It is recommended that you purchase the insurance which is about $15 to $20(USD) a day.
As shown below, rates can vary widely with the season. The low rates in the tables are typically only available from the least costly local firms during the off season. The high rates are what you might need to pay at one of the busier agencies during the high season.
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 47.00||$ 90.00|
|Compact Car||$ 56.00||$ 100.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 63.00||$ 76.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 68.00||$ 75.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 74.00||$ 160.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 115.00||$ 182.00|
|Mini Van||$ 115.00||$ 265.00|
|Rental Type||Low Rate||High Rate|
|Economy Car||$ 285.00||$ 590.00|
|Compact Car||$ 335.00||$ 590.00|
|Mid Size Car||$ 375.00||$ 430.00|
|Full Size Car||$ 445.00||$ 500.00|
|Standard SUV||$ 460.00||$ 1008.00|
|Mini Van||$ 700.00||$ 1650.00|
|Heavy SUV||$ 735.00||$ 1225.00|
...narrow and wind through the mountains...
The first thing you need to know about driving in Castries is that traffic moves on the left side of the road. This will take some getting used to for tourists from the United States, but it shouldn't take long to become accustomed to the local traffic flow.
The roads on the island are narrow and wind through the mountains, which can be challenging at times for drivers who are already wary of driving in a foreign country. Some roads are not kept in the best condition, so you'll always need to be on the lookout for pot holes and other obstacles. Fortunately, the government has made an effort in the last few years to improve the roads and driving should continue to get easier in years to come. In the meantime, make sure to honk your horn when you take blind curves and turn to warn other drivers that you are coming. Additionally, make sure to stick to the posted speed limit, which is usually 30 miles per hour in Castries, because these speeds are strictly enforced.
Take a look at the chart just below which shows a few fueling options in and around Castries.
|(758) 452-4359||L'Anse Road - Downtown Castries|
Renting a car is a great option for tourists who prefer the independence of getting behind the wheel and going whenever they want, rather than having to rely on someone else to do the driving for them. With an infrastructure improvement project in the works and rental requirements that are easy to meet, this is an option that is to be strongly considered as you plan your trip to Castries.
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