Travelers who want to get a sense of St. Lucia's culture may enjoy the island's minivan bus service, since this is the transportation of choice for most island residents. Catching a bus and traveling alongside St. Lucia's locals as they go to school, work, or the marketplace is an attractive travel option for visitors who crave an authentic island experience.
Buses run frequently on standard routes in northern St. Lucia from Castries to Gros Islet or to Rodney Bay. Travelers can catch one of the privately owned, 14-seater minivans at marked bus stops or by flagging one down along the three major bus routes on the coastal road: The Vieux Fort - Soufrière Route; the Soufrière - Castries route; and the Castries - Vieux Fort route. Catching a bus away from a designated stop should be easy as long as the driver has enough room to pull over to the side of the road.
Visitors should check with their hotels to learn about additional marked stops and common itineraries. The minivans follow planned bus routes, which are usually displayed on signs in the front window of the bus. Hotels staff can often provide specific route numbers as well.
Buses are an extremely affordable option for travelers. Fares are rarely more than $5(USD). Fares from Castries to the north start at EC$1.50, which is less than $0.60(USD). From Castries to the south, fares are EC$7.00 - under $2(USD).
While catching a bus to get somewhere on the island is relatively easy, catching one to get back may be a bit more challenging. Visitors can catch a bus on main routes around Gros Islet as late as 10:00 p.m., but buses heading back to Gros Islet and Castries from the southern portion of the island make their last runs in the mid-afternoon.
Even with their unpredictable timetables, buses are the most affordable and authentic way to see St. Lucia's historic sites, banana and coconut plantations, and markets.
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