While the official currency of St. Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean dollar(EC), U.S. dollars are widely accepted at most businesses on the island. In fact, prices are quoted in U.S. dollars at many St. Lucian resorts, restaurants, and tourist destinations.
The EC is available in $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills. EC coins are minted in $0.01, $0.02, $0.05, $0.10, $0.25, and $1 denominations. The exchange rate is fixed to the U.S. dollar at $1(USD) = $2.70(EC) but is floating for all other currency.
Although U.S. dollars are accepted in many establishments throughout the island, don't be surprised if you get change back in EC from local businesses. Always be sure to determine whether street vendor and taxi prices are quoted in U.S. dollars or EC dollars, as they often won't be specified, and you will rarely be corrected on your mistake if you pay in U.S. dollars. An agreed-upon rate may be far higher than expected when cab drivers ask for the fare in U.S. dollars. The Canadian dollar and British pound are occasionally accepted by businesses on the island, but exchanging these currencies before arriving to St. Lucia is the safest bet.
Major credit cards are accepted on the island, especially at larger establishments such as resorts and restaurants, but smaller local businesses and street vendors will require payment in cash. ATMs are available on St. Lucia to receive cash advances from Mastercard and Visa credit cards as well as Cirrus and Plus ATM cards. ATMs are located in Castries, Soufrière, Rodney Bay, and Vieux Fort. Be aware that all cash withdrawn from ATMs will be in Eastern Caribbean dollars.
Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, hotels, and stores. Note that many hotels and stores on St. Lucia will exchange U.S. dollars at a lower rate of $1(USD) = $2.50(EC) or $2.60(EC). In general, you will get the best exchange rate at one of the large bank branches located throughout the island or at one of the change bureaus in Castries.
Canadian dollars and British pounds are also easily exchanged at banks on St. Lucia, but other foreign currency may have additional charges assessed to convert to Eastern Caribbean dollars.
St. Lucia is a friendly island, but it's always best to make sure you've agreed to a currency when making purchases.
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