There are a few places in the Caribbean where taxi drivers double as tour guides, and this is definitely one of the important features of St. Lucia’s travel industry. There are tens of well established taxi and tour companies on the island. They offer to pick up visitors from airports, ferry ports and hotels and get them to any destination or take them on an excursion. In fact, most if not all of these companies are fully flexible. In addition to a specific set of tours that they have on their menu, they will gladly let you plan a fully customized private tour, for which you chose sightseeing destinations and how long you spend in each location. Indeed, taking a taxi tour is the best way to see and learn about the island. Therefore, if you are considering renting a car to explore the island with, read on about all your taxi tour options and you may just change your mind.
What can you see with a taxi tour?
In one word, everything! As mentioned above a taxi tour company will usually have a list of tours and activities from which you can choose or they will accommodate your own custom list of places that you want to see. Of course, depending on your pick-up location and where the headquarters of the taxi tour company is, you may be limited to see only a certain parts of St. Lucia in one day. In general, we can classify all these tours into three broad categories:
- Sightseeing tour – these will involve driving to several destinations and stopping for pictures, food and drinks and possibly a bath in mud, under a waterfall on in the ocean. With a sightseeing tour you will have options to visit the major towns of the island like Castries, Canaries or Rodney Bay. You can also tour coffee, cocoa and banana plantations, visit botanical gardens as well as stop in many scenic overlooks. One of them offers a superb view on the Pitons and is located near Sulphur Springs in the vicinity of the world’s only Drive In Volcano, which makes a perfect spot for a picture break. The well-known mud baths of the springs are famous for their rejuvenating and beautifying effects. However, your sightseeing tour can involve a visit to other bathing spots. These include the New Jerusalem Mineral Baths, which have several warm water pools as well as Toraille Waterfall, which is easily accessible for a quick refreshing shower. Finally, you can make your taxi tour a simple beach-hopping excursion, in which your driver takes you to one great sandy spot after another and waits for you at each location until you are ready to move on to the place. Several of the less touristy while stunning beaches you should definitely consider stopping by include: Malgretoute beach, Anse Des Sables Beach as well as Anse Cochon Beach.
- Hiking tour – St. Lucia has tens of fantastic trails to explore, many of which offer spectacular views of the island as well as opportunities to explore the impressive fauna and flora of the island’s rainforest. The most popular hiking tours are the ones around the Pitons as well as the actual hike up Gros Piton. The Gros Piton Nature Trail cuts through Fond Gens Libre, a “town of free people” and leads towards the peak at almost 2,500 feet above sea level. From the top you will be able to see much of the island as well as the neighboring Petit Piton, which really isn’t petit! Not far from the Gros-Piton trail you will find another great opportunity to hike and it’s called The Tet Paul Nature Trail. This hike doesn’t need a long time commitment as its only 0.6 miles long. Still, it has many amazing views out to the Pitons as well as offers plenty of opportunities to spot local animals and birds. Another fantastic hiking tour includes a trip to Central Rainforest Reserve where you can walk a 2.5 mile long, not very touristy and very picturesque Enbas Saut Trail. This beautiful hike will take your through several waterfalls with natural pools you can jump into for a cooling bath.
- Adventure tour – this category includes activities such as horse, riding, ATV rainforest rides, zip-lining as well as snorkeling, fishing and even whale watching boat trips. Most taxi tour companies will gladly take you to and from locations of these activities. They will also be happy to arrange for you the actual adventures. Often, your taxi driver/guide will even go on an adventure with you as he or she may be an expert diver, horse rider or fisherman. As for horse riding, you can do it from at least five stables across the island. Morne Chouval Riding Stables is one of the best reviewed horseback riding services on the West coast, whereas Atlantic Shores Riding is a popular stable in the North-East part of St. Lucia. When it comes to ATVs, these can be used to explore Toraille in the West coast rainforest. Although you have to be 18 to ride one, no driver’s license is required. For zip-lining, there are two rainforest parks with this adventure on the island: Morne Coubaril Historical Adventure Park and Treetop Adventure Park. Finally, when it comes to boat excursions, there are tons of options available for trips such as sunset sailing, open-water diving, big-game fishing and much more! Each taxi tour company will have its own arrangements with boat operators and a boat tour will usually mean going out into the water in a bigger group unless you are willing to pay the higher fees for a private expedition
Water and air options
I just mentioned boat tours organized through taxi tour companies. However, in St. Lucia you can also take water taxis between several destinations as well as to do many of the tours mentioned previously. Traveling on a boat deck with a drink while looking out into the beautiful St. Lucia coastline is an attractive alternative when compared to travel by a car or a mini-bus. Popular companies that operate water taxis are Solomon Water Taxi & Tours, Shashamané Experience as well as Water Taxi In Saint Lucia. The base of operations for these firms is Rodney Bay and Soufriere, between which water taxis travel tens of times per day.
The other interesting option to travel across St. Lucia is are helicopter transfers and tours. A helicopter transfer means you can fly between the two international airports on the island, Hewanorra International Airport and George F. L. Charles Airport. Since the distance between the two airports is 37 miles on some difficult roads, a helicopter ride can save you time driving and also allows you to see much of the island from an aerial perspective. If you don’t need to transfer, you can simply opt in for a helicopter tour. These last about 20 minutes and come with a pilot commentary. Typically a four person minimum is needed to fly and the helicopter can fit up to six passengers in total.
Prices and considerations
As you can see, taxi tours in St. Lucia cover pretty much every aspect of transportation as well as exploration and adventure on the island. With so many choices, costs and scheduling need a careful review to select the best options. First, let’s focus on plain taxi services between various locations on the island. Below table shows average prices of St. Lucia’s taxis:
|Travel from||Travel to||Price|
|G.F.L. Charles Airport||Hewanorra International Airport||$80 to $90 by car, $175 to $190 per person by helicopter|
|G.F.L. Charles Airport||Rodney Bay||$80 to $90 by car, $175 to $190 per person by helicopter|
|G.F.L. Charles Airport||Soufriere||$90 to $100|
|Hewanorra International Airport||Rodney Bay||$85 to $90|
|Hewanorra International Airport||Soufriere||$70 to $90|
|Rodney Bay||Soufriere||$100 to $120, $300 for water taxi for up to 4 people single engine, $400 for twin engine|
|Rodney Bay||Castries||$25 to $35|
|Rodney Bay||Pigeon Island||$10 to $15|
|Castries||Soufriere||$90 to $110, $200 for water taxi for up to 2 people (or 240 for 3-4 people) single engine, $350 for up to 4 people twin engine|
|Castries||Marigot Bay||$25 to $35|
When it comes to tours organized by taxi companies, prices are generally per person. It is also more expensive to take a private tour compared to tours in larger groups (+10). Although prices can very depending on your pickup location and how customized your tour is, below are some examples of prices for different types of tours. Keep in mind that access fees to attractions and food are generally not included in the pricing:
|Type of tour||Price|
|Customized full day private tour of St. Lucia||$250 to $300 for up to 3 people, $50 per person for +4 people|
|Gros-Piton trail hike tour||$180 to $200 for up to 3 people, $50 to $60 per person for +4 people|
|Toraille ATV Rainforest Adventures||$130 to $150 per ATV rider|
|Deep see fishing||$100 per person (4 person minimum)|
|Water taxi tour||$100 to $200 per person|
|Helicopter tour||$120 to $190 per person (4 person minimum)|
Making a booking
A simple Google search comes back with tens of companies offering taxi tours in St. Lucia. While many of them offer online booking, making a phone call is a good idea to get all your questions answered before making a reservation. Although you generally don’t have to book these tours much in advance, allow at least several days before your intended tour day to arrange it. TripAdvisor is a great source of reviews of taxi tour companies so be sure to check it out. Finally, remember that although tips in St. Lucia are discretionary, you should definitely plan for a 10-20% tip after a job well done by your taxi tour driver and guide.