As the plane began its descent into Hewanorra International Airport, I obediently buckled my seatbelt and looked out the window as the island of St. Lucia came into view. Overlooking the landscape's lush, mountainous greenery, I understood why St. Lucia has become one of the most popular Caribbean destinations in the past few years.
Although tourism has made its presence with numerous resorts and cruise ports, many parts of St. Lucia remain charmingly St. Lucian: green, tropical, and down-to-earth. One way to experience this side of St. Lucia in a day - is with a visit to Soufriere.
Almond Morgan Bay or Almond Smuggler's Cove resorts (www.almondresorts.com), just outside Castries, are great launch pads for St. Lucia excursions like a day in Soufriere. You can book a day trip to Soufriere with your concierge or sign up for a day excursion for cruises stopping in St. Lucia.
A day trip to Soufriere, St. Lucia
From Castries, catch a boat to Soufriere. The 30-45 minute ride travels south along the stunning west coast of St. Lucia towards Soufriere - past rolling green mountains decorated with bright houses and coves for snorkeling. Small coastal villages come and go - until you reach the Pitons, just outside Soufriere.
One of St. Lucia's most popular attractions, the Pitons, are two large peaks formed from hardened volcanic lava. Standing tall on the south west coast of St. Lucia, they're a sight to behold, not to mention a popular attraction for rock climbers, hikers, and adventurers.
Grab a taxi from the docks at Soufriere and head up first to visit the world's only drive-in volcano. Here at Sulphur Springs Park, visitors can see St. Lucia's seven-acre volcanic crater of bubbling black pools and steaming sulphur. Bring your nose plugs, because the sulphur gives off the smell of rotten eggs. Don't miss Diamond Falls and a dip in the natural hot springs, believed to help skin ailments like eczema, acne, or psoriasis.
For a lunch stop, visit Fond Doux Estate: a tropical hideaway. A working plantation, visitors can go for a tour of the property's beautiful gardens, see how cocoa is harvested, and stay for a lunch of authentic home-style Caribbean food in the quiet of its lush gardens. The estate also offers plantation cottages for visitors looking for a serene, secluded getaway.
On the way back to the boat, don't forget to stop at the famous lookout overlooking Soufriere. Here, you can also buy sulphur soap or visit Big Mamma's booth for some homemade spiced rum: "also known as the local Viagra," she says.
Want to book a trip or cruise to St. Lucia? TripAtlas.com's Trip Builder will put you in touch with local travel agents with custom prices on your trip.
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Gizelle Lau is a freelance writer & photographer in Toronto, Canada with a passion for food and travel.
Located: Toronto Canada
Likes: cities, culture, food/wine, paths-less-travelled, photography, wildlife