And there I stood, on the beautiful Island of Saint Lucia, a country I have visited several times and always come away with a memorable stay. I enjoy this Island and can tell you the people are warm and generous in hospitality. One of the Windward Islands, it is located in the Eastern Caribbean ocean between Martinique and Saint Vincent. The Island is mountainous and covered by a thick blanket of dense rainforest. The views are spectacular adding an air of romance into the surrounding hills and valleys. It seems like every hotel is perched on top of a hill to take advantage of the natural beauty of the island. Jade Mountain is on my hotels wish list (if you have stayed there, I’d love to hear your comments). Here are four fun and memorable ways we spent our time on this lush island.
- Visit a Banana Plantation
The economy of Saint Lucia is heavily dependent on banana production and the plantations are everywhere. We stopped at the Roseau Valley Banana Plantation, the largest on the Island. We learned about the cultivation of bananas (it takes nine months to grow a banana) and ate a lot of sweet bananas. Did you know a medium banana has 3 grams of fiber? We sure do now! We also saw some of the amazing products made from bananas such as necklaces and bracelets.
- Snorkel at Jalousie Beach
The majestic Pitons (UNESCO world heritage site) standing 2400 feet above sea level serve as beacons over the cobalt blue waters of Soufriere Bay. The powder white sand and breathtaking views of the Gros Piton and Petit Piton make this one of my favourite island activities. I felt very humble to be snorkelling next to the majestic Pitons. We were surprised how fantastic the snorkel was and could have snorkelled all day. The water was clear and we saw coral, parrot and trumpet fish and eel. Don’t worry if you don’t have your snorkel equipment. A complete set rents for $10 USD on the beach. For $20 USD, you can rent chairs and shade but be warned the food here is very expensive ($15 USD for a burger- ouch).
- Drive through La Soufriere Volcano and Soak in the Sulphur Springs.
This dormant volcano, last erupted in the 18 century and is the world’s only drive through volcano. The first thing we noticed when we drove up was the rotten egg smell of the sulphur (stinky). We saw steam and bubbles coming out of the earth, and the guide told us sometimes it spurts fire if you are lucky (we were not lucky). Just outside the volcano we found the spring pools where it’s possible to take a dip and benefit from the sulphur water’s healing properties. The sulphur water heats up as the day progresses, so I advise you to go early in the day. I loved how soft it made my skin feel. I also bought some clay mud and brought it home to continue the treatments (it dries out quickly though).
- Relax on an Island Boat Tour
A boat tour is a perfect way to see how beautiful the coastline is. Our tour departed from Castries and included a delicious local lunch of creole chicken with rice, fruit bread, slaw and bananas (of course). I thoroughly enjoyed zipping through the water on a sunny and warm day surrounded by the colours of green and blue. There were spectacular views of high cliffs, and the Pitons. We motored along black sand beaches, fishing villages and the celebrity homes in lovely Marigot Bay. I would definitely recommend a boat trip, perhaps even a sunset tour.
We hired local guide Spencer Ambrose of Spencer Ambrose Tours to accompany us for most our tours