Jun 5, 2020
What would you get up to if you had less than 10 hours in a beautiful Caribbean island like St Lucia? What type of activities does the island have to offer and where to go? I have had the amazing opportunity to visit St Lucia more than once and I will share with you one of my favourite things to do on the island. I enjoyed it so much I did it twice with different people on each occasion with the second time being as amazing. Stay with me as I share my experience of the famous St Lucia volcanic sulfur springs, mud bath and waterfall.
The Island of St Lucia
St Lucia is a lusciously green island located on the north eastern side of St Vincent in the Caribbean Sea. It is famous for its picturesque twin peak mountains the ‘Pitons’. It also has the only drive in volcano, its mud baths and sulfur springs.
The capital of St Lucia, Castries, is where the passenger cruise ships dock whenever visiting the Island. The main languages spoken in St Lucia are French ‘Patois’ and English. Because it’s a volcanic island, its land is known to be rich and fertile, producing bananas, coconuts, and cacao to name a few. Sugarcane used to be its main crop but productions seized in the late 1940s when bananas were introduced. The volcano is active but has not erupted in years.
The drive to the volcano includes a little tour of the island with a few stops at view points for picture opportunities and souvenirs purchases. You will drive through the city while your guide points out landmarks. He will also give you a little history of St Lucia’s capital and largest city on the island, Castries.
Looking for some duty free shopping in St Lucia, this is the place. There is also the Castries Market where you can purchase some fruits, vegetables and hand crafts. After the tour, if you have a bit of time left, definitely take a walk in the city and explore on your own. At one of the stops you will get an unobstructed, clear view of the ‘Castries Harbour’, where most of the import and export takes place. You will also get to take a picture of ‘Mourne Fortune’ (good luck hill) where a former military outpost sits.
Marigot Bay and Fishing Villages
You will stop at a look out point where you will get to take in the stunning views of Marigot Bay, located on the western coast of the island. It is surrounded by forestry hills on three sides which act as a shelter for boats during a hurricane. Marigot Bay has a number of hotels but it is quite expensive. If you are looking for accommodation on the island and are on a tight budget then you are better off staying somewhere in or close to the city. We also had a short stopover at a small fishing village where we could take pictures on the beach and engage with the the locals.
On my second trip, we visited a little shop where a lady bakes and sells the most amazing bread. She makes it fresh every morning or whenever needed. On that same road five minutes away, you will also find the snake man. The guy has a pet python that you can take pictures with. Since I have a snake phobia I opted to take pictures of the views while my friends did their thing with the snake. The snake guy charges $2 dollars for pictures and the lady baking the bread welcomes any tips.
Our next stop, my favourite part of the tour, was some rum tasting. We got to sample and taste some of St Lucia’s popular rums from the dark woody flavors to the fruity, thick banana ones. Thereafter, if you want, you can purchase a bottle for your alcohol collection at home. They also had banana ketchup that I am slightly addicted to. Tips of any amount are welcome.
Soufriere is a town located on the south west coast of the island which is much more laid back and less developed than Castries. This is the location of the volcano and the majestic UNESCO World Heritage site – The Pitons. The Pitons are the famous twin mountains of St Lucia, which are a remnant of a heavy volcanic eruption that happened years ago. The Gros Piton, sits at almost 800 m high and Petit Piton, which is smaller – sits at a little over 740 m high. The mountains can be hiked and are relatively moderate to do so. A friend of mine did it and he says he had a blast. It was not as tough as he thought it would be looking at the mountains at face value.
Enter the Volcano and Sulphur Springs
As mentioned earlier, you can drive in the volcano. It is a pretty hilly and winding road so if you are sensitive to motion then you might want to take something to help with that before the trip. The drive is very scenic but prepare yourself for the long drive.
Upon arrival you will get time to change into your bathing suit and get ready for the springs. You will enter into the warm water from one side of the bath where you will get your body wet. Once you exit the bath your guide will give you mud from the natural springs in a bucket that you will apply to your body. The mud is known to have healing properties for conditions such as eczema, sun burns, sore joints and can detoxify the body. Locals believe it has anti aging properties too.
From there you will enter the natural springs where you can rinse off the dried up mud from your body. I must admit that my skin felt supple, exfoliated and fresh afterwards. Take an extra rinse under the cold shower to remove what is left of the mud and to thoroughly cleanse your skin.
The second time on the tour we had time to visit the waterfalls. This came at an extra cost as it was not a part of the tour. The waterfalls are a 20 min drive from the sulphur springs and we spent at least 30 minutes in the water. It was very refreshing but cold.
Lunch and Views of Pitons
At the end of the excursion I did with the ship we had lunch at a restaurant that boasted the most amazing views of the ‘Pitons’. Some fresh bread and chicken was served with a cold juice of your choice. A very simple lunch meal but very tasty.
Things to take note of
The roads are winding and bumpy so if you get motion sickness easily then take some medication before the trip.
The tour is very long, most of the time taken by the drive there. Prepare yourself. Because of that, time spent at the springs is short. Take some snacks with you.
The tour is a little misleading. I think like everyone else I was expecting a mud bath – mud in a natural bath. The mud is actually put in buckets that you are given to apply to your body.
The smell of sulfur can be very overbearing so if you cant stomach the potent, rotten egg like smell, then this tour is not for you.
Bring an old swim suit that you don’t mind getting stained from the mud. Bring a towel too.
The mud baths can get crowded so get there early. This also depends on how many cruise ships are docked on the island that day.
There are quite a few steps leading to the baths, so if you have mobility issues then refrain from going on this tour.
Ultimately the mud baths are one of the best things to do in St Lucia. I had a blast and I know you will too. Who would not want to have a little beauty treatment from mother nature herself.