We first drive through the city of Castries the capital of St Lucia, and view interesting landmarks such as the lively and colorful Castries market, the church of the Basilica of the Conception of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Derrick Walcott Square, named after Derrick Walcott, a local poet who received the noble price for literature in 1992; and which contain an imposing war memorial with names of St Lucian who died in both the first and second world wars and a massive, four hundred years Samaan tree, known as the ‘massav tree’ by St Lucian.
Morne Fortune – the hill of good hope
From the capital, Castries, we ascend Morne Fortune (meaning the hill of good luck). About halfway up on the journey we get to a viewing point from where you capture an amazing view of the city of Castries, the harbor and northern part of the island. Just a few meters away from the viewing is governor house, a magnificent Victorian style structure completed in 1896, where the head of state or representative of the British queen lives. Although St Lucia is independent it is a member of the British Commonwealth and still recognizes the queen as head of state. St Lucia’s current Governor General is Dane Pearlette Louisy. The journey continues up to the summit of More Fortune where an 18th century military barrack was transformed into the island’s premier learning institution called the Sir Arthur Lewis Community college – names after Sir Arthur Lewis, another St Lucian who received the Nobel Prize for economics in 1979.
Marigot Bay – backdrop for the movie Doctor Doolittle
As we descend Morne Fortune we drive through the Cul de Sac Valley and get to Marigot Bay in about 15 minutes. A viewing point overlooking bay provides a stunning view of its uncharacteristic narrow opening to the sea, its unique palm lined sandpits, and steep rain forest hillside. Marigot Bay is also regarded as one of the safest anchorages in the Caribbean and is a heaven for luxury Yachts plying the eastern Caribbean. In 1778 British troop used palm fronds to disguise their ships from the French in one of several battles the two European nations raged over St Lucia. The tropical portion of the English movie ‘Doctor Doolittle’ was filmed in the Bay in 1966.
Roseau Valley - home to St Lucia’s biggest banana plantation
In just 3 minutes we are in the heart of the Roseau Valley, home to the biggest banana plantation in the island. You will get a brief lessen of the whole process of producing bananas - the island’s main cash crop - from the field to the market place. You will also have an opportunity sample some of the sweetest ripe bananas, and purchase exotic items such as banana ketchup from the road side vendors.
Visit The St Lucia Rum Factory
Also located in the Roseau Valley is the St Lucia Rum Factory - a relic of the golden age of sugar. You gain a brief knowledge of the history sugar cultivation and the manufacturing rum in St Lucia, and an insight into the difference processes that goes into the production of rum. You will also have an opportunity to sample some finest rum and liquors in the Caribbean and purchase some of you favorite.
Anse la Raye – Famous for the local ‘Sea Food Friday’
From the Roseau valley we get to Anse La Raye, the first fishing village from the capital. Anse La Raye got its name from the French from ‘Anse’ - meaning a bay, and ‘La Raye’ from ‘skates’, fish of the sting Raye family that was plentiful in the bay at one time. We make a 15 minutes stop to have a feel of village life in St Lucia, and an opportunity to purchase some local art and craft items from villagers. A common feature in Anse La Raye is the weekly ‘Sea Food Friday Festival which is popular with both St. Lucian and Visitors to the island.
Canaries - named after local Amerindian Clay Pot
The drive from Anse La Raye to the fishing village of Canaries provides a breath taking view of the island’s beautiful western coastline and the interior. Amongst St Lucia’s smallest fishing villages, ‘Canaries’ got its name from the ‘clay pot’ designed by the Amerindians the island first inhabitants. We make a brief stop in the village to sample some of the best homemade bread in the island, as well as local fruits such as mangoes, papayas, sugar apples and pineapples.
Rain Rorest and Mountain Vistas
The route from Canaries to the town of Soufriere is the most dramatic of the journey. It is characterized by brilliant mountain scenery (offshoots of some tallest mountains in St Lucia), dense, soothing rain forest and mountain vistas overlooking the town of Soufriere, with the pitons(designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2004) standing like beckons, biding you welcome.
Soufriere – place where wonder never cease
Soufriere is truly the place where wonders never cease, with the Sulphur Springs dubbed ‘Hell in Paradise,’ the pitons, a coastline rich in marine life and some of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean, waterfalls, rain forest and many more attractions, not only of natural but also cultural and historical significant. Soufriere got its name from the boiling springs at the volcano, ‘meaning Sulphur in the air’. The Sulphur Springs are signs of very recent volcano activity in the area. The Soufriere region is believed to be a caldera (collapsed volcanic formation) that resulted from volcanic activities ranging from 5 million to about 40.000 years ago. Its fertile hills and valleys, deep harbor, abundance of fresh water, and proximity to the rain forest, drew many Europeans who were engaged in commercial agriculture, mainly in the cultivation of sugarcane, coffee, Cocoa and tobacco. Soufriere became St Lucia’s first town in 1746.
List of activities for this part of the tour:
Board a water taxi from the jetty to Jalousie Beach between the Pitons to snorkel. Duration one hour. (optional)
Take the water taxi back to the jetty and make a brief shopping stop in the heart of the historic town of Soufriere
Board the bus for a five minute drive to the spectacular 50ft tall Torraille Waterfall where you can bathe in the soothing, crystal clear pools
Take a 15 minute drive to the Drive -in Volcano for a relaxing and therapeutic Mud bath, and swim in warm, mineral filled pools