My family and I lived in Soufriere, St. Lucia for 4 months last year. A friend just emailed and said his parents are on a Caribbean cruise and will be stopping in St. Lucia for a day. What should they do? Here's how I replied...St. Lucia is not Hawaii. It can be raw and gritty and pretty unforgiving.A couple of things to NOT do:
- Don't go shopping -- there's no selection and everything is overpriced.
- Don't go to the Castries market. The people working the market are very aggressive, and they're mostly selling made-in-China stuff.
- Go to Pigeon Island in Gros Islet. 30 minute drive from where the ships dock. I've never actually been, but most of my friends who visited us when we were in St. Lucia did, and they all said they really enjoyed it.
- Go to Cas en Bas (a little past Gros Islet). 10 minute drive past Pigeon Island. It's a raw, natural beach on the Atlantic side. Not groomed or maintained and no services, so pee first and bring your own water. Nice place to see the power of the ocean and to pick up some souvenir natural sponges washed up on the beach.
- For an expensive lunch or cocktail with incredible views: take a taxi to Ladera Resort. www.ladera.com. About 10 minutes outside Soufriere.
- For snorkeling: take a water taxi to Jalousie resort. About $40 US roundtrip, and you get a spectacular view of the Pitons both in the boat and at the resort. Also has an overpriced but excellent restaurant right on the water. www.jalousieplantation.com
- Soak in hot muddy water at Sulfur Springs. It's best if you can get there at a time when there aren't another 100 tourists arriving at the exact moment -- try before 10am or after 4pm.
- Ask a local taxi driver to take you to Jerusalem Falls. It's a little-known, natural hot springs, about 5 minutes from downtown Soufriere. I like it because you get to hike through the jungle for 5 minutes to get there, and you often have the place to yourself. It costs $2 US and it's a small, family-run place. They keep the pools extremely clean. It sounds funny to go to hot springs when you're in the tropics, but it's actually very enjoyable and soothing.