Touring the Interior
08 July 2007 | Saint Lucia
Fred and Cindy were enjoying the Marina for a couple of days before we arrived. Unfortunately they had seen Jill off to her home in San Francisco before we had a chance to say goodbye. Goodbye Jill!
Fred had met a Rasta Saint Lucian on the docks named Vision who had done a great job waxing their boat. Vision was also in the business of doing island tours, so we signed up. Fred, Cindy the five MacKenzies along with Hideko and I piled into the van with our driver Ital and Vision, and we set off to explore.
If you just consider an island's interior I would have to say Dominica is the most beautiful island in the Caribbean. If you consider the whole island, coastline/beaches/harbors and interior, then Saint Lucia is the hands down champ. Saint Lucia is covered in rain forest with fruit, nut and spice trees growing everywhere. There are dramatic mountains and waterfalls, botanical gardens, steaming volcano cauldrons and quaint villages. The coastline is remarkable as well with Rodney Bay and the lagoon, Castries Bay, Marigot Bay, Soufriere and the Pitons. This does not account for the doubtless hundreds of beautiful sights we did not see. I'm sure the Atlantic side of the island is full of rugged beauty.
Our day trip back into the mountains to visit a waterfall. Compared to what we had seen in Dominica, it was a cute waterfall. The hike back to the waterfall was quite nice and gave the kids a chance to see all of the natural bounty of the rain forest. Vision picked us some mango, coconut and sour orange to eat along the trail. As we arrived at the water fall we ran across another group that was preparing to repel down the waterfall. Sounded like fun.
We had lunch at the Ladera Resort's restaurant overlooking the Pitons. The restaurant is named Dasheen after the root of a local plant who's leaves are called Callaloo and used like spinach. It was a Sunday buffet and not bad for the islands but not up to the expectations set by the references we had received for the place. Perhaps ordering off of the menu would provide a different perspective. The view was another story. You have to visit this place if even just for a beer. The restaurant overlooks the bar which over looks the pool which overlooks the entire Piton anchorage. You are up in the clouds.
We visited the Soufriere Volcano and hot springs after lunch. What a smell. Everyone was in nose holding mode and Maddy protested entering the area with some fervor. It was amazing to see the steaming, hissing, bubbling vats of sulfur all over such a huge area. The rangers give you a little tour and there is apparently no concern for any activity other than the standard caldron heating going on presently. After Montserrat where we had to stand off in the distance to look at the volcano it was interesting to see one up close.
Back on the road we stopped at various vista points and some road side stands for tastes of local cuisine. We also took a private walk through the botanical gardens. They were closed but Vision talked the guard into letting us see the place. There is another "cute" waterfall in the gardens and a wonderful variety of indigenous and imported flora. It is really a huge place; you could easily spend an entire day there.
Most of the E ticket attractions on our tour were on the south end of the island, and we of course were staying in the north. It had rained on and off, like it is supposed to do in a rain forest, but on the way home it really started coming down. Boxed up in a van on the winding mountain roads took its toll on some of the tourists and a few stops for lunch dispersal were called for.
We arrived back at Rodney Bay late in the day. It was a spectacular run about Saint Lucia and about as much touring as one could safely pack into a day. Everyone was pretty beat so we let Scuttlebutts cook dinner. Shortly thereafter the group was sleeping the sleep of the just, or at least the really tired.