There is nothing quite like flying over the Caribbean Sea and catching a glimpse of the beautiful arrays of blue and green. You can sense the excitement, the beaches and you know your vacation is just moments away. The captain comes announces the beautiful thirty-degree weather, not a cloud in sight, but you are completely captivated – instantly – with the terrain, the beauty of this volcanic island. If I can recommend anything, it is choosing a window seat facing east – left when facing the cockpit if you have left a snowy Canadian winter, like myself!
If you have the chance to select any full-day excursion, I highly recommend the Land and Sea Tour. If you want to truly experience the culture and diversity of this island, put on some comfy shoes and your favourite lotion and take a ride through hairpin turns and endless scenery. Regardless of your starting point, the guides will not disappoint and if you have come to St. Lucia with a burning bucket list, don’t hesitate to share it with them, in some cases, they will try their best to tick a few items off your list.
The first stop on our tour was the banana plantation. Bananas are one of St. Lucia’s largest exports and farmers take great care of the fruit. The flowers are covered to protect the fruit from bugs, birds, and exposure to too much sun. The banana flowers are very large and once the flower falls off, the tree is cut down allowing new ones to grow. The local bananas are smaller than the ones we import into Canada and they are packed full of juicy flavour. If possible, pick up some banana ketchup at the market, it is quite tasty.
Next stop, the world’s only active ‘drive-in’ volcano. There are portions of a dormant volcano, last erupted in 1766, that can be accessed by vehicle and on foot. While at Sulphur Springs near the town of Soufrière, you can either take a tour and hear the history of the volcano, or relax in a mineral-filled mud bath.
The oldest botanical garden on St. Lucia is located in Soufrière, known as the Diamond Botanical Gardens. There are several species of flowers, native trees, and beautiful paths which winds through a lush forest. As a tropical island with a rainforest, the climate is ideal for some of the most colourful tropical plants and flowers which are almost always in season. One of the most incredible features of the garden is the diamond waterfalls and hot springs.
After seeing winding your way down through Castries, the capital of St. Lucia, immersing in the culture and beautiful sights, eating a delicious mountainside lunch with the most beautiful view of the pitons, it is time to set for the sea. The land portion takes you south on the west side of the island. So heading back will take your north on the Caribbean Sea. This brings an entirely new perspective of everything you have just visited. The pitons, the lush greens blended with turquoise blues, its sheer bliss.
I must say, the latter half of this excursion winds down considerably. I reccomend (especially for the photographers), grabbing a fruity beverage and catching a starboard seat on the catamaran and letting those rays soak in. Keep your eyes peeled though, as there are many beauty shots. Mid-way through the trip north the guide will stop for a little snorkeling for those who want to experience schools of tropical fish.
Next detour is a quiet little troll in Marigot Bay. The boats, the homes and the terrain are picturesque it is hard to pick a favourite here.
After a fantastic day discovering what makes St. Lucia such a gem. It’s time to get back to the heart of our vacation. Relaxing beach side. For us, that was Rodney Bay which was close to so many rich amenities including: shopping, dining, walkable beaches, snorkeling and water activities. It is close to Pigeon Island, a national park on the north west corner of the island, it is virtually where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean and its breathtaking. For more on our Pigeon Island click here.
All photos ©Kristene Sweet Photography. Do not use without permission.