Steam rising at the Sulphur Springs
The Sulphur Springs is one of Saint Lucia’s most popular attractions. Billed as the regions only ‘drive-through’ volcano, it features acres of bubbling and steaming sulphurous mud pits. There’s also Black Water Pools and Mud Baths for those who wish to enjoy a therapeutic mineral bath. There are many options from the north of the island for getting to the Sulphur Springs located just south of Soufriére including on the sea via power boat or catamaran, on land in air-conditioned buses or a combo land and sea option. Of course visitors can come by private taxi or rental vehicles as well. These tours are very popular in part because they offer a chance to see so much of the island along the way, including Marigot Bay, banana fields and the famous Pitons. Some tours to the Sulphur Springs also include a visit to the Diamond Falls & Botanical Gardens which is close by; nearly all include a tasty local lunch at a scenic location in Soufriere.
Gros Piton as seen from the south
Recognized as the most famous mountain pair in the world, the Pitons are Saint Lucia’s most stunning attraction and are a must see for every visitor. There are several ways to enjoy views of the mountains, the island’s signature landmarks which are included on the prestigious list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. First, great views of the Pitons are had on any excursion to Soufriere either by land or sea. Hiking to the top of Gros Piton gets participants up close and personal. A new interesting option is provided by a local Heritage Tour found in the ridge-top community of Chateau Belair, the highest on the island. This excursion features a very easy half-mile stroll that provides excellent vantage points from which to view the famous mountains, the entire south of the island and the blue Caribbean below. The island’s local helicopter company has excursions that feature breath taking Piton vistas. And, of course, many resorts in Soufriere offer uncompromised views of the Pitons all day long.
Diamond Falls and Botanical Gardens
As another one of Saint Lucia’s most popular sites, this Soufriere attraction is included in many excursion options coming by sea, land or combination land & sea or by taxi or rental vehicle. As part of one of the island’s most prominent plantations, the site is historically interesting and naturally beautiful. The gardens offer a leisurely stroll amidst a great variety of tropical flora. The falls is colourfully highlighted by minerals deposited from the warm water flowing down from the volcano above. The site also includes mineral baths first constructed for the rehabilitation of the troops of France’s King Louis XVI. There are pools in which guests can enjoy the naturally relaxing warm volcanic waters.
Bird watching is becoming a very popular activity for Saint Lucia’s visitors as there are a number of excellent locations island-wide to enjoy. Some resorts offer on-property bird watching; expert led excursions are available through the Department of Forestry as well. One of the most popular species is the colourful Saint Lucia Parrot (Amazona Versicolor), which has been brought back from the endangered ranks to where it is now often seen at many locations on island. Visit birdsofsaintlucia for more details.
For visitors interested in Saint Lucia’s history there are numerous locations island-wide offering a glimpse into the past. A few of the historic plantations are still in operation today growing cocoa, fruits, vegetables and flowers that offer very enjoyable and informative tours. Still others feature authentic recreations of plantation workings as they were over two centuries ago. Some of these sites are in the south and are offered as part of tours to other attractions in the Soufriére area. At many places around the island there are interesting ruins to be viewed to gain first hand insight into the past.
Besides Diamond Falls in Soufriere and En Bas Saut in the central rain forest reserve, which are presented elsewhere in this sightseeing section, Saint Lucia has numerous other waterfalls which can be visited. Several of them are easy to get to via taxi or rental vehicle and require very little walking. These include sites in Anse La Raye, Canaries, Soufriére, Micoud and Dennery. Bathing can be enjoyed at virtually all of the sites so take swimwear and a towel if you wish to go for a cooling dip.
Many resorts feature lush and colourful grounds for the enjoyment of their guests. In addition to Diamond Botanical Gardens in Soufriere, there are other gardens that feature information centers and labelled specimens to enjoy in the Castries area and near Praslin on the east coast.
Helicopters provide some dramatic views of the island, particularly of the Pitons and magnificent coastlines. The local helicopter company offers four sightseeing options and guests can depart from either airport or from select resorts which have helicopter landing pads.
The waters around Saint Lucia are home to several sea turtle species including Leatherback, Green and Hawksbill. Local environmentalists have been monitoring turtle activity for years and in collaboration with a community group, offer an overnight excursion to one of the island’s secluded east coast beaches to witness the laying of Leatherback eggs. From mid-March through July these prehistoric giants come ashore to excavate nests and lay eggs.
Rhythm of Rum
Saint Lucia’s local rum distillery offers a very interesting and informative tour showing how their various rums and rum products are produced. The tour also includes a rum tasting session. The distillery is located in the Roseau valley in the midst of one of the island’s largest banana plantations just south of Marigot Bay. A visit to the distillery will include some very scenic travel no matter where guests are staying on island.
4×4 Rainforest Tours
The 4×4 Rainforest excursions offered in Saint Lucia are very popular as they are a great way to see much of the island. Guests are generally picked up at their hotel by the comfortable open air safari-style 4×4 vehicle. There’s plenty of sightseeing all along the way as guests head south to rain forest locations in La Croix, Anse La Raye or Soufriére. Some of the tours include lunch and visits to other attractions.
A variety of rain forest experiences are offered on island. Besides the zip line excursions mentioned on the Active on Land page there is an aerial tram operation which takes guests high into the lush canopy in complete comfort. This tour is perfect for children and more sedate visitors.
Cultural Heritage Tours
With the assistance of UNESCO, a Cultural Heritage Tours program was initiated in Saint Lucia a number of years ago. This community-based initiative offers tours to historic sites, plantations, waterfalls and other interesting sites that present the history and traditions of the people. These excursions are very popular with guests who wish to see the ‘real’ Saint Lucia and are offered by most tour companies and resort excursion desks.
Union Mini-Zoo, Nature Trail, Medicinal Herb Garden and Interpretive Centre
Saint Lucia’s Department of Forestry operates a small zoo in a rural area not far north of Castries. Among zoo residents are Saint Lucia Parrots, boa constrictors, agoutis and iguanas. There is also a medicinal herb garden and nature trail that features a variety of the island’s tree and plant species. The interpretation centre is very informative. The Forestry Department facility is not included in any formal excursion but can easily be visited by taxi or rental vehicle.
Fond Latisab Creole Park
Located in the community of Babonneau in the northeast part of the island, Fond Latisab allows guests to experience the authentic local way of life showing such traditional practices as preparation of cassava bread, catching crayfish from a local stream and the collection of honey from beehives. A traditional Chak Chak band is often on hand to entertain.
Petit Piton from Chateau Belaire