St Lucia is a beautiful and lush island. Its another island with Volcanic soil so, like Madeira, it grows a plethora of produce. Some, such as bananas, coconuts, cocoa, avocados, mangoes and other citrus fruits are grown for exporting. They also grow food for local consumption, such as coffee, christophene, breadfruit, plantain, carrots, cabbage, pumpkin and a variety of root products such as dasheene, yams and sweet potatoes.
For my tour, I chose an independent company called Cosol. They are local, drive small mini busses and, when doing the tour, you really feel like you are a local. Our tour guide was known as ‘Yellow Bird’ and is the brother of the founder of the company (known as Colsol) who unfortunately died last year.
I disembarked the ship at about 8.15am and proceeded to the meet up point for the tour. I was greeted by a very happy guide who was introduced to us (by then, several others from the ship were there too) as Yellow Bird. We were allocated to a mini bus and off we went.
We drove through the town of Castries and up into the hill where we stopped for our first photo opportunity. It is important to know that when you stop at any of these places, there are vendors waiting to sell you stuff. Luckily, they do take ‘no’ and don’t pester you too much. Much of the stuff they were selling was jewellery and other hand made produce (I didn’t really look at much of it). We were informed that there would be vendors at other stops, too.
After stopping for the beautiful view of Arcadia docked in Castries, we then carried on to Morne Road to a banana plantation. Very fascinating to see how bananas grow.
As the banana mature, they cover them with a blue bag to protect them from the insects. Whilst in Madeira on the tour, I was told that they cover them like this to make them all grow the same size. Whilst we were at the banana plantation, there was an opportunity to taste a freshly picked banana, some banana chips (served with banana ketchup and barbecue sauce – I didn’t have the sauce).
Above you see a couple of stages of the banana tree.
We then drove through a fishing villages. This one was called Canaries and Yellow Bird described it as a poor village. It certainly looked a picturesque place to live. We were driven to a vantage point where we could take some photos.
Back into the Mini bus, then on to a stop for Breakfast. The breakfast consisted of a large selection of local dishes. I didn’t have much but everyone else raved about it. There was also plenty of liquid refreshments including Spiced Rum, Piton Beer and soft drinks. I was assured that the rum was very nice!
We then headed on towards Soufriere. It is a town on the West Coast of Saint Lucia, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The town and the surrounding district has a population of 7,935. It was colonized by the French and was the original capital of the island. We stopped for a photo of the Pitons, volcano and of Soufriere. Again, there were vendors trying to sell stuff. I spoke to one young lad who was looking to study engineering to help his family. I think he was looking for a donation to his college fund and made me a grasshopper out of banana leaves. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cash on me and did apologise, but he gave me the grasshopper anyway and thanked me for talking to him.
We went down the hill into Soufriere to catch the water taxi to Sugar Beach to snorkel. Yellow Bird was telling us that he used to be able to drive tourist there, but a resort purchased land on the only land route and then stopped tours going to the beach, but the resort didn’t own the beach as there are no private beaches in Saint Lucia. To get around this, Cosol tours (and others) started using the water taxi to get there. The resort are now OK with this and do supply some chairs on a small part of the beach for non resort customers. Sugar Beach is located right between the Pitons.
We were given an hour here to snorkel or to sit and drink! I had a good snorkel and saw a lot of fish – possibly more than I saw in the Great Barrier Reef, but it was very sunny here and the water was clear. Something that was lacking in the GBR. Forgive my photos as this was the first time I had used my gopro, but am in love with the quality of photos it takes!
After our hour of snorkelling (which went very quick), we had another trip in the water taxi back to the mini bus in Soufriere. We then headed to the drive in volcano. Surprisingly (not), when we opened the door, there was a strong smell of sulphur. Some of the group went for a dip into the mineral bath. My back was hurting a bit so I opted to watch from the top and take some photos.
After descending the steps, you arrive at the bathing area.
After a soak in the mineral bath, it was time to get out and get ‘mudded up’.
Over the other side of the bride was another pool and I took this photo.
While the others showered, I headed back to the mini bus. As they all got in the bus, there was a rather strong sulphuric smell following them!! Luckily, the next stop was the waterfall where they could have a rinse off in fresh water. This would be our last water stop.
The waterfall was a short drive away.
We then headed back to the restaurant where we ate breakfast and had lunch of bread and cheese, and some more refreshments. There was a couple of dogs there which I fed my food to (they got me some food but it had fish. I guess they don’t understand vegan in Saint Lucia, but I appreciated them trying).
As we headed back to the ship, once again driving the same route, we stopped to view Marigot Bay which is where Dr Doolittle was filmed. It looked like a very rich part of Saint Lucia.
We then continued back to the ship. On the way we stopped for one last photo of a naturally formed arch in the sea.
We arrived back at the ship at 4.30pm, so we’d had a whole day tour with Cosol’s Yellow Bird. I’m not sure if I mentioned above that there is unlimited alcohol/refreshments available throughout the tour – you just have to ask! The tour cost $75US per person and is a fabulous price for what you get. I would highly recommend Cosol tours and if you are visiting Saint Lucia whether on a cruise or a holiday, please consider Cosol tours. There is a link to their Facebook Page at the top of this blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog on Saint Lucia. My next stop is Aruba (18th January). All the images have been taken by me and have not been edited in any way so is a true representation. I also apologise for any spelling errors – I will check once I have a faster internet.