Cruise from Puerto Rico down the Lesser Antilles
April 2015
Part III - St. Lucia

The second Caribbean island we visited was St. Lucia. We arrived early in the morning in Castries, the capitol of St. Lucia. Again: we could disembark at 8:00 a.m. Again: We always tried to get from the ship as early as possible to have most of the day for the land excursion. We were usually ready for breakfast at 7:30 at the latest. I ate proactively enough to last for the whole day, even if it was not my time for a heavy breakfast. Having lunch on the island means less time for sight-seeing and it saves money.

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Arriving in the harbor of Castries View to part of Castries and the hills behind
As soon as we did get from the ship we were looking for a taxi. There were many drivers offering trips to any place on the island or an island roundtrip. I have to mention again: The advantage is that you can determine yourself where you want to go and where you want to stop and for how long. I had read about the best places to visit in my guide book just before we arrive. By the way, all the taxi drivers also acted as a guide by explaining the sights and answering all our questions.

We made a deal with the taxi driver John for 160 USD for a round trip almost all day. Since this time a Chinese-American couple joined us each thus paid 40 USD. With a taxi you were able to see more and you also were always ahead of the slowly crowd of the ship's excursion packages.

The ship offered land excursions lasting 3.5 up to 7 hours between 59.75 and 89.75 USD per person. They also offered more than just land excursions: About 20 more activities you can choose from like snorkeling, sailing, safari, zipline adventure, sport fishing, whale watching, golfing or just swimming with prices ranging up to 159.00 USD.
Our driver John showing us his island
First we drove down south along the west coast over mostly hilly landscapes and tropical rainforest and plantations. Only at the towns of Anse La Raye and Canaries we hit the sea front, and finally Soufrière. Take a look at the photos while we get there.
It's a paradise with many tropical fruits
Banana plantation Bananas for sale
Beautiful house at the road Inviting café at the road
Driving over rivers Driving over hills
Arriving in Soufrière with the two Pitons in the rear
Getting closer and down to town
Soufrière has been named after the sulphur springs (soufre in French). Yes, there are many French names, because 90% of the history, since the middle of the 17th century, the French have ruled. And Soufrière was even the capital of St. Lucia during that time.
Driving through Soufrière surrounded by hills
An old house an old church
Getting closer to the old church Passing-by new yachts with an antique ship in the middle
The main tourist attraction is, of course, the Sulphur Springs south-east of Soufrière. We were following the sign "Drive-in-Volcano" (sounds dangerous) until we reached the parking lot before the gate, where we had to pay an entrance fee of 9.00 USD; in combination with a bath it's 12.00 USD. From here we had to walk up the path along the small sulphur creek flowing down from the spring.
Arriving at the sulfur springs Just follow the smell
A hole with hot and bubbling water
You should not leave the path secured with handrails. The underground is very thin. One scientist once broke in and died. Guides are there to keep you off. They are also explaining a lot.
How this was created will be explained by the guide
Following is an excerpt from "The waters flowing within the park and within the pools are ranked as highly as the waters of the Baden Baden in Germany, Yellow Stone Geysers and Hot Springs in Wyoming, USA and Onsen Ryokan, in Japan and are world renowned for their ability to reduce stress, cure rheumatism, psoriasis and other skin ailments".

Heino and I didn't need to reduce stress in the beginning, only after we had waited so long for our Chinese-American companions to finish their bath. If I would have known that we have plenty of time here then I also would have taken my trunks and towel with me to join the mud party and then after to cool off in the Touraille Waterfall pool (see later).
The hot muddy water is flowing down into a pool
These people did smear the mud to their bodies
Because they believe in its healthy property
People frolicking in the artificial pool And a lady with a guide is watching them
It's like having a mud party You can wash off the mud after
After the Sulphur Springs we drove back through Soufrière and then up the hill to the Touraille Waterfall and the beautiful nature around. I was told that this water is very cold, but would be a nice change from the hot Sulphur Spring. By the way, also here you have to pay an entrance fee of 3.00 USD.
That's what I like more: a clean waterfall and a clean colorful nature around
Ok, now back on the road and back up north. I would have liked to drive down and then up the east coast and then cross island back to Castries, but we would not have made it, because of the time we lost at the mud pool. The west coast is more interesting than the east coast, though. So we had another chance to enjoy its beauty. So join me with the following photos.
Towns along the west coast with colorful houses
Houses built on a hill Houses with a nice view
And what a nice view to Marigot Bay Getting closer to this idyllic place
And what a nice rocky coast Getting closer to the wonderful arch
An artful face at the road to Castries A beautiful face in a street of Castries
Since we arrived early enough in Castries, we had plenty of time left to stroll around in the town. Heino wanted to walk on his own, so I went on a beer pub spree alone. The pubs you see were all in one street and one after the other, like in a market.
Shall I drink a President beer in the People's Pub?
There are many pubs one after each other
There are all on main street or should be better called pub row
I finally found my favorite pub for pensioners These are no pubs, but market stalls
These are no booze but spices and herbs
The commercial harbor in Castries The yacht harbor in Castries
Back on our "Summit" cruise ship Leaving the harbor and the airport
Last glimpse on St. Lucia Before the sun disappears
That's it. Not much but all what you can do in a day between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Again: We always try to leave our arrival city right away in order to see the countryside first to be on the safe side to reach our ship before the scheduled departure. It gets very expensive if you miss the ship. One white lady told us that it once happened to her. She even was jailed and mistreated, because she didn't have the right documents, whatsoever, with her. Eventually she was able to fly out (I don't remember that she named the island).

Here at last some brief history about St. Lucia as copied from "Saint Lucia" in Wikipedia : "The French were the island's first European settlers. They signed a treaty with the native Carib Indians in 1660. England took control of the island from 1663 to 1667. In ensuing years, it was at war with France 14 times, and rule of the island changed frequently (it was seven times each ruled by the French and British). In 1814, the British took definitive control of the island".

St. Lucia became independent in the year 1979. It's a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The Queen Elizabeth II is still head of state and is represented locally by the Governor-General. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The House of Assembly has 17 members. The other chamber of Parliament, the Senate, has 11 members.

English is the official language, but Creole French (Patois) is spoken by 95%. According to the census in the year 2009 St. Lucia has 173,765 inhabitants, of these are around 5.6% whites, 70.3 are of African origin, the rest are mulattos, East Indians and indigenous Carib (only 0.6%).

The currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (EC$). The exchange rate is 2.65 EC$ for 1.00 USD. But there is no problem to pay in USD, but be careful not to mistake EC$ prices as USD.

All of the previous information are very brief, just to give you an idea of what kind of island St. Lucia is. If you want to know more about the places we have visited and more about politics, economy, etc. then look up any guidebook and the internet.

Created November 2015

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