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It is about time that I write about my favorite stop during our Southern Caribbean cruise. While Allan had been here before, this was my first time visiting Saint Lucia. And I was not disappointed! Saint Lucia is well known for the beautiful beaches and the two mountains, the Pitons, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Unlike the other tours during this trip which were booked through Viator, I booked our island tour directly through Cosol Tours. Their great reviews on cruisecritic.com and other sites, led me to trust that they were THE tour group to use – and I was right!
This was the most expensive tour we took all week – it cost us US $75 each. But it included food and drinks and the most memorable day of our week. How can you go wrong with that?
Our group from the cruise ship was rather large – I would say easily over 100 of us had hired this particular tour company. We may have been even bigger than any of the cruise ship’s own tours! We were divided up into vans of about 14 each. One van contained the families with children in strollers. A separate truck driven by the owner met us a various stops – he had the coolers with the unlimited drinks!
Our tour left at 9:30am from the cruise ship dock. The tour operators were easy to spot with their Cosol Tours signs and shirts. They even helped us find sunscreen – which we felt we would need that day. One of the things I loved about this tour was the fact that there were frequent stops (almost every 10 minutes) for quick photo ops.
Our first real stop was at a banana plantation. We learned about the banana growth cycle and tasted banana products. Everyone has heard of banana chips, but banana BBQ sauce and ketchup? I certainly had to try them! You can buy the products at these local stands.
As we kept driving up, we stopped at a spot where we could try locally made spice rum. This was also our first beverage stop and opportunity to use the restrooms.
We drove on through the fishing villages of Anse La Raye, Canaries, and Marigot Bay, best known as the location where Dr. Doolittle was filmed.
We stopped for a late breakfast. We sampled local delicacies – local fish cakes, johnny cakes, coconut cakes, mangoes, passion fruit and sugar cane. The truck with the drinks pulled up so that we could enjoy rum punch, water, local beer and sodas.
We headed to Soufriere where we boarded boats to Sugar Beach. What an amazing place! Located between the two Pitons, this white sand beach houses a fancy resort. One of the beach areas is marked off from swimming and another area for snorkeling. The water was so clear that it was deceptive because you thought that it wasn’t that deep while it really was. I did not go snorkeling here but Allan said that there were plenty of fish to see. I relaxed on the beach enjoying several cool dips in the refreshing water. Bring your towel because there are not a lot of chairs to rent out!
Coming back to Soufriere we went to THE place that Allan wanted to see – the world’s only drive-in volcano. What this means is simply that you drive up to where you can be explained about the volcano – you’re not driving into the volcano. I dipped in the mineral mud bath – mostly because I’d been told I would look 10 years younger! It was a bit strange but you walk through a large bath of hot mineral water, then apply the mud to your skin, then go back through the bath of hot mineral water. The water is so dirty, that you won’t be able to get it all off.
From the mud baths, our tour took us to Toraille Waterfall. This was where you could really clean off all of the mud! We stood under the cascading water. It was so cold!
On our drive back, we stopped at the same location as where we ate before to enjoy some local hot bread and cheese. So good!
Finally, we had a quick stop at Morne Fortune and the Governor General House for photo ops.
Pro Tips for Saint Lucia
- Bring your camera
- Wear your swimsuit under your clothes
- Bring your towel
- If you’ve got snorkeling gear, bring it (you can rent for US$10 otherwise)
- Wear a darker swimsuit or one that you won’t be sad to lose (the mud can stain)
- Try the local beer – Piton is refreshing!
Saint Lucia turned out to be my favorite stop on our cruise. I can’t wait to go back and spend a week or so on this lovely island. Check out posts on other great port days spent in St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, Barbados, and San Juan. Curious about our itinerary and budget? Read all the details here.
What are your recommendations for a can’t miss spot in Saint Lucia or what are you looking forward to seeing?
Annick, The Common Traveler