----- St Lucia ---------------
I have wanted to visit St Lucia for quite a long time. St Lucia is revered as one of the most beautiful islands in the world and synonymous with its towering Pitons jutting out of the sea. The island is as a local told me upon visiting a living island. It is lush, green and volcanically active which offers a treasure trove of activities for the nature lover. The island is great for its many beautiful vistas especially the Pitons which are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many of its activities include visiting the sulfur springs and mud baths of Soufriere, hiking the interior, swimming in rivers and below waterfalls, zip lining, scuba diving, etc. The list goes on.
However with the contrast of such beauty and some of the most luxurious resorts, there is much poverty to be found. Such is the case of the village of Soufriere found at the base of the Pitons and just around the corner from the opulent Jade Mountain resort which is the island's most expensive resort to visit. Although we weren't there to visit such luxurious places, our desire was to see the raw and natural beauty of this enchanting island. The island is completely mountainous with thick dense jungles covering its entirety. During our short stay here we hired a local to take us around driving the dangerous mountain roads.
We visited a local road side liquor vendor with the absolutely best spiced rum I have ever tasted. I do not say this lightly but the BEST spiced rum. The rum had roots in the bottle similar to a Dominican Mama Juana. Plus, I had heard of this famous but hard to find Nutz and Rum liquor. They only had one bottle of this liquor which they say even on St Lucia where it is made is not very common. I had to buy it even without tasting it. However upon later tasting it, it was worth buying. It is a thick rum that tastes like peanut butter.
We also visited the base of the Pitons and the sulfur springs / mud baths of Soufriere. Passing through the impoverished village of Soufriere reminded me of the great economic distinctions between the locals and the wealthy tourists who frequent the island. It is sad to see that people have to live in such conditions. The sulfur springs were very nice. Junior and I were the only ones to actually go in the baths, but we refused to jump in a small mud pool with 30 other people. We worked our way up the stream a little and found a very small waterfall of hot water and mud. We sat here enjoying a little more tranquility. Others had noticed how we left the crowds and also came near to our spot, but at least it wasn't crowded.
At the end of our adventure for the day we were taken to a jungle waterfall where we swam in the cool waters in isolation. Our day was nice, but to get from Castries to Soufriere was over an hour drive there and then the same coming back. We had to manage our time wisely. Although we had nice views of the majestic Pitons, it would be nice if ever in the future to take a boat trip to get a full unobstructed view from the sea.