St. Lucia The Eden of the Caribbean

 

 

If you have ever taken a cruise of the southern Caribbean, you may have stopped here.

St. Lucia remains one of the most natural and beautiful cruise ship ports in the Caribbean.

If you only have one day in St. Lucia, what can you do to maximize your time? St. Lucia has many things to offer the cruise passenger. Pristine beaches, sightseeing and purchasing some local crafts are just some of the activities you can do.

Some of the shore excursions are as follows:

Take a day tour to Soufriere for a breath-taking view of the famous petit and gros pitons (the Twin Peaks). These peaks were formed when a mighty volcano exploded.

While near Soufriere you may also visit the Botanical Gardens. Here you will be taken on a short hike through the rain forest to visit the beautiful Diamond Falls. This waterfall is noted for changing color depending on the mineral content of the water. A friendly native can guide your tour through the Botanical Gardens. Your guide will point out many of the local flora and fauna. You will also trek past sulfur baths that are still used today to ease various aches and pains.

 

 

 

DIAMOND

FALLS

Also near by is what the St. Lucian's claim is the world's only drive-in volcano. Here you will walk into a volcanic cauldron created from the Caribbean's volcanic region. You will see super heated bubbling mineral water and at one of the springs you can even put your hands into the hot water (but not for long).

If your ship docks in Castries there are also neat things to do in this vacinity. Note: There are two areas in Castries where the ship can dock. If you're on the opposite side of the harbor from downtown Castries you may want to take a short taxi ride to the center of town, take the mile walk around the harbor to town or take the water taxi, when available.

Taking a walking tour of this small city is a lot of fun. Castries thrives as a West Indian port with fishing boats that still line up in the morning before heading to market.

Find the town square just a couple of streets back from the waterfront. Here you will find the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception built in 1894. This ranks as one of the prettiest churches I have ever seen in my travels. Inside the church are hand-painted murals showing how the early missionaries brought Christianity to the island.

Be sure not to miss a walk around the colorful central market. Local fisherman, craftsmen and farmers sell their wares here. Unfortunately this market is new and relatively sterile. If you had the opportunity to visit Castries before the mid-1990's you may have had the opportunity to see the original market which was more befitting the West Indian style. If you're looking to buy a souvenir at this market, you may be able to pick up a local craft or some island spices. This market, however, is pretty much divided into two sections: the lower market is not a tourist market but a busy main shopping and trading place for the locals. However an upstairs area is more for tourist looking to purchase souvenirs. The main craft market for purchasing souvenirs is just across the street from the main market.

 

THE PORT OF

CASTRIES

ST. LUCIA

If you would like to take a short sightseeing tour of St. Lucia and still have time to walk around town, I would suggest a taxi ride to Morne Fortune, sight of 18th century Fort Charlotte. The fort isn't much to look at, but the view overlooking Castries harbor is well worth the trip. Your quick tour can take you through some of the countryside, which offers some beautiful vistas. During this quick tour some stops and sites may include Pigeon Island Nat'l Park, a banana plantation, Marigot Bay (Where Dr. Doolittle was filmed, not the Eddie Murphy one.), Anse La Raye, plus.

For taking home genuine island crafts make sure your driver stops at The Bagshaws, where you can pick up some beautiful silk-screen wall hangings, placemats, shirts, and skirts.

I've covered most of the highlights of this beautiful island, however if you're a beach person, don't worry, a local taxi will drop you off at one of the many near by beaches.

If you would like to make this island one of your cruise stops, please contact PAK-N-GO Cruises and Tours.

(Kristopher Krenz MCC) Email kkrenz@cruisepakngo.com

 

 

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Note: This article is not a reprint. All tour suggestions are based on Maureen and Kris's own travel experience to St. Lucia. All photos were taken by Kris Krenz and may not be reprinted. Not responsible for any errors or omissions.