Seduced by Saint Lucia
By Anita Draycott
Unabashedly sensual, Saint Lucia is a siren luring lovers to partake of her many tropical temptations. The ancient Arawak natives referred to the island’s iconic Petit Piton and Gros Piton, rising dramatically from the Caribbean Sea, as “the breasts of the earth.” The well-travelled Oprah Winfrey named those twin peaks as the “Number One thing to see in your lifetime.”
Ready to be seduced? Begin your morning with a stroll around the capital, Castries, where you might want to pick up some straw hats, tropical fruit or spices from the lively farmers’ and crafts market (closed Sundays). Head to the pier where you’ll take a 45-minute ferry to Soufrière, the island’s oldest town and former French colonial capital.
If spending the day on a palm-fringed beach appeals, head to Anse Chastanet where just steps from the shore, you’ll find some of the Caribbean’s best snorkeling and diving around the coral reefs that are home to more than 150 varieties of tropical fish.
Nearby more natural wonders beckon. Part of the Soufrière Estate, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the flower-laden paths of the Botanical Gardens lead to a natural gorge. Water bubbling to the surface from underground sulphur springs tumbles downhill to become the Diamond Waterfall. Adjacent to the falls, slip into your swimsuits and take a relaxing soak in one of the curative mineral pools where Napoleon’s bride, Joséphine Bonaparte, who spent much of her youth in Saint Lucia, is said to have bathed.
This geological complex also boasts the world’s only “drive-in” volcano. Actually, you don’t drive into it but around it on “Superman Drive,” following the flow around Petite Piton where Christopher Reeves, after seducing Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), flew to pluck a flower for her in the movie Superman.
When you’re ready, take the ferry back, slip into something that shows off your tan and head up to Rodney Bay Village, about 15 minutes north of Castries. The cuisine of Saint Lucia, like its heritage, is a melting pot of flavours reflecting the island’s rich cultural mix. The Arawaks who travelled to Saint Lucia in dugout canoes from South America introduced such fruits as sour sop and guava and the slow-cooked pepper pot stew. The French are credited with the creation of spicy Creole dishes. Rum makes its way into rich meat sauces, fish ceviche, and mango and banana flambées. And who could argue with that perfect marriage of rum and chocolate?
The night is young so head to a club and perfect your soca and calypso steps under the stars.
By Anita Draycott