The Castries craft market
The local crafts market in Castries -- crowded but filled with great things like baskets! My favorites were the tiny baskets filled with local spices (including whole nutmegs and such). The produce market next door is fun to wander, too.
Everybody dresses like this on...
Everybody dresses like this on St Lucia ... NOT! But if you are cruising on a luxurious Italian cruise ship like the Costa Allegra you do. But only for formal occasions while shipboard. Let's get out of this formal attire and get on the island.
THE HIGHEST POINT ON THE...
THE HIGHEST POINT ON THE ISLAND OF ST. LUCIA IS MOUNT GIMIE, AT 3117 FEET (950 METERS). THE CLIMB TO THE TOP IS OFFERED AS A TOUR ADVENTURE: You will need boots.
‘Mount Gimie, 3118ft’; a rugged mountain path will take you to St Lucia’s highest point. It is a long, hard trek, but as you progress through virgin rainforest, some wonderful sights will greet you.
Quite an amazing hike. You have the option of a day walk, or an over nighter.
You will need boots.
This is not for the faint hearted. This program is not included in the cost of your Le SPORT holiday. The price does include transport, lunch, drinks and any specialized equipment needed.
THE SUMMIT IS ALSO MENTIONED...
THE SUMMIT IS ALSO MENTIONED IN AN ECOLOGICAL VEIN: Only as we turned off onto a ruined cobblestone lane, in the dark shadow of Mount Gimie, did Martial come to life - as if the humid forest air swept the smoke from his brain to reveal an almost academic bent. Before long we were walking deep into a slice of virgin rain forest; he and other Soufriere activists had recently purchased the land to save it from the local industry - charcoal harvesting, which reduces acres of forest to burnt waste-lands for meager profits.
'Look up there.' Martial pointed at one tree. 'There's $2,000 worth of bromeliads on that tree. Ten times more than it would be worth as charcoal.' He shrugged. 'Only we don't have the international market.'
Soon, Martial was not so much following a path as falling down a moss-covered creek bed, swinging Tarzan-style from vine to vine. There was no doubt that we were in the heart of a living, breathing organism - a world of ancient and implacable order, where 300-year-old trees rotted and fell, carving holes in the forest for the next generation to grow. The trails were strewn with fallen orchids and golden seedpods that opened to reveal velvet linings. In the canopy above the bloodred heliconia, we heard the cries of the jacquot, the St. Lucia parrot, saved from the brink of extinction in the early 1980s.
On the way to Pidgeon Island,...
On the way to Pidgeon Island, our cab driver suggested a tour through the north country backroads. This was a wonderful glimpse into the lifestyles of many St. Lucians and the scenery was breathtaking. We tasted fresh coconut, learned about growing and cooking bananas, saw kids being bathed outside and families going to church, etc. I'd recommend getting off the 'beaten path' with a trusted guide (ask your concierge).
Go on a hike through the...
Go on a hike through the interior rainforest. A lot of the land is protected so you can only walk with a guide from the forestry department, but you can get info from them and they are really friendly and helpful. We never had the time, but that is only reason to go back...if you are interested in seeing the St. Lucia (Jacquot) Parrot, go very early in the morning or at dusk...you can get a guide from the forestry department.
There are open-back vehicles...
There are open-back vehicles that provide tours such as: Jungle Tours or Safari Adventures. These are a wonderful way to sight-see.
Whale-watching is also available
A lovely, sequestered, natural...
A lovely, sequestered, natural harbor that once provided a hideout for pirate ships, Marigot Bay also served as the setting for the film Dr. Doolittle.
And, there is an active...
And, there is an active volcano on the island. Sulfur smell was very strong. A tourist had fallen through a crust in the ash and got terribly burned. They are more careful with tourists now.
This shot is taken on the...
This shot is taken on the opposite side of the island. We came in on the Pacific side. This is the Atlantic side.
This is a grade school. The...
This is a grade school. The children were dressed flawlessly. This was in direct contrast to the poor conditions on St Lucia.
We went everywhere you could...
We went everywhere you could possibly go while on St Lucia. This is one of the main streets in town.