Take Me Baaaaaaaack!
As I write this, we are in the throws of the COVID19 epidemic in New York City. There are torrential downpours and grey skies. There are many places I’d rather be right now. As Pirates of the Caribbean plays in the background, I decide I’d rather be in the Caribbean. When I imagine green palm trees blowing around lazily, strong rum punch, world class sunsets, and warm sun I think of St Lucia. I specifically think of my one lavish day in Soufriere.
Speaking of piracy and robbery, Amanda (my best friend) and I got the trip for a steal. (I’m sorry, but the stupid jokes are going to come hard and fast, I’m a parent now.) We paid a little over $400 for a round trip flight and hotel combo for a long weekend in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia. We went during hurricane season, but that was a risk worth taking.
Typically, St Lucia is famed as a romantic spot for newly married couples. We might have been the only couple on the island NOT in a romantic relationship. Apparently, that meant we were ripe for the taking. More on that story, here.
Marigot Bay is secluded, and is only accessible by a small ferry that takes a minute or so to get across the bay. Besides relaxing and eating, there isn’t too much to do in the ol’ bay. Our driver from the airport offered to take us around Soufriere, the busier part of the island for the day – and so we did just that.
Our day began with a drive to see St. Lucia’s world famous Pitons! Gros & Petite Piton is a UNESCO world heritage site. They are two looming mountainous volcanic plugs that sit side by side. They are the symbol for St Lucia and are largely what makes the island so famous and sets it apart from other islands. If you are visiting Soufriere, particularly for one day, you MUST visit.
They are so famed and beloved that the local beer is named after them…Piton beer!
The enormity of the Pitons is incredible. I’ve never felt so small in my life. Mostly because I eat so very much. Seeing the Pitons from anywhere on the island is a beautiful sight. You almost might feel like you are seeing Te Fiti from Moana, post scary monster thing of course. Our guide asked, “can you believe that some people hike the taller piton? It takes about eight hours!” And, mmmmm no! My fat ass could not believe that people spend their free time doing that when there is rum punch to drink and caribbean treats to eat. I think viewing them from afar was a grand enough way to enjoy them.
The next stop were the sulfur mud baths. They’re slimy, they’re gray, and they’re stinky. But, the benefits far outweigh all of that. It was nice to visit a place where locals actually hang out. There were far more of them than tourists which was exciting to see. The baths are said to heal or help eczema, arthritis, sun burns, and just about most diseases and ailments that you can imagine.
Before we even got to the baths, we were given a tour of the park surrounding it. It was interesting to see the fruit trees that grow in the area and to see the actual sulfur springs. Not nearly as interesting to smell them.
First you paint yourself, or each other with white therapeutic mud and let it dry. If you really feel like being weird or creeping your tour guide out, ask them to paint you. Some guides even do really cool designs with the mud if you want a good picture.
After it dries, you make your way into the murky black water and relax. It’s not to be taken too seriously though! Nearly all of us strangers were laughing about how crazy we looked with the mud all over ourselves and mostly our faces.
Our guide timed our stay in the bath, and I’m so glad that he did. He has seen people who stay in too long and collapse once they get out. Some even need to be dragged out. I’m pretty glad my one day in Soufriere didn’t end with me laying on the pavement unable to move. As soon as I got onto the side of the bath, I felt my legs go to jello – my body had never been so relaxed in my life!
Be sure to wear a suit that you don’t mind throwing out afterwards. You definitely will smell like sulphur after. I was REALLY self conscious about this because we still were seeing more of the Soufriere and now smelled like a baby’s doodoo diaper. However, locals are SO used to the smell because the sulphur springs are so highly used that no one ever comments or says, “why do you smell like you have never showered in your life?”
After the experience, our guide bought us two fresh coconuts to drink. Someone on the side of the road hacked two open and our guide paid him. I loved informal tone and matter of fact transaction of that mini experience. I die laughing every time I see this photo. We look like aliens who have never seen, nor heard of a coconut before.
Boucan at Hotel Chocolat
If you are looking for a restaurant that has the best views on the island, look no further than Boucan by Hotel Chocolat. Our guide was so nonchalant about this place and framed it merely as, “a nice place to have lunch.” Boy, did he undersell it! Having only one day in Soufriere might stress you out because in that case you need to pick the perfect lunch spot. Look no further, fam…
Let me cut to the chase. We were one of exactly two parties that were present for lunch. I can’t wrap my head around that because these are the views! As we waited for the staff to get our table ready, we kicked back with a cocktail.
The menu is centered around cacao. That means almost everything on the menu has cacao in it, including the burgers, scallops, and gazpacho. I ordered the Boucan “roti” because it deemed itself as a dish native to St Lucia.
For dessert, we ordered the “genesis of chocolate.” It was a history lesson as much as a meal. It’s a nine stage tasting which tells the story of cacao from its most bitter to its sweet finalized product, all in the best taste and gastronomic genius of course. The dessert is rounded out with a shot of drinking chocolate.
This was probably the bougiest dining experience I’ve had while traveling. I tell everyone about it, and cannot wait to return.
Rum and Coke (How Dare I?)
Our last stop of the day was to go rum tasting. We stopped at a road side rum venue with a beautiful view. If you only have one day in Soufriere, PLEASE make it involve rum tasting! The island is well known for their rum, and for good reason!
Our guide introduced us to this man, Morgan, who was the procurer of all types of rums. I don’t remember that his name was actually Morgan. Captain Morgan is a rum, so I thought I’d roll with it. We were given a small shot glass of all the rums on the table (wooooo boy!)
Morgan started us off with very sweet and creamy options, some tasted like a smoothie or ice cream! The rums got stronger and less candy-like as we went down the table. Knowing that I’m terrible at taking shots, I asked Morgan (now I’m thinking his name was Terry.) I asked TerrMorgan if I could purchase a bottle of Coke to chase my rum. He and our guide looked at me as if I asked to drink out of the toilet.
Then, it made sense. I had definitely insulted TerrMorgan. St Lucia is one of the finest procurers of rum, and hear I am sullying the taste of his homemade creations with soda. I couldn’t go without it though, or I’d puke out the rum which I think somehow would have been worse. He didn’t say anything, but I could see the hurt in TerrMorgan’s eyes.
My favorite wound up being a bottle of passion fruit rum. It was homemade, authentic, and had hundreds of passion fruit seeds inside. True story: I declared this at customs when back in the US. I waited forever to see a customs agent who then laughed at me and asked me why I declared it.
After some purchases, I saw something that stopped me dead in my tracks in the gift area. It shone like a beacon of yellow absurdity. What…what…what was…banana ketchup!? Popular in St Lucia, not so much in the US. It’s a ketchup minus the tomatoes. Like all good local food, it was invented during a time of necessity when tomatoes were not available. There are no tomatoes in it, but there are vinegar and spices.
Courtesy: St Lucia News
It was a wonderful time in Soufriere, St Lucia during our one day adventure! I’m so glad that we got to see some of the unique features of the island!