Soufreire by Foot, (still) St Lucia

Determined to see All The Nature, we brought the boat back down to Soufreire, and settled between the Pitons.

After morning yoga, we moved the boat to Malegrout, for easy dinghy access to town, and caught a bus to the turn-off below the Tete Paul nature trail, and walked up a surprisingly steep road to the little park. The sign at the crossroad is a little overgrown, but if you part the reeds you can a huge arrow pointing to the right. Once you reach the park proper, the path is short and mostly flat, and the views of the Pitons are well worth the exorbitant park fee which is definitely going to the park and not directly to the one loan gatekeeper who doesn’t carry change. Prices, as usual here, are quoted in US dollars.

We walked back down the hill, intending to catch a bus, but then got picked up by a friendly guy on his way to work at our next destination, the drive-in volcano. The steamy water bubbling out of the ground is the source of some of the black streams we’d seen earlier.

It also feeds into a set of hot baths, entrance included in the same ticket fee, and we got a nice soak in this hot but weirdly opaque water.

We were on our way back down to town (and check out this kiosk just out of view of the volcano! Nature’s Local Cuisine!)

…when we noticed a big stone entrance to a little dirt path. The map here is not always reliable, and there was no sign, but it seemed that this might be the way to a waterfall, so we gave it a wander, and were rewarded.

But at this point it was getting late, so we basically snapped a photo and started high-tailing it back, hoping to the boat before we lost the light. We were almost chased down by a guy who was really hard to understand, but eventually made it clear that this was private property and we needed to pay to be there. He said 25, which was roughly what our guidebook had mentioned for one of the waterfalls, so we gave him EC$50, and went on our way. Back home, we rewarded ourselves for our busy day with a freshly made hot buttered rum, and of course more Christmas cracker crowns.

In the morning we stopped by a grocery store for a day’s snacks, and were amused at all the shrink-wrapped single-serve melon slices. So of course we bought one. And we trooped up the road towards another waterfall, finding several nice viewpoints along the way.

The trail we followed ended up taking us back to the same waterfall we’d seen the previous day. Except this time, we had some time to linger, and the owner was around long enough to convey that the entry fee was actually US$25 per person. That’s a pretty steep entry fee here, and you can see the money definitely isn’t going to sign maintenance. Still, the trails are mostly well maintained, and the falls are lovely. Neither of us had been in a warm waterfall before, and the experience of getting that waterfall massage without the attendant freezing effect is very pleasant.

We took a “short cut”, hoping to find the mystery waterfall, but ended up at the top of the trail above Diamond instead. Well, we had given it a good effort. With that checked off, we’d finished our list, and it was time to start looking for a weather window to for our trip to Dominica. In the meantime, we moved our boat back between the Pitons and settled in for another beautiful evening and morning. It’s truly amazing to be able to wake up to a view like this.

And that weather window came quickly, and it was time to sail back up to Rodney Bay to get our outbound COVID tests. Goodbye, Pitons! Goodbye, Soufriere!