Roadtrips to Soufriere and the Pitons, St Lucia

Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia La Toc,

After two days of sunning ourselves, catching up with our jet lag and reading our books, it was time to head to our next destination – Sandals La Toc.

We hired a car from Best Rates Car Rental (highly recommended) and a 4X4 was delivered to our hotel ready for us to throw our bags into, crank up Blazin’ FM and roll out onto the island in.

Both of us much prefer travelling by car in foreign countries. You have so much more freedom to explore without the inevitable fee of a guide and all the added extras or even worse; the giant tour buses!

We had planned to arrive in La Toc in the evening and had a tour of the grounds when we arrived. The hotel is vast and spread across 210 acres. We were at the top of the resort in Sunset Bluff, far away from the throb of music coming from the main pool area.

Having been recently refurbished, the bathtub on the balcony of our Oceanview Butler Suite was a definite highlight of the room, but the rest of it was slightly mismatched and lacked atmosphere. A beautiful four poster wooden bed right next to a state of the art modern white bathroom. Regardless, it was comfortable and would definitely be enough space for a couple for a week.

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We decided to watch the sunset from the bathtub in the room and ordered room service from our delightful butler Levister.

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Eating on the balcony, we were in bed by 9.30pm ready for an early start the next morning for the sunrise.

Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia La Toc,

Sunrise was a flop, the sky was as moody as a teenager having a strop, but it was nice to be up before any of the other guests. The resort eerily quiet and the sea in a state of calm, no footprints yet on the beach. The furry felines slinked over to see if we had any food and upon realizing we didn’t, settled for cuddles instead.

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Golf caddies started to head up and down the hills, the drivers giving each other a silent wave as they passed and we knew it was our cue to head to breakfast.

Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia La Toc,

I ordered French toast with banana, it was chewy and not great but the buffet fruit, cakes and patisserie were good. We wolfed it down and started off on our roadtrip adventure.

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We were driving towards the south of the island and Soufriere, stopping along the way in colourful coastal towns befriending locals.

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The waterfalls had been described to us as something we had to do while in St Lucia, we were told they are unbelievably beautiful so drove through the rainforest to get there. As soon as we arrived a coach load of tourists also arrived and we hopped back into the car, keen for a change of plan.

Soufriere called out to us with its beautiful bright colourful walls and houses.

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Stunning beaches.

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And incredible views.

Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia, Soufriere Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia, Soufriere

Even with the grey weather looming over us and the clouds exploding unexpectedly and showering us every so often.

Our stomachs were telling us it was time to eat so we consulted trip advisor for recommendations and found Jade Mountain up there with the best. I read out the directions to Ben, severely questioning myself looking from the map to the road as we started traversing a sheer cliff that Google Maps insisted was indeed a man-made road.

It didn’t get better as the tarmac disappeared beneath us, worn away to reveal pot holes the size of tables, but passing so many cars reassured us that we must be on the right road.

I was very quiet until we reached Jade Mountain, it was only later when Ben admitted it was the most terrifying drive he’d ever done that I said I thought we might have hurtled off the cliff at any moment.

It was completely worth it though for the views that were waiting for us. We were told (even though we weren’t guests of the hotel) that a shuttle would pick us up to take us to the restaurant.

It’s now I should tell you that I have never seen anything like it before in my life. A feat of architecture and the most incredible structure, it looked like an alien space ship had landed on top of the mountain and lowered the walkways here, there and everywhere.

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Lunch was lovely. Nothing too special but it was the views we were really there for and they were spectacular. Looking out over the ocean below and the famous Pitons in the distance.

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The staff were unbelievably friendly and accommodating and we promised ourselves that if we ever came back to St Lucia we would have to stay here.

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Feeling refreshed and revived after our treacherous drive up, the drive back down wasn’t so bad, we were relieved to get back to solid ground and proper roads.

The staff from Jade Mountain had urged us to go and visit the volcano and the sulphur springs, so we set off in search of them.

We paid our entry fee and made our way towards the ominous pit of black molten rock and the dusty surface. Our guide reassured us that the sulphuric smell in the air (although disgusting) meant that we were safe and the volcano wouldn’t erupt. If the smell stops and all the animals in the area disappear, let’s just say it’s bad news.

Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia, Volcano and Sulphur Springs Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia, Volcano and Sulphur Springs Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia, Volcano and Sulphur Springs

Tourists used to be able to walk right into the pit and get closer to the black pools, however one unfortunate incident that lead to a guide falling into the pit after he tried to stop his group from jumping on the thin crust meant that those tours quickly stopped. We’re told the guide is fine by the way, but he’s had a complete career change since…

We opted not to swim in the sulphuric waters. We’re familiar with the benefits of the water mixed with the volcanic clay and the soft skin you’re left with afterwards, but know a great place you can get the same benefits much closer to home!

Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia, Volcano and Sulphur Springs Katie Heath, KALANCHOE, St Lucia, Volcano and Sulphur Springs

With the sun starting its descent, we trundled back through the rain forest and the winding roads.

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Making one stop for the most spectacular sunset over the bay. We watched in perfect silence as the yellow turned to orange and then red and then pink and finally purple, taking one final bow before melting away behind the curtains of clouds to the warming melody of the cicadas and tree frogs.

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