Caribbean Coast Road
In going from Castries to Hewanorra Airport at Vieux Fort, travelers have the choice of two branches of a road which circles the southern half of St Lucia. The western branch goes through Soufrière and is the prime route that cruise-ship passengers take out of Castries to visit the Pitons.However, the pavement between Soufrière and Vieux Fort is rough so the driving will be slow until its scheduled resurfacing.
Marigot Bay, the most beautiful on St Lucia, is best viewed from a vista point on the road that cuts between the main Caribbean coastal road and the bay itself. The beaches are lined with palms and yacht traffic adds extra interest.At the end of the road there is a shuttle craft which goes to the hotels and restaurants on the opposite shore.The harbor is so deep and sheltered that the British fleet supposedly hid here from the French by covering their masts with palm fronds.In April 1794, Queen Victoria's father, the Duke of Kent, landed here with grenadiers to wrest the island from French hands.The film musical Doctor Doolittle was filmed here in 1967 and has left a permanent mark on the names of some of the local establishments.Marigot is a French Antilles word for river which runs into wetlands by the sea.
Soufriere, St Lucia
The colorful fishing village of Soufrière is wrapped around a beautiful bay and is best seen from an overlook on the main road to Vieux Fort which ascends the hill which forms the southern arm of the bay.The town was founded in about 1745 with its most prominent features being the town square, the church on the square and the many buildings with filigreed balconies and tin roofs.The town square was the site of the guillotine erected during the French Revolution in 1780. Many plantation owners and their families were executed here.The wharf, a block away from the town square, is the stopping point of several sightseeing cruises.The town's main claim to fame is that Josephine, who became the wife of Emperor Napoleon Boneparte in 1796, was born in Soufrière in 1763.
Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built between 1951-53 and is the third on this site. The belfry was also constructed around this time. Prior belfries were destroyed by earthquakes and fires.
The old courthouse sits next to the wharf was built in 1898 and it has been converted into a restaurant. The front door is thick wood with a defense slit and two jail cells have been converted to washrooms. A batik shop is on the second floor.
Soufrière - Anse Chastanet Marine National Park
Anse Chastanet coral reef offers several depth changes. On a plateau of 5 to 25 ft (2 to 8 m) divers experience colored sponges, soft corals plus boulder and brain corals. Parrot fish, goat fish, wrasse, chromis and sometimes barracuda swim over the corals. There is also a large cavern inhabited by frogfish.The edge of the plateau is a wall that drops down 150 ft to a lace coral ecosystem. The coral is inhabited by lobsters, crabs and eels under schools of fish. Plate coral starts below 100 ft (30 m).North of Anse Chastanet is a reef called Turtle Reef where the wall down to 150 ft (45 m) presents pillar coral and barrel sponges.On the surface, there are good views of the Pitons.Professional dive operators can guide visitors through this environment.
Anse La Raye, St Lucia
The small fishing village of Anse La Raye has become a stop for the many tourist vans which ply the west coast road between the cruise ships landing in Castries and the sites of Soufrière.The harbor is home to colorful fishing boats and a small crafts market.Opposite the main pier is the town square surrounded by several ornate colonial buildings. A block north of the square on a street running off the harbor is the local bread bakery which uses a wood fueled oven. A block south of the main square is the church and a fairly ornate rectory. The wall in front of the rectory boasts a mural depicting local values.
Lasikwi Sugar Mill
The Sugar Mill, known in St.Lucian 'patois' as La Sikwi is situated on the Invergoil Estate in Anse-La-Raye, St.Lucia.Tours include a tour of the sugar mill itself, with a briefhistory of the production of sugar on the island, as well as a tour of the beautiful gardens where tropical flowers and fruit trees are cultivated. Lasikwi also has available a beautiful stage set amidst the tropical landscape which is perfect for dinner shows and theatre.
Canaries, St Lucia
The fishing village of Canaries is nestled against an inlet in the coastline. It looks attractive from viewpoints both north and south of town where the main road rises up through the hills.
Choiseul, St Lucia
South of Soufrière, the road dips into a river valley where the fishing village of Choiseul sits. As the road comes off the hill from the north, it runs above the church which is silhouetted against the sea, providing an impressive view.
Between Choiseul and Laborie is a 75 acre estate featuring a 200-year-old wooden plantation house in its original state with verandah and wooden shutters. Created as a cotton plantation in the early 1700s, the Balenbouche Estate switched to sugar in 1780 when machinery was imported from England to create a water-powered sugar factory now in ruins.Balenbouche is French for 'bullet in the mouth' and alludes to a legend of a duel fought here between two sailors over the hand of a woman. Of course, the other story is that the name derives from 'whale' plus 'mouth' and may refer to the days when these mammals gathered at the mouth of a local river.The estate now functions as a guest house.
Choiseul Crafts Centre
Sitting on the main road between Hewanorra and Soufrière just south of Choiseul, the Choiseul Crafts Centre is a local effort which provides an outlet for local artisans. The shop sells basketry, wood carvings, pottery, dolls and cane furniture.