St. Lucia is a honeymoon island. In comparison to other Caribbean countries it feels more exotic. It is as if the island has somehow broken away from the South Pacific and drifted to the Lesser Antilles. It is the landscape that makes it feel this way. St. Lucia’s volcanic soil and abundant sunshine creates a hothouse of flora and fauna. Hibiscus, saffron frangipani, torch ginger and bougainvillea bloom amongst the green foliage, and their patchwork of vivid colours are like the pastel houses you see in the villages. With a landscape this beautiful and lush there is no wonder that the poet Derek Walcott, a native of St. Lucia, won the Nobel Prize in Literature. As a honeymoon destination, St. Lucia has no rival in the Caribbean.
As your twin engine Cessna drifts through the feathery clouds and descends on the island of St. Lucia, the first thing you see is the Pitons. These coastal volcanic peaks, located on St Lucia’s southern tip, tower into the sky like ancient totems welcoming you to paradise. The Pitons are part of what makes St. Lucia different from the other Caribbean countries. There is no place else in the Lesser Antilles that has such a dramatic geographical landmark. Once you land, these stunning cone-shaped marvels will be the background and prop in all of your photographs. The Pitons are so popular that the local lager that is brewed on the island is named-you guessed it-Piton Beer.
If you stay in the southern town of Soufriere, then your hotel might have a balcony that overlooks the Pitons. Some people say that the island of St. Lucia looks like a mango. Others swear that the shape more closely resembles an avocado. When you are eating your breakfast on the balcony, listening to tropical birds and watching the blue mist rise off Caribbean and cling to the Pitons, there is a good chance that you will be eating both. However, the avocado and mango debate is not as serious as how you should plan the morning. Your wife wants to explore the Forestiere Rainforest. You were thinking about some serious rest and relaxation on the beach.
The Forestiere Rainforest is composed of many different hiking trails. Wild orchids, fig trees and waterfalls are all part of the scenery. You might even spot a St. Lucia parrot, but chances are the deep and abundant foliage and giant ferns will keep it camouflaged. After the rainforest, you head over to the Sulphur Springs on Mount Soufriere. The volcano has not erupted in 40,000 years, but there are sulphur fields and vapour clouds as intense as an Icelandic landscape.
Tomorrow, without question, is a beach day.
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