Guest Author - Lea Ann Fessenden-Joseph
Itís hard to stopover in St Lucia and not visit at least one of the islandís delicious crystal clear waterfalls. Waterfalls can replenish your body, mind and soul with more fresh oxygen than any other natural resource. The health benefits of a few tranquil moments under a waterfall are truly priceless. Studies show that oxygenated water increases energy, improves breathing, removes allergens and reduces stress. These natural falls are so rich in minerals and oxygen you will feel the revitalization immediately.
If you plan to do a lot of hiking while you are in St Lucia, you will be pleasantly surprised by impromptu waterfalls throughout the mountains and hills of this romantic island. Hiking through the exquisite nature trails of the rainforest will provide you with plenty of opportunities to remove that footgear and get your toes wet at the very least.
If you are short on time and or energy, you may prefer to opt for a shorter hike but none less beautiful waterfalls with footpaths and snack stands. There are gorgeous waterfall sites all over the island; some are easier than others to get to. Most are not yet handicapped accessible but many are reachable with a short amount of hiking. Here are some of the very best:
Diamond Botanical Gardens and Falls Ė located in the southwest corner of St Lucia lies the picturesque village of Soufriere which was the capitol when the island was still under French rule in the 1780ís.
King Louis XVI had the waters tested in this seaport for their therapeutic values and once passed, he requested mineral baths be built on this site. From the parking lot you will enter the gates and can stroll through the tropical plants of the botanical gardens, resting on hard wood benches along the way. Youíll eventually come to the original mineral baths where you can partake of the refreshing waters for a small fee. It is worth it, very nice. Snacks, restrooms and a changing rooms are available. Be sure to bring your swim suit and a towel. Just beyond the baths you will find the breathtaking Diamond Falls. Unfortunately, you can not take a dip under these falls, only a nice photo op.
Piton Falls Ė This is a pretty spot just off the road to Jalousie Hilton Hotel, near Soufriere. Grab a wooden walking stick at the gate, pay about $2.00, and hike down to a wonderful little bath temperature pool fueled by a lovely gushing waterfall. There are actually three pools here: one fed by the waterfall at a nice warm temperature, another adjoining section which is a cooler refreshing temperature. Then the third is a very warm pool, a natural hot tub. The waterfall descends from only 30 or 40 feet into the first pool and the depth of the water is about waist high so it is a perfect spa outing in a lush tropical garden. This is often used as a rest stop for hikers descending the nearby Petit Piton.
Toraille Waterfall and Gardens Ė another natural treat in the same Soufriere region of the island, Toraille is on your way to a very friendly village named Fond St Jacques, in the rain forest. Hike through the fantastic lush green trails and you canít help but be amazed at the dazzling array of tropical colors along the path. Once you reach the incredible 50 foot waterfall, you will find changing rooms and picnic tables nearby for your convenience. Contact Hilary Charlemagne for more information at 459-7473.
Enbas Saut Waterfall and Gardens - is located east of Soufriere at the foot of Mount Gimie. There are two waterfalls with pools along this trail which offers a unique combination of rainforest, cloud forest and elfin woodlands.
Other waterfalls in the Soufriere region include Coubaril, Spike and New Jerusalem which are a little more difficult to reach and a guide is suggested. For more information you can contact the Forestry Department at 758-450-2231.
Continuing southeast from Soufriere, another amazing area is Choiseul and the Balenbouche Estate. Saltibus Falls, about 20 minutes from the estate is on an adventurous trail along the River Doree. Named the Mount Grand Magasin Historic and Nature Trail, contact the Saltibus Tour Guide Association for guides and information at 758-455-1307 or 455-1239. Take particular note of how the River Doree and the ocean fuse into one. Locals say if you stand where the river meets the ocean you will cleanse all evil away.
Latille Waterfall - on the eastern coast of the island and has a beautiful herb and flower garden pathway which leads to a nice waterfall and swimming pool. A wonderful place to spend the day, be sure to bring snacks and beverages and relax in this natural little water park. This waterfall probably is one of the most accessible making it a delightful place for families to relax and picnic. Contact John Joseph for more information at 758-454-0202.
Once youíve bathed beneath one of these luscious Lucian waterfalls you will feel so refreshed and revitalized youíll be grinning like a Cheshire cat.