Vivian's Corner
U.S. Areas, Cities, States
Foreign Cities
Foreign Countries
Adventure & Sports
About Us
Yearly Index
Contact Us
St. Lucia, West Indies

Volcanic Wonders and Mineral Baths

The smell may be a bit stifling, but the attraction is singular. The world's only drive-in volcano (it's dormant) is just outside Soufriére, St. Lucia's second largest city. You can park your car or ask your driver to wait in Sulfur Springs, the seven-acre crater of Mount Soufriére and wander through this Dantesque terrain. The air is filled with an odor of rotting eggs and the earth is a cauldron of sulphurous yellow gray mud. Effervescent springs smolder at a blistering temperature and emit giant cloud-like puffs of steam. Louis XVI knew of the medicinal properties of the simmering water seeping from the volcanoes. He granted funds to set up baths, which he felt would be beneficial to his troops. The streams of Sulfur Springs feed the cascades that form Upper and Lower Diamond Falls, the site where the French sought the restorative power of the waters.

Diamond Baths has been renovated and today for a modest fee anyone can stroll in the estate, gaze at the falls and lull about in the warm bubbly soothing tubs. There's one large outdoor pool and several small huts with twin baths so that two friends or family members can soak at the same time.

Nearby and casting a shadow over St. Lucia's copious banana plantations are the remains of the island's other once active volcanoes. The Petit and Gros Pitons, two enormous green volcanic cones, stretch a half mile up into the sky, slide down to the sea below and frame the white sands of Jalousie Beach. And on a perfect day if you are perched at the right spot—it might the terrace of Ladera, a hotel built 1000 feet above the sea—you could find a rainbow forming a bridge in the sky between the double peaks of the spectacular Pitons.

Mineral Baths at Diamond Falls, Soufriére, St. Lucia, West Indies.

Spring 1994