One of the excursions on St. Lucia that always makes the guidebooks, is the “Drive-In” Volcano and mud baths. I immediately had visions of being in a 4×4 Jeep bouncing over black roads with red lava next to us. My movie inspired vision wasn’t quite right! St. Lucia is a volcanic island. One of the craters collapsed allowing visitors to drive and hike right in. There is still a bleak environment filled with pools of scalding hot mud with gloomy grey clouds puffing out. It smelled strongly of sulfur but our guide assured us that the worse it smelled, the better! When you don’t smell the sulfur you are at risk of an eruption!
Our private tour started with a soak in the hot springs rather than the hike. We got there early enough to beat the crowds so we were just there with the locals. We made sure to jump in before the tour buses arrived. As we were changing afterwards, there they were! It made such a difference to be there with a local guide! Volcanic mud runs down the river into the baths. Start by we painting on the healing mud, let it set, then wash it off in the hot springs. The locals make a trip there several times a month to help with arthritis, bug bites, and general skincare. My sun soaked skin & big bites really appreciated it!
After the mud baths, it was time to follow that muddy suphur spring up into the volcano!
We hiked up past a waterfall to look down into the weakest part of the volcano. There used to be bridges throughout the area until one section gave away under a guide. The hole has continued to grow allowing us to see the hot mud bubble. Yikes! There are signs everywhere warning about the extreme temperatures of the mud in what looks like baths. I’ll stay on the path, thanks!
As I mentioned, the strong sulphur smell was off putting, but our guide gave us another reason to love it. The sulfur makes this one of the safest places on the island. Snakes and other creepy crawlies keep away from. At least there’s that!
The lush humidity allows a lot of lush greenery to grow up. The hot spring water springs from what looks like a garden compared to the barren volcano just feet away.