Once the capital of Saint Lucia and named after the local volcano, Soufrière has become a rather small settlement on the leeward shore of the island. It was founded by the French, and was important for the large plantations and estates in the neighbourhood where the French put many slaves to work. The English took over in the early 19th century, and made Castries the capital of the island. When we were on our way in a minivan that is the main public transportation vehicle, our expectations of the town were pretty high, as it is famous for its natural setting. Our eyes were searching for the defining landmarks of Soufrière, the Petit and Gros Piton, and when we saw their sharp peaks, we knew we were getting close. The final stretch of the coastal road from Castries to Soufrière offered spectacular views of the bay below us, the pretty town at the shoreline, and the twin peaks rising spectacularly from the sea.
After reaching the main square of the town, we walked to what would be our base for exploring the town and the region around it. A cruise ship had docked in Castries that morning, and several minivans spitted out groups of tourists. They left quite soon, and they were the last foreigners we saw during our stay. In the next days, in between visiting some of the most attractive places of the island, we were sure to also walk the streets of Soufrière. Lying in between the hills around it, it is a rather compact town, with a waterfront that is quite attractive and where restaurants provide for a great sunset panorama just before dinner time. The main square of the town is marked by the catholic church, and this is the nerve centre of Soufrière: here, buses arrive, you can find the market, and people just walking by.
Despite several hurricanes and earthquakes, most of the houses in this attractive town are built in the traditional style. Constructed with wood, and with large balconies, painted mostly in white with red, green, and blue accents, they look especially nice in the late afternoon when the sinking sun sends a warm light through the streets of the town, and people sit in their portico, ready for a chat. Apart from the traditional downtown area of Soufrière, I also discovered that the outskirts on the southern side of the bay have a different vibe. Here, you can find rundown houses, fishermen pimping their boats, kids playing football in the street. It also offers good views of the waterfront and beach of the charming town with its own, unique identity.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Soufrière (Saint Lucia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Soufrière.
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