Monday, April 20, 2009
DIAMOND FALLS, SOUFRIERE, ST. LUCIA
Level of Difficulty, 1 to 5: 1
The privately-owned Diamond Falls and Mineral Baths, less than a mile east of Soufriere, are part of the Soufriere Estate dating from 1713. The Baths, originally built in 1784, were restored by Mrs. Joan Devaux in the 1980s, with some of the original 18th century baths still in use. At the entrance, a narrow path edged with tropical flowers and shaded by stately palms leads to the bathhouse and a series of pools, each a different temperature. Beyond are the falls roaring out of a mineral-streaked gorge and spilling through the gardens into the pools.
Getting there: Walk inland from Church on road to Fond St. Jaques for 5 min. Then, turn left toward Diamond– well marked signs! The road to the gardens is pretty as well.
As reads on the Diamond Botanical Gardens entrance sign:
The sulphur springs from which the town of Soufriere got its name, are a weak spot in the crust of an enormous collapsed crater, the result of volcanic upheaval of gigantic proportions that took place some 410,000 years ago.
Similar hot springs feed the mineral baths on the Diamond Estate built originally in 1784 for the troops of King Louis XVI of France so that they could benefit from the therapeutic waters.
It is claimed that the Empress Josephine bathed in the original baths
In 1983 on the death of Mr. Andre du Boulay the former owner, his daughter Joan Devaux designed, restored, and planted these Gardens that you can enjoy today.
PEACE CORPS PROCEDURE:
-ALWAYS hike with at least one partner, preferably two.
MEGAN HAWKS, EC 75
Worth the visit– but, I wouldn’t recommend bathing as you would be on display to all who pass by. The grounds are beautiful and peaceful. You can go off on a trail that goes on for who knows how long– it looks safe and easy, but I haven’t ever trekked it. Should be part of your Soufriere excursion!