When our long-awaited passports arrived in the mail, we couldn't wait to get on a plane and explore the world.
We chose St Lucia as our first international destination with our new documentation. It is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean and boasts incredible views, activities and plant life for the whole family to survey. I'm a planner by nature and researched all the must-see places before we headed on our journey. Of course, the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens & Mineral Baths were a must!
On all our vacations, we enjoy exploring how the local communities live, what they do for fun and how they perceive their natural world. Our expert driver's grandfather was brought to the island as a slave from India. He subsequently married a native woman, and his family still has their home on the island. As we drove through the winding roads on the Atlantic side of the island - and it was winding (note: take some motion sickness pills with you when you go), we were amazed at the sheer size of the plants! It looked like we were in a scene from Jurassic Park - complete with goats tied to trees feasting on a nearby shrub.
I told the driver that my favourite fruit was guavas, but there were none at the resort. So I missed the season by a few months. Suddenly, he stopped the car, got out and ran to a nearby tree. He returned with four guavas the size of baseballs! I've never seen fruit that big. He informed us that the trees planted along the road are for the people. Nobody on the island goes hungry, especially during mango season when it drops to the ground like rainfall. St Lucia has 30 varieties of mangoes! I made a mental note to look at the mango varieties in the grocery stores when I got home.
After a quick dip in the mud baths from the collapsed volcano (also a must if you're on the island), we headed to the botanical gardens.
Feeling small under the canopy of the gigantic fauna and flora, we were reminded of how nature puts everything into perspective. Once the land was used as sugar plantations, now the botanical garden is a refuge where anyone can reconnect and recharge. In the same way, in which the mineral baths hold healing properties, nature has the power to transform if we dare to grow.
To learn more about the history of the gardens and the mineral baths, go to the website at https://www.diamondstlucia.com/history.