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St Lucia Pitons Boat Tour To Sulphur Springs Land And Sea Tour Review In The Great Wide Adventure Travel Blog Photography Landscape

Sulphur Springs Land & Sea Tour


An all-day tour that includes snorkeling, a drive-in volcano, a mud bath, a waterfall, incredible views of the Pitons by boat AND a local Creole lunch? Count us in!


CONTENTS



Where is the Sulphur Springs Land & Sea Tour?

The Sulphur Springs Land & Sea Tour takes place on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Since we were visiting the island via a cruise, we were picked up at the Pointe Seraphine Cruise Port in Castries, the capital of St. Lucia, but you can specify any pick-up location on the island.


From Castries, you’ll be taken by boat down to Soufriere, with a scheduled stop for snorkeling, a tour of the world’s only drive-in volcano and accompanying mud bath in Sulphur Springs, a visit to a nearby waterfall to rinse off after the mud bath, and a Creole lunch at a local restaurant, all before heading back to Castries by boat. Our tour guides added a few quick extra stops for us, which you can read all about in the ‘Our Experience’ section below.


A map of St. Lucia and the scheduled stops we made is below:



How to Get to the Sulphur Springs Boat Tour

As long as you can make it to St. Lucia, you can make it to the Sulphur Springs Land & Sea Tour, because the tour includes round-trip transportation from anywhere on the island. We took a Royal Caribbean cruise that stopped in St. Lucia as a port day, but it’s a gorgeous island that you could definitely make a full vacation out of by itself.


If you stop by on a cruise, make sure that you have enough time to complete the full day tour; if not, they also offer a half-day tour, but it doesn’t include nearly as much fun stuff. The company was excellent at working with us to make sure we would have enough time to do everything and make it back to our ship, so if you’re questioning whether or not you have time, just email them and ask.



If you’re on a nearby island in the Caribbean, a ferry may be an option to get you to St. Lucia as well. Express Des Iles operates a high-speed catamaran ferry service between Saint Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, and Guadeloupe. Tickets for the furthest distance, from Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe to Castries in St. Lucia, start at €59, which right now is approximately $63 U.S., so that’s a pretty good deal. You would pay more than double that for the cheapest flight on the same route.


If you’re coming straight to St. Lucia from further away, you should fly in. The island’s airport, Hewanorra International Airport (UVF), is in Vieux Fort, located on the southern tip of the island. You can get direct flights there from Miami, New York City, Newark, Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, London, Toronto, and even Montreal during peak season, which is mid-December to mid-April. Here’s what you can generally expect to pay for a one-way flight from some major cities:

  • Los Angeles: $350 (the cheapest I’ve found is $158)

  • New York: $225 (the cheapest I’ve found is $150)

  • Miami: $350 (cheapest I’ve found is $167)

  • Chicago: $400 (cheapest I’ve found is $251)

  • London: $675 (cheapest I’ve found is $518)



There is a second, smaller airport on the northern side of Castries, the George F. L. Charles Airport (SLU), which is used for inter-island travel. It’s most commonly used for flights from San Juan, Puerto Rico, which the prices vary wildly for from day-to-day, so make sure you’re using a flexible date calendar when looking for flights. The cheapest one-way flight I have found from San Juan was for $136, but I’ve also seen flights go for more than $1,100.



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Sulphur Springs Land & Sea Tour Tickets

Although there are many tour companies in St. Lucia, this one is operated by Sulphur Springs itself, so you should book it through the Sulphur Springs website. The official name of the tour company is Treasure Tours Limited, but I only know that because of other correspondences, so it isn’t necessary knowledge.


The Land & Sea Tour is their most popular, as it is a full day tour, meaning it takes approximately 7-8 hours and costs $150 per person. A $25 per person non-refundable deposit is required to make your reservation online, and the rest is paid during the tour, so make sure you bring your wallet!


Sulphur Springs also offers a half-day tour and “private tour”. The half-day tour is 4.5 hours and only includes round-trip transportation, the volcano tour, the mud bath, and a visit to a waterfall, so no boat, no snorkeling, no water views of the Pitons, and no lunch (but ALL of that is included in the Land & Sea Tour). Unfortunately, it’s a little unclear about what the private tours include and if there is a minimum number of people required because it’s priced at only $165 per person for a full day, but it seems very similar to the Land & Sea Tour. Technically, our tour was private because there were 12 people in our group, but we were charged $150 per person and definitely followed the Land & Sea Tour itinerary. See all these options on the Sulphur Springs website.


If you’re staying on the island, you will be picked up to start your tour at your choice of either 8:30am or 12pm, but if you’re visiting St. Lucia via cruise, they will wait until your ship docks even if it is late.


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Our Experience

Seeing the Pitons had been on my bucket list for quite a long time. I am a nature and mountain lover, but I am not a fan of the cold weather that usually comes with mountains, so the Pitons just seem to be the best of both worlds.


I actually chose the specific cruise for us to go on because it would put us in St. Lucia on my actual 30th birthday, so I got to fulfill 2 bucket list items at the same time: see the Pitons and take a Caribbean cruise! It just felt like it was meant to be. (Plus we got to do the steepest zipline in the world the day before, so actually 3 bucket list items!) I was so fortunate to have not only Adam go with me, but 10 other friends too, and everyone was excited for this tour in St. Lucia!



Planning Phase

However, I have to admit that the planning leading up to this tour was an absolute nightmare, but not because of the tour company; it was because of Royal Caribbean’s poor communication about constantly-evolving COVID protocols. We went on this cruise in December 2021, one week before the omicron wave really hit hard, so we got very lucky with the timing. Because those issues with COVID protocols are no longer applicable, I will spare you the specific details of all the issues we had, but suffice it to say that Sulphur Springs worked very hard with me to ensure we could do their tour, including getting a certificate from the government about following COVID safety standards and getting the St. Lucia Tourism Authority involved to communicate with Royal Caribbean when the cruise line could not figure their sh*t out. I was constantly emailing back and forth with a woman from Sulphur Springs and she worked very hard to keep our business when it was looking like we would have to cancel due to something called bubble excursions through Royal Caribbean. It was because of her hard work that we were able to do this tour!


Throughout our emails back and forth, I was able to notify them of food allergies for our Creole lunch, as well as choose between a catamaran or speedboat for our tour. I chose the catamaran because I had never been on one before and this was an excellent opportunity to have a private one just for our group, even though their recommendation was a speedboat so we would have more time to snorkel. But I pictured us all having a drink onboard, partying as we traveled along the coastline. That was more important to me than extra snorkeling time.


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Lovers Arch, AKA Cinderella's Slipper

There is one more “however” though: Once we boarded our Royal Caribbean cruise ship, I was no longer able to check my email, which apparently led to some confusion within the Sulphur Springs tour company about whether or not we were coming for the tour. I was confident that I had been very clear in the end that we would be doing their tour, but when I didn’t respond in the few days leading up to it (while we were already on the cruise), they thought I was ghosting them.


When the day came and all our friends got off the cruise ship together in St. Lucia, we had no problems leaving the bubble excursion area to find our tour guide (which is what all of the Royal Caribbean fuss had been about), but they were not there. I panicked and immediately found a local with a phone I could use to call them, but a driver arrived then and told us that he showed up “just in case”. They weren’t sure if we were coming because I hadn’t responded to the latest email; and I’m not going to lie… I was furious. After weeks of email correspondences that ended in me asking for a written confirmation of our tour booking to show to the cruise line, they did not book the catamaran I wanted and didn’t have a boat waiting for us for the tour.


To be totally fair to the tour company, I believe the confusion most likely came from corresponding with multiple people, as the emails were sometimes signed with a different name even though the email address remained the same. I found out at the end of the long email chains that one of the people emailing me was pregnant and on bed rest, so I wouldn’t be surprised if others stepped in to take over for her at different points in time, as needed. While I wholeheartedly support that decision if that’s what happened, it wasn’t clearly communicated to me, so at the end of the day, there was a miscommunication somewhere on their end, but they pulled it together on the day-of once we arrived.


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Castries

Once it became apparent that a catamaran wasn’t happening, but there would be a boat for us, we had some time to kill, so our driver took us on a quick tour of Castries, the capital city of St. Lucia. The town itself is a pretty typical Caribbean town with extremely friendly people; I would certainly love to go back for a proper visit someday. He took us up a hill via the Millennium Highway, stopping so we could get some great views of our cruise ship down in Castries Harbour. He also pointed out these fascinating plants, colloquially known as ‘Touch-Me-Nots’ that fold their leaves up if you touch them. It turns out these plants are considered weeds by a lot of people and are much more common in North and South America than we realized at the time. We aren’t sure whether or not this quick tour around Castries is supposed to be included in the overall tour, so I wouldn’t say to expect it, but it was very nice of them to show us around while we waited for our boat to be ready.


After that short drive around Castries, the driver took us down near the Ferry Terminal in Castries Harbour, where we boarded a speedboat. I was pretty bummed that it wasn’t a catamaran, but several of our friends were really excited about zooming up and down the coast. And when we say this was a speed boat, we mean it; this boat could go FAST. We traveled south along the western coast of St. Lucia, enjoying the wind in our faces and seeing the rugged terrain of the coastline. It felt like a Jurassic Park movie! As we approached the southern end of the island after around 30 minutes on the boat, the Pitons emerged in the distance from behind some cliffs. Watching them practically grow before our eyes was mesmerizing.


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Snorkeling

Our first stop was snorkeling at Anse Chastanet Beach, which is a beautiful alcove just north of Soufriere. The boat stopped just outside of a roped-in area meant for snorkelers and swimmers where the boats couldn’t go in, but it was also your warning to not swim out any further into the open water. Our 2 tour guides on the boat provided us with snorkeling gear, but didn’t really give us any instruction. About half the group had never been snorkeling before and doing it for the first time in the open water off the coast of St. Lucia was not an easy experience.


One of our friends had her mask ripped off of her face by the pressure when she jumped in the water, which made me really scared to jump. For those who don’t know, I have a crippling phobia of bodies of water that I have been working to overcome over the past 10 years, and while I’ve made a LOT of progress, I was still very freaked out. The tour guides lowered me into the water by my arms, thankfully, although it was slightly humiliating. Another of our friends had brought their swimsuit to change into instead of wearing it under their clothes, so the guides allowed them to go into the small under-area part of the boat to change.


Pro Tip: Plan to wear a dark swimsuit under your clothes all day during this tour. Don’t forget to bring a towel too!



The biggest problem came once we were in the water though. No one told us inexperienced snorkelers that we needed to swim towards the coast and let the current slowly pull us back out towards the boat as we snorkeled. Unfortunately, that meant that we were constantly getting dragged into the rope that divided the protected area, which was extremely rough. It gave several of us rope burns on our shoulders, arms, and even necks. The tour guides kept yelling at us to get off the rope, but we didn’t know how. I had a panic attack in the water but tried to keep it together. I didn’t want everyone to see me legitimately freaking out, and I didn’t want that to set the tone for the rest of the day.


Adam got to use his new waterproof pouch lanyard for his phone though, which worked well. We definitely recommend getting one for water activities, even if it’s just in your pool! Being able to take videos underwater is so cool. Adam managed to see some schools of small fish for a few moments, and our more experienced snorkeler friends had a great time exploring the rocky cliffside.


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Volcano and Mud Bath

After a little while or snorkeling (around 30 minutes), everyone was tired and piled back on the boat. We essentially just went around the corner and they drove the boat right up to a crack in the cliffside, which turned out to be the largest “bat crack” we’d ever seen. You could hear them squeaking in there, but none of them came out, as it was the middle of the day. They also stopped the boat and took pictures of each couple in our group sitting at the front of the boat with the Pitons in the background, and I am so glad they did! That photo will always be one of my favorites of Adam and me.


After those quick stops, we docked in Soufriere, where another driver waited to meet us and asked if we would rather go directly to lunch or do the volcano and mud bath first. We chose to wait for lunch, so he took us straight to Sulphur Springs, which is only about a 10-minute drive away in a large van that was able to take all 12 of us in one go. Sulphur Springs is a full attraction in and of itself, which is why we’ve written a whole article just dedicated to that. We got a guided tour of the world’s only drive-in volcano, and then our driver acted as our tour guide for the mud baths, where he gathered the mud for us and took pictures and videos of all of us with my phone throughout the experience, and those pictures are priceless. Something to consider when you’re deciding HOW you want to go to Sulphur Springs (on your own or with a tour) is that we wouldn’t have those photos if we had just gone to Sulphur Springs on our own, without a tour guide. The fact that the tour guides (at least through this company) will take pictures of you using your own phone throughout the day so you don’t have to then pay extra for the photos later is a HUGE plus.


The mud at Sulphur Springs is believed to have medicinal properties, the most talked about of which is that it will make you “look 10 years younger.” I wouldn’t say that it did that, but it was such a unique experience that had us laughing the whole way through, so we highly recommend it! The mud even soothed the rope burns from when we were snorkeling, which was the opposite of what I expected, so that was a huge win. However, they say that the mud can stain light-colored fabric, so they recommend everyone wear a black swimsuit.


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Waterfall

After rinsing off from the mud bath in the hot springs, we took a short van ride to a lovely, natural waterfall. St. Lucia is known for its waterfalls, so visiting one is a must while you’re on the island! Our tour guide took us to Toraille Waterfall, which is 50ft tall with a small, shallow pool at the bottom that you can wade into. If you’re brave, you can walk right under the waterfall, but do not underestimate the power of the water; it was almost painful, but not quite, but the pressure of it will differ depending on rainfall, so it could be more or less powerful when you go. The water is cold, but refreshing after the extremely hot mud baths we’d just been in, and the water is so shallow that it wasn’t even up to our waists when standing directly under the water. The ground in the pool is very rocky though, so water shoes would be a good idea!


Another thing I want to quickly mention is that all of the entrance fees for the places we visited were included in our tour price. If you wanted to go to Sulphur Springs and Toraille Waterfall on your own, there would be a small admission fee that is most likely cash-only.



Again, our tour guide used my phone to take pictures and videos of everyone in my group at the waterfall. It’s not like we had the place to ourselves, but our tour guide did a great job of not getting a ton of strangers in the background of our pictures, which is always nice. We were there for maybe 20 minutes, but honestly would have been happy to spend more time there if we had more time during the day. There wasn’t any hiking involved to get to it, just a couple short stairs, so it’s an easy place to stop even if you’re not on a big tour like we were.


Pro Tip: Take water shoes for visiting Toraille Waterfall. The pool is extremely rocky and can be hard to keep your balance in, so water shoes would be very helpful.



Creole Lunch

So after all that, we still had to have lunch! Our driver took us to what looked and felt like a house on the side of the road that had been renovated into a restaurant. I never knew the name of it, but after a lot of searching around on Google Maps, I found it! It’s called Marie’s Local Cuisine and it’s such a small business that they don’t even have a website, just a Facebook page. We were so grateful to get to see a tiny, local restaurant like this and eat authentic St. Lucian food instead of being taken to some super-touristy place to eat cheeseburgers. We love trying the local foods everywhere we travel, so this was exactly what we were hoping for!


We arrived later in the afternoon, so we had the entire restaurant to ourselves. They had set up a balloon arch for my birthday and everyone sang to me as I walked in, including the woman whom I had been emailing back and forth with while she was pregnant but still trying to make this tour happen for us. It was awesome to get to meet her in person and thank her for her hard work. They also gave me a gift bag for my birthday with a tote bag I now use every time we go to the beach, a floral scarf, and a St. Lucia keychain and bottle opener. It all made me feel very special 🥰


Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what we ate, because we're still not sure what it was (photos above, so tell us if you know!), but it was tasty food and they were very careful with the different food allergies in our group.


Pro Tip: Make sure you take your wallet with you, as you will need to pay the balance of your tour at the restaurant, minus your $25 per person deposit.


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Drinks on the Boat

After lunch, we went back to the Soufriere Pier and got back in the speedboat with the two guys who had been with us before. They cracked open a cooler and we were offered Rum Punch and some local beer, the Piton lager, for the ride back up to Castries, which would take about 30 minutes. We were moving SO fast though; it was impossible to drink the rum punch out of the open-top plastic cups because of the boat bouncing along on top of the waves. There was nothing I could do but laugh about it because there were no straws or anything, so they passed me a bottle of beer instead. We were going so fast that I literally would not have even been able to stand up on the boat.


We made a quick stop at Marigot Bay along the way, which is a picturesque inlet that was used for filming scenes for the Doctor Doolittle movie in 1967. It’s still beautiful as ever, with a small beach and some obviously expensive yachts parked next to some impressive looking resorts. We actually picked up a friend of the boatmen and gave him a ride back to the Castries Harbour, which was only a few more miles up the coastline. Along the way, they also made a quick stop to point out something they called Lovers Arch, which is also known as Cinderella’s Slipper. It’s a small rock formation jutting out from the coastline that looks like a high heel (see photo here), just another example of the incredible natural beauty of the island.


As promised, they got us back to our cruise ship with time to spare. The speedboat actually pulled right up to Pointe Seraphine, so we got to walk right back onto the cruise ship instead of taking a car again.



Tipping

We all brought cash to tip our tour guides, but ended up handing it all over to the guys on the boat when they dropped us off at the end of the day. Since I have no idea if or how they divided that up amongst the multiple guides we had throughout the day, I wish we had taken smaller bills and tipped each person as we went. Throughout the day, we had 5 different guides, not including the people who served us lunch, so I hope they each got a share of the pot.


Pro Tip: Tipping tour guides 10% of the tour cost is typical in St. Lucia, and I think everyone in our group tipped them $10-$20 per person.


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What You Should Take With You on the Sulphur Springs Land & Sea Tour

Here’s an easy checklist of everything you should take with you for this tour:

  • Dark swimsuit & cover-up

  • Towel

  • Water shoes

  • Comfortable shoes for walking around the volcano (we wore sandals)

  • Cash (small bills) for tipping your tour guides and buying small souvenirs from street vendors

  • Credit card to pay the remaining charge for the tour (minus your deposit)

  • Sunscreen

  • Sunglasses

  • Waterproof pouch lanyard for your phone

  • Change of dry clothes (optional) - and don’t forget a plastic bag for your wet clothes if you go this route!


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Our Verdict

Despite the extreme pain in the ass it was from Royal Caribbean to let us do this tour amid evolving COVID protocols, and even though there was an obvious miscommunication that cost us the catamaran I was hoping for at the beginning of the day, this tour was well worth the money we spent on it. They worked so hard to keep our business and make my birthday special, and it felt good to support a local business instead of booking an excursion through the cruise line. All of our friends were super impressed with the tour, and everyone has said it was totally worth it!


When we got back from the cruise, I jokingly dared everyone I knew to try to have a better 30th birthday than me (but also told them to invite me if they were going to try). The most important takeaway is this: I will remember this day for the rest of my life.


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Marigot Bay

Quick Reference Guide

What

Where

How to Get There

The Land & Sea Tour includes round-trip transportation to/from anywhere on the island of St. Lucia, so all you have to do is get to the island first.

Time Commitment

7-8 hours for the Land & Sea Tour, but they offer other limited tours as well that are only 4-5 hours if you’re short on time

Cost

$150 per person

Reservation Info

Our Verdict

This was one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime, mostly because it was on my actual 30th birthday and I got to have a group of friends with me! It was the perfect introduction to the beautiful island of St. Lucia and it makes me want to go back and spend more time exploring the island. We 100% recommend this tour!


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Adventure Travel Blogger Phoebe Meador for In The Great Wide Bucket List Travel Blog


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