Destination: St. Lucia
Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens
It’s best to have a guide lead you through these gorgeous, privately owned botanical gardens, located a little over a mile east of Soufrière. Not because of the size (they’re compact) but because you’ll want someone who can identify the wealth of tropical plants, from soaring banana, plantain and palm trees to fuchsia crab-claw plants, wax roses and multihued hibiscus and allamanda. Part of an estate given to three French brothers by Louis XIV in 1713, Diamond Falls has been in the same family for nearly three hundred years (present owner Joan Devaux married a descendant of one of the brothers).
There’s also a waterfall and a natural mineral springs on-site, but what I loved most was wandering through the canopies of countless shades of green that were interrupted occasionally by a brilliant splash of color or the hurried movements of a hummingbird. If you’re staying at Jade Mountain or Anse Chastanet ask the staff to arrange a tour with the charming Desmond Modeste, who grew up on a Soufrière farm and speaks beautifully about the varied plant life. Open daily 10 A.M.–5 P.M. and Sunday 10 A.M.–3 P.M.
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