Sulphur Springs Drive-in Volcano in Soufriere, Saint Lucia is situated some 42 km along a precipitous ribbon-shaped road from the capital Castries and about 2.4 km south-east of the picturesque town of Soufriere, is a geologic marvel and Saint Lucia’s most famous and premier visitor attraction in Soufriere. Advertised worldwide as the home of the “World’s Only Drive-In Volcano”; for the visitor's ability to drive and walk right into the heart of a dormant volcano, the park attracts over 200,000 patrons annually. Its 46 hectares spread majestically between two hills that are centrally located within Saint Lucia’s Piton World Heritage Site; a status accorded by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the area’s outstanding universal beauty and unique natural phenomenon, to a 2,909 hectare area which includes the world-famous Pitons, Gros and Petit Piton. The area is a realm of the senses and a stark reminder of the volcanic origin of the island; however, the present tranquillity and captivating beauty of the area, belies the fact the forces that shaped it are still very much alive.
Guided tours through the caldera of the dormant Soufriere Volcano take about 30 minutes and allow visitors to explore the stark, lunar landscape pockmarked by steam vents and pools of boiling mud and water, where the air is tinged by the acrid scent of sulphur from the venting fumaroles. Downstream from the boiling pools, a pair of bathing pools has water that has cooled to a comfortable 38.7 degrees C (101.6 F). The Black Water Pool—famed for its reputed health properties—is so rich with dissolved minerals that the waters are tinged black, while the Pool of Love has clear, warm water where visitors can soak in the natural hot tub surrounded by rainforest.
Mysteriously boiling pools of dark water emit the pungent pong of sulphur. The continuum of steam rises in obscure puffs, alluding to a portent of some ominous being. Or, so the theological legends of the island’s early settlers suggest. Deemed by Carib folklore as a place where one’s soul meets death, this natural phenomenon, the Qualibu Caldera, does make a marked impression upon those who stand above peering into its murky depths. Yet, in fact, the Sulphur Springs act as a safety value, constantly releasing subterranean pressure, stabilising the area. A visit to the park, located in Soufriere (a name that means “place of sulphur”) is an absolute must for all visitors to Saint Lucia. Allow time to soak in the mineral impacted mud beneath the springs, mystical mud which local legend guarantees will make you look and feel younger!