By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
Like so much of the Caribbean, it is easy to look at Saint Lucia and see only a pretty, green island fringed by sandy beaches and lorded over by some unusual geological formations.
It is all of that. But it is also a place with a bit of history, an independent nation now part of the British Commonwealth that in its first 150 years of recorded history ping-ponged back and forth between England and France 14 times.
The island bears the name of a Sicilian saint. It has an English heritage now, but holds on to French influence.
It has gone back and forth between admirers so many times that some early historians puckishly called it the “Helen of the West Indies.”
There are only two Pitons on Saint Lucia, but they are almost impossible to miss. They can be seen from almost everywhere on the island. They’re on the flag, one of the more handsome standards I’ve seen.
And they’re on the local beer, which naturally moves the Pitons onto billboards and t-shirts, and carnival floats.
The Pitons are volcanic plugs, part of the Soufriere volcanic complex, remnants of huge collapsed stratovolcanoes. A plug is created when magma hardens within a vent on an active volcano.
This particular vent is believed to be dormant and over time the surrounding hill has been eroded away, leaving only the plug.
And luring the tourists.
Some with beer.
Today, I went with a group of guests to the rainforest.
There we rode up the mountain on an aerial tram and then–wearing a triple-secure harness–we flew from one platform to another, 90 feet above the ground on a zip line.
It was a peak of a different kind.
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