twin volcanic peaks at the waters edge, south of Soufriere. Miles of banana and plantains grow on the flat lands near the capital, and cattle also grazed on the nearby lush fields. Terraced gardens were spotted growing multiple crops as we drove into the mountainous region.
This 40 km drive took 2 hours, including a couple of brief stops, as we searched for snorkel sites. Almost constant hairpin curves, with steep climbs and descents made for stressful driving, compounded by driving on the left side of the narrow roads, with a 2-3 foot concrete gully running along most of the highway. Dense jungle growth, mahogany trees with ferns, palms trees and vines covered the mountainsides.
Desperate poverty appears in contrast to high-end developments catering to well-heeled foreign visitors. This is the only island on the trip, where we experienced persistant beggars and vendors.
A local guide informed us about a private resort beach access at the base of the Pitons, which also included a marine reserve with quality snorkeling. For a tip, we followed his car to the entrance of Sugar Beach Resort. Laying in the shadow of the twin peaks, it is certainly the most beautiful beach on the island. Pitons Marine Park provided a few types of coral, and a nice variety of fish. The snorkel area is relatively small, because the bay is also shared with boat traffic delivering cruise passengers to the area. In exchange for the price of lunch, we were able to use their parking, restroom, beach and snorkel area. Even a "cheap" lunch at the resort ran us $65., but it is the primo spot on the island.
Gorgeous scenery, good snorkeling, great food, and fabulous weather, we couldn't have asked for a better day!