Located at what’s billed as “the only drive-in volcano in the world,” Sulphur Springs is a magical, muddy geothermal spring located near the small Caribbean town of Soufriere. The town’s name means “sulphur mine,” a product of French colonists who extracted the mineral at a site near Soufriere in the early 1800s.
The Sulphur Springs are located within a volcanic valley. They formed approximately 300,000 years ago when a section of crust from an enormous crater collapsed, disturbing the lava below. The change in landscape ultimately resulted in the formation of the hot springs. But, since a minor eruption in 1776, the volcano heating the springs has been lying dormant. The last major eruption was some 40,000 years ago.
A visit to the Sulphur Springs begins with looking at whistling fumaroles and boiling pools from the safety of observation platforms. The water in the springs ranges from around 145-200 degrees Fahrenheit (63-96ºC), but some openings called fumaroles can reach 340 degrees Fahrenheit (171ºC). As the steam rises to the surface it carries hydrogen sulfide along with it, which gives the area a pungent rotten egg-like odor.
After taking in the sights and smells, it’s time to submerge yourself in the mud baths. The tour company that maintains the spring recommends wearing a dark bathing suit so you can properly slather yourself with their “miracle mud.” The company’s website proclaims their mud can make you “look 12 years younger” and “detoxifies the body and helps heal sunburns, eczema, arthritis, sore joints, and more.” (Results undoubtedly vary.) After covering yourself in mud, it’s time to hit the waterfalls to wash off. The 50-foot tall waterfall can even be used as “an invigorating back and shoulder massage” on drier days.
The mud baths are a popular destination for visitors to Saint Lucia, and have even been featured on ABC’s The Bachelor. Unfortunately, the spring’s miracle mud wasn’t quite strong enough to help that season’s bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis, find love. But, worry not, the Sulphur Springs tour company still offers a 10-hour “honeymoon tour” for any lovebirds looking to get a little muddy.
Know Before You Go
Access to the Saint Lucia Sulphur Springs is facilitated by a local tour company. Check their website for the most up-to-date information.