One will find beyond the well-trodden Pitons an untouched area of lush and verdant natural beauty along the north-western edge of the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia known as the Trouya Peninsula of Rodney Bay. It is one of the last great, relatively undeveloped swathes of coastal land which still has its naïve secluded beaches and tropical wilderness. The Trouya Peninsula is a must-visit destination whether you are an avowed underwater recreationist or a landlubber. Three majestic volcanic domes– Morne Trouya, Morne Flambeau, and Morne Pimard (“morne” meaning mount or mountain) –rise from the sea covered in thick tropical foliage and surrounded by quiet pristine coves, secluded sandy beaches, unspoilt coral forests, jungle and caves. Yours will likely be the only footprints in the sand for days at some of these sites. Worth the effort; never disappointing.
From a vantage point on land at the summit of Morne Trouya there occurs each morning at sunrise an optical phenomenon whereby the sun appears to rise between the peaks of Morne Flambeau and Morne Pimard, as if emerging from between the breasts of la belle Hélène herself— that being the moniker given to the island by the colonial British and French who fought over control for her no less than fourteen (14) times.
Like that most desirable of women described in Homer’s Illiad, it is Helen’s beauty which is said to have precipitated those protracted wars. The volcanic soil here yields and abundance of tropical flowers and fruits in day-glow colours, with kaleidoscopes of butterflies and flocks of birds to sup and snack upon them. At sunrise and sunset, the sky above these volcanic domes is clothed in rich robes of colour in panorama from extreme East to extreme West. One would be hard pressed to find a more apt backdrop for the young Instagrammer or blogger. And the littlest explorers among us will find endless fascination chasing the multitude of butterflies, geckos, soldier crabs and tree frogs which flourish here.
Dusk on the Trouya Peninsula brings on cue the frog chorus —the melodic stars of the nightly show being the whistling soprano of the tree frogs accompanied by the booming base of the cane toads and the light jazz brushwork of the klak-klac insect’s percussion. It’s a gentle white noise that offers the deepest of sleep. But for those who might wake under the vivid starlight at midnight, walk barefoot on the field of carpet grass located at the summit of Morne Trulah; being at only 14° latitude and away from the normal light pollution of cities, it gives one the otherworldly feeling of standing within the works of a fine Swiss timepiece as the moon dial and stars turn above you. Magical and unforgettable.
The waters of Trou Ya (and the environs around its namesake mountain, Morne Trouya) are one of the most scenic and ecologically rich snorkelling spots in the Caribbean. The stunning scenery above-ground is duplicated underwater with white sand, volcanic pinnacles, sheer walls, shipwrecks and coral reefs with a multitude of marine life. Unlike many popular dive destinations, the waters here are still lush and vibrant and very beautiful for snorkelers and divers to visit—and never crowded. Trou Ya and neighbouring Trou Gascon are clean, calm, warm, blue water with a temperature range of 79 – 85 F/26 – 29 C with visibility varying from 20ft/6M to over 200ft/60M. It’s a snorkeler’s paradise.
There are many beautiful shallow reefs which wrap themselves around Morne Trouya such as those at Trou Couti, Trou Ya, and neighbouring Trou Gascon with its elusive Francois Beach — all covered in corals and inhabited by an abundance of fish and aquatic life easily visible from the surface. Here you will find waters filled with Lobster, Octopus, Grouper, Snapper, Common Jacks, Trumpet Fish, and Scorpion Fish.
Just ¼ mile offshore are to be found the massive brain and fan corals patrolled by the larger fish around La Roche and Fourreur Island. La Roche (The Rock) also known locally as the Barrel O’ Beef Rock is a surreal sight when enjoyed with your morning coffee while the sailing ships silently glide around Morne Trouya under a triple rainbow. It’s the more spectacular when viewed underwater. Barrel O’ Beef Rock is reachable by kayak or boat from Trouya Beach and best for scuba diving where deeper water brings Trigger Fish, Great Barracuda, Eagle Rays and other large species in abundance feed amongst the coral which lines the sloping walls of its underwater trenches and valleys. One of the best excursions a bit further into Rodney Bay is Dinosaur Reef where neon arrays of coral cover huge boulders and a nicely intact wreck of a small freighter.
Sheltering under the keel are many lobsters—along with Stingrays, Parrot Fish, Moray Eels and a panoply of the usual tropical fish. It is only a short 12-minute taxi from the Trouya Peninsula to where the dive boats depart at Rodney Bay Marina, also a great place for the children to play on the floating Splash Island Water Park while the adults enjoy a frozen drink from their thatched umbrella on the beach.
At the summit of Morne Trouya are the ruins of a French cannon batterie dating from 1787 which had formed the pair to that stationed at Pigeon Pointe opposite and were placed to guard the entrance to Gros Islet (now Rodney Bay) from both directions. The sailing ships would shelter from storms in the cove at Trou Ya as seen in the painting held in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France dating from 1787. Saint Lucia’s only court for croquet can also be found at up there— a very ancient game from XI century France (“jeu de mail”), borrowed by the British around 1300 and later turned into golf by the Scots.
The private villas perched on Morne Trouya drip colour, and ‘wow’ you with 360° panoramic views and beautiful hospitality— ideally located to serve as a central hub for families in search of both quiet and adventure above and below the bluest clear water of the Caribbean Sea. Families who make their base camp at a villa on the Trouya Peninsula can wake-up surrounded by glorious nature and step out with their snorkelling gear onto Trouya Beach in less than 5 minutes. It isn’t too far to the shops and attractions, yet safe and clean with uncrowded sandy beaches accessible 24×7.