Without a doubt, this was our favorite stop on this cruise. I began researching private tours somewhat late in the game, but I located a company called Jungle Tours and booked them about two weeks before departing. This was probably the best overall shore excursion we’ve done in 15 cruises. To start, everyone in our group of 8 decided to take this tour. The cost was $70 per person and it included 7 hours of island exploration, all entrance fees and lunch. Our tour guide’s name was Shal, owner of the company. He picked us up shipside (he was waiting for us when we walked down the gangplank). The first thing I said to him was that we wanted to have fun. He took that to heart! He turned on the music and began singing as we boarded his open air Land Rover that accommodated 8 passengers. There was a padded bench on either side and roll bars that could be leaned against. We began by sitting but before long we were standing and singing along, marveling at the spectacular scenery. We quickly departed Castries (the port city) and headed to the country. We drove through banana and cocoa plantations on our way to our first activity….a hike to a waterfall. A word of caution to everyone taking shore excursions – Be sure to wear the proper shoes for your excursion. Exploring an island like St. Lucia (where there is a lot of rain forest to hike) includes a great deal of walking, sometimes through uneven terrain. We were amazed how many tourists wore sandals and open-toed shoes to hike. Wear rubber-soled shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots if you are going to take these excursions. Just prior to arriving at the rain forest for our trek to the waterfall, we stopped was at a roadside stand for bananas and fresh fruit and to get a glimpse of our ship in the port far below. The walk to our first waterfall was what I would consider moderate hiking. Some uneven terrain, walking over rocks in streams, etc. Shal was very cautious with the eight of us, waiting and helping each person as we went. Our group ranged in age from 30 – 59. We did come across several other tour groups in this section of the rain forest and Shal had to stop and help them because their guide was far beyond them and not paying attention. The waterfall was a great backdrop for a group photo! Our next stop was at a “bakery” where they made Cassava bread. It was delicious and you could watch them make this island specialty at this roadside bakery. Cassava is a root vegetable that is grated to make a sweet or salted bread. Next stop was The Volcano to view the steam vents and watch the earth “bubble.” This was the only spot on the daylong tour that was crowded with other tourists. Our stop here was short…the sulfur smell is overwhelming. Back into the Land Rover we headed to what was to become our favorite stop. A hike (easier than the first hike) to a natural mineral spring and waterfall. Here, you could (and all the women did) smear yourself with volcanic mud, dry in the sun and then rinse in the warmth of the natural spring waterfall. There were only a handful of other people at this spot and it was special. The laughter began when the mud went on and the photos were taken. More singing ensued. We are still laughing. Our final stop was at a beautiful beachside restaurant (Still’s) for lunch in the town of Soufiere at the foot of the Pitons, St. Lucia’s landmark mountains. The food was delicious and the scenery spectacular. We could have sat here all afternoon! A couple of important notes: Shal was a very cautious and courteous driver. He had a cooler filled with water, soft drinks, beer and rum punch for consumption throughout the day. Shal’s enthusiasm and love of his island was apparent throughout the day. It made all of us look forward to returning in the future and exploring this beautiful island even more. If you are looking for a great tour, we highly recommend this company.