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St Kitts Hiking


Supported by nearly 70 square miles of incredibly diverse ecosystems, St. Kitts might be the best Caribbean destination for outdoor recreation. With an average year-round temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit, it seems like the weather is always perfect for a hike through the rainforest or a bike ride through the island's historic countryside. Throughout the years, St. Kitts has remained committed to not only the environment, but also to the responsible management of development. The result is the best of both worlds: luxurious accomodation  world-class dining and shopping coupled with plenty of wide-open space for recreation and relaxation.

The outdoor culture of St. Kitts revolves around Mt. Liamuiga, the majestic dormant volcano at the center of the island. In fact, some of the most popular activities on the island are the hiking tours that scale the peak and peer into its crater. These tours take visitors through stretches of vine-encrusted forest complete with colorful Caribbean birds, butterflies and precocious green vervet monkeys. Once you see Mt. Liamuiga, the hike up the 2,600-foot peak will be hard to resist. Several tour companies offer day trips to the great dormant volcano's crater - a 1,000-foot deep bowl complete with a small freshwater lake. As access to both the peak and the crater can be treacherous at times, don't try this hike without a guide.

With a landscape unlike any other in the Caribbean, St. Kitts has quickly become one of the region's favorite destinations for . At the island's interior, miles of trails wind through the rainforest surrounding Mt. Liamuiga. However, many of these trails can be difficult for all but the most accomplished riders. Closer to the shore, hikers and bikers will have the opportunity to visit many of the island's plantation ruins and small villages. Bikers and hikers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy the trails that wind through the countryside and provide one of the most relaxing ways to see St. Kitts' unique Caribbean landscape.

One of the most popular rides on the island begins in the streets of historic Basseterre - the island's capital city. After leaving the city, the tour groups visit the colonial sugar cane fields at the base of St. Kitts' rolling mountain range. From atop the hills, riders can take in the scenery of the sister island of Nevis and the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. After enjoying lunch amidst the rainforest, the tour returns to Frigate Bay along one of the most picturesque routes in the Caribbean. Bikers are then encouraged to end their trip with a swim in the calm Caribbean waters.

As several tour operators now cater to bikers and hikers, there are tours to suit any age or skill level. Experienced riders usually venture to the island's mountainous center, while casual riders and hikers can enjoy the sugar cane fields and rolling hills near the coast. If you want to experience the natural beauty of St. Kitts on your own, you can also rent mountain bikes and other outdoor equipment from your hotel or local sporting shops. If you are looking for a simple hike to undertake on your own, try Monkey Hill or Verchild's Peak. These modest climbs don't require any special equipment and can be achieved by families and novice hikers.

Depending on your interests, you can schedule a tour that will offer unique sites and teach you anything you want to know about the Caribbean. History buffs can hike or bike with tours visiting colonial plantations, sugar cane fields and other historic sites for a glimpse into the region's storied past. Ecotourists, or just those curious about nature, can find tour guides that specialize in the naming of flora and fauna, the natural history of the island and the current preservation of its resources.


About the Author:
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about vacationing in the Caribbean for the St. Kitts Resort.


By Justin Burch

Regardless of where you are in St. Kitts - from the beaches to rainforests - one majestic mountain will always be in view. Mt. Liamuiga, the island's famed dormant volcano, is almost impossible to miss. However, the picturesque peak and its surrounding forests are often overlooked by tourists. As a flawlessly shaped conical peak in the midst of a vibrant rainforest, it is hard to imagine a better emblem for the exotic Caribbean. If you visit St. Kitts, make sure you visit this 3,800 foot peak up close.

The government of St. Kitts has always been committed to the preservation of its unique Caribbean ecosystems. Many of St. Kitts' beaches remain undeveloped, while the rainforests of the island's interior are in pristine condition. At the heart of this unspoiled beauty rests the island's most treasured landmark - Mt. Liamuiga. When you visit the volcano and its surrounding rainforests, the results of the island's ecological diligence will be apparent immediately. Within a few minutes of hiking, you will see towering trees covered in vines, numerous species of tropical flowers, colorful birds, butterflies and - with a little luck - some playful green vervet monkeys.

While experienced climbers and eco-tourists can probably navigate the jungle trails of Liamuiga, most tourists visit the mountain with a guide. Besides offering assistance and security for hikers, a tour guide can also provide of wealth of knowledge regarding the plant and animal life of St. Kitts - from the strange history of the mongoose to the identity of exotic birds. To find a reputable tour guide, simply consult the concierge at your resort. The concierge will be able to provide you with everything you need to know about the island's tour companies - from rates to the types of hiking and climbing equipment available - and can even reserve your spot on the tour of your choice.

Most tours begin at an elevation of 1,000 feet, meaning the hike will ascend over 2,000 feet into the sky. On average, an ascent of the northwest side of the mountain will take 2.5 to 3 hours roundtrip. To prepare for your hike, it is advised to wear good hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.

At the rim, you will find yourself amidst the clouds and might even have the pleasure of seeing a cloud sucked into the volcano's crater. Though visitors might notice the smell of sulphur in and around the peak's crater, the volcano has been dormant for over 150 years (the last major eruption was thought to have taken place nearly 1,600 years ago).

Adventurous travelers will definitely want to make the 400 foot descent into Liamuiga's crater. From inside, you will feel like you are surrounded by a mysterious mountain range. During the rainy season, the crater usually holds a small lake on part of the stone floor - generally 1-2 feet deep. If you visit the mountain with a tour, your guide will provide the necessary safety equipment and help navigate the steep crater walls.

After you've conquered the volcano, you will find much more to explore in St. Kitts. The island has plenty of undeveloped beaches, perfect for any type of recreation. On the Caribbean side of the island, the calm waters are great for swimming while wide stretches of white sand provide amazing spots to relax. The Atlantic side of the island is known for its rocky shores, crashing waves and unbeatable views. There are also plenty of opportunities to go boating, fishing or diving amongst coral reefs and ship wrecks.

When you visit St. Kitts, try starting at the center. Walk amongst the rainforests, climb the peak of Mt. Liamuiga and remain inspired for the rest of your vacation.

Justin Burch writes articles about St. Kitts for the Marriott Resorts.

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Learn More about St Kitts by visiting our other St Kitts Pages

An introduction to St Kitts and Nevis
St Kitts Scuba Diving
St Kitts Beaches
Outdoor recreation on St Kitts and Nevis
Other Attractions
Brimstone Hill Fortress
St Kitts Churches





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Last modified: November 07, 2009