If island adventure is your jam, lace up your boots for a volcano safari up Mt. Liamuiga on St. Kitts. On the journey that takes you nearly 3,000 feet above sea level, you’ll pass through some of Mother Nature’s most beautiful ecosystems including woodlands, rainforest, and a rolling cloud forest. The beverage of choice for this trek: water, and lots of it!
St. Kitts & Nevis were a British colony until the early ‘80s. When they declared independence, the name of the massive volcano there was changed from Mount Misery to the more charming Mount Liamuiga meaning “fertile land.” Some may say the former name might be a bit more fitting as the trek up (and down) is no walk in the park!
Greg Pereira, a fifth generation Kittian, grew up on the island and has been guiding people up nature’s (very steep) staircase to the volcano’s rim for over a quarter-century. Here are some of the journey’s highlights:
- The Black Rocks: On the hour-long drive to the base of the volcano, you’ll pass a stunning formation of rocks formed by the volcano’s past eruptions over 1,600 years ago.
- The Rainforest: The climb up the mountain takes about two hours and covers 2 ½ miles. You’ll hike up through lush jungle trails filled with exotic trees, plants and critters of all shapes and sizes. Unlike many rainforests around the world, the forests in St. Kitts are actually expanding because of excellent conservation. In fact, 25% of the island is protected rainforest area.
- A Cloud Forest: Once you reach a height of 2,800 feet above the sea the air turns into a gorgeous forest of vapor that wraps around the crater’s rim.
- The “Giant Salad Bowl”: When you reach the crater’s edge, the views are out of this world, nicknamed the “Giant Salad Bowl” because of the densely forested and lush green walls. The crater floor, 700 feet below, features steaming sulfur vents and a small freshwater lake in the center.
- Views for Miles: For the most spectacular vista, you’ll have to climb an additional 20 feet to the top of the mountain where the views are amazing in every direction. On a clear day, you may be able see up to six Caribbean islands in the distance!
So, grab a walking stick, “camel up” (that’s hiking jargon for drink lots of water) and check this hike off your bucket list – you won’t be disappointed.