Here’s a great experience I had on my trip to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, back in May 2012. I absolutely loved this country for many reasons, one of which is that it’s not only about the sea, but there’s a lot of hiking and natural beauties to check out!
On the Island of Saint Vincent one of the biggest natural attractions is a volcano named “La Soufrière” (=the Sulfurer), of 1234 meters of altitude.
I climbed this volcano, and here is my experience about it.
From Kingstown (the capital) it takes about 1 hour to reach the base of the volcano, where the path starts. The last part of the road is definitely scenic!
At the beginning the hike is not very hard, but the central part is very tough because of very high bamboo steps that are the biggest challenge.
Overall it takes about 90 minutes to climb the volcano until the edge of the crater and 1 hour to come back. In my case, because I was not trained at all, it took at least an extra 30 minutes. My personal tip is to do it at your pace – it’s not a long way so you can allow yourself an extra hour, why not?
Another important thing is: don’t forget to bring water! Plenty of it. I would say at least 1 liter per person, even more if you can.
On the way up, you will have to cross water and (dry) lava streams, which makes the walk very interesting and not boring at all!
The vegetation is very tall at the beginning, while it gets shorter when you reach the final part of the climb. Here there’s no real path, you will have to step on plants and rocks so make sure you have good walking shoes and socks if not long but comfortable pants.
Also, the top of the volcano is windy and often foggy, and this is actually good because the temperature drops and makes the climb more bearable.
If you are trained, this is not a hard hike. If you’re not, you may want to think again before going, but then again I was not trained and I did it so I believe anyone can do it.
It will be tough, but so worth it!
When you get to the summit and you see the crater, your effort will be rewarded.
The crater is an immense green expanse with a lake and a hill in the middle. On the background you will see the Caribbean Sea. You will suddenly forget about how tired you are!
For the expert hikers, there is a way to reach the bottom of the crater in roped parties but we didn’t do that and I wouldn’t recommend to beginners. It’s almost a vertical face!
Click to enlarge and you’ll see an old lava spill on the right, steam on the bottom left, a lake in the crater (how huge is that?) and the sea at the back! That “green bubble” in the middle of the crater is growing with the pressure underneath. Will it erupt any soon?
You will need a guide with a car to take you to the base of the volcano and show you the way to the top so the package will probably cover the $2 admission fee.
Volcano La Soufrière is an active volcano: the latest eruptions were in 1718, 1812, 1902, 1971, 1979.