Mountain Biking And Hiking In St. Kitts
By Justin Burch
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 accommodations, 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 mountain biking. 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.
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about vacationing in the Caribbean for the St. Kitts Resort.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.