Have you ever hiked a volcano? I conquered my first (still active!) volcano last week at St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Saint Vincent lies to the west of Barbados and south of Saint Lucia. The island is volcanic and includes little level ground. One side of the island is very rocky and steep, while the other side has more sandy beaches and bays. The country`s highest peak is La Soufrière volcano at 1234m (4049 ft) and I climbed that!
La Soufriere volcano along with the other volcanoes in the Caribbean “Volcanic Island Arch” all originate on hot spots where the Caribbean and Atlantic Plates meet. Thus all these islands of the Caribbean were formed by volcanic eruptions over many years. The earliest eruption was in 1718 with activity lasting for three days. Another one eruption took place at 1812 which destroyed the conical dome within the old crater.
The next recorded eruption was in 1902. The eruption produced hot mudflows and the glowing avalanche produced by this eruption killed 1565 people. The most recent eruption was in 1979 and luckily didn`t claim any lives.
When climbing the tropical mountains, our guide pointed out the difference in vegetation of the forest as you go higher. The changes are due to changes in the microclimate with increasing altitude i.e. temperature, moisture and winds. –Which you were aware of while climbing the volcano – It started out warm and humid, but the higher you went up, the nicer it became with a breeze to cool you down and a strong wind at the top.
I have to admit that it wasn`t a walk in the park for me, as the climbing is quite steep at some stages. The last part is a lot of rocks, but the end result, having climbed a volcano and the view you get up there, is definitely worth it.
*Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes
*Bring mosquito spray
*Bring plenty of water
*Bring an energy bar or a cookie for some much-needed strength
It took the group about 2 – 2, 5 hours to climb to the top and 1,5 hour to descend. You can of course do this climb at your own pace.
I was invited on this trip by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority. Check out their social channels on Twitter and FB. As always the thoughts in this post are my own.
James Miller says
I am so jealous it hurts! :p
Judi Glass says
Wow, I walked to the top last year, but as we got near the top the cloud came down so we couldn’t see in to the crater. Your photos are fab. My legs rebelled over the next couple of days, but it was worth the pain. My guide kept telling me just 30 more minutes to the top – for four hours!!! If he had said 4 hours seriously up hill, I think I would have turned back!!!
Hi Judi, that must have been a bit disappointing to climb the whole way and not see the crater. I have to admit my legs were doing suprisingly well afterwards, maybe the massage we had at our hotel after our climb had something to do with that 😉 Our guide said how far it was from the beginning, but during the trip he motivated us by saying: “Almost there!” even though it was still a long way to go. But it was very rewarding to make it to the top and have that view.
Thanks for your compliment on my photos!
I climbed La Soufriere 5 days ago, as well. It was an incredible experience. Did not enjoy the steepness of the hike but the views from the ‘dry wet river’ and ‘Jacob’s Well’ on the way to the top were magnificent. Definitely a challenge, particularly on the rocky paths near the top. The photos are spectacular, thanks!
Hi Jeannie, great to hear you had the same experience as me. I didn`t enjoy the steepness at some parts either, but the views at the top made up for it. Thanks for the compliment on my photos, glad you enjoyed 🙂
Carol Richardson says
Enjoyed your blog & photos of La Soufriere.
We’re heading to Bequia at the end of the month & plan to climb La Soufriere early March. Your tips were excellent. Just wondering, would you recommend using a walking stick? We recently hiked through the Olgas & Kings Canyon in Australia . . . did you do these hikes and how would you compare the level of difficulty?
Thanks for your comment. I remember that there was a lot of elevation (sometimes steps). I`m not familiar with hiking with a walking stick, so I`m not sure if it would be easier or sometimes in the way, if you know what I mean.
I`ve visited the Olgas, but unfortunately not Kings Canyon (yet ;). However at the Olgas I didn`t do the hike, so I can`t compare. I`ve done the hike around Uluru (10 km) but that was all same level and no elevation, which in comparison was easy to this one. It`s mostly the elevation that made this hike harder for me. But if you`re a seasoned hiker, you should be fine.
The view is definitely worth it! Make sure you bring water and some sugary snack for some energy ; Most of all enjoy. Bequia was my favorite of the Grenadines!