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Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Natural Wonders, Free, Hiking Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 1.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Sitting at more than 4,800 feet – the highest point in the Lesser Antilles – La Soufriere Volcano is often referred to as "la vieille dame" (the old lady) by locals. This active volcano (the last eruption occurred in 1976) is located in the southern part of the island's national park on Basse-Terre about 3 miles from the town of Saint-Claude. There are several outfitters that lead hikes to the top, though past visitors said a guide is not necessary since the path to the summit is well-marked. Along the way, you'll see all sorts of flora and fauna, and you can enjoy relaxing in hot springs heated by the volcano.

Recent travelers advised arriving to the parking area early in the day or later in the afternoon to secure a parking spot. If you aren't able to park in the parking lot, you'll have to park down the road, which some reviewers said can add an additional 45 minutes to your hike. Most travelers said the hike is well worth the views at the top. They strongly advised wearing good hiking shoes, layers and bringing plenty of water. If you're tackling the climb by yourself, plan to set aside several hours to complete the hike (the quickest route takes two hours). Access is free.

 

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#1 Parc National de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe National Park)

Tucked amid Basse-Terre's verdant mountain landscape sits the Parc National de la Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe National Park), a 74,100-acre rainforest filled with picturesque traces (walking trails). The park's trails brush past lush forest foliage, magnificent waterfalls and the summit of La Soufriere volcano. The trails range from short- to long-distance routes that vary in difficulty. Before you strap on your hiking gear, you'll want to pick up a "Guide to the National Park" brochure from the Guadeloupe tourism office (located in St. Claude, Basse-Terre) to map out your journey. If you would prefer to admire the park's natural splendors from behind the wheel, drive along the Route de la Traversee, a scenic 16-mile road that cuts through the forest.

Recent travelers recommended packing bug spray and snacks for the trip and said there is plenty to see and do in the park. Reviewers also warn that the park is muddy – plan to wear shoes with good traction.

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