Hike the Caribbean from Antigua to Nevis
Hike Caribbean is a new specialist travel company which offers hiking holidays to the Caribbean, appealing to visitors with itchy feet looking to explore the islands beyond the sun-lounger. All trips will be tailor made ‘holidays with hikes’ with suggested itineraries ranging from five-day one island hiking breaks to a more challenging five peaks, five islands holiday over a three-week period.
Initially, the company will offer six destinations including Antigua, St Lucia, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis with prices starting from £895pp for a five-day hiking and yoga holiday on Antigua.
By packing a pair of walking boots, Hike Caribbean aims to show visitors a unique side to the region – a chance to refresh in a remote waterfall in the rainforest, get a bird’s eye view from a volcanic spire of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea or even glimpse an active volcano. How much walking is covered alongside other activities such as sailing, diving, cycling, or simply relaxing and the number of islands covered is totally flexible with tailor made itineraries designed for suit individuals, couples, friends and small groups of like minded travellers.
Hike Caribbean is the brainchild of Rob Davies, a Brit working in the communications industry who has spent many years based out in the Caribbean, and his co-founder Aidan McCauley, owner of Sugar Ridge Hotel on Antigua. Together they have spent many happy days on foot discovering there is far more to the Caribbean than its white (and sometimes black) sand beaches.
“There is definitely a gap in the market which we hope to fill. Currently there are group walking holidays available on a few of the islands we cover, however nobody seems to be offering individual trips or indeed proper walking excursions in many areas which we feel do offer first class hiking trails. It is just assumed that you are either a serious hiker who wants to walk from dawn to dusk in a group, or you are unlikely to leave the enclave of your hotel,” commented Davies.
The breadth of the offering means there are plenty of two island combinations with three nights in Antigua and four nights on another island for around £1,500pp.
For example, twinning Antigua with Montserrat will take you from classic Caribbean holidaying to exploring a lesser visited island and the surreal experience of walking the streets of the deserted old capital, Plymouth, destroyed in volcanic eruptions, the last one being 23 years ago. This seven-night itinerary costs from £1,395pp.
For the ultimate in Caribbean hiking take the three-week option and pack a lot of stamina for the Five Peaks Challenge (from £4,995pp), visiting Antigua, Nevis, St Kitts, St Lucia and Guadeloupe and bagging the highest peak on all of them. At almost 1,500m, La Grande Soufriere (Guadeloupe) is the highest peak in the Lesser Antilles and Mount Nevis involves a muddy ascent with ropes for the final push to the top! While Mount Gimie, the biggest ascent in St Lucia is a strenuous six hour round trip, and a dip in a tropical waterfall plunge pool on the way down will quickly erase any pain.
Over time, the company aims to offer more islands, including Dominica, which is the jewel in the crown for hiking in the area however for the time being it is not viable following the impact of Hurricane Maria and the rebuilding which is taking place.
“We know there is a real appetite with many visitors, especially Brits and Canadians who we are initially targeting, to get out and about to earn their rum punch in the evening. We very much see our trips as holidays with hiking, so you can combine a day of relaxing on the beach, or perhaps diving, yoga or sailing, with days of hiking through rainforests, along stunning coastlines or climbing the highest peaks,” added Davies.
Trips will typically start in Antigua due to the island’s good international flight connections and the company’s Caribbean base at Sugar Ridge and can include a combination of between two and five islands for durations of five to 21 days. Clients will also be able to use Sugar Ridge as a base for their main luggage if they wish to travel with hand luggage only for their onward adventures.
There is a wide range of accommodation used in itineraries to suite varying budgets including boutique hotels and guesthouses as well as some slightly off the beaten track bases, often with great walks from the veranda. Detailed itineraries are supplied for all guided walks and guides are carefully selected on each island, if opting for the self-guided option in Guadeloupe self-guided maps will be supplied. The company is also dedicated to supporting Hurricane Relief for the islands of Barbuda and Dominica and will be making a donation from profits to these islands.
The company is fully ATOL bonded and offers holidays which can be booked now for travel this season and beyond. Detailed examples of itineraries can be found at: www.hikecaribbean.com
Mark Bibby Jackson
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