If you like the idea of a scenic hike – but one you can knock off in under an hour and doesn’t leave you gasping for breath, hike the Tet Paul Nature trail, just a 10-minute drive from Soufrière on the west coast of St. Lucia, one of the Lesser Antilles islands in the eastern Caribbean.
It’s nothing like the Gros Piton hike – which is basically like walking a stair stepper. This one is only a kilometre long loop, so it’s ideal for everyone including younger children. And it’s a true nature hike. Along its length your guide will point out the island’s fascinating flora and fauna. Should you have a clear day, you’ll be able to see over to the distant islands of St. Vincent and Martinique.
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There is good signage near as you get close to the Tet Paul Nature Trail
You’ll need a guide for the Tet Paul Nature Trail
When you get to the trailhead, you’ll see signage pointing you to a small building. You’ll need to pay $US10 for a guide here. Don’t forget to take money for a tip as most of the money goes into trail maintenance and upkeep.
And while you might think you don’t need a guide, you’ll probably learn a lot more than you’d expect. And you’ll be putting money into the local economy. We had a nice fellow who knew his plants.
Tet Paul Nature Trail description
The Tet Paul Nature trail is a great one to do if you want to get away from the glitz of the beach resorts. You’ll get a nature fix as you and your guide enjoy the hike at a relaxed pace.
Enjoy an in-your-face view of Petit Piton, one of the two volcanic spires that are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sugar Beach below it, in addition to the vibrant south side of St. Lucia all the way to Vieux Fort.
Along the trail and in the gardens, you’ll see both native and exotic species along with traditional medicinal plants. Soursop (try soursop ice cream if you get a chance), avocado, passion fruit, and guava are some of the trees you’re likely to see.
Stopping to check out a gnarly old tree on the Tet Paul nature trail
Enjoy some shade on the Tet Paul Nature Trail
In short order look out to views of lush vegetation and colourful villages; we could see St. Vincent in the distance
St. Lucia’s Gros Piton
Look at how lumpy the topography is on St. Lucia
There is a vegetable garden cultivated by the local community that grows pineapples
The Stairway to Heaven part of the hike
There is a section of the Tet Paul Nature Trail called Stairway to Heaven. It’s short and in no time, you’ll be at the viewing platform. From there, it’s all downhill. Do watch your footing on the trail, especially after a hard rain.
Starting up Stairway to Heaven
Looking out at the Petit Piton from the Tet Paul Nature Trail
What a view from the platform on the Tet Paul Nature Trail
John and I enjoying the view from the platform – we’re both a bit pink from the humidity and the hike from our hotel – not just the parking lot
Hard not to be awed by the colour of the water
Looking down at the organic community garden from the viewpoint
And now a gradual downhill to return to our starting point
John and I didn’t take the time to stick our nose in Cassava House – as we had quite a hike to go, and we were hot and thirsty. I understand it’s worth a visit to get a glimpse into island life in the past. You can check out old tools and utensils that are used for preparing cassava. Reportedly you can try your hand at cassava production too.
Location map of the Tet Paul Nature Trail
The Gros Piton hike
I also highly recommend the Gros Piton hike. You can usually organize it through your hotel – though they seem to inflate prices. You can also arrange it the Gros Piton hike with Viator or Get Your Guide(using local guides) ahead of time. They do hotel pick ups and provide water.
Where to stay near the Tet Paul Nature Trail
John and I were able to walk from the Fond Doux Eco Resort where we spent four nights. It wasn’t on a beach – rather in the forest – and our room was very private. We loved our cabin, and the staff were lovely but the food was just okay.
If you want a high end resort check out Sugar Beach – A Viceroy Resort. It’s on one of the islands beautiful white sand beaches – where there is good swimming and snorkeling.
Pools at the Fond Doux Eco Resort
We loved our private cabin in the woods at Fond Doux Eco Resort
Interested in exploring more of the Caribbean or Central America?
The Boiling Lake Hike in Dominica
Dominica Adventures with Wanderlust Caribbean
Cangreja Waterfall Hike in Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Costa Rica
The Memorable La Anita Rainforest Ranch in Costa Rica
Hiking in Costa Rica: The Miravalles Volcano
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