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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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.
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.
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 the GrosPiton 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.
Interested in exploring more of the Caribbean or Central America?