The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
St Lucia is one of the chain of Windward Islands in the Caribbean. The island has much to offer within the inland tropical rain forests.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 45600
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
One of the Windward Islands, St Lucia is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide. Inland, away from the coast, tropical rain forests cover much of the island's landscapes. During our time on this mountainous island, we’ll discover waterfalls, coral reefs, botanical gardens and plantations. The sulphur springs at Soufriere are a reminder that the island is still an active volcano. We’ll explore many of the hiking trails and discover some of the world’s most beautiful plants and fruits, whilst admiring the local bird and wildlife as we walk.
Naturally, the twin peaks of the Pitons are the jewel in St Lucia’s crown and have been awarded a World Heritage Site status. Rising majestically from the sea to the grand height of 798 metres, they dominate the southwest coastline and stunning views await you when you reach the top of Gros Piton. Although very much at the top of the grade, the scenery is well worth the effort!
Some of our walks may finish at a beach where you can take a dip in the warm Caribbean waters. We’ll visit a rum distillery and the Balenbouche sugar mill plantation, where we have tea. There will also be time to explore the capital Castries with its bustling market.
A fusion of French, British and African traditions, St Lucia’s Creole culture is an intriguing mix. While English is the official language, you will hear Patois spoken on the streets. Delicious Creole cuisine blends French traditions with island ingredients and many towns have French names such as Soufriere, Anse La Raye, Vieux Fort and Gros Islet.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Fly from London Gatwick to Hewanorra Airport St Lucia. On arrival we transfer by road to the Bay Gardens Hotel in Rodney Bay for 10 nights' accommodation.
Transfer Time = 1h 30m
Today we visit the village of Gros Islet and then begin our walk which follows the coastline along to Pigeon Island National Park. Here there are two quite steep but short hills to climb, Signal Hill and the fort, connected by a saddle with wonderful views of Martinique and the south of the island. The Island has numerous forts including the 18th-century British fort and Fort Rodney both used by the British to spy on neighbouring Martinique.
Today we will explore Venus Estate, which lies nestled in a verdant part of the island, offering beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys below. Banana and coconut plantations, and rich tropical vegetation can be seen in every direction. A short steep climb takes us to the top of the ridge where we are rewarded with many scenic vistas. Our walk continues downhill , through lush vegetation, before arriving at the sleepy Fishing Village of Anse La Raye where we can relax on the beach and enjoy a swim if you wish.
This afternoon we will visit one of St Lucia’s award-winning Rum Distilleries. We will take a tour of the distillery and taste the finished product. After we will take a short ferry ride to Marigot Bay, and visit Auberge Seraphine, home to a colony of cattle egret, before returning to the hotel.
Today we visit Monchy School, sponsored by both our hotel and our in-house charity Heart and Sole. We provide funds for the school’s Breakfast Club, but also provide them with additional school or personal items that they may require. You may contribute too, please contact RWH Travel if you wish to do so. On arrival we will take a short tour of the school and deliver any items that we have brought for them.
A brief drive from there takes us to where we will begin our walk of approximately five miles along a generally flat but occasionally undulating trail. There are many varied environments to enjoy the many views along the way, such as the mangrove, the lazy flowing river, and a quiet beach cove where we will rest while the cool Atlantic breeze blows by. Here we can see the local fisherman go about their day. The walk continues to a headland for stunning views of the Atlantic Coast, before rejoining the trail which will take us back to the bus, and we return to the hotel.
We begin with a visit to the beautiful Mamiku Botanical Gardens, and discover the exotic flora and learn about the history of the estate. After, we begin the Pointe de Caille coastal walk; this is a leisurely walk along good tracks to an Atlantic headland and on to a quiet secluded beach called “The Honeymoon Beach” where it is possible to have lunch in the shade and swim, (if you don't mind seaweed, as large quantities of seaweed drift ashore on the eastern side of the island).
Today is at leisure for you to explore on your own relax by the pool or at the beach. You may wish to visit the town of Castries with its market vendors, arcade, cathedral and Derek Walcott Square.
Today we travel to Soufriere by boat and walk to Sulphur Springs and Sapphire Falls. Soufriere is the oldest town in St. Lucia and the Island's capital under French rule. It is extremely picturesque as the twin Pitons form a backdrop to the lovely harbour and beach. Sulphur Springs is the "world's only drive in volcano. We bathe beneath the cascading mineral waterfalls at Sapphire Falls, which is said to detoxify the body and helps heal sun burns, eczema, arthritis, sore joints, and more. What a way to soothe the walking aches and pains.
Today we walk from Chassin to Bogius. After we visit to Greenwood Terrace, home to more than 250 species of tropical fruit and exotic flowering trees and plants; including orchids, hibiscus, frangipani, aloe, as well as birds of paradise. Here we can stroll through sloping grounds bursting with fruit trees, flowers and tropical plants. Get to know some of the local flavours and scents, some of which are used in medicine and cuisine.
Visit Monchy on the Atlantic coast followed by a magnificent Atlantic coastal walk finishing at Casen- Bas for swimming. This is a lovely varied coastal walk, with some superb views along the Atlantic coast. Often our clients say it is the best walk of the tour. We take it at a leisurely pace and savour the atmosphere. We may also have the opportunity to visit Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium during this walk.
One of the Caribbean's most famous landmarks is the Pitons and today we'll ascend and descend Gros Piton which stands at 798m - approximate walking times are 2- 2.5 hours to ascend and 1.5 - 2 hours to descend.
After a relaxing morning at the hotel we will transfer to Hewanorra Airport visiting Balenbouche Estate, an old sugar mill plantation, en route for a late lunch including wonderful organic produce from the estate and a tour. We will finish at the airport for check in for our return flight to London Gatwick.
Arrive London Gatwick.
Departure dates for your selected tour
23rd Dec 2021 - 3rd Jan 2022 (11 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
Described as a boutique tropical retreat, The Bay Gardens Hotel, offers its guests spacious island-inspired en suite rooms all with views of their lush gardens. Room facilities include, a hairdryer, TV, air conditioning, kettle, telephone, mini-fridge, room Safe, iron and private Terrace. Complimentary WIFI is available throughout. The property offers three swimming pools, an onsite restaurant and easy access to local shops and attractions.
Some of the walking is done on well prepared trails and paths that are clearly marked, however they can be rough and stony under foot. As this is a volcanic island there are many ascents and descents involved in the walks. Distances can vary from approximately 3 miles to 7 miles but it is the nature of the terrain that determines the grading. You can experience high humidity in the Caribbean, and this can also make some of the walks feel at the very top of the grade. Some days may include a beach visit in the afternoon giving time for a relaxing swim before returning to our hotel. The maximum altitude we reach on this holiday is 800m at the top of Gros Piton our toughest walk and very much at the top of the grade. If is also worth nothing that whilst we are in the rainforest walks can be muddy and slippery under foot with tree roots to navigate as well.
See the Itinerary section for more information.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in St Lucia
St Lucia uses the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. US Dollars are also widely accepted.
You can obtain these before you depart the UK from selected outlets such as the Post Office or you can change Sterling locally. If you also have US dollars you can take these with you. US dollars are accepted on the island in many of the bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, supermarkets etc, although you will receive your change in Eastern Caribbean Dollars. The EC dollar is linked to the US dollar at the current rate of 1USD = 2.7ECD (correct as of spring 2015). Travellers’ cheques can only be cashed at banks and can be a very slow process, so we suggest that you might want to avoid these. The Bay Gardens Inn accepts major credit cards.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff & to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Travel in St Lucia will be by road and the transfer time between airport and hotel is approximately 90 minutes.
There will be some days that will involve coach journeys on winding roads to reach the start of the walks and fully explore the island. On other days we will take a boat transfer to the start and or finish of the walks.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Passport Information for St Lucia
A passport is required and should be valid for at least six months after the date of return. A visa is not required by the holder of a British passport bearing the inscription 'British Citizen' for stays up to 42 days.
Buffet breakfasts, two lunches and dinners are included in the holiday charge. Most dinners will be taken at our hotel, which offers excellent cuisine, and we will have the chance to dine at the sister resort. The meals offer an excellent choice of local dishes with the opportunity to try Creole cuisine. Two lunches are included in the holiday cost, others are at your own expense. Picnic lunches can be bought from the nearby supermarket or a day’s walking may include lunch at a cafe or restaurant. The hotel also hosts a Manager’s Cocktail Party once a week, which is a good opportunity to meet other guests and share experiences of your visit.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
This holiday will give the chance to relax and have free time at the beach so please feel free to bring snorkelling equipment.
The Caribbean has a typical tropical climate with high temperatures and plenty of rainfall, which is why the islands are so lush. There is little seasonal variation in temperature due to the islands location near the equator, but the seasons are determined by the amount of rainfall, and consist of rainy (generally June to October/November), and dry (generally December to May) seasons.
During the wet season, rainfall is usually in the form of short, but heavy, bursts with a high increase in humidity, while the dry season’s rain showers are generally lighter and the humidity is not so intense. Daytime temperatures can reach up to 30°C all year round.
With high temperatures and humidity, you will want to dress for comfort. Light cotton t-shirts, shorts, skirts and trousers are ideal for the day, especially ones that are quick drying so you can rinse them out to use again (saves on packing too!). For the evenings, smart casual attire is fine.
The Caribbean can occasionally experience short, sharp, heavy periods of rain that can occur without warning, leaving trails wet and streams higher than normal. When this happens, for some trails we may need to change the plan at short notice or, for more straightforward trails, it has been very useful in the past to don water/aqua-shoes for short sections where lying water is higher than boot level. These shoes can also be useful in and around rocky areas like waterfalls, for people with sensitive feet when getting in and out of water. It is also useful to carry a small, light towel. You may feel that waterproof trousers are not needed.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in St Lucia
Electricity is supplied at 220 Volts at 60Hz. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a mixture of two pin US style adaptor with flat pins and UK style three pin plugs.
More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
You may find the following websites useful in planning your trip:
St. Lucia Tourist Board www.stlucia.org
Visit St Lucia www.visitslu.com
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for St Lucia
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to St Lucia.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
Tetanus immunisation is recommended.
You may also wish to consider immunisation against Hepatitis B.
Dengue fever, Chikungunya virus and Zika virus also exist in St. Lucia; please take normal precautions against mosquito bites.
Seek pre-travel Zika virus advice from your health care provider 6-8 weeks in advance of travel, particularly important if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy.
There is a risk of schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection (also known as bilharzia) that is transmitted to humans through contact with fresh water. Please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Monchy Primary School
RWH Travel has joined forces with our hotel partner in St Lucia, the Bay Gardens Inn, to provide funds for the continuation of the Breakfast Club at Monchy Primary School on the island. Ms Patrick, one of the managers at the Bay Gardens hails from Monchy and on a visit to the school some years ago noted that some students were starting the day without a good breakfast.
Heart & Sole is happy to partner with the Bay Gardens Resorts by making a financial donation to ensure that the Breakfast Club can continue. In addition, the school always needs teaching materials, so if you have any spare room in your suitcase and would like to donate any items to the school, please take them with you and if possible, on our walk from Monchy we will make a visit to the school when you can donate the items or you can drop them at the hotel, who will ensure they are delivered to the school.
Items needed are:
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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