At Rainforest Adventures, knowledgeable guides introduce you to the lush and peaceful forest via aerial tram, zip lines or on foot. TT decided to try the latter.
BEST FOOT FORWARD
The roughly 3-hour Jaquot Trail Hike is the perfect way to see the minutiae of the rainforest. The most challenging part of the hike, which does require some stamina, is the steep incline but it didn’t take long for the ‘wow’ moments to start. Just a minute into the trail we encountered a giant ficus tree. Our guide explained that in the early stages of the tree’s life, it wraps itself around a host tree, eventually killing the host. Jesse’s insightful lesson was interrupted by a medium-sized crab making its way down the trail. Determined to get to its destination, it gently tapped on the guide’s foot, cautioning him to get out of the way.
As we hiked higher, the chirping of birds grew louder. The rainforest is home to the Saint Lucian Oriole, Pewee, Warbler and Black Finch who share the habitat with other animals like mongooses, lizards, tarantulas and even snakes! Our guide, in between giving out birdcalls, assured us that the snakes are shy and well-concealed.
Conditions underfoot became wetter as we ascended, due to the increased rainfall at height. But apart from the trees, one constant throughout the rainforest is the birds’ melodious chirping; their tune acted like fuel, relaxing us and keeping us going.
Near the peak we saw a tree towering over all others. Known as the ‘Gommier’, this giant grows up to 200 ft (60 m) and is the tallest type of tree on-island. Centuries ago it was used by Caribs and Arawaks to make canoes.
At the top!
After some 90 minutes we finally made it to the top! At 1,400 ft (427 m) we took a refreshing water break and breather while feasting on the breathtaking panoramic view. On clear days one can see the neighbouring island of Martinique and, at 3,117 ft (950 m), Saint Lucia’s tallest mountain, Mount Gimie.
WHAT GOES UP . . .
Descending was easier and the sights and views were equally amazing. Our reward at the end of the trail was a soothing stroll through Hummingbird Garden where dozens of these delightful little creatures were feeding on seeds, and the sweet aroma of plants and flowers perfumed the air. This was the icing on the cake! Pictures surely don’t do this beautiful forest justice!
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