The Waitukubuli National Trail: A Caribbean Hiking Adventure, The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a unique hiking trail that takes visitors through the island’s lush rainforests, volcanic peaks, and hot springs. The trail is a great way to experience the island’s unique and unusual natural wonders. So, if you are looking for a unique and challenging hiking experience in the Caribbean, you might want to consider the Waitukubuli National Trail.
This trail is the longest and only long-distance walking trail in the Caribbean, covering 115 miles of diverse terrain and scenery across the island. The trail is divided into 14 segments, each with its own level of difficulty, attractions, and cultural heritage. You can hike the entire trail in about two weeks, or choose to do individual segments depending on your time and preference.
The Waitukubuli National Trail was officially opened in 2013, after five years of construction by the Government of Dominica, the Regional Council of Martinique, and the European Union. The trail was named after the original Kalinago name for Dominica, which means “tall is her body”. The trail showcases the natural beauty and rich history of Dominica, passing through rainforests, cloud forests, mountains, valleys, rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, volcanoes, plantations, villages, and historical sites.
The Waitukubuli National Trail is divided into 14 segments, each with its own level of difficulty, length, and attractions. You can choose to hike the entire trail over several days or weeks, or just select a few segments that suit your interests and abilities.
Some of the highlights of the trial include:
– Segment 1: Scotts Head to Soufriere Estate. This segment is 7.4 miles long and rated as moderate. It starts at the picturesque village of Scotts Head, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and the nearby island of Martinique. The trail then passes through Soufriere Sulphur Springs, a geothermal area with bubbling pools and fumaroles. You can also visit the Old French Quarter, where you can see ruins of colonial buildings and learn about the history of Dominica.
– Segment 2: Soufriere Estate to Bellevue Chopin. This segment takes you through the Old French Quarter of Dominica, where you can see remnants of colonial architecture and learn about the history of slavery and emancipation on the island.
– Segment 3: Bellevue Chopin to Wotten Waven. This segment leads you to the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains some of the most spectacular natural features of Dominica, such as the Boiling Lake, the Valley of Desolation, and the Emerald Pool.
– – Segment 4: Wotten Waven to Pond Casse. This segment is 9.3 miles long and rated as difficult. It takes you through the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases Dominica’s volcanic features and biodiversity. You will hike up Morne Nicholls, a mountain with an altitude of 3,168 feet, for stunning views of the Valley of Desolation, a barren area with hot springs and sulfur deposits. You will then descend into the valley and cross the Breakfast River, where you can take a dip in the warm water. The segment ends at Pond Casse, a small settlement near the Emerald Pool, a popular attraction with a waterfall and a natural pool.
– Segment 5: Pond Casse to Castle Bruce. This segment takes you from the central highlands to the eastern coast of Dominica, where you can enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean and the lush vegetation. You will also cross several rivers and streams along the way.
– Segment 6: Castle Bruce to Hatton Garden. This segment is 9 miles long and rated as moderate. It takes you along the east coast of Dominica, where you can enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged coastline. You will pass through several villages and farms, where you can interact with local people and sample their produce. You will also visit the Kalinago Territory, home to the indigenous people of Dominica who have preserved their culture and traditions for centuries. You can learn about their history, crafts, music, and way of life at the Kalinago Barana Aute (Carib Model Village).
– Segment 7: Hatton Garden to First Camp. This segment takes you into the Carib Territory, a reserve for the Kalinago people that covers about 15% of Dominica’s land area. You will have a chance to interact with some of the Kalinago residents and see their traditional crafts and practices.
Segment 8 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a challenging but rewarding hike that takes you from the east coast to the west coast of the island. You will start at First Camp, which is a remote spot in the mountains where you can camp overnight if you wish. You will then follow a trail that crosses several ridges and valleys, offering stunning views of Dominica’s natural beauty. You will encounter rainforest, montane forest, and dry scrub woodland habitats, and you may spot some of Dominica’s wildlife, such as the endemic Sisserou and Jaco parrots. The trail ends at Petite Macoucherie, a small village on the Cuba Road. This segment is about 6 hours long, but you will need to add another 6 hours if you want to hike Segment 7 as well, which connects First Camp to Hatten Garden on the Pagua Bay. This is a long and strenuous hike that requires good physical fitness and preparation.
Segment 9: Segment 9 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a challenging but rewarding hike that takes you through the lush rainforest and montane forest of the island’s west coast. You will encounter diverse wildlife, stunning views, and historical sites along the way. The trail starts at Petite Macoucherie, a small village that was once a thriving sugar estate. You will pass by the ruins of an old sugar mill and a water wheel, as well as a natural pool where you can cool off. The trail then ascends steeply to the ridge of Morne Arney, the second-highest peak on the island at 3,353 feet. From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, the neighboring islands of Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante, and Morne Diablotins, Dominica’s highest mountain at 4,747 feet. The trail then descends gradually to Colihaut Heights, where you will find a trail hut and road access. This segment is about 10 km long and takes 6 to 8 hours to complete. It is recommended for experienced hikers who are in good physical condition and have proper equipment and supplies.
Segment 10: Segment 10 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is an easy hike that takes about three hours to complete. It starts at Colihaut Heights, a village with scenic views of the Caribbean Sea and the neighboring islands of Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante. The trail then passes through lush farmlands and forests, where you can spot various birds, including the endemic Sisserou and Jaco parrots. The trail ends at Syndicate, a nature reserve that hosts a visitor center and a picnic area. Along the way, you can enjoy the fresh air, the natural beauty, and the friendly locals of Dominica.
Segment 11 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a challenging but rewarding hike that takes you through the Morne Diablotins National Park, home to the endemic and endangered Sisserou and Jaco parrots. You will also enjoy the views of Duban Falls, a clump of the biggest Bois Rouge trees on the island, and the remnants of the old railway that once connected Portsmouth to Roseau. This segment is 10 km long and takes about 7 hours to complete. It is suitable for nature lovers and bird watchers who want to experience the diversity and beauty of Dominica’s rainforest.
Segment 12 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a challenging but rewarding hike that takes you through the foothills of two majestic mountains, Morne Diablotins and Morne Aux Diables. You will start from the village of Borne and end at the village of Penville, passing through the village of Vieille Case along the way. Vieille Case is famous for being the home of several heads of state and government, as well as a filming site for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean 2. You will enjoy sweeping views of the Atlantic coast and the Caribbean Sea, as well as the diverse flora and fauna of the dry forest, rainforest, and farmland. The trail is 13.5 km long and takes about seven hours to complete. It is rated as moderate to difficult, so you will need to be in good physical condition and have proper hiking gear. Segment 12 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a great way to experience the rural and natural beauty of this island nation.
Segment 13 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a historic and scenic hike that takes you along the northern coast of the island. You will start from Penville, a small village in Saint Andrew Parish, and end at Capuchin, where you can visit the Canna Heritage Park and learn more about the culture and history of the area. Along the way, you will enjoy views of the neighboring French islands, such as Marie Galante, Les Saintes, and Guadeloupe, as well as the Tafia Falls, a beautiful cascade of water. The segment is 6.8 km long and takes about four hours to complete. It is moderately difficult and requires some stamina and hiking skills. The trail passes through dry forested woodland and volcanic terrain that are home to various wildlife and plants. Segment 13 of The Waitukubuli Trail in Dominica is a great way to experience the natural beauty and diversity of this Caribbean island.
– Segment 14: Capuchin to Cabrits National Park. This segment is 8 miles long and rated as easy. It takes you to the northernmost point of Dominica, where you can explore Cabrits National Park, a former British military base that has been restored as a historical and natural attraction. You can visit Fort Shirley, a 18th century fort that overlooks Prince Rupert Bay and offers views of Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante islands. You can also hike along trails that lead to various points of interest, such as ruins of barracks, cannons, cemeteries, and mangroves.
The Waitukubuli National Trail is more than just a hiking trail; it is an adventure that will immerse you in Dominica’s nature and culture. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a casual walker, you will find something to suit your taste and challenge your skills on this trail. So pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready for a Caribbean hiking adventure like no other!
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