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Hiking Trails of the Caribbean
This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative Caribbean hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on island hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.
Alphabetical by Island...
- CaribbeanHiking.com is an island-by-island Hiking Guide by renowned author M. Timothy O'Keefe with hiking trail descriptions for almost 40 different islands.
- General This is a segment of a general Visit-Dominica.com website, features info on hikes to waterfalls, rainforests, parks, mountains, and of course the world-famous Boiling Lake hike. Site by Steve McCabe is a "must click" if you are headed to Dominica, or if you're just a keyboard traveler...
- Morne Trois Pitons Guide to the National Park, and with plenty of trail listings with detailed information. Site by M. Timothy O'Keefe
Baño de Oro Trail Caribbean National Forest. From the trailhead, a short uphill paved path leads to the Baño de Oro pool, a bathing complex built in the 1930’s by the CCC. Now disused, it still provides a tranquil forest view. The hiker then continues uphill on a series of gravel-paved switchbacks winding through Sierra Palms, Giant Tree Ferns and Trumpet trees abounding with flowering Bromeliads and arboreal orchids. Very good webpage, from hechoenpuertorico.org
- Caribbean National Forest USDA page, clickable map, excellent site includes Mt. Britton Trail, Caimitillo Trail, Big Tree Trail, La Mina, and others.
- Culebra NWR site by US Fish & Wildlife Service. Not a heck of a lot of info, but a place to start. Basic info for hikers.
- El Yunque Rain Forest Outstanding information, hiking info, photos...comprehensive page by Professor Peter Johnson of the Illinois Institute of Technology.
- General Prof Johnson of the El Yunque link above, created this "main Puerto Rico page" (my description) which is an absolute must click for anyone planning to visit this island, whether or not you're a hiker. Just loaded with information.
- Geology of Puerto Rico this is not a "hiking" page, but is essential for any hiker who wants to understand what he or she is looking at. It never fails to amaze me how people can hike somewhere and not have the slightest clue what they are walking on and looking at. Very good site, a Yale University .edu page -- these are notorious for moving around (not just Yale, any .edu) so this link may or may not function. Give it a shot; well worthwhile.
- St. John -- Cinnamon Bay fun-to-read narrative with a number of super photos. Notes at bottom give some trail details. On the award-winning "natural born hikers" website.
- St. John -- General Website provides descriptions and basic information of most of the key trails on St. John, north and south shores. Includes Lind Point Trail, Caneel Hill Trail Caneel Hill Spur Trail, Water Catchment Trail, Turtle Point Trail, Peace Hill, Cinnamon Bay Trail, Francis Bay Trail, Annaberg School Area, Leinster Bay Trail/Road, Johnny Horn Trail, Brown Bay Trail; and a number of South Shore Trails, including: Reef Bay Trail, Petroglyph Trail, Lameshur Bay Trail, Yawzi Point Trail, Bordeaux Mountain Trail, Salt Pond Bay Trail, Drunk Bay Trail and Ram Head Trail.
- Indispensible, Indestructible, Incredible Map of St. John Hiking Trails Was contacted by a fellow named Bob Garrison, a resident of New Hampshire. Told me he had published a hiking trail map for St. John, asked if I'd look at it and help spread the word on slackpacker.com. I was skeptical, because most self-published stuff is not very good, but I said sure, send me a map, I'll look at it. So Bob mailed a couple and I immediately sat up and took notice...this is a very attractive, very thorough topo map in full color. It has a guide to every key trail -- even a number of "unofficial" trails. Incredible, impressive. While I was looking at this, I thought it was really great...if only he put it on better stock. Being a former magazine publisher, I have some expertise in this, so I told Bob he ought to put it on better stock. He replied that he put a lot of effort into selecting the stock, and by the way it is waterproof.
So one night while my lovely wife Sandy was washing dishes (I did the cooking and was cleaning the house at the time, so don't go there) I remembered the map and asked her to please wash it. She gave me a rather puzzled look, so I explained, "the guy says it's waterproof." And she replied "how wet do you want me to get it?" I replied "Caribbean rainforest," so she promptly submerged the map and gave it back to me. Hmmm...I pulled on it, tried to tear it, tried to stretch it, tugged and tugged...nothing. The map was as solid as if it were bone dry. I guess my expression was rather stunned, because Sandy asked me what was wrong. "I told the guy to print it on better stock." She laughed. "He sent you an indestructible map and you told him to use better paper?" I nodded. "When will you learn to keep your mouth shut?"
Well, that will never happen, so I guess the next best thing is to recommend Bob's map. Here's the real kicker: He was charging a dollar, and he was losing money doing it. So now he charges two. Two lousy dollars. (He ought to charge ten.) This is the best hiking map for any Caribbean Island I've ever seen. If you're headed to St. John, you'd be crazy not to have one. Heck, if you're a map nut, it's suitable for framing, and if you know anyone who regularly visits St. John, it'd make a nice little gift. In all honesty it's better than most hiking maps that cost ten times as much, and has a lot more information. So send two bucks to Bob Garrison, P.O. Box 394, Henniker NH 03242, and I promise to keep my mouth shut. He also has a website nowadays, trailbandit.org. Do not hike in St. John without his map.
- Rain Forest Trails This site provides useful information about nature trails in the rainforest and bird watching, including trail maps and pictures. This is operated by the Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture, St. Lucia.
Turks and Caicos
- Osprey Rock Fascinating description of the hike, along with some terrific photos. Very informative page on the NaturalBornHikers.com site.
Zol and Denny, working for a penny, trying to get a fish on the line...
From the dizzying heights of Montserrat to the arcades of Christiansted, hiking the Caribbean has something for everyone. Each island has its "secret" gem; a geocultural experience not to be missed. The undisputed gem of hiking guides is
Caribbean Afoot: A Hiking and Walking Guide to Twenty Nine of the Caribbean's Best Islands by M. Timothy O'Keefe and Tim O'Keefe. This ought to be on every Caribbean traveler's bookshelf. What I like best about it is that it really reflects the flavor of the Caribbean: More than just the backcountry, rainforests, mountain vistas and deserted beaches, the O'Keefes zero in on the history and culture...hikes in old villages, city streets, abandoned forts...this book is indispensible, and for the casual slacker, it nails it on the head.
Zol and Denny, working for a penny, trying to get a fish on the line...in a coffee house Sebastian sat, and after every number he'd pass the hat. If you knew that line followed "John and Michie, gettin' kinda itchy..." in the Mamas and Papas tune Creeque Alley, give yourself three slackpacker trivia points. If you knew Zol (Yanofsky) was part of Lovin' Spoonful with (John) Sebastian, and that Denny (Doherty) joined John and Michelle (Phillips) to form the Mamas & Papas, give yourself three more. If you knew that Creeque Alley is the location in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, where that same group bummed around before they hit the big time, add two more points. Well, on my first visit to Creeque Alley I didn't find any reference to the song, but I did find a dusty, forgotten bottle of 1970 vintage Pol Roger for about $10. in a tiny store. It was terrific, of course, and everybody's getting fat except Mama Cass.
-- Rick Bolger
Please click here for the Slackpacker web site
Want to add YOUR Caribbean hiking page? It's free, it's easy, and there are no strings attached. Please click the "Submit a Site" button, above left, for instructions and complete information.
PS: Have a dinner invitation? Instead of bringing a bottle of humdrum wine or some meaningless flowers, consider bringing a copy of Like a Brother by Gerry Beckley, Robert Lamm, and Carl Wilson. If those names sound familiar, they should. Beckley is a key member of the group America, and you know his voice from Sister Golden Hair. Robert Lamm is still the driving force behind the group Chicago, perhaps his signature song is Saturday in the Park. The late Carl Wilson was the angelic-voiced youngest brother of the Wilson clan, also known as The Beach Boys. His was the ethereal lead on God Only Knows. This album was recorded just prior to Wilson's passing, finished by Beckley and Lamm, and released after a battle with the label. Few have heard it, but those who do are generally at a loss for words to describe the incredible beauty captured on this disc. It is arguably a cut above anything else released in the past decade. If you click on the link (to Amazon) you can listen to samples of a few of the selections.