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Backpacking in the Caribbean

Gallatin Gateway...
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Backpacking in the Caribbean

I am trying to plan a backpacking trip in Oct/Nov (pretty small, probably a week and a half) on ONE island in the Caribbean. I've been to several islands, and St. Lucia has been the one that I always wanted to return to. However, I was on a cruise and only spent the day there. Is this island backpacker friendly ? (cheap hostels, sightseeing to do on your own, public transportation, etc.) I want to visit the jungle/rainforest, I love hiking, and wouldn't mind camping as well. Is this possible on St. Lucia? If not, are there other Caribbean islands that are more backpacker friendly? Safety is also something I'm worried about as I am a young female traveling alone. I'm trying to stick to the Caribbean as this is the cheapest area to fly to for me. Any ideas or advice are much appreciated~~

Rocky Mountain...
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1. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

I would look at Grenada for backpacking. Very safe island, good public transportation and beautiful. As much as I love St Lucia I would not be comfortable as a solo female backpacking there and I've done my fair share of backpacking.

St. Lucia
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2. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

I would probably agree with nevera on this one. As much as I love St. Lucia, it is a pretty small island and while there is lots to do and see, great hiking, pretty decent public transportation - there is not many facilities for a backpacker. There are several very inexpensive guesthouses which would make for good bases to explore, however no camping really (except the turtle watch camp during turtle season) and the public transportation is not always reliable as it doesn't run on a set scedule. It is a pretty safe island also, however exploring some of the hiking trails and rainforest on your own would probably not be the best idea on St. Lucia. You could join tour groups on island - but that would take away from doing things on your own schedule and also add a lot of expense.

For all that, I would go with Grenada - it is a beautiful island and the options for hiking and such on your own are much more available.

Either way - enjoy your trip!

Buffalo, New York
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3. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

You could also look into Dominica, it is harder and more expensive to get to but they have a trail, parts still under construction, that will go from one end of the island to the other, about 114 miles in all. It is set up for day long hikes and camping is alllowed along it. I would not try it alone, especially if camping in the bush overnight, you should be able to arrange for a reputable guide. Grenada would also be a nice choice, but for pure raw natural beauty it would be hard to beat Dominica.

If you are set on St. Lucia, there is a guest house in Soufriere, the Home Hotel, a friend of mine stays there when he is in that area. I believe it is $20 a night, with common bath, kitchen, and living room. Soufriere is near all the eco sites, but as everyone has said so far it wouldn't be wise to be wandering around in the rain forest alone.

4. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

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Edited: 11:35 am, August 30, 2011
Newark, Delaware
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5. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

I have not been, but I seriously considered Dominica as it is by far the least developed and they have been courting backpackers and ecotravelers. Getting there will almost always take another day, though. Also, the hotels have reasonable rates and the new trail that is almost completed seems awesome.

You have guts to go it alone...I went on a Belize research trip to BFREE with a Sam Snow, that is not you by any chance is it?

surrey
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6. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

I believe you may be able to camp at Anse L'Ivrogne - if you contact Congomon who posts on here he may be able to help you.

Newark, Delaware
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7. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

I believe congoman posted the Anse L'Ivrogne idea but it was removed.

What about Anse la Liberté, Is this still open? "It is a forest preserve owned by the St. Lucia National Trust and run by its Environmental Educational Centre. Anse la Liberté is currently the only place to camp on St. Lucia. Geographically it is set near the fishing town of Canaries, 40 km (25 miles) southwest of the Castries on the west coast of the island".

"The Anse La Liberte campsite consists of 133 acres of land marked by sloping terain. A 45-minute drive from the capital castries, this only existing campsite boasts of trails and its own secluded stretch of beach. The campsite is equiped with tents, cooking, bathing and washing facilities. Come and enjoy quality service at the Bay of Freedom Camp Site (Anse La Liberte)"

Sounds nice, but transportation to the longer hikes would still be an issue, though.

Soufriere, St. Lucia
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8. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

Bon jou smsnow1,

Campsites are available on St. Lucia's most beautiful beach Anse l'Ivrogne (Sevoigne in Kweyol) located within The Pitons World Heritage Site at the SW foot of Gros Piton.

Safe. Local. Delicious.

PM me for more information.

Answ La Liberte is no longer operating as a campsite.

Bless up! Paul

PS: Mesi mw104 & BBnugget for the referral

Edited: 6:39 pm, August 31, 2011
Washington DC
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9. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

Has anyone done any backpacking and island hopping by ferry/?

St. Lucia
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10. Re: Backpacking in the Caribbean

There is very little ferry service between the islands, especially putting St. Lucia into the mix. The only ferry that operates out of here is the Express des Isles, which runs between St. Lucia and Martinique. From Maritnique, the ferry runs to Dominica, and Guadelupe. You can check out their schedule online.

Otherwise - you are looking at flying between any of the different islands - and that adds up quickly. Dominica is great for backbackers, Grenada offers some good options, St. Lucia offers lots of hiking and nature, but very little camping - as noted in the posts above. Other islands vary.

Good luck.