La Soufrière is an active volcano on the island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean. The name is French and some people call it a “Sulfur mine”. You can feel the smell of sulfur as soon as you reach the top.The height of the volcano is 1234 meters (4048 feet). La Soufrière National Park, which includes craters, hot springs and rivers occupies a third of Saint Vincent.
We set our mind to hike it and camp up there even though we heard a lot of stories from different people that is quite impossible because of the terrain or unstable weather. We took it as a challenge. Most of our grouphas hiked before so we were not completely inexperienced. We decided not to ask a guide to show us the way since we had one of the students done the trail for several times. He never camped up there, but our plan seemed perfect and we had everything in place, including the weather on the morning of the hike.
9 Tips for camping at La Soufrière Volcano:
- Take in consideration that the rainy season in Saint Vincent starts in May and ends in September.
- There is no water up there so you need to carry as much as you think you need. We had 5 - 6 liters/person for one and a half days.
- Comfortable hiking boots would be recommended.
- Take warm clothes and a raincoat, especially if you plan to camp because it gets cold during the night.
- You will need a tent and a sleeping bag.
- Don’t forget about a lighter,a hiking knife and head light(these should always be on the list of a hiker).
- Don’t forget that the volcano it’s a part of a national park so you are not allowed to make a fire up there.
- Take only what you need, think about the weight that you will carry.
- Carry nutritious food (hummus and peanut butter are recommended)
If everybody from your group is going for the first time we recommend taking a guide for the way up there and you can return by yourselves. The path is cleared, but it’s nice to make sure that you are on the right one since it’s not very well marked. One of the projects that Richmond Vale Academy had is clearing up the trail and now they are setting up the signs so you can find the path easier.
The hike has a medium difficulty level. Leaving from Richmond the first part is walking on the beach and passing a river than starting with the climb which should take around 3hours to reach the volcano, depending on your physical skills. On your way up you can notice how the vegetation and the climate are changing… it’s amazing!
We camped in the old crater, by a lake, which is 1.5 hoursfrom La Soufrière. This is not active anymore and it’s an amazing place to camp so don’t hesitate. The experience is amazing especially if you get good weather.
Now you should be all set, ready to camp!