Ecotourism and Nature
St. Kitts and Nevis are among the Caribbean's finest destinations for eco-tourism. Both islands possess a remarkable range of unspoiled ecosystems, from coral reefs and windswept rocky coastlines to the lush density of rare oceanic rainforests among the clouds.
On St. Kitts, a rugged hiking adventure up Mount Liamuiga takes you through the exotic flora and fauna of the island's rainforest to the mile-wide crater rim of this dormant volcano. Among the vine-laden trees and tropical wildflowers of the misty cloudforest can be found a wide variety of rare and colorful birds and butterflies, as well as the elusive green vervet monkey.
Gregs Safaris has been in operation since 1986 and today advertises three
unique island tours of St.Kitts. New for 2001, they are also offering a variety of specially tailored tours, including the Brimstone Hill Fortress, and a trip to a neighboring island. Guided tours include rainforest, volcano and off-road plantation
tours. Gregory Pereira, an extremely knowledgeable and outgoing hiking and tour guide, says the following about his tours:
"All of our tours on St.Kitts include transportation by specially modified Land Rovers, a local picnic of island pastries and exotic fruit, fresh tropical juices and a local rum, CSR, a qualified island guide and a full liability insurance coverage for participants. There would be a two hour hike on our half day rainforest tour and a five hour hike on our full day volcano hike. Our off-road driving tour takes participants to three private plantation homes for an unforgettable off the beaten track, 4-wheel driving experience. It takes 3 1/2 hours to complete and would travel up into our mountains on the Leeward side of our island and then down our mountains windswept Windward slope to our coast before returning to Basseterre via the coastal road. This off-road driving tour is very unique in that my company is the only one at this time which has permission to showcase these private sugar plantation Great Houses".
Greg has allowed me to post some of his beautiful photos of rain forest and volcano. Please click on the following link Images of the rain forest
Local Flora and Medicinal Plants
Here are a few of the plants that can be seen on the nature trails around St. Kitts & Nevis and their common uses:
Poinciana or Flamboyant tree (Delonix regia)
- national flower of St. Kitts & Nevis, said to be named after the French nobleman, Count de Poincy, a former Governor General of St. Kitts during the French rule.
Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)
- used as a starchy vegetable in many local dishes.
Wild Sage (Lantana camara)
- used in tea to treat colds and chills
Mango (Mangifera indica L.)
- the most popular fruit in the West Indies.
Soursop (Annona muricata L.)
- used to make ice cream and preserves, and as a sedative for children.
Screw Pine (Pandanus utilis)
- leaves used to make baskets, place mats and other woven craft.
Blood Flower/Milky-Milky (Asclepias curassavica)
- used to treat guinea worm and ringworm.
Wild Cilliment (Pimenta racemosa)
- leaves were soaked in rum and used to relieve soreness.
Wild Cherries (Prunus occidentalis)
- fruits are used locally to make fruit punches.
Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifara)
- used for medicine, thatch, timber, fiber and copra.
Golden Apple (Spondias dulcis)
- fruits made into preserves or eaten when ripe.
Tree Fern (Cyathea arborea)
- used by the Carib Indians to preserve and carry fire.
Bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris)
- used in making furniture, pipes, fences and poles.
Jumbie Beads (Abrus precatorius)
- seeds (toxic) used as decorations on handicrafts.
White Cedar (Tabebuia heteropyhlla)
- used chiefly for posts and poles, but also used in boat building.
Silk Cotton Tree/Kapok (Ceiba pentandra)
- used in baths to relieve fatigue and to counteract poisoning.
Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera)
- fruits used to prepare jellies and wine-like beverages locally.
Hog Plum (Spondias mombin)
- used in a tea to stop diarrhoea or dysentery.
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