Sunset at English Harbor, Antigua

West Indies Explored

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Trip code: 
AFJ
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Multi-country
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Uncovering the natural depths of the lesser Antilles Islands

For a long time the West Indies have been associated with simple beach and sun holidays. Beyond golden sand and palm trees, however, is another Caribbean, one of luxuriant jungles and waterfalls, vibrant Amerindian and Afro Caribbean cultures, whales and dolphins, drive-in volcanoes and the ‘Pompeii of the Caribbean.’ Explore four of the Lesser Antilles Islands on this journey that unearths the natural and cultural wonders of this often overlooked region. Our journey starts in St. Lucia, known for its beaches. This island also boasts the dramatic ‘Pitons’, two mountains clad in thick forest rising out of the sea, as well as the world’s only drive-in volcano. Our next island is Dominica, the Nature Isle, said to be the island most like it was when discovered by Christopher Columbus and one of the best whale-watching spots anywhere. Continuing to Antigua we explore the region’s colonial history and finally have the option of visiting nearby Montserrat, where, in 1995, the Soufriere Volcano covered the town of Plymouth in thick ash creating a modern-day Pompeii.

Highlights

  • Experience vibrant Caribbean cultures
  • Explore lush forests trails and active volcanoes
  • Enjoy whale and dolphin watching
  • Explore the 'Pompeii of the Caribbean'

Key information

  • 11 nights hotels with en suite facilities
  • Travel by minibus, boat, canoe and plane

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Sunset at English Harbor, Antigua

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to St. Lucia.

    The group flight will arrive into St Lucia in the afternoon and we will transfer to our hotel. Those who have made their own flight arrangements will join us at the hotel.

    Accommodation: Fox Grove Inn or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Walk along Des Cartiers Nature Trail; visit Soufriere, Fond Doux Plantation and Cap Moule a Chique.

    After breakfast we have a half hour drive to the Des Cartiers Nature trail in the Edmund Forest Reserve, where we have a leisurely 4 hour trek and the opportunity to spot a variety of native birds, such as the St. Lucia parrot (Jacquot) and the Pearly-eyed thrasher and Purple-throated Carib. We then continue by road to Cap Moule a Chique: the southernmost point on St Lucia and well-known for exquisite views of the south coast and neighbouring St. Vincent.

    We have lunch at Fond Doux Plantation, a 250 year old working cocoa plantation, where we will explore the tropical canopy of almond, nutmeg, cocoa and palm trees and have a tour of how chocolate is made. From here we travel to Soufriere, the original capital of the island founded by the French and later colonised by the British. Parts of it are full of old French architecture and the waterfront area is also a hub of activity, so it's a great place to wander around and soak up local life.

    Whilst here, we visit the dormant Qualibou volcano, the world's only drive-in volcano. A tour of its sulphur springs offers a fascinating insight into the geology of the Caribbean Rim. There's also the opportunity to bathe in the steamy volcanic springs which are said to be very therapeutic (optional).

    Accommodation: Fox Grove Inn or similar

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 3

    Explore Pigeon Island; to Rodney Bay.

    We'll explore the island some more today and drive across it to Pigeon Island; a 40-acre historical island located in the northern region. Once isolated from the country in the Caribbean Sea, the island was artificially joined to the western coast of mainland in 1972 by a man-made causeway built from dirt excavated to form the Rodney Bay Marina. It is home to an 18th century British fort and Fort Rodney, both used by the British to spy on French ships from neighbouring Martinique. There is time to explore the island and visit the fort ruins. Many different species of native birds can be spotted here, including the Yellow-crowned Night heron and Caribbean martin. The peaks are accessible via a short walk, with breath-taking views once you reach the top.

    From here we'll drive onto Castries the capital city. We'll explore Derek Walcott square, named after St Lucia's famous Nobel Laureate and a tranquil haven in this bustling town and traditional Castries Central Market which sells fruit, vegetables and all kinds of spiced rum, and has a very fun atmosphere.

    In the afternoon we transfer to Rodney Bay where we spend the next two nights.


    Accommodation: Bay Gardens Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Free day in Rodney Bay. Or whale and dolphin watching, or challenging hike up one of the Pitons (both optional)

    Today is either free to relax at the hotel or on the beach. There is a free shuttle bus every half hour to a nearby hotel which has direct access to Reduit Beach. Here there's complimentary access to non-motorised water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding and paddle boats. Rodney Bay village with its bustling cafes, shops and restaurants can also be explored and can be reached on foot in fifteen minutes.

    Alternatively there are two optional activities possible today. A whale and dolphin watching adventure which involves a fifteen minute transfer to Gantis Harbour in Castries where you board a boat for the adventure. Sperm whales, Pilot whales, Humpback whales, and if you’re lucky, Orcas can be spotted. Dolphins will hopefully make a lively appearance as well. The boat trip is three hours.

    Another option is to attempt St. Lucia's signature landmark - The Pitons, two giant volcanic plugs which are now recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of which can be summited in approximately 2 hours. Rising steeply to 2000ft, the trek is physically challenging because the trail is uneven underfoot and also because of the heat. However the Caribbean Sea and coastline make for spectacular views on the walk and the subtropical vegetation and elfin woodland on the summit makes this a fantastic experience. It is a 4 hour round trek (approximately). This does not include transfer times to and from the national park.

    Accommodation: Bay Gardens Hotel or similar.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Fly to Dominica; visit Kalinango Indigenous Village.

    Today we fly to Dominica. Changing flight schedules mean that we may have to alter today's activities depending on the arrival time.

    With its black volcanic beaches, jungle-clad interior, soaring mountains, lush rainforests and rivers, Dominica is said to be the best preserved island in the Caribbean and would be the only one Christopher Columbus would recognise if he were to return today. First sighted by Christopher Columbus on a Sunday in 1493 (hence the Latin name), Dominica's history became closely tied to European colonial expansion. Initially controlled by the French and later the British, nowadays the island's people, culture and cuisine are a fascinating mix of African, European, Indian and Creole influences.

    Upon arrival, we transfer to the Carib Territory, home to the Kalinago people. We visit a Kalinango cultural village on the picturesque and rugged Atlantic coast and learn about their diversity, history and heritage. We then drive south to Roseau, Dominica's largest and most important city. Our hotel is situated just outside the town on the coast. The restaurant and bar area look out to the Caribbean Sea.

    Accommodation: Evergreen Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Hike in the Oceanic rainforest at Syndicate; boat ride on Indian River; visit Fort Shirley.

    We leave the hotel early in the morning and make our way to Dominica’s finest Oceanic rainforest at Syndicate. We look for a variety of birds as we walk on well-maintained trails through the rainforest, including the Jacquot and the Sisserou, the island's national bird. The Syndicate rainforest has well maintained trails and is abundant with giant trees like the giant Gommier (Dacryodes Excelsa) and numerous epiphytes and stranglers. We continue to the famous Indian River, where the Carib Indians once lived on the higher ground and used the river as a route to sea. It was also used as a location for the renowned film 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. We glide along the tranquil river in a rowing boat passing verdant vegetation and stop off for a refreshing drink at a hidden bush bar. Later we make our way to Portsmouth, Dominica's second largest town, where we visit Fort Shirley in Cabrits National Park before we transfer back to Roseau.


    Accommodation: Evergreen Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Freshwater Lake walk in the morning; afternoon free.Or an all day hike to Boiling Lake (optional).

    After breakfast we drive to Freshwater Lake, Dominica’s largest lake and the source of the Roseau River. Though it is only 55ft deep, the lake is widely-believed to be bottomless and legend tells of a one-eyed monster of the deep that resides in the lake. Here we'll walk the hour-long trail around the shore and admire the views and the eerie scenery. We then head to nearby Boeri Lake passing mountain streams and springs as we walk to its shore. Both walks have sections that are steep and can be wet and slippery. Sturdy boots are a necessity and walking poles handy if you are not accustomed to hilly walks.

    We'll drive back to Roseau for lunch. The afternoon is free to explore this lively port town. Head to the old market which has been going for over 300 years and is the lifeblood of the town or the beautiful Botanic Gardens teeming with banyan trees and tropical shrubs.

    On this day there is the option to do the full day trek to Boiling Lake. The 6-7 hour extremely strenuous trek starts in the village of Laudat, passing through lush rainforests and elfin forests along the way, with more difficult terrain as we gain altitude. Inside the lake is a crater, where the water is heated by magma below the surface, causing it to constantly boil at the centre. The trail passes through the Valley of Desolation, an area where there are lots of volcanic related activities, such as hot fumaroles and Sulphur pits.

    Accommodation: Evergreen Hotel or similar

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Optional snorkelling in the morning; afternoon whale and dolphin watching.

    This morning is free or there's the chance to go snorkelling (optional).  Taking a boat to the famous Soufriere Marine Reserve, one of the best marine dive locations in the Caribbean, you can snorkel amongst the bubbles formed from volcanic gases just offshore and discover the coral reef, deep-water fish and a spectacular undersea crater. Drinking water is provided on board, and the captain and guides will be on the lookout for sea birds, turtles and dolphins.

    We return to the mainland for lunch and in the afternoon we take a boat trip on a 45-foot hydrophone-equipped catamaran to go in search of whales and dolphins. Dominica is one of the best areas in the Caribbean for spotting different species of whales and dolphins and you can often hear the rhythmic sounds of their clicking communication. It is also an excellent opportunity to admire the magnificent views of the island's rugged beauty. This boat trip lasts approximately 3.5 hours.


    Accommodation: Evergreen Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit Emerald Pools; afternoon fly to Antigua. Transfer to hotel.

    We leave Roseau after breakfast and drive north to the Emerald Pool located in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. We'll follow a short trail past overhanging trees and lush vegetation down to a grotto in the forest, where the falls are located. The Emerald Pool is so called because it reflects the greenery of the surrounding vegetation. Bring your swimming costume if you fancy a dip. We'll then continue on to a traditional restaurant for lunch. The restaurant has beautiful views of the coastline and the owner has over fifty homemade varieties of spiced rum. Our flight to Antigua is late afternoon so on arrival we'll transfer directly to our hotel.



    Accommodation: Antigua Yacht Club Marina and Resort or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Free day near English Harbour or optional day trip to the volcanic island Montserrat.

    A free day to explore Nelson's Dockyard, English Harbour. A highlight of the island, the dockyard has been wonderfully restored to its former Georgian grandeur and is a treasure trove for history buffs. Named after Admiral Nelson who lived here for three years from 1784, it boasts beautiful architecture, a small museum and some impressive yachts. Nearby Clarence House, a residence built for the future King William IV (1765-1837) when he served under Nelson as captain of the H.M.S. Pegasus, can also be visited. There are restaurants in the harbour too, making it a great place to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings.

    Alternatively there is an optional excursion to the volcanic island Montserrat to witness an active volcano from a safe but close up location. The volcano erupted in 1995 with devastating results. Two thirds of the island was covered in ash and much of the farmland was destroyed. Nowadays there are various vantage points from where it is possible to view the volcano and the destruction it has wrought on the island. On the tour you'll learn about its geological origins and history. There's a 45- minute transfer to the ferry, followed by a 60 minute crossing to Montserrat. Upon arrival at Montserrat, we have a guided sightseeing tour which includes 'Jack Boy Hill’, a viewing facility overlooking the destroyed W.H Bramble Airport, the old estate house and destroyed eastern villages. Lunch is included in the cost and consists of grilled chicken or fish with seasonal vegetables and we receive a complimentary drink at one of Montserrat's best restaurants. The ferry returns to Antigua at approximately 6:30pm.

    Accommodation: Antigua Yacht Club or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Full day tour of English Harbour and Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua's countryside and St. John's.

    A full day tour of the island starts with a gentle stroll from our hotel to Nelson's Dockyard. A highlight of the island we'll have an hour to explore the architecture and the harbour before continuing on to Shirley Heights to enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding Atlantic Ocean. We discover Antigua's tropical countryside, picturesque village life and the calm, rolling hills and stop at charming limestone churches unique to the island. A visit to Betty’s Hope sugar mill is a stark reminder of the island’s slave history. We will also spend time in St. John’s, Antigua’s capital and largest town. The market here is a great place to pick up souvenirs. We finish with a journey through Fig Tree Drive, Antigua's lush rainforest area along the south and west coast, passing beautiful beaches and villages. The tour ends mid-afternoon back at our hotel.


    Accommodation: Antigua Yacht Club Marina or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Free time; depart Antigua.

    Our adventure ends after breakfast. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for their flight this evening.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Antigua & Barbuda

Most nationalities do not require a visa to travel to Dominica including UK and other EU nationalities, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada.

Dominica

Most nationalities, including UK, do not need a visa to enter Dominica.

St Lucia

Most nationalities do not require a visa to travel to St. Lucia including UK and other EU nationalities, Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada.

Vaccinations

Antigua & Barbuda

Yellow Fever vaccination required if coming from a country with Yellow Fever.

Dominica

Yellow Fever vaccination required if coming from a country with Yellow Fever, recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Polio, Diphtheria.

St Lucia

Yellow Fever vaccination required if coming from a country with Yellow Fever, recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis B, Polio, Diphtheria.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included.

Food in the Caribbean is of a high standard. A huge variety of fresh fish and seafood is available as well as chicken and some meat. These are usually accompanied by rice, peas, plantain, yams or potaotes and salads. Stews are popular as is saltfish. There is generally a great selection of fruit such as mangoes, avocados, tangerines, passion fruit, bananas and breadfruit (all seasonal).

Breakfast usually consists of fresh fruit, bread and jam, a choice of eggs, seasonal fruit juice and tea or coffee.

Rum is widely consumed and spiced rum cocktails vary in taste but are available at most places.

Weather

The Caribbean enjoys a tropical climate. It is generally hot and humid year-round though coastal breezes do make things bearable with average temperatures in the mid- to high-20s Centigrade. The weather is fairly similar year-round with short-sharp bursts of rain most days followed by long periods of good weather. The rainy season, however, runs from June to November. All of the islands can also be affected by hurricanes, though we do not schedule departures during hurricane season.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as leisurely/moderate (grade 2).

Whilst this is primarily a cultural trip, there are some gentle hikes included which require a reasonable fitness, though some trails can be slippery underfoot, especially after rain. The two optional treks to the Pitons in St. Lucia and Boiling Lake in Dominica are much more challenging and require a good level of fitness. They involve steep climbs and some sections of the trails are on rocky uneven terrain and can be muddy. The challenging nature of these two treks is the reason they are optional but they are also very rewarding for those who are up for it.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We stay in four separate properties in St. Lucia, Dominica and Antigua, all of which have en suite rooms. The hotels have pools except the hotel in Antigua and all have WiFi. All hotels have been selected for their location with regards to points of interest on their respective islands. Single accommodation is available on this trip for a supplement.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 0208 772 3936