Hiking in Barbados
The Arbib Nature and Heritage Trail consists of two guided walks, one leading through town and the other through town and into some nearby gullies. (Note that the less countrified, more urbane sort of soul will probably prefer the shorter walk.) This outstanding trail received Island magazine's 1999 Ecotourism Award, selected from among 42 entries from 20 Caribbean islands. Take this hike in the company of a National Trust guide, who will show you local herbs and tell you about their uses. Gully root is used as a charm by men and as an abortifacient by women; rub the roots on you to stave off mosquitoes. Bush tea will cure stomachaches, and men may steep the roots in rum to make a local version of Viagra. The clammy cherry may be used for glue, as a bush tea, and its bark may be used for fish pots.
If you're headed into the gullies, be apprised that recent weather conditions may affect the condition of the trail. Also, bear in mind as you slog along these paths that they were once the routes to town for vast numbers of villagers! Today's teens, who occasionally follow the tours, have difficulty coping with even this mild version.
Guided walks take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, at 9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. Hikes must be pre-booked by 3 p.m. the day before. The cost is B$15 for adults; children, B$7.50. For details contact the National Trust (tel: 426-2421, 436-9033).
Copyright Harry S. Pariser. All Rights Reserved.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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