Recommend July 2018 - 45

English re-captured the island, he willed the property to his wife,
a Saint Lucian, knowing that according to British law, the property
could not be taken away from her. Mrs. de Micoud was called Ma
Micoud by the locals, and gradually the estate was referred to in
Creole as "Plantasyon Ma Miku" until it was simply called Mamiku.
Mamiku Gardens, which opened to the public in 1998, boasts
over 400 flowers and trees, plus a special garden of traditional
medicinal herbs. In addition to the garden, there are original
plantation ruins as well as an ongoing archaeological dig that has
already uncovered a variety of artifacts currently on display in the
Interpretation Center.

Hiking and Birdwatching
There's no better way to enjoy the incredible beauty and
bio-diversity of Saint Lucia than by taking advantage of its myriad
hiking trails around the main island and Pigeon Island. Much of it
is not too strenuous, although some hiking areas do demand a
certain amount of stamina. But it's well worth the effort with trails
meandering through the island's rainforests where clients will
experience stunning waterfalls, occasional startling views of the
Caribbean and the Atlantic or get bird's-eye views of the
Pitons. They'll be able to hike past old plantation grounds, spot
indigenous birdlife such as the country's national bird, the Saint
Lucia parrot-the Amazona Versicolour; the Saint Lucia oriole; and
the Saint Lucia black finch. Here's a comprehensive list of hiking
areas your active vacation clients should visit.
✦ Just 15 minutes from Castries is the Union Nature Trail and
Mini-Zoo, which is rated as an easy hike and is comprised of

land owned by the Union Agricultural and Research Station
that had been set aside for the then Forestry Division to be
used as a nursery, which eventually constructed a hillside trail,
a garden trail and a medicinal garden as parts of its ecotourism
products. Today's Union Nature Trail runs through that land
where non-native tree species such as teak, mahogany, and blue
mahoe were introduced. The hike itself starts from the Visitor
Center next to the mini-zoo just beyond the forest nursery and
traverses in a wide loop. The Visitor Center provides visitors with
information on the forest and wildlife in general, while the MiniZoo showcases a number of indigenous as well as exotic species
such as the Saint Lucia parrot, Saint Lucia iguana and more. It's a
great place for a family outing.
✦ Still another hiking spot near Castries is the Forestiere
Rainforest Trail, part of an Old French Road that runs through
an exotic rainforest. Visitors start at the heritage trust cottage
where they're assigned a guide who will work out a route for
travelers based on their abilities. The overall hike is ranked as
moderate and the 3-mile-long trail begins as a gentle slope
through natural dense foliage meandering among l'encens trees
that produce a white sap with a highly pungent smell, as well as a
number of large spectacular fig trees, epiphytes and fens. Clients
will also like the idea that much of the flora is identified by signs
and the fact that the knowledgeable guides are there to point out
the highlights.
✦ There's a moderate hike located at the Barre de L'isle
Rainforest Trail along the highway between Castries and
Dennery, only about 30 minutes from Castries. The Barre de L'isle ➤
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