Second Carbet Falls
|The most spectacular and the first you see. If you like this one, don't bother with the others unless you like to walk.|
Time: 1 hour, round trip. Difficulty: 2-3. Trail marked and simple. Trailhead: Drive to Capesterre. At the entrance to the city coming from the Basse-Terre side, leave RN1 and turn left onto D3 toward Routhiers. D3 passes in front of the Marquisat factory; at the first crossroads turn right; at the second, after a long straightaway, take the left. Then about 100 meters farther, turn right again. You are in Routhiers. The road turns into a macadam road going through a mahogany forest mingled with banana plantings. The road stops at our departure point 3km farther, the waterfall picnic area.
Park at the end of the road and take the wide path (which can be muddy) across the edge of a sparse forest containing mahogany, giant philodendrons, and tree ferns.
The very spectacular second Carbet Waterfall is the most frequently visited. Leave your vehicle at the Carbet falls picnic area. From there, through a break in the vegetation and when the clouds are high enough, you can see the first 2 waterfalls: your goal--the second--is nearest.
Following the sign, you'll find the trail makes a rapid descent toward the riverbed. You will notice some interesting trees: resolute wood, with large, light-green leaves, white gum--the resin of which is used for lighting fires.
In about 10 minutes you'll cross the Carbet River on a footbridge rebuilt in 1978, after the original was carried away by a gigantic volcanic flow 5 meters tall. This flow, courtesy of l'Echelle, also severely damaged the site of the second waterfall.
A few meters past the footbridge is a crossroads: to the right is the access to the first and third falls; straight ahead is your trail.
About 200 meters farther, bear to the right via the maintained trail that soon takes you to the river, which you'll cross again. You can't help but see the impressive waterfall in front of you now.
To get closer, the trail on the right bank continues to a rocky terrace where you can delicately make your way to the foot of the waterfall. The rocks here are always wet (you soon will be, too) due to the spray.