Hike The Pitons in St. Lucia
Plenty of people can say they vacationed in the Caribbean, but very few can claim they hiked a volcanic plug while doing so. With a vacation in St. Lucia, you can join the select rank of travelers who have crossed Gros Piton and Petit Piton—the world’s most iconic pair of plugs—off the bucket list. And with a spot on the southwestern shore overlooking rainforests and beaches, The Pitons provide an unforgettable experience that’s as scenic as it is exhilarating.
What’s a Volcanic Plug Anyhow?
It’s a rocky column of congealed lava that forms on top of a volcano’s vent over thousands of years. Think of it as a natural cork that helps keep the liquid magma below bottled up. But don’t worry; the vents the Pitons cover have been dormant for quite some time now.
Can’t I Just Marvel At Them From Afar?
Though you can enjoy spectacular views of The Pitons from any angle (they’re the most photographed landmarks on the island for a reason), you’ve got to hike them to enjoy their true majesty. Trails to the top of each Piton wend past lush ferns, birds of paradise, and wild orchids to summits with panoramic views of Piton Bay and St. Lucia.
Is It Possible to Hike Both In a Day?
Yes, but it’s no small feat; each peak takes about 3–4 hours to complete. Don’t bite off more than you can chew—it’s not uncommon to choose just one.
How Do I Get There?
You can hire a taxi, rent a car, or take advantage of the affordable bus system running all over the island. If you’re staying in Soufriere, the town in the shadows of the Pitons, you may even be able to walk there. But no matter which St. Lucia hotel you’re staying at, you’ll be within a 90-minute drive of the peaks.
When Should I Go?
Between December and May during St. Lucia’s dry season. Plan your hike in the morning to enjoy cooler weather.
What Should I Bring?
Comfortable clothing and shoes. Sneakers or hiking boots are best, as the trails are steep and uneven in parts. Bring lots of water, too.
What Else Should I Know?
You must hire a guide to climb Gros Piton. Petit Piton doesn’t require a guide, but you might want to bring one anyway—though it’s name isn’t as threatening, it’s actually the more strenuous hike.
Before becoming a travel writer, Shelby lived and traveled in the Caribbean for 2.5 years with the Peace Corps. She once ate a raw sea urchin right from the ocean.