A hiking holiday in St. Lucia will be one of the most memorable trips you will ever make thanks to the World Heritage Site known collectively as the Pitons.
Gros Piton and Petit Piton are two volcanic spires covered in lush vegetation all over. At 771 and 743 metres high respectively and connected by the Piton Mitan ridge, the Pitons are a magnificent sight to behold from afar, rising majestically out of the sea while waves crash constantly around their bases.
Of course, to truly experience the wonders of the Pitons you must get right in among the tropical rainforest covering both of the mountainous peaks. It is not just wild jungle up there though as there are plenty of winding paths to trek for a hiking adventure unlike any other on the planet.
Why the Pitons are a World Heritage Site
Both Petit Piton and Gros Piton – French for Small Piton and Large Piton – have been officially listed as a World Heritage Site since 2005. Such sites consist of special areas around the world that bear a particularly cultural, historical or scientific significance. The selected sites are protected by an international treaty that ensures they are not damaged by unnatural causes. The organisation that decides which sites to mark as a World Heritage Site is UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
With the Pitons being such a geologically important landmark as well as a globally recognised symbol of Saint Lucia itself, it is no wonder they have been selected for legal protection.
A statement by UNESCO read, “The Pitons predominate over the St. Lucian landscape, being visible from virtually every part of the island and providing a distinctive landmark for seafarers. The combination of the Pitons against the backdrop of green tropical vegetation and a varying topography combined with a marine foreground gives the area its superlative beauty.”
How to Hike the Pitons
Because of the Pitons’ status as a World Heritage Site, visitors are not permitted to explore the volcanic spires without a guide. You can meet guides at the base of each Piton, where you must register to ensure you understand your responsibilities as a visitor to a World Heritage Site.
The simplest of hiking trips should last around two hours, although there are also more expensive private guides which offer a more intricate and informative exploration of the Pitons, usually lasting four to six hours.
Regardless of the hike time and guide fee, it is difficult to find anyone who regrets their hiking trip up the Pitons. Holiday review websites such as TripAdvisor are brimming with satisfied customers enthusiastically extolling the virtues of their hike up the Pitons.
What to Expect When Hiking the Pitons
There are several rare bird species that populate Saint Lucia and often make their homes in the rainforest covering much of the Pitons. The beautiful flora also includes the likes of giant ferns and wild orchids.
The vegetation can also vary quite a bit throughout a thorough hiking adventure, with the main bodies of each of the Pitons covered by tropical moist forest and subtropical wet forest. Both Pitons also feature patches of dry forest, with each of the peaks covered in what is described as wet elfin woodland, which mostly consists of smaller or miniature trees and undergrowth.
Reaching the peaks and other high vantage points will of course also reward you with stunning views of the entire island of Saint Lucia and the surrounding sea.
If you are interested in a hiking adventure during your trip to Saint Lucia, contact St. Lucia Holiday Experts who can find you a suitable place to stay on this beautiful island. Get in touch today to make your booking!