Have you ever gone anywhere just to relax, sip on some drinks, have some fun in the sun and then decide to do something completely opposite of that? Maybe you want a challenge or you feel like you need some exercise? St. Lucia is an island that caters to both! We definitely did some relaxing and we definitely did a little more-hiking the Gros Piton. I always dreamed of snorkeling in between the Pitons, but then I saw a tour of actually hiking them? I read reviews and was a little scared. I do love to hike, but we are from Iowa – our land is flat! And hiking here is basically climbing a bunch of man-made steps-although still a great workout. The heat also worried me a little. I’m not good in super hot heat especially hiking in it! But my husband loves anything physical and he is a pusher – to the point that you just want to kill him (not literally, I promise I won’t kill my husband)! So, we signed up. But, we did things a little different. Instead of hiking with a group and leaving from Fond Gens Libre – the little town where hikers typically leave from – Bo had the brilliant idea of leaving from the beach – which probably adds on another 45 minutes to your hike. So, JR from Joe Knows (the tour company we used) made a call and hooked us up.
Our tour guide Alma(sp?) Ahmed (I’m just going to call him Ahmed because I know that was his last name) was waiting for us at the beach. We reached the beach and since we only had a couple small bottles of water, they gave us two huge bottles – which ended up being a saving grace! Ahmed was trained in rescue – so we knew we were in good hands.
We started our hike….it was hot – I was breathing way too heavy and wasting way too much energy. Ahmed told me take longer deeper breaths instead of shorter gasping breaths and that helped a ton! I wish I would have taken more photos along the way, but I was focusing on the hike. Honestly, anyone can do this hike. The rocks you climb on are actually volcanic rocks that have been lying there for thousands of years, and are quite large and sometimes hard to maneuver around, but it’s totally doable.
When you reach the top and to the first look out – it’s like SUCCESSSSSS!!!! It felt so good! You conquered something you didn’t think you could or you didn’t think would ever end! And from the peak, you will see the most spectacular vistas! The Atlantic Ocean’s beauty, Petit Piton, the island of St. Vincent and the island of Martinique in the distance. So incredibly amazing!
There are two lookouts, so make sure your guide takes you to both……
So now you’ve reached the top – it’s time to go back. Man going down is just as hard as going up! I feel like we literally ran down this mountain. I had bad tennis shoes on for hiking, so I was slipping and sliding everywhere and my ankles are not the strongest so they were getting weaker and weaker. At the very end when I thought I didn’t have to go up anymore….we climbed (or if you’re me, slid) into this deep ravine – there was a little waterfall at the bottom, so that was pretty….but then we had to climb back out – at this point I was cursing and pissed and sliding everywhere….they definitely had to catch me and pull me a few times. We finally got out and it was over….walked to a van where a driver was waiting for us. Thank God! I was sweating like crazy and had a horrible sunburn from earlier in the week. I had blisters filled with sweat all over my body. I’ve never seen anything like it…I would run my finger over them and then would just spill out sweat. It was so weird! It only took us about 3 ½ hours to conquer the beast. Afterwards we had a nice lunch with a beautiful view of the Pitons and then we were taken to a waterfall and botanical gardens.
(View during lunch)
All in all – I’m glad we did it. I can say that I hiked the Gros Piton – but I was so glad it was over!
Some tips for the hike:
1.) Bring water – a lot of water! You will get thirsty and you need to stay hydrated.
2.) Start early – It’s best to beat the heat, the earlier the better.
3.) Don’t be afraid to rest even if there are strangers in your group. Your tour guide goes at your pace, so take your time!
4.) Sunscreen – always wear sunscreen!
5.) Energy/Granola bars – You may be out there for a while, so chances are you will need something to snack on.
6.) Hiking shoes/boots – you don’t want to be slipping and sliding all over like I did – that could end up in disaster for the rest of your trip!
7.) Bring your camera, GoPro, cell phone – whatever you have to take photos when you reach the summit!
8.) Money to tip your tour guide or driver – If they are good to you, you be good to them.
9.) Deep breaths – this really helped me when I was pretty much wasting all my energy gasping for air.
10.) Have fun! I know it might not seem like fun at the time, but you will look back and be proud.
I know my photos aren’t the highest of quality. I didn’t have that great of a camera at the time. But, I had to share our experience. If you’re reading this and headed to St. Lucia and are on the fence, I’d definitely say it’s something you will never forget.
Read Next: Staying at Sandals La Toc