Replies: 9 - Last Post: Mar 2, 2013 5:26 AM Last Post By: mgtraveler
Feb 12, 2013 4:07 PM
climbing PitonsHi All!
My boyfriend and are going to be in St. Lucia for a few days this coming month, and hiking the Pitons is at the top of our list! We're both avid hikers and are a bit tour-shy.
Does anyone know whether we need guides for the Pitons (or other island hikes), or if we can go on our own? We're staying in North Castries.
Thanks in advance!
Feb 14, 2013 1:47 PM
1I would phone the St. Lucia local tourist office to check on their hiking regulations before venturing on your own. Here is a link to the St. Lucia tourist directory http://www.geographia.com/st-lucia/index.html#tourist best of luck!
Feb 15, 2013 4:50 AM
2A guide is not needed for most of the hikes on St. Lucia. In fact, it is not required to hike the Pitons, but it is recommended.
I have not personally hiked the Pitons but I am referring now to the excellent (long out of print but worth trying to find an inexpensive used copy on half.com or Amazon, as it is the best hiking guide for the Caribbean I've seen): takes 3 - 6 hours to the top of Gros Piton; about 2 hours to top of Petit Piton although hiking is officially prohibited to Petit Piton due to bad erosion and instability of soil (several hikers have fallen off the trail due to conditions). Using a guide to hike Gros Piton is recommended due to becoming disoriented on the the steep ascent. It also adds that although a climb to Gros Piton is definitely a worthwhile effort, you'll probably appreciate the beauty more from a distance.
Many of the other hikes and good places for walking around St. Lucia are pretty straightforward. These include hiking around Pigeon Island National Park, the Enbaus Saut waterfall trail, Sulfur Springs (where the drive in volcano is), and Diamond Falls. It is also interesting to walk around and explore the towns of Castries and Soufriere.
Feb 15, 2013 4:52 AM
3For some reason, the link I was trying to refer to in my prior post didn't pick up so it should read in the 1st sentence of the second paragraph "referring now to the excellent Caribbean Hiking Guide by Timothy O'Keefe ...
Feb 15, 2013 7:11 AM
4We definitely recommend hiring a guide for the hike...only because when we were there, there weren't a lot of people on the pitons and there definitely is some orientation needed. We had a great guide who also was able to give us a lot of history of the island and also provide some tips on places to visit (we hired a car so we found some cool "hot spots" of the island based on his recommendation).
The hike is not for the faint of heart, so make sure you have the basic fitness level to make it to the top. The terrain can get very steep at points but it is well worth it....the views at the top are fantastic. Make sure to pack a lot of water with you, as when we went it was quite a hot time of year (April). There are viewpoints facing both South and North. The North facing vantage point is of the Petit piton and is the better of the two views. The South vantage point looks down the coast and over the local village.
Feb 16, 2013 2:17 PM
5I would also recommend a guide, it's a tough hike and I don't remember any signs to direct you along. Actually, it's more of a climb than a hike!
As I recall, you pay an entrance fee into the park and then the guide is optional.
If you go to tripadvisor, there are quite a few more comments there.
Also I see you are staying in Castries, you know the hike is down in Soufriere? It's going to take you a couple of hours to get down there...
Feb 27, 2013 5:45 AM
6Looking forward to your visit to St. Lucia. Please be informed that in order to do the piton climb or any other developed walks or hikes in St. Lucia, it has to be done with a guide. Guides at the Pitons are private, and the hike is done at your own pace, its not rushed nor its a marathon of any type. More information about this Piton Tour can be found at ekarib.com. Feel free to ask them any questions on there.
Hope you get through with this tour and enjoy :)
Feb 28, 2013 1:05 AM
7"In order to do ... Any of the other developed walks or hikes in St. Lucia, it has be done with a guide". THAT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE. M4rv3 is obviously trying to push business over to the erkarib website since all of his posts are making references to it.
Feb 28, 2013 8:00 AM
Mar 2, 2013 5:26 AM
9m4rv3, I am not questioning the requirement for a guide to do the Piton climb. I also know that in the last few years, particularly after Hurricane Tomas, things have changed somewhat. I will also readily acknowledge that many of the trails maintained by the Forest and Lands Department and the National Trust require a guide (or will at least make one available, many times included in the admission fee) and all that I know of charge an entrance fee. What I was taking exception to was the statement that any developed walks or hikes have to be done with a guide, particularly in light of the fact that you are obviously trying to push business to a commercial website in all your posts.
I have done several hikes and walks on St. Lucia that did not require a guide (although all charged admission and in many cases a guide was optional), including the nature trail at Diamond Falls, Sulfur Springs, the trails around Pigeon Island and even the trail to Enbas Saut Falls, although it looks like you may be required to take a guide to Enbas now, depending on whether the entrance station is manned, a guide is available, how insistent you are that you would like to do the hike on your own, etc.
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