As you lie on the beach looking up at Saint Lucia’s iconic volcanic mountains, Gros and Petit Piton, you’ll probably wonder what it would be like to hike to one of their peaks. How amazing the view must be from there, you’ll think. I can tell you: it is.
My Gros Piton guide and I set off in the cool of the early-morning, and the first few minutes of our adventure are a relative (and literal) walk in the park. A quarter of the way into the 2,619-foot ascent, the Instagram-worthy view across mirror-flat seas to St. Vincent, 21 miles away, is absolutely awe-inspiring. I’m glad I catch that ocean glimpse because I have to draw on its memory for motivation as minutes later I’m clambering, sweaty and swearing under my breath, higher and higher up the mountain.
But, two hours later, as I survey the scene from Gros Piton’s summit, I know that the effort was worth it. Saint Lucia’s pastoral landscape is spread out below me, an emerald patchwork embellished with tiny multi-colored rooftops and bordered by impossibly blue sea and sky. I’m exhausted but exhilarated and so glad I got my butt out of that beach chaise! Admittedly, climbing more than 2,000 feet up a volcano might not be the first activity that comes to mind when you think of a Caribbean vacation. But it certainly makes for a memorable one.