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If you’ve reached this post I believe it’s for one of two reasons. You either have stumbled upon my blog or you are interested in hiking the Petit Piton in St. Lucia. If it’s the latter this post is definitely for you. The Pitons consist of two mountains, Gros Piton 2,579′ (786 m) and Petit Piton 2,425′ (739 m). They are just south of the town Soufrière in the southwest of Saint Lucia. My family stayed at Caille Blanc Villa which is above Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet Resort. Our view looks directly across Soufrière Bay to the Pitons so after two days of laying in the pool looking at the mountains a friend and I decided to hire a local guide and go climb one.
After doing a little research and talking to the staff at our house it seemed like Gros Piton was going to be a super easy hike that almost any tourist could do, but that everyone does who wants to hike. Gros Piton is government sanctioned so they have guides on hand ready to take anyone that shows up. That didn’t interest us very much and honestly Petit Piton just looks so much cooler because it’s so steep and more pointed at the top. Our villa security guard had a friend that is a private guide and hikes Petit Piton so we scheduled to meet him at 8am one morning. Almost everything I read about Petit Piton was that it was illegal, closed to hiking due to erosion from a past hurricane which made the mountain unsafe, it was very dangerous and not advised, etc, but no locals we asked had actually done it and all the reviews and blogs had so many contradictions that it was hard to know what to believe.
Here is information I consider helpful to make it easier for anyone interested in doing the hike.
- The hike is not illegal. There are local guides that will take you up Petit Piton, but you have to know how to contact them. The government just wants the tourism dollars so they make it seem like Petit Piton is illegal or unsafe.
- You don’t need any hiking gear. Just wear decent shoes and bring some water.
- The hike is totally safe if you take your time and pay attention. However, if you fall in certain places you could most certainly break bones or kill yourself. It’s quite steep with plenty of areas you could fall if you weren’t paying attention or made a mistake.
- I would say 90% of the climb there are either roots or ropes you can grab to pull yourself up. The other 10% is standard trail hiking or scrambling.
- There are plenty of areas as you get closer to the top that require short sections of vertical climbing with your feet on the wall and both hands climbing up using ropes.
- Take one 1.5L bottle and one 600ml bottle of water if you think you will need it. You will not need any more than that in my opinion as I only drank a little more than half of my 1.5L.
- Pack a few energy bars, fruit or whatever snacks you like because there is nowhere to buy anything.
- There are a few spots to stop and take some photos and rest if you need it so bring a camera or a GoPro with the grip mount so you can clip it to a tree.
- If it has just recently rained or there is a possibility for rain I would wait. It would be much more difficult and I don’t think it would be very fun.
- You should be in fairly decent physical shape if you want to enjoy it and/or not put yourself at risk.
- It took us 3 hours and 40 minutes. 2:10 going up with multiple stops for photos and 1:30 going down. Note it was just me and my friend and while he really enjoys hiking he wasn’t in the best shape of his life, but fully enjoyed it even though it was challenging for him. If everyone in your group was in excellent shape you could do it in approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
If you enjoy hiking and climbing and are in decent physical shape with enough upper body strength to pull yourself up ropes while using your feet you can easily do this hike. It was extremely fun how you could monkey up the mountain using your arms and legs at the same time. Hearing how touristy and easy Gros Piton was we were so happy with our decision to do what many were telling us not to.
Total time: 4 hours 30 minutes which includes 50 minutes at the top.
Cost: $55 USD including tip.