The Pitons In Saint Lucia: Everything You Need To Know

Hands down, Saint Lucia is one of the finer holiday destinations in the Caribbean. With plenty of sun, sea, sand, greenery, peace, quiet… and as much excitement as you can fit into your itinerary, you’ll find that these shores are pure magic.

Of all the amazing things to do in Saint Lucia, climbing the Pitons is one of the most popular. These incredible twin peaks are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a trek to the top of Gros Piton in particular, is a sure way to get your adrenaline going. Book an excursion through your resort or online, it’ll without a doubt be the highlight of your trip.

Just so you’re more familiar with the Pitons by the time you get to Saint Lucia, here’s what you need to know:

About the Pitons
Where in Saint Lucia are the Pitons located?
Gros Piton vs Petit Piton: What’s the difference?
Tour options: The best ways to explore the Pitons
Where to get the best views
Climbing and hiking at the Pitons
Where to stay when visiting the Pitons in Saint Lucia

About the Pitons

Photo credit: Vyshnivskyy/

Not only are the Pitons in Saint Lucia a UNESCO World Heritage Site (designated in 2004), they have over the years become a symbol commonly associated with the island. What stands out most about the Pitons is that together, they make for a majestic and carefully composed natural monument, but in actuality, they are located in two different communities on the small, volcanic, island of Saint Lucia. The Pitons are volcanic plugs (dormant), and both are located on the southwestern coast of Saint Lucia.

Did you know? So famous are the Pitons in and out of Saint Lucia, that the Windward and Leeward Brewery operating in Saint Lucia named a beer after them. Piton beer is light and refreshing, the perfect drink to enjoy once you’ve reached the summit of Gros Piton!

Where in Saint Lucia are the Pitons located?

The Pitons are located in the south of Saint Lucia near the towns of Soufriere and Choiseul on the southwestern coast.

Gros Piton vs Petit Piton: What’s the difference?

Gros Piton is located in Soufrière, and Petit Piton a little way off in Choiseul. Though these mountains are side by side along the island’s coast, the location is the only similarity they share.

Gros Piton measures 2,619ft, while Petit Piton rises to 2,461ft. Gros Piton is well known by walkers as its’ wider paths make it the ideal mountain for an excursion. Petit Piton on the other hand is rarely climbed, as special permissions and guides are required. Some people attempt to climb Petit Piton despite its’ lack of a marked trail and it’s strenuous and steep. Petit Piton is not for the feint of heart and certainly not an ideal climb during rainy weather. Gros Piton to the contrary is frequently climbed and includes marked trails. You can easily sign up to hike up Gros Piton through your resort or via a local tour company.

Tour options: The best ways to explore the Pitons

Photo credit: BlueOrange Studio/

There are many ways to experience the best of the Pitons while in Saint Lucia. You can hike up Gros Piton, or visit surrounding areas during a day tour where you’ll be able to catch a glimpse and feel the enchantment of this natural landmark.

Head out on a Catamaran Cruise and travel by sea. A sea tour is the perfect way to scope out the Pitons from a distance. Many boat tours are available in Saint Lucia during the early hours of the day or at sunset. Plus not only will you get breathtaking views and the cleansing sea air, you’ll get fantastic photos to take home with you too.

Last but not least, we recommend booking a helicopter tour so you can enjoy the majestic twin peaks from above.

Expert tip: Land, sea or air, all these excursions give a different perspective of the magnificent Piton Mountains. If you’re not sure which option would be best for you, do them all - we promise you’ll bask in the beauty of each amazing sight!

Where to get the best views

Photo credit: Yingna Cai/

Heading south from Soufriere, the Pitons rise from the ocean triumphantly, making for a marvellous view. You can also enjoy these views from one of the many southern beaches, like Sugar Beach. Within short proximity of the beach, hiking trails offer another perspective of the peaks. For a more leisurely way to appreciate their beauty, take the Catamaran Cruise for an up close peek.

Expert tip: Saint Lucia is a great diving location, and it is possible to snorkel or go scuba diving at the foot of the Pitons while on the island. PADI® certified guests staying at any of the three Sandals all-inclusive resorts in Saint Lucia dive for free. This includes professional equipment and up to two tanks a day.

Climbing and hiking at the Pitons

Photo credit: fokke baarssen/

Climbing the Pitons is without a doubt one of the best things to do whilst staying next to the pitons, Saint Lucia.

The hike up Gros Piton can take between 3 to 6 hours each way, and for that reason, comfort is key. Go for comfortable footwear (no flip flops!), and take sun lotion plus plenty of water to keep you feeling cool.

Expert tip: If you don’t necessarily feel like hiking for more than an hour, try out the Tet Paul Nature Trail which is located in proximity to the Pitons. This 45-minute hike will give you plenty of amazing viewpoints over Saint Lucia’s famous peaks.

It is best to start the hike up Gros Piton in the early morning hours when it’s cooler. You also don’t want to get caught making your way back to the bottom at night, so plan accordingly. If you’re a budding photographer, a tour guide is highly recommended as they’ll show you the best spots for snaps. Keep reading to see our full packing list.

How long is the Gros Piton Trail?

The Gros Piton Trail is about 3.2 miles (5.1 kilometer) long. The trail is rated as challenging, yet worthwhile as it offers many sights and sounds along the way. The trail is accessible year-round and promises colourful wildflowers, and other animal and plant life.

Sights along the Gros Piton Trail

On your way to the top of Gros Piton you will be bombarded with a variety of colours, animals and nature spots. Certain viewpoints offer amazing ocean views where you can stop, chill and just take in the ambiance. As this is a jungle expedition, you will walk amongst a variety of tree, plant and wildlife species. The views alone are enough to propel you up the hill. There’s even points where you can see the nearby island of Saint Vincent! Though this hike can be challenging, it is worth it. The feeling of achievement when you reach the summit is sweet!

The Interpretive Center

The Interpretive Center in Fond Gens Libre is one of the first points you’ll get to as you head towards your trek up Gros Pitons. It’s very close to where you’ll pay your fees to the guide, if you haven’t done so already. Inside, there’s a model of Gros Piton which your guide may refer to in order to get you familiar with the hike. Ask any questions you would like at this point.

Waypoint Coordinates: 13.8065755, -61.0611749 (13°48'23.7"N 61°03’40.2"W)

Park & Mango Trees

Near the Interpretive Centre, you’ll find the start of the trail. There’s a rocky path, which your guide will show you through, and once this is cleared you’ll get to a beautiful area filled with mango trees. If your tour is during mango season (May and June), you might even be able to pick a couple of delicious ones for later!

Waypoint Coordinates: 13.80595, -61.06208 (13°48'21.4"N 61°03’43.5"W

Jungle Walking

Once you get to the Jungle Walking point, you’ll be well on your way to the top of Gros Piton. It’ll take a while to get to the top, but at this portion of the hike you’ll basically be walking along a dirt path through the jungle, with thick overgrowth blocking the possibility of any real views. Be careful, as there’s rocks and roots in some areas you’ll have to make your way over, but this area can be navigated fairly easily with instructions from your guide.

Waypoint Coordinates: 13.8042833, -61.065681 (13°48'15.4"N 61°03’56.5”W)

First Ocean View

There’s a point after this where you’ll come around the curve of the mountain and you’ll see a break in the trees which will be quite the welcome sight. The First Ocean View. The rush of the cooling breeze through the open space, and the view of the ocean below will only build your excitement even more for what awaits at the top. Just a little way after that, you’ll be able to catch your first glimpse of the summit of Gros Piton.

Waypoint Coordinates: 13.8054086, -61.0686207 (13°48'19.5"N 61°04’07.0"W)


The halfway mark! The guide will let you know when you get to this point, and this announcement will definitely trigger a feeling of relief. Your reward for getting halfway? Amazing views of the nearby Petit Piton. Some say this is the point where things get a little more challenging, and some hikers even turn back. Whether you choose to turn back or not at this point, getting that far is still a commendable achievement!

Waypoint Coordinates: 13.8092, -61.06911 (13°48'33.1"N 61°04’08.8"W)


Photo credit: Nenad Basic/

This part of the trek compares to the feeling where your personal trainer turns up the heat in your workout!  You’ll see large steps here, just waiting for you to venture up. Some of these steps are cut out of the dirt with logs and roots to keep it stable, while others are made up of rocks and boulders. The steps are pretty high in some places (some measuring as much as 24 inches). In some areas, there are handrails made out of sticks, which will help you pull yourself to the next level. Take your time, and use your walking stick or your hands for support if you must. Slow and steady will get you there!

Waypoint Coordinates: 13.8102, -61.06761 (13°48'36.7"N 61°04’03.4”W)

Summit of Gros Piton

Finally, you’ve made it to the top! Your reward? The incredible panoramic views and the unmatched relaxation you’ll feel as you get to bask in for a few moments before heading back to the bottom. Though the summit is covered with thick vegetation which makes it hard to see the views beyond, you can climb down slightly to the small lookout platform. Once you make it to the top, you will have earned being able to sign the summit register in the Interpretive Center which will forever serve as a record of your momentous climb!

Waypoint Coordinates: 13.80978, -61.06544 (13°48'35.2"N 61°03’55.6"W)

What to bring when hiking up Gros Piton

There are a few items that you’ll either need (or want) to have with you on your hike up the Gros Piton

● Camera
● Sunscreen
● Towel
● Insect Repellent
● Swimwear (for before or after the climb)
● Cash

It’s best to leave any jewelry at home, as you might lose it during the hike.

Hiking the Pitons is not recommended if you:

● Are pregnant
● Are physically challenged (not wheelchair accessible)
● Recently had arm/hand surgery
● Have back/neck problems
● Have motion sickness
● Have heart/respiratory issues

How will I get there?

There are many excursions to explore the Pitons in Saint Lucia, and you can book one easily though your resort, which would normally include transfers (but check to be sure!). The other option is to organise a taxi ride or rent a car.

Where to stay when visiting the Pitons in Saint Lucia

Picture: Sandals Grande St. Lucian. Guests of this all-inclusive resort in Saint Lucia also get access to two other all-inclusive resorts: Sandals Regency La Toc and Sandals Halcyon Beach. Transfers included!

Although the Pitons are located in the South of Saint Lucia, you’ll find that the north of the island is best for travellers who want to be immersed in the action; people who like to reconnect with nature during the day, but want to eat out, have a drink, and join in the fun at night. The North of Saint Lucia is where you’ll find the best beaches, restaurants, hotels and all-inclusive resorts.

It takes a 60-minute, or 90-minute scenic drive to get from north to south in Saint Lucia, depending on whether you’re travelling on the east or west coast.

Photo credit: fokke baarssen/

Sandals features three all-inclusive resorts in this area. Sandals Grande St. Lucian in Rodney Bay is located right next to Pigeon Island. The most lively of the three with amazing views from the beach. Sandals Regency La Toc is known for its amazing cliffside views, golf course and villa suites with private swimming pools. Last but not least, Sandals Halcyon Beach is the more intimate and quiet resort, complete  with the beautiful Paradise Pool.

Picture: The over-the-water restaurant at Sandals Grande St. Lucian is one of the 12 gourmet restaurants located at this resort. The best part: food and drinks are always included, always unlimited!

The best part: when staying at any one of these resorts, you’ll get free access to all three Sandals Resorts on the island (including free transfers in between the resorts). This means any Sandals guest in Saint Lucia has access to 27 restaurants, 21 bars, and two golf courses at no extra cost. It’s all included in your stay.

Pitons excursions on offer at Sandals Resorts

Picture: Pitons excursions on offer at Sandals Resorts

Sandals Resorts partnered up with Island Routes, to offer its guests the best local experiences on the island. Underneath, you’ll find an overview of the excursions to the Pitons offered from the resort:

Helicopter airport transfers

Regular airport transfers from and to the resort are always free for Sandals guests. However, if you’re planning to see the Pitons from above, make sure to book a helicopter transfer from the airport to the resort. Helicopter transfers are available from around £165  per person, and rest assured, there’s no better way to start your all-inclusive holiday in Saint Lucia! The helicopter ride itself will take around 10 minutes.

Excursions departing from all Sandals St Lucia Resorts

The Piton Sunset Snorkel Cruise is a cool way to see the Pitons in all their glory without breaking a sweat. The snorkel cruise takes around 5 hours and starts from around £70 per person. Looking for a party? Look no further than the Saint Lucia Sunset Evening Party Cruise starting from around £70 per person takes you along the magnificent west coast within 2 hours.

Want to hike up the Gros Piton? The Gros Piton Hike from Castries/Vieux Fort starting from around £120 per person is your cup of tea! The excursion itself will take around 7 hours.


Can you hike the Pitons in St Lucia, and are special preparations needed for this hike?

Yes. While in Saint Lucia, you will be able to climb Gros Piton, the taller of the two Pitons. You can do this whether or not you have climbing experience. There also aren’t any special preparations you’ll need to do, though it is worth it to stretch ahead of this challenging hike. Make sure to check above, as there are a few circumstances where people are not recommended to climb.

What if I want to climb Petit Piton?

While it is possible to climb Petit Piton, this is not a hike typically offered as a tour option. It is not advisable to climb Petit Piton without a guide, especially if you’re not a skilled hiker. If you’re looking to try a climb like this which at best will be difficult and technical, with high elevation bouldering, you may need special permissions.

Is the volcano in Saint Lucia active?

Saint Lucia is a volcanic island, but volcanic activity here has been unreported for many years. While the last major eruption on the island was reported thousands of years ago, the last minor eruption was sometime in the 1700s.

Exploring the Pitons is a must in Saint Lucia

There are many incredible things you can do in Saint Lucia, but none that stand out as much as enjoying the view of the Pitons and the view from the Pitons. There’s a certain awe-inspired feeling that comes with staring up at a mountain more than 2,000 ft high, especially when it's right in front of you, and that feeling and the good times you’re sure to have on this island, will make your trip to Saint Lucia that much more memorable!

Photo credit: Judith Lienert/

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Kylie Morrow

About Kylie Morrow

Born on the tropical island that is Saint Lucia affords a never-ending source of inspiration. In the past 13 years, Kylie loved to work with various newspapers, magazines and blogs in the Caribbean.