Most people heading to the Caribbean islands have bags filled with sunscreen, swimsuits, books to read on the beach, and a pair of flip flops.
The white sand beaches are indeed a sight to behold, but have you ever considered what other possibilities these islands hold away from their shores?
Various landscapes can be found throughout many of the Caribbean’s picturesque islands, offering more than just water activities. Hiking is one such activity.
Some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife are found in abundance away from the sparkling turquoise Caribbean waters. The next time you find yourself in the Caribbean, take some time to step away from the beach and head to the mountains, hills, and forests for new adventures.
St. Lucia – The Pitons
Saint Lucia is where the twin peaks, Petit Piton and Gros Piton, are found. Gros Piton stands at about 2,580 feet tall. Though it is the taller peak, it is an easier hike to the top, which is a reason it is the more popular of the two. Completing Gros Piton takes about four to five hours to complete, with the hike taking travelers through rainforests and over huge rocks.
Expect the peak to be crowded during the busy season. Don’t get discouraged, however, because the views from the top are worth all the fuss. Even if you forget to snap a picture of yourself at the top, you will never forget the utterly amazing scene.
The island of Martinique is absolutely one of the best Caribbean islands for hiking. The island’s trails, known as traces, run across more than 350 km of the island’s varied terrain.
In the north, undiscovered paths, lush trails, and volcanoes that give way to stunning waterfalls make for very interesting treks. Though the climate in many parts is hot and humid, which will slow your pace at times, the rewards of gorgeous scenery and a quick dip in a waterfall are more than enough to keep going.
In the south, it’s a different experience completely. You’ll hike through coastal paths, rocky inlets, and mangroves, where there is an abundance of marine life to look out for. With hiking trails for beginners, adventurers, and everyone in between, don’t miss out on exploring all Martinique has to offer on foot.
Dominica – The Waitukubuli National Trail
Sectioned off into 14 distinct segments and stretching for almost 115 miles across Dominica, the Waitukubuli National Trail is considered by many to be the best place for hiking in the Caribbean. Each segment of the trail has a unique start and endpoint which allows you to hike the individual routes or complete the entire trail if you have it in you.
While hiking the trail, you’ll pass through various terrains and environments, including tropical mountains, rainforests, and even rural farmland.
Some of the highlights include caves, waterfalls, and hot springs, among other natural wonders. As the routes wander through local villages, take the opportunity to restock your supplies as well as grab some food and freshwater. If you need a place to rest, some of the villages offer night stays, too.
Jamaica – Blue Mountains National Park
Located in the eastern part of Jamaica, the Blue Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, standing at a little over 7,400 feet. Before you think you can’t make the journey, there are tracks around the mountains for every fitness level. Just pack for the cold because the temperature on the mountain falls substantially the higher you go.
Holywell National Park offers a more relaxing hike and is easy to walk thanks to marked trails or drive. Set up there and have a picnic or enjoy an evening around the fire pits.
Dominican Republic – Pico Duarate
The Dominican Republic is home to the highest peak in all of the Caribbean: Pico Duarte. Located on Hispaniola, the Caribbean’s most mountainous island, Pico Duarte stands at about 9,843 feet. It’s massive and the perfect escape for those who are in desperate need of adventure during their vacation.
A few tips before you take on this challenge: spread your hike out over two or three days to see the amazing nature you’re walking through and make sure you get help from the local guides by way of La Cienega de Manabao to get you through this amazing trek.
Nevis – Nevis Peak
Not for the faint of heart, it’s not the more than 3,200-foot climb or altitude that makes reaching the summit of Nevis Peak such a challenge, it’s the fact that the hike starts near sea level. Three hours later, when you’re at the highest point, you’ll understand why this is one of the toughest climbs and is on the bucket list of so many hikers.
As one of the best hiking trails in the Caribbean, expect to scramble over tree roots and large rocks every so often and get ready to use ropes on occasion. The only thing better than the breathtaking views you’ll earn at the top of Nevis is the satisfaction you’ll get from completing this excursion.
St. Vincent – La Soufriere
When you get off the beaten path, you never think it will take you to an active volcano, but that’s exactly what you’ll get on St. Vincent. To get to the top of this 8.4-mile-long trail, you’ll have to ascend more than 2,800 feet off the ground, a significant accomplishment in and of itself. But once you find yourself at the top, you’ll forget the groaning and complaining because you’ll have access to views unlike you’ve seen before.
One of the best places to hike in the Caribbean because of its sheer uniqueness, hikers can feel the heat from the volcanic activity happening under the ground as they make their way to the summit. Don’t let the heat keep you from looking around the lush, tropical jungle surrounding you as it gives way to a spectacular 360 view of the Caribbean Sea.
Hike the Caribbean
We hope that you’re inspired to get away from the beach to explore the best islands to hike in the Caribbean. The beach will be waiting to welcome you back from your hiking adventure. And if you’re looking for an island with affordable Caribbean real estate, and great hiking, look no further than South Caicos!