For many people who vacation in the Caribbean Islands, the default position is usually flat out on a sun lounger, chilled cocktail to the right, a camera phone to the left, and a beautiful sky-blue ocean straight ahead.
But did you know that the Caribbean is also a hiking paradise? From lush rainforests to dormant volcanos, there’s a whole world of hiking opportunities in this region.
Best Hiking Trails in the Caribbean
Here are some of the best hiking areas in the Caribbean that you should certainly visit.
1. Guanapo Gorge, Trinidad
Carry your waterproof hiking backpack and swimsuit for this trail. It goes through a wet rainforest and across fast-flowing rivers.
Hiking next to vibrant emperor butterflies is awesome, but not as awesome as sliding down a slippery rock chute into a natural crystal-clear pool below – there’s no better way to beat the scorching tropical heat!
2. Nevis Peak, Nevis
If you are looking for a challenging trail, try trekking to the top of Nevis Peak. At just 3232 feet high, the mountain’s altitude is not a problem. However, when you consider the fact the trail starts at sea level and ends three hours later at the peak, you may understand why it’s the toughest excursion in the Island of Nevis.
On the way, hikers scramble over tree roots and rocks, and from time to time may use ropes to climb. Nonetheless, the breathtaking view at the top of the summit and sense of satisfaction is worth it.
3. Shirley Heights, Antigua
Humpback whales, crashing waves, and hummingbirds – it is hard to know where look while hiking to the Shirley Heights. The trail starts from the English Harbour’s Galleon Beach and goes through the great Montserrat volcano in Antigua.
4. Leinster Bay to St. John’s Waterlemon Cay, U.S. Virgin Islands
For this island-edge trail, don’t forget to carry your mask and fins – you’ll need them at one of the snorkel spots at St. John. If you are lucky, you will get to see different types of marine life including turtles, vibrant coral reef, iridescent fish, and rays.
While you’re at it, ensure you explore the 19th-Century Annaberg Sugar Plantation ruins and Waterlemon Beach.
5. Concord Falls, Grenada
The Concords Falls hiking area stands out because it has not one, not two, but three waterfalls. The trail starts with a paved road that takes you to the first waterfall which is relatively easy to cross.
To get to the second waterfall, the Au Coin, you have to cross an abandoned nutmeg plantation and head deep into a rainforest. A more challenging hike leads to the third waterfall, the Fontainebleau, which plunges 65 feet into a natural pool.
6. The Pitons, Saint Lucia
The original inhabitants of the Island of Saint Lucia believed that these two volcanic spires – Petit Piton and Gros Piton – brought them closer to their supreme being.
With a height of 2579 feet, Gros Piton is taller but easier to hike. The trail takes up to 5 hours to complete, with the route crossing over large rocks and wet rainforests. While the hike might be tiresome, the views from the summit are absolutely breathtaking.
At 2,438 feet, the Petit Piton might seem smaller, but the terrain is more tactical. You may want to leave it to pros.
7. La Soufriere, St. Vincent
Rising to a height of 4049 feet, this magnificent active volcano has some serious form. It erupted most devastatingly in 1902 when it claimed more than 1500 lives. The constant eruptions have formed a huge, green crater and made the rocks a little bit too slippery when wet.
The trail starts on the east coast of the island at Rabacca and goes through a series of rainforests before reaching a desolate, exhilarating lavascape on top. It will take you roughly 5 hours.
8. Pico Duarte, Dominica
With a massive altitude of 10,000 feet and a 30-mile hike, the Pico Duarte trail should be left to expert hikers and mountaineers. The guided hike takes approximately two days to complete. The thick pine forests and varying terrain does not make things any better.
Your reward for this tiresome trail is a spectacular view of the sky-blue ocean and surrounding islands from the summit.
9. Mt. Liamuiga, St. Kitts
Commonly known as Mt. Misery, this 3972-feet mountain is no walk in the park. The steep two-hour hike to the summit goes through a dense rainforest full of ficus trees. Nonetheless, it is quite manageable even for amateur hikers.
At the top of the mountain, you will find yourself on the rim of a crater with a breathtaking view of the whole island and ocean.
When to Go Hiking in the Caribbean
The hurricane season in the Caribbean Islands usually runs from November all the way to June. So you wouldn’t want to go hiking during this period since the heavy rains make hiking treacherous. Moreover, the beautiful views from the summits can be obscured by the cloudy weather.
September and October are the best months go for hiking in the Caribbean.