While Saint Lucia offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world none can top the majestic Pitons, the island’s iconic mountains. Said to be the most photographed site in the Caribbean and most famous mountain pair on earth, the Pitons are a must-see for anyone who visits the island. Located just south of the town of Soufriere on the west coast, Gros Piton (798.25 m / 2,618.9 ft) and Petit Piton (743 m / 2,438 ft) rise regally from the blue Caribbean below.
The Pitons were created less than a million years ago by volcanic activity, which still can be witnessed at the Sulphur Springs volcano located nearby. Amerindians considered the mountains to have mystical powers and early European explorers noted their unique and splendid beauty. In 2004 the Pitons were awarded World Heritage Site status.
Hiking to the top of Gros Piton is one of Saint Lucia’s most popular tours. Anyone with reasonably good physical fitness can handle the climb. The trail begins in the quaint countryside village of Fond Gen Libres; proud and friendly young persons from the village serve as guides. Petit Piton is a much more arduous ascent that should only be attempted by very fit and experienced climbers.
An interesting aspect of the Pitons is how their appearance changes so dramatically when viewed from different directions. As seen from the south the mountains look completely different and much farther apart than they do from the north, which is the classic and most photographed view in which they appear as near identical twins nestled close together.