What’s the Best Caribbean Island for Hiking?
When it comes to planning your Caribbean adventure, you aren’t short of options. Home to 7,000 individual islands, the Caribbean has something for every type of traveler. Romantics, families, adventurers and beach bums all have a place in the region, but what if you want to match your trip to the Caribbean with hiking? Well, you’re in luck.
Synonymous with relaxation, and for good reason, the Caribbean rewards travelers who are willing to swap their sun lounger and rum punch for a few days of exploration.
Beyond the famous white sand beaches, trails through dense rainforest and tropical-covered hills expose a side to the Caribbean that you never knew existed. Glittering waterfalls, towering views and an abundance of rare wildlife are all on the menu, so what are you waiting for?
In this post, we look into the best islands to visit on your next Caribbean hiking holiday.
1. Mastic Trail – Cayman Islands
There are several hiking trails for visitors to complete in the Cayman Islands, but the one that draws in the crowds (and for good reason) is the Mastic Trail.
Named after the mastic trees that once covered Grand Cayman, the Mastic Trail is a flat, beginners 2.3 miles (one-way) hike through swampy mangroves, two million-year-old woodland, and grassy fields.
Managed by the National Trust, the trail gives visitors a chance to see the largest tract of untouched old-growth forest remaining on Grand Cayman. The trail takes hikers through the island’s most rare plant life and there is the possibility of spotting some wildlife including bananaquit birds, snakes, tree frogs, and hermit crabs.
Where To Stay
Paradis Sur Mer: Enjoy over 12,000 square feet of luxurious living space in this one-of-a-kind villa. With 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, you’ll have everything you need to relax and take it easy. Vacation like the rich and famous in your luxury retreat, surrounded by tropical paradise.
Moon Kai: A beachfront paradise for 14 guests with 12 adults maximum, including five spacious oceanfront units and a separate queen master suite in the coach house.
Amarone: With a light and airy feel, Villa Amarone blurs the line between traditional architecture and contemporary design. It’s the perfect vacation home, offering privacy and amenities, just steps from some of the best snorkeling in Cayman.
2. The Pitons – St Lucia
St Lucia has long been a popular choice for honeymooners, but the mountainous island has plenty of hiking opportunities to satisfy those more adventurous, too. The Pitons, two famous side-by-side mountains that dominate St Lucia, are the priority calling point for most. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and believed to be the most photographed site in the Caribbean, the challenge of ascending one of the towering mountains is often too big to resist for hikers.
Gros Piton and Petit Piton stand at 771m and 743m respectively, with Gros Piton the easiest to climb of the two (thanks to a gentler slope). The still tricky climb results in one in five, not making it to the peak.
Those successful are met with the ultimate vantage point with far-reaching views over the island and its neighbors – enough to put the aching muscles to the back of your mind!
Where To Stay
Villa Atlantis: This villa is a luxury property that shows the best of St Lucia. From this hilltop property, enjoy breathtaking views of the area’s prime attractions and a close proximity to all that the island has to offer.
Akasha: This luxurious villa is your slice of paradise, offering rest and relaxation in a beautiful private setting. The generous infinity pool and breathtaking views of the sea will inspire you to enjoy your vacation in St. Lucia to the fullest.
Susanna: With views out over the Caribbean Sea and enough space to comfortably accommodate up to 14 guests, this breathtaking villa is a blend of Italian architecture and island living.
3. La Soufriere – St Vincent
Whether you’re looking for a short or more demanding hike, St Vincent has plenty of options (and luxury villas!). Waterfalls, including the picturesque Trinity Falls, are easily accessible by a short hike and then there are the winding forest hikes such as the Vermont and Cumberland Nature Trails.
For many, though, a hiking trip to St Vincent isn’t complete without reaching the summit of the La Soufriere volcano. The active volcano has erupted numerous times, most recently in 1979 – adding a certain edge to the hike.
The two-hour ascent will take you through banana plantations, cloud forest, and along volcanic ridgelines. At the top, hikers are greeted with an unforgettable view of the crater and active lava dome.
Where To Stay
Big Blue Ocean: Nestled on a private 2.4-acre lot, Big Blue Ocean is a five-bedroom, 7,352 square foot modern luxury home with direct sea access to one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches in the world. The home has a large infinity pool and Jacuzzi.
Silver Turtle: Silver Turtle Villa is a stunning six-bedroom split-level residence. It’s the perfect St. Vincent and the Grenadines vacation rental for your group with 6,135 square feet of covered space plus a study and media room. The villa offers elegant yet comfortable indoor and outdoor living, a relaxing ambience, and breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.
Else Where: Situated on gently sloping landscape overlooking the ocean, with stunning views of the sea, the barrier reef and Canouan Estate Golf Course, Else Where is a luxurious two-bedroom residence built to entertain.
4. Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park – Jamaica
Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is a paradise for nature’s lovers. The park spans four of the island’s eastern parishes: St. Andrew, Portland, St. Thomas, and St. Mary. It is Jamaica’s most visited park, drawing thousands of visitors to explore the rugged trails and gorgeous scenery year round.
Located on the east end of the island and just an hour drive from Kingston, this park is a breath of fresh air. There are many scenic hiking trails to explore with varying degrees of difficulty, and with the highest point in all of Jamaica, it’s definitely a sight to be seen (or conquered!).
As one of the last remaining virgin tropical forests in the world, this region is home to a great diversity of plants and animals. Some of these species are endemic; meaning that they can only be found in Jamaica. There are also many resident and migrant birds here, accounting for over 200 species in total, so be sure to keep an eye out while you explore.
Where To Stay
Sweet Spot: Nestled on a wide sandy beach, Sweet Spot is a 6 bedroom jewel of a house. You’ll be lulled by the gentle sound of the sea as you sit on your private balcony, enjoying the view and a cool drink.
Silent Waters Villa: This 8 bedroom vacation home is a relaxing destination for couples, families, and friends to enjoy the magnificent natural beauty of Jamaica, while still being able to enjoy the amenities of luxury and comfort they deserve.
Hanover Grange: A secluded tropical paradise for any group of friends, family, or couples wanting a luxury vacation. It’s set against the lush green backdrop of tropical forest and provides guests with a luxurious home away from home with plenty of room for those seeking relaxation and surprising amenities.
5. Shirley Heights – Antigua
Antigua’s mountainous terrain has some wonderful hiking trails that make for good afternoon adventures. One of the best is a trail that winds to the top of Shirley Heights, which provides a spectacular view of both English and Falmouth Harbors.
Start your adventure at English Harbor and begin hiking through rainforest and past volcanoes. The payoff is worth it though when you reach the summit. After a steep climb, the trail to the lookout point at Antigua’s Shirley Heights offers views of the Caribbean that are truly breathtaking. The view is especially spectacular at sunset when English Harbour below is all lit up and the colors seem too perfect to be real.
Where To Stay
Palm Point: Set on a private beach in tropical gardens, Palm Point is perfect for couples and groups looking to escape from it all. It features 7 bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom and stunning views.
Sea Hare: Set along the shore of beautiful Harbour Beach, Sea Hare is a luxurious 3 bedroom villa with unparalleled views. It boasts its own private beach, as well as a tranquil pool that seems to melt into the sea.
Pelican House: This stunning 6 bedroom vacation home exudes a superb elegance that portrays the many pleasures of a lifestyle of exclusivity and comfort. From the beautiful ocean views to the spacious bedrooms and the fragrant tropical gardens, Pelican House Villa has everything you need to enjoy your stay in Antigua.
6. Cas Cay – St Thomas
Located just outside of a mangrove lagoon in St. Thomas, Cas Cay is an uninhabited island that offers a treasure trove of natural beauty. It is 15 acres of open land for your hiking, bird watching, and sight seeing pleasure.
When hiking through the trail at Cas Cay, one is sure to see a variety of amazing wildlife. You’ll likely catch a glimpse of plenty of colorful birds and interesting plant species, and you may even find a few creatures such as hermit crabs and lizards along the way.
The Red Point Blowhole is the main attraction and one of the coolest, natural things about this scenic hike. The hole creates a spectacular show of water bursting through the rocks and cliffs, especially when there is a high tide. It’s a great spot for photographers to take some interesting shots. There are also tidal pools to explore if you’re looking for somewhere to stop for a quick picnic before you head back down.
Where To Stay
One Perfect Day: This is the ideal contemporary luxury villa rental. Its ultra-chic interior and open outdoor spaces make it perfect for large groups looking to enjoy a luxurious getaway in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Blue Serenity: Blending natural beauty with world-class accommodations and amenities, Blue Serenity offers the ultimate in luxury Virgin Island villa rentals. Enjoy breathtaking sunsets from your own private pool or stroll to Secret Harbour Beach for a day of beach fun.
Sand Dollar Estate: The ultimate luxury vacation villa rental in St. Thomas, will make your dream vacation a reality. There are six bedrooms and amenities that will provide something for everyone.
7. Pico Duarte – Dominican Republic
With a height of 10,000 feet, Pico Duarte is one of the tallest peaks in all of the Caribbean. The most popular trail to Pico Duarte is La Ciénaga, which travels through the mountains and is about 23 kilometers long, taking roughly 2-3 days to complete depending on the speed of the hikers.
In reality, there are at least 5 known routes and with so many options, you’re likely to find one that suits you best. No matter which hiking route you choose to take, you’re guaranteed amazing scenic views at every turn.
As previously mentioned, the hike itself does take a few days, so be sure to come equipped with camping gear to spend your nights at the Compartición or Valle de Lilís official campsites. The hike is generally not recommended for beginners as it does require some level of physical activity, so make sure you wear proper shoes and dress warmly–if you do that, odds are you’ll have a great time.
Where To Stay
Arrecife Beach House: A secluded and tucked away place, away from the chaos of city life, this 5 bedroom, four-level mansion is a home away from home. With a staff that’s prepared to make all of your vacation wishes come true, this villa is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Ocean Dream: Offering ample space and an ideal location, this home has everything you need to keep everyone entertained. You’ll enjoy the sun and surf of this spacious 2-level home, which can comfortably accommodate up to 22 guests in 11 cozy bedrooms.
Casa Del Disenador: The essence of Dominican style enchants at Casa del Disenador, it is the ultimate paradise for those who require comfort, privacy, and elegance.
8. Morne Trois Pitons – Dominica
Located on the small island country of Dominica, Morne Trois Pitons is a mountain that’s hard to miss. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features crystal-clear rivers, majestic mountains, breathtaking scenery, volcanoes and even a boiling lake.
Take a hike to the Emerald Pool and you’ll be rewarded with one of Dominica s most beautiful sights: a standing 40-foot waterfall, surrounded on all sides by lush tropical vegetation. This rainforest hike follows a well-marked path and is suitable for all ages, which makes it a wonderful option for families. It meanders through the rainforest’s abundant flora and fauna, lending visitors an up-close look at nature’s diversity.
Where To Stay
Ti-Fey Villa: This fashionable treehouse is the perfect romantic getaway. It offers a gourmet kitchen with high-end appliances and a private pool, hidden in a serene forest, surrounded by mountains and the neighboring islands.
Zabuco Honeymoon Villa II: Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Dominica, Zabuco offers you a once-in-a-lifetime feel that you won’t find anywhere else. It provides personalized service, luxury amenities, a spectacular view of nature
Ylang Ylang Villa II: Spend your holiday in this charming one-bedroom villa, which includes everything you need for a memorable escape from it all! With a private pool, two decks, and a hammock sofa, spending lazy days in your own tropical playground is exactly what this villa was made for.
9. Virgin Islands National Park – St John
USVI is one of the most idyllic and mysterious vacation spots in the Caribbean, and St. John is a must visit if you plan on taking a trip here. Two thirds of the Virgin Islands National Park is located in St. John, making this one of the most picturesque areas to explore.
The park’s hiking trails (over 20 of them!) spread out in different directions across the island, giving vacationers a choice in the type of site they wish to visit. The park doesn’t have any particularly long trails but visitors can still explore much of the park by foot. With its lush landscapes, Virgin Islands National Park is a natural wonder. You can get a taste of history by exploring the many trails where you can see beautiful rainforests, pristine beaches and sugar plantations. The Reef Bay Trail is St. John’s most well-known trail, but due to its length and difficulty rating, it is typically only done on day trips.
Where To Stay
La Bella Vita: Enjoy a quiet getaway with family and friends at this 4 bedroom island home in the US Virgin Islands With its calming colors, spacious rooms, and outdoor spaces, La Bella Vita is a perfect place to relax and reconnect with loved ones.
Island Rider: With its beautiful stone work, four bedrooms, and fabulous pool and spa, this home will have you feeling relaxed and refreshed. An idyllic, tranquil home where you can kick back, read a good book or watch a magnificent sunset.
Marea: The island of St. John is known for being one of the most picturesque places in the entire world. Marea delivers on that, offering amazing views on its 7 acre property and tons of privacy. Everything you need – the spa, sandy beach, and tiki bar – are just a short walk away. It’s the ultimate vacation oasis.
10. Mount Liamuiga – St Kitts
Of all the hikes in St Kitts, the hike on Mount Liamuiga is the most exhilarating. Seeing as it is the highest peak in all of St Kitts (3792 feet) and a dormant stratovolcano, Mount Liamuiga is best suited for more experienced hikers. The hike to the top is challenging and requires climbing rocky terrain, tree branches, and over boulders. It’s not a casual excursion, but is well worth it for an adventure seeker.
The trail itself is fairly well marked if you’d like to trek it on your own, however, we suggest you do it with a guide because they can tell you all about the local plants and animals along the way. A guide also ensures that you won’t accidentally take a wrong turn down a different trail and potentially get lost.
Hiking Mount Liamuiga is an exhilarating way to explore nature. Just three to four hours of strenuous hiking will reward you with breathtaking views of the island and Caribbean sea as soon as you reach the summit. Make sure you come prepared with proper hiking boots, long pants and plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Where To Stay
Serenity Grove: Set against a backdrop of swaying palm trees, come unwind in the tranquility of the 3 bedroom Serenity Grove villa. A place where you can experience the true St Kitts. Bask beneath the tropical sun as you relax poolside or soak in a Jacuzzi on your private sundeck, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Grove Tree House: This 3 bedroom home is a secluded Caribbean villa just moments from the beach. This is an idyllic setting for couples who wish to stay in close proximity to the first tee of the Robert Trent Jones II golf course.
Bismarckia: The Bismarckia Villa is an ideal choice of accommodation while on holiday in St Kitts. Surrounded by tropical gardens, this villa boasts three spacious bedrooms and three beautiful bathrooms.
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