Hiking (nearly) to the top of the Caribbean
Jutting straight up out of the sea like big middle fingers, daring any adventurer to scale them, the Pitons are the most iconic of St. Lucia's mountains (yet not the tallest; that's Mount Gimie, a couple of miles inland). And though it's not easy, you can indulge in the king-of-the-world view from the top.
The taller of the pair, Gros Piton, is also the legally climbable peak, up to a reasonable 2,619ft summit that takes about five to six hours. The smaller -- Petit Piton -- is far steeper and requires climbing gear, with no hikes commercially available. As one frequent visitor told me, "I tried it once, and got a third of the way before I realized there were better things to do on this island."
Hiking Gros Piton is quintessentially St. Lucian. It's not easy, but if you're in shape and willing to accept the challenge you can conquer it in a day. There are higher mountains in the Caribbean, but they might take two or three days -- and when you’'e on top of Gros Piton looking across to St. Vincent, puffing hard and feeling the breeze on your sweaty brow, you'll care not one bit.