Though the Caribbean is famous for its white-sand beaches and sun-kissed turquoise seas, sandy shores aren’t the only natural attractions the islands have to offer.
Hiking through lush rainforests, waterfalls, and scenic panoramas is one of the most underrated yet rewarding things to do in the Caribbean. Trails for all types of hikers will have you venturing through striking landscapes and unearthing gorgeous tropical views.
From mountainous national parks to dipping in a cool waterfall pool after a thrilling hike, here is where you’ll find some of the best hiking in the Caribbean.
Sage Mountain National Park, Tortola
Set on the stunning island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, Sage Mountain National Park encompasses 86 acres of lush rainforest. Embark on any of the 12 trails within the BVI’s first national park. Marvel at the 1,716 foot tall Sage Mountain, which soars as the highest point in both the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands. Enjoy sprawling views of the islands below which create a breathtaking panorama that you’ll want to capture with your camera.
Stretch your legs on the Central Trail, a popular choice that grants fantastic viewpoints in less than an hour. This trek brings you through the rainforest landscape to an observation deck where you’ll be staring at a real-life postcard.
Read: Things to Do in Tortola
Mount Liamuiga, St. Kitts
Ready for adventure? Your expedition starts at the base of Mount Liamuiga (meaning “fertile land”), a dormant volcano and the tallest point in St. Kitts. Your trek to the top will have you trekking and climbing through a palatial rainforest, and as you reach the summit, magical cloud forest as well.
Tropical flora and fauna decorate the exotic backdrop during the two-and-a-half-hour hike. You might even spot some monkeys along the route. This mountain giant soars almost 4,000 feet to the sky, making it a challenging but rewarding hike.
At the top, your view will stretch over St. Kitts, cerulean seas, and, if it’s a clear day, the nearby islands of Antigua, Saba, Statia, St. Barths, St. Martin, and Nevis. Prepare for your jaw to drop as you stand at the rim of the volcano’s crater. You’ll also get a glimpse of the famous “Devil’s Tooth,” a highlight of the hike and the highest point on the crater. Make sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring plenty of water; this trek is challenging and will test your endurance.
Cabrits National Park, Dominica
Known as nature island, Dominica is filled to the brim with opportunities for hiking and outdoor exploration. Set on the northern portion of the island, Cabrits National Park lies on a peninsula between two extinct volcanoes. To make the scene even more beautiful, a gorgeous beach hugs the edge of the park. The well-preserved historical ruins of Fort Shirley, constructed in the 1700s, still stand in the park and are a main draw for visitors. Island forestry has merged with the structures over time, giving the remaining fort a unique appearance.
The historical and cultural aspects combined with natural scenery and rich ocean reef make for a relaxed combination adventure. Several trails are available and accessible for every skill level and age. Feel the ocean breeze on a coastline path, or explore lush tropical forest and wetlands. Embark on a portion of the lengthy Waitukubuli Trail, which ends in the national park, or set out on the two-mile round-trip walk called the Douglas Bay Battery. You’ll be rewarded with views of the rainforest and Douglas Bay.
Gros Piton, St. Lucia
Seen from afar, St. Lucia’s mountain treasure, Gros Piton, is an icon of the island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to some of the best hiking in the Caribbean.
One of the best things to do in St. Lucia is to experience this work of art by Mother Nature on foot, with a challenging hike to the top where the views will take your breath away from 2,619 feet above sea level. The well-marked, out-and-back trail takes off from the base of the mountain near the village of Soufriere at the interpretive center on the island’s west coast. Guides can provide educational information about the flora and fauna as well as the significance of the mountains to the island.
Prepare for the hike to increase in difficulty for the second half. This halfway point offers an amazing panorama of Petit Piton (the sister mountain) and is a perfect spot to catch your breath. The vertical climb requires some technical hiking and physical endurance, as the elevation gain is over a short distance. Once you reach the peak, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of St. Lucia and the surrounding fishing villages, Petit Piton, and Saint Vincent and the Maria Islands if the weather is clear.
Cas Cay, St. Thomas
The uninhabited island of Cas Cay just off of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a beautiful wildlife sanctuary filled with mangrove forests. The 15-acre stretch of land is protected by the Department of Natural Resources and offers much to explore. The diverse plant and animal life on the island is a delight to encounter when hiking. You’ll see busy hermit crabs, tropical plant species, exotic birds, and curious lizards sunning themselves.
Learn about the ecosystem as you trek to the famous Red Point Blowhole, a natural highlight on Cas Cay. The combination of the sea’s waves and volcanic cliffs creates a thrilling show of power as water erupts through the rock.
If you’re looking to cool off after your hike, there are fantastic opportunities to jump in the calmer section of the water for some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean. Swim amongst clear blue waters around an impressive mangrove nursery and colorful coral. Wave to the local sea turtles, parrot fish, starfish, spotted eagle rays, and a pufferfish or two. Spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea, French Cap, and Buck Island will have you swooning for this natural island paradise.
Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica
Channel your inner explorer with a visit to Dunn’s River Falls near Ochos Rios. Marvel at the natural wonder near where Christopher Columbus first stepped on the island of Jamaica. At 180 feet tall and 600 feet long, this waterfall is world renowned.
The terraced cascade is an outdoor tropical playground that allows you to venture underneath the refreshing waterfall. Choose a trail that skirts the falls in order to stay dry, or embark on a hike that climbs the travertine waterfall “steps” for a thrilling up-close and personal perspective of this natural wonder. Several natural pools within the cascade will help cool you off and relax in this spectacular tropical setting. You’ll soon see why it’s considered some of the best hiking in the Caribbean.
Read: Best Beaches in Jamaica
Vermont Nature Trail, St. Vincent
This two-mile trail on the island of St. Vincent is ideal for all ages and a great way to immerse yourself in the outdoors while in the Caribbean. Journey through the lush rainforest for the chance to spot the main star of this nature trek: the Saint Vincent parrot. Valleys, a forest plantation, striking cliffs, and exotic flora and fauna provide the picturesque backdrop for a mission to see the unique bird in its natural habitat.
You’ll reach a lookout with fantastic views as your reward on this relatively straightforward hike. This might be your best chance to view the parrot; listen for the iconic bird calls and watch as they soar over the tree canopy. Other birds that frequent this region include the whistling warbler, purple-throated carib, and the house wren. This is some of the best hiking in the Caribbean for bird-watching enthusiasts.
This granite peak, also referred to as “Haystack Mountain,” is one of three mountains on the island of Aruba. It’s located in the middle of the island and is a popular option for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking Hooiberg requires traversing a steep staircase where you’ll uncover sprawling views at the summit. You’ll feel accomplished after climbing over 580 steps to reach the top.
It’s said that on a clear day, you can even see all the way to South America. Along the way, you’ll pass Kibrahacha trees that bloom yellow flowers after it rains, Divi-Divi trees, and numerous cacti.
Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Dominica
The lush island of Dominica is one of the best Caribbean Islands for hiking. At UNESCO-listed Morne Trois Pitons National Park, discover untouched rainforests, splendid waterfalls, gorges and valleys, and even a boiling lake.
One of the most popular and rewarding highlights within the park is a hike to the Emerald Waterfall and Pool. The 15-minute path to the Emerald Pool leads visitors to a breathtaking 40-foot waterfall that cascades clear water from the mountains into a pool perfect for swimming. Lush greenery surrounds the pool, allowing you to be fully immersed in tropical nature.
This rainforest walk goes along a well-maintained trail and is considered easy. It’s the perfect family-friendly activity for a taste of the splendor that Morne Trois Pitons National Park has to offer.
Grand Etang National Park, Grenada
A popular region for hiking in Grenada, Grand Etang National Park is home to diverse terrain, lush vegetation, and various species of exotic birds. Hikers will get to experience varying ecological subsystems due to the assorted elevations within the park. Native plants such as ferns, vibrant tropical flowers, as well as mahogany and gommier trees add to the landscape. A crater lake that lies 1,700 feet above sea level is another highlight within the park.
Frogs, mongoose, lizards, armadillos, and even monkeys inhabit the park and might make an appearance as you explore on foot. Trails range from easier 15-minute walks to challenging treks, making this an outdoor activity suited to all ages and skill levels.
Read: Best Beaches in Grenada
Explore the best Caribbean islands for hiking on a luxury Caribbean cruise with Celebrity Cruises. From easy strolls to challenging summits, the scenic backdrops will motivate you while experiencing the best hikes in the Caribbean.
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