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The drive to the Pitons from the North of St.Lucia is great! Sit back and enjoy the view and conversation with your driver. The hike is a good workout. I found it harder coming down than going up. Be prepared and check your weather. If it is cloudy you will get to the top and see nothing which was my view on this day!. However, my problem was with my guide. He was completely disinterested and spent the majority of his time on his cell phone. This did not make the hike enjoyable. At the half way point, he told me to go and he would catch up. So I did and he never caught up to me. I reached the top without him. He stayed with me on the way down and again spent most of his time on his phone and made no effort to have a conversation with me.
On the return ride, my drive, his companion and myself had a great time. We stopped for food at the local restaurant and enjoyed some beer together. Then, we stopped at the best photo points, and of course the Cassava shop for bread and seams. If you have not tried this, ask you drive to stop for you.
I think if I were to do this again, I would not bother booking a tour but going on my own. That is book a taxi, pay the hike fee and be on my way. It is probably much cheaper.
My husband, 10 1/2 year old, 13 year old and I just hiked the Gros Piton last week while on spring break. I'm so glad we booked with Viator. From pick up, through the hike, and back to the drop off at our hotel, it was the perfect excursion! The gentleman who picked us up from the hotel and I'm kicking myself because I don't remember his name! was amazing. He was so nice, and incredibly knowledgeable about all things St. Lucia. Through our questions and conversations, he told us about the current government, upcoming elections, the economy, culture, everything! He had no problem stopping for us whenever we saw a photo opportunity, and likewise pulled over to jump out and show us his favorite sites. He picked cocoa pods and let us taste the kernels inside citrus-like, handed us tamarind pods and soursop fruits, showed us cashews growing in the trees, pointed out nutmeg and cinnamon trees and explained how bananas grow. And then gave my son his only can of lemon lime soda flavored with nutmeg and Angostura bitters. He delivered us to the amazing Simone who was our guide for the hike mandatory. Simone made certain we had the recommended water for each of us available AND reasonably priced in the welcome center and then gave us a brief history of the area, and an overview of what to expect from the hike. The only restrooms on the trail were here and were very clean. We rented walking sticks for 1, but found out well into the hike that they would have been worth 50! The hike was strenuous for those of us in fairly decent shape, but breaks were very welcome. Sunscreen, hats, and snacks are a must, as are very sturdy shoes. The climb is about 1200 feet over 3.5 miles, and then back down. We did it in about 4 1/2 hours. There were no crowds, which was great, and we only passed a few other small groups on the way up and down. The views from several points on the trail and from the top totally make it worth visiting this World Heritage Site.
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