A bounty of lush, rolling hills and picturesque beaches make it tempting to explore St. Barth on foot – and the destinations are well worth the journey. From the natural tide pools brimming with marine life to the island’s highest peak, hiking offers a new perspective of St. Barth’s rare natural beauty.
While there are a number of family-friendly hikes with easy-to-follow trails, some of the island’s more challenging treks are best approached with a professional guide – which Stéphane Carou, head concierge at Le Guanahani, can arrange for you.
He recommends a guide for Mount Vitet (offering the highest view of the island from above at 286 meters), the natural pools of Petit Cul-de-Sac, and the coastal trails from Saline to Gouvernor and from Grand Fond to Saline. Not only will the guide lead the way, but he or she will share knowledge of the local flora and wildlife and point out the best spots for unrivaled photography.
As for venturing on your own, a few choice destinations come to mind:
A short hike or boat ride will lead you to Colombier Beach, often regarded as the island’s most idyllic stretch of coastline. The sheltered bay regularly harbors small gatherings of sailboats, and beneath the water’s surface, you will find perfect snorkeling conditions amidst brightly colored coral and schools of fish.
To find the trailhead, drive past Flamands Beach and park at the very end of the road on the right. There will be a tiled sign for Colombier to your left. (You can also hike to Colombier by way of Lookout Point just past Le P’tit Morne Hotel, but the path is very steep.)
The footpath from the road takes you along a cliff’s edge and beneath the ceilings of coastal caves, all the while offering resplendent views of Flamands and the open sea. After about 20 minutes, the trail will cross over the peninsula to overlook the sweeping white sands and crescent-shaped shoreline of Colombier.
Make sure to borrow a GoPro from the resort to better capture your excursion, and along the way, keep an eye out for wild goats grazing on the hillsides.
Natural Pools of Grand Fond
Near Grand Fond on the southeastern corner of the island, the rocky coastline has given rise to spectacular formations like natural tide pools – the path to which is truly hidden in plain sight.
When approaching Grand Fond from St. Jean, you will see a small parking lot close to the shore on your right. Nearby, the footpath to the beach follows a stone wall, which seems fitting upon your arrival because the beach is almost completely covered in stones shaped by the sea.
Turn right and walk all the way to the end of the beach, where you will find a small winding path carved into the hillside. The trail follows the coastal bluffs all the way to the pools, and along the way you can stop at secluded beaches framed in rock, sit for a while on a bench built into the bluff, and – when the tide is high – see the spray of the natural washing machine.
At the trail’s end about 25 minutes from the start, the crystalline natural pools await. Climb down the rocks and into the pools, being careful of the sea urchins, for a well-deserved dip.
For other routes to try on your own, Le Guanahani’s concierge will be happy to provide additional recommendations. Whether you prefer a leisurely walk or a challenging trek, hiking in St. Barth offers some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the Caribbean.