The Best Hiking in the Caribbean

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Part 11 of the Series: The Best Hiking in the World

Best Hiking in the Caribbean

Hiking in the Caribbean?

While we typically think of the Caribbean for its miles of sandy beaches with umbrellas and sunburned tourists, there are more ways to explore and get off the beaten track in these tropical islands.

Below you will read about some of the best hiking in the Caribbean written by some talented travel writers.

Check it out and see if they don’t inspire you to take a more active excursion the next time you visit one of these beautiful islands.

La Rejolla, Dominican Republic

by Chris from Punta Cana Travel Blog

La-rejolla-Dominican-Republic-Chris-Punta-Cana-Travel-Best-Hiking-in-the.-Caribbean
Photo credit: Chris from Punta Cana Travel
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 La Rejolla is an absolutely underrated hiking trail in the Dominican Republic, but could easily make it into the list of the best hiking trails in the world. Just imagine you are visiting four pristine, remote and gorgeous waterfalls connected by a hidden jungle path passing turquoise rivers and lush tropical vegetation – exactly that’s La Rejolla.

 La Rejolla is an unknown series of waterfalls in the north of the Dominican Republic, close to Puerto Plata, the counterpart of famous Punta Cana. Except for a small natural wall you have to climb (approx. 6 feet high, but with indentations and rocks to pull yourself up, doable if you are in average shape) it is a moderately challenging hiking trail that leads you to 4 different walls, all of them of different beauty, all of them one-of-a-kind. 

The first one can even be reached without climbing the wall and features a turquoise natural swimming pool to have a dip into. The other waterfalls are not less attractive than the first one, especially the third one is very impressive as the river is falling down a rock formation which has cracked down a couple of years ago and created a new spectacular scenery.

 To do the hike, you either need some very good hiking and GPS experience with the corresponding trail (available online) or you take a local guide with you, which is usually not too expensive and helps the community. 

The hike starts in the small village of Camu, approximately 20 minutes driving away from both Puerto Plata and Sosua. The walking time is approximately 75-90 minutes one-way. If you add some breaks at each waterfall, it will be a 4-5 hours total round-trip – perfect to enjoy the natural beauty of the Dominican Republic.

Chris

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Pico Turquino, Cuba

by Carley from Home to Havana

Pico-Turquino-Trail-Cuba-Best-Hiking-in-the-Caribbean
Photo credit: Jezdicek from Canva

Cuba’s tallest peak, Pico Turquino, is both one of the best hikes in the Caribbean and has the most to offer visitors. 

Not only is Pico Turquino one of the best destinations for hiking in Cuba for the gorgeous scenery and remaining off the beaten path of most visitors, but it also manages to combine part of Cuba’s revolutionary history, making a visit even more intriguing.

Located in the Sierra Maestra mountain range in the rugged southeast of Cuba, these mountains were home to Fidel Castro and his rebel 26 de Julio movement that launched the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s. 

When starting a hike to summit Pico Turquino, national park visitors can make a relatively easy detour of just a few hours towards the famous Comandancia de La Plata, Castro’s camp from which they launched attacks on the island. 

Here you’ll see Che Guevara’s hospital, the famous radio station Radio Rebelde that sent news of the revolution across the island, and much more.

Make sure to start your hike from the northern national park entrance at Alto de Narajo, rather than the southern route from Las Cuevas if you want to visit Comandancia de la Plata as part of your hike! 

After visiting Comandancia de la Plata, the hike continues to summit the mountain, with basic camping options available a few hours from the summit if you’d like to opt for catching sunrise from Cuba’s tallest peak. 

Carley

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Reef Bay Trail, US Virgin Islands

by Kristin from Snorkel and Hike

Reef-Bay-Trail-Overlook
Photo credit: Kristin from Snorkel and Hike

The Reef Bay Trail in the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John is one of the best and most rewarding hikes in the Caribbean with plantation ruins, a waterfall, petroglyphs, and all within a lush tropical forest.   With several hiking trip options from easy to strenuous, nearly anyone can enjoy this beautiful trail.  

The very limited parking at the trailhead helps make the hike feel secluded and nearly empty most of the time.  The trail through the dense tropical canopy will occasionally open up to sweeping views of the mountains with the ocean in the distance.  

Near the halfway point, a short side trail leads to a small waterfall with ancient petroglyphs carved into the nearby stone.  A bit further down, just before the ocean and turn around, the ruins of a sugar plantation can be seen and explored.  

The full 6 mile out and back hike is relatively strenuous with the return entirely back up the mountain.  However, most of the points of interest along the trail are near the turn around at the ocean, so anyone looking for a shorter and easier trek could hire a boat to the bay and hike up a short bit.   

The National Park Service also offers a great guided hike option that descends down the mountain, but returns via boat, avoiding the climb back up the mountain.

Kristin

Mount Pelée, Martinique

 by Chris from Punta Cana Travel Blog

Mount Pelee Martinique best hiking in the Caribbean
Photo credit Chris from Punta Cana Travel Blog

The hike to Mount Pelée is the signature hike of Martinique and one of the most interesting hikes in the Caribbean, especially when it comes to its historic importance. 

Mount Pelée is an active volcano with an altitude of approx. 4500 feet on the French island of Martinique, which is responsible for the deadliest volcanic eruption worldwide in the 20th century. 

When Mount Pelée erupted in 1902, it killed around 30.000 people within minutes and leveled the entire capital of St. Pierre. 

Today, St. Pierre is a sleepy fishing village, offering marvelous ocean views, several commemorative plaques and various hiking options, not only to Mount Pelée but also to other mountains or waterfalls in the area.

 When hiking Mount Pelée, you can choose between three main hiking trails – all of them will guide you to the crater rim. 

The south approach starts in L’Aileron, from the west you can reach it on the Le Precheur/Grande Savane access and if coming from the north, Grande Riviere will be your gateway point. Once on the crater rim which features a nice loop hike, you can hike to the summit called Le Chinois, which is the actual Mount Pelée.

Views from Mount Pelée and during the hike are magnificent. You can see the entire northern coastline of Martinique and – during the hike along the crater rim – you can peek into the crater various times to observe this dormant but still active volcano. You can also enjoy the lush vegetation, which is omnipresent in this part of the Caribbean.

The hike is not super difficult, but due to the steady climb at least moderately challenging. You should be in average shape to be able to reach the crater rim. 

The trails are easy to find and clearly marked. Depending on which ascent you choose, you should calculate with a total hiking time of 3 to 5 hours and a distance of around 5 miles round-trip including the crater rim loop.

Chris

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Wrap Up

I don’t know about you, but I am going to look at these islands in a whole new light.

We want to thank these great travelers for their contribution to this post. They have given us a new perspective on these great hikes in the Caribbean.

If you would like to know more about these islands, be sure to check out their websites linked in this post.

More Awesome Hikes

We have spent the last few weeks exploring some of the Best Hiking in the World. Check out the box at the top for the complete list in this series.

The nearest hiking to the Caribbean would be the trails covered in Central America and South America.

But if you are from North America, we have you covered too. Here are the top hiking trails in the USA and some favorite hikes in Canada.

And even though we have completed this series, we are just getting started! We are bringing you some of the best outdoor guides available.

Sign up for our newsletter and we will update you whenever we come up with some more helpful tips for the curious, newbie, or experienced hikers and outdoors people.

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