Pitons Management Area
The Pitons Management Area consists of two lava domes or volcanic plugs that were made a WHS because of their volcanic history and aesthetic qualities.
The Gros Piton is 771 m, and the Petit Piton is 743 m high; they are linked by the Piton Mitan ridge.
The Pitons have various volcanic features, like sulphurous fumeroles, hot springs, explosion craters, pyroclastic deposits (pumice and ash), and lava flows.
Tom Livesey - October 2016
Staying in St Lucia for a week in July 2016 gave me gave me ample time for visiting the Pitons Management Area. I would recommend a boat excursion for a great view of the hills, and the bonus of being able to enjoy the reef and aquatic life that are included in the WHS inscription. Being an "inveterate WHS collector" this wasn't enough, though, so I also organised a guided ascent of Gros Piton.
There is no real climbing required on the ascent of this, the larger of the two hills, but it was a steep walk all the way up. Fortunately the route is entirely shaded from the sun by tree canopy so we didn’t have to worry about sunburn. There is a great viewpoint about halfway up from which we got a different angle on Petit Piton.
The view from the top is not as good as the one halfway up because it looks out onto the relatively flat southern end of Saint Lucia. Still, you definitely get a sense of achievement as you appreciate how far you have climbed.
A large rock-mounted WHS logo is one of the better ones I’ve come across on my travels. It stands on the roadside on Petit Piton, overlooking Gros Piton.
Dells - October 2006
As a native St. Lucian, I have been to the Piton Management Area, and I find it exquisite, and the view after one has climbed Gros Piton makes me proud to be St. Lucian. I truly enjoyed the World's ONLY drive in volcano. I would encourage any body reading here to take a trip to St. Lucia to experience all that WE have to offer. It will truly be a rewarding experience. India Arie and Oprah defintely thought so !
Randy - January 2006
It is obvious Paul tanne is a moron with statements such as these "found this site a bit “tacky” – it claims to be “the world’s only drive in volcano” which perhaps tells you something"
Mr. tnner it does not claim to be , it is the only drive in valcano. Frankly I am not suprised that you dont appreciate natural beauty, especially when your idea of beauty is ugly high rise buildings.
Solivagant - June 2005
It is unlikely, if you do go to St Lucia, that you would not go to see the Pitons (unless the beach is all you want!) – but equally they are not so special that you would be likely to go to St Lucia primarily in order to see them (unless perhaps you are a really inveterate WHS collector!).
These volcanic plugs, rising c2000 ft straight from the sea, are certainly spectacular and the nearby town of Soufriere, with its slightly ramshackle wooden buildings and fine views of the Pitons, makes a pleasant outing in its own right. “Petit Piton” is in fact taller than (the “wider”) Gros Piton. The site is inscribed for its natural beauty (ni) as well as for its volcanic nature (niii) and it is possible to climb Petit Piton but this needs permission from the Forest + Lands Dept and a specialist guide ($45US). We did not do this (it is quite steep/precipitous apparently) although the site is supposed to contain a lot of wildlife including 5 St Lucia endemic bird species. Equally a large part of the site consists of the marine area and we cannot comment on the marine life/snorkelling etc.
The Pitons Management Area includes Sulphur Springs – a volcanic area of bubbling mud pools and sulphur fumaroles which is all that remains of a volcano which collapsed 40000 years ago. On the same holiday we visited a similar, indeed apparently slightly less active, sight at Galway’s Soufriere on the island of Montserrat. A couple of years later it exploded in a major eruption which killed several people and led to the closure of the island for some years together with the, apparently permanent, evacuation of its southern part. So think of the underlying power which the bubbles portend!
A negative aspect of the area is the hassling of tourists especially in Soufriere and Sulphur Springs. I know that locals, on reading this, are likely to write outraged letters about people only trying to make a living in difficult circumstances etc but you need to be prepared for the clash of “Sandals All Inclusive Tourist” meeting “Un(der)-employed Local”. It would be fair to state that this was more “wearing” than “oppressive” insofar as we experienced it
At the Springs guides may or may not be “compulsory” (depending on how adamant you are) to “assist” you to follow the paths and prevent you from straying onto the soft areas where indeed there have been accidents. We found this site a bit “tacky” – it claims to be “the world’s only drive in volcano” which perhaps tells you something.
However we particularly liked the view of the Pitons themselves from the terrace of the up-market Dasheene Ladera boutique hotel/restaurant (not far from Sulphur Springs) where you can stop for a drink even if you are not staying. I quote :- “Attire for dinner is Island Elegant Casual”. As you sip your drink in peace amid the beautiful scenery it is perhaps not surprising that those not keyed into this aspect of St Lucia’s economy feel the need to do a bit of “hassling”!
Share your experiences!
Have you been to Pitons Management Area? Click here to add your own review.
Full name: Pitons Management Area
2004 - InscribedReasons for inscription
2004 - Advisory Body overruledIUCN recommended "Deferral" solely under criterion i. It had been nominated under i and iii but IUCN considered that iii was not justified. The WHC went on to inscribe on both i and iii.
The site has 18 connections. Show all
- Petroglyphs petroglyphs... prove the existence of an Amerindian Carib population (UNEP-WCMC)
- Middle Pleistocene Qualibou, also known as the Soufrière Volcanic Centre is a 3.5 X 5 km wide caldera on the island of Saint Lucia that formed approximately 32-39,000 years ago. This eruption also formed the Choiseul Tuff which covers the south east portion of the island. The Pitons are two large lava domes that formed 200-300,000 years ago, some time before the formation of the caldera and since then other domes have filled the caldera floor. (wiki)
WHS on Other Lists
- Biodiversity hotspot Caribbean Islands
World Heritage Process
- Controversial at inscription IUCN recommended deferral for criterion i ("whether or not the site meets criterion (i) is premature without further in-depth geological study of the site and the processes that led to its formation"), and rejected criterion iii. Committee went on to inscribe on both i and iii.
- Only WHS in their country Saint Lucia
- Slow Starters 1991-2004 : 13 years