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The Piscines Naturelles at Grand Fond

The southeastern corner of St. Barths is a rugged, mountainous coastline with wide open stretches of undeveloped land.  The longest stretch of beach, Toiny, is bordered to the south by a cove known as Grand Fond.  One of my favorite spots on the island, it is an ideal place to embark on a hiking adventure- the final destination-  A spectacular and secluded group of natural pools set amidst giant orange boulders and crashing surf.

The natural pools at Grand Fond are crystal clear.

The natural pools at Grand Fond are crystal clear.

To get there, I drive through the twists and turns of the mountain road leaving from Gustavia through Lurin, although, it can be accessed by way of Lorient as well.  Whichever way you choose to go, you will have a spectacular view along the way.  There is a little area to park right along the western most corner of Toiny, and, from there, I take the path marked Grand Fond to get to the rocky beach.  Along the right side of the beachm I take the path up to the hillside and begin my hike.

A young mountain goat along the path to the natural pools.

A young mountain goat along the path to the natural pools.

Although there is some climbing involved, this “hike” is still fairly navigable to people of all athletic abilities, but be sure to wear some sunscreen as there is no cover of shade, just open expanses of low grasses and high cliffs dropping down to the sea.  Along this hillside, I usually have the pleasure of seeing herds of mountain goats grazing along the hillside, bearded elders alongside the gray and white striped babies.  Little pink flowers dot the path as I continue on to my destination. The walk itself takes about 20 minutes, although, I enjoy stopping and taking in the dramatic views from atop the cliffs down to the water.  After negotiating both up and downhill stretches,  I eventually get to a corner of the path that leads down to the “Piscines Naturelles”.  The crystal clear and turquoise water of the pools contrasts perfectly with the bright orange rock faces.  On a good high tide, I will go for a snorkel, as there are schools of yellow and black striped sergeant major fish EVERYWHERE.  The time I spend there is so peaceful- I am always surprised at how far away civilization seems.

Looking back toward Toiny from path.

Looking back toward Toiny from path.

After a few hours, I climb back up to the path and, again, I find myself taken by surprise at how undeveloped and wild this side of the island is.  Nearing the corner of Toiny and the starting point of my journey, I’m greeted by unique perspectives of the island of St. Barths; with so much natural beauty it’s hard to imagine being anywhere else.

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