Pitons (Saint Lucia)
|Location||Soufrière District and Choiseul District, Saint Lucia|
|Nearest city||Soufrière and Choiseul|
|Designated||2004 (28th session)|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
The Pitons are two mountainous volcanic plugs, volcanic spires, located in Saint Lucia. Gros Piton is 798.25 m (2,618.9 ft) high and Petit Piton is 743 m (2,438 ft) high; they are linked by the Piton Mitan ridge. The Pitons are a World Heritage Site, 2,909 ha (7,190 acres) in size, and located near the town of Soufrière.
The Pitons are located near the towns of Soufrière, Saint Lucia, Soufrière, and Choiseul Quarter Choiseul on the southwestern coast of the island. They are in the electoral districts of three and ten. The Pitons are located on either side of Jalousie Bay.
Flora and fauna
Coral reefs cover almost 60% of the site's marine area. A survey has revealed 168 species of finfish, 60 species of cnidaria, including corals, eight mollusks, 14 sponges, 11 echinoderms, 15 arthropods, and eight annelid worms. The dominant terrestrial vegetation is tropical moist forest grading to subtropical wet forest, with small areas of dry forest and wet elfin woodland on the summits. At least 148 plant species have been recorded on Gros Piton, 97 on Petit Piton, and the intervening ridge, among them eight rare tree species. The Gros Piton is home to some 27 bird species (five of them endemic), three indigenous rodents, one opossum, three bats, eight reptiles, and three amphibians.
Gros Piton can be climbed without ropes or mountaineering experience. One can hike to the summit and come back down to sea level within several hours. Local guides are available for hire (typically through the resorts) and are trained by the government to have basic knowledge of the languages common among tourists and of the medical procedures required in case of common accidents.
Petit Piton lies towards the middle of Soufrière Bay, south of Soufrière and north of Gros Piton.
Petit Piton was first climbed in 1878 by Abdome Deligny. The islands of Dominica, Martinique, Barbados, and St. Vincent can be seen from its peak.
In popular culture
Both mountains are an attraction for hikers although the Gros Piton peak is more popular since it is an easier climb and tours are offered by The Soufrière Foundation, a non-profit group that is dedicated to helping preserve the Pitons Management Area.