The Best Hiking Trails for Tropical Vacations

Are you long overdue for a tropical vacation but loathe staying in resorts? Say farewell to the winter blues by booking a trip to a destination that offers some of the world’s best hiking. While sipping on pina coladas poolside is certainly a dream, try getting your blood flowing and doing something unique. For those of you who are seeking this type of holiday but unsure where the best spots are, look no further. I’ve compiled a list of some of the world’s best hiking trails for tropical vacations just for you. *Please note: Always dress appropriately and carry an ample amount of water with you. These destinations are known for their heat, so keep your safety in mind!

 

Are you long overdue for a tropical vacation but loathe staying in resorts? Say farewell to the winter blues by booking a trip to a destination that offers some of the world's best hiking. While sipping on pina coladas poolside is certainly a dream, try getting your blood flowing and doing something unique! www.willfuandwildhearted.com

 

Tropical hiking destinations to consider

Kauai

Ask anyone who’s been, and you’ll most likely hear that Kauai is Hawaii’s most enchanting island. The pristine environment and lush trails make for some of the best hiking and viewpoints in North America.

Best Hiking Trails for Tropical Vacations www.willfulandwildhearted.com

  • Moderate to difficult:
    • The Kalalau Trail is famed as it runs along the Na Pali Coast. It’s 11 miles each way, so be sure to bring camping gear as you’ll most likely be staying overnight!
    • The Waipoo Falls Hike is perfect for those who want to trek through the unique red dirt pathways. The end result is a gorgeous view of the majestic 800-foot Waipoo Waterfall, which is a nice treat at the end.
  • Moderate to easy:
    • The Hanakapiai Beach trail begins and ends at Ke’e beach. Bring a swim suit with you as you can jump in the water after you return from your walk along the mystical Na Pali Coast.
    • The Maha’ulepu Coastal Trail consists of a series of paths that run alongside one another, making it perfect for those who’d like an alternative choice. Know that some of the path is adjacent to the shoreline, so be careful if you bring your children.

 

Aruba

Aruba has long brought forth images of white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. However, did you know that about one-fifth of the island is home to the Arikok National Park? While there are plenty of options to choose from, there are a few standout trails for those seeking the best hiking trails for tropical vacations.

Best Hiking Trails for Tropical Vacations www.willfulandwildhearted.com

  • Moderate to difficult:
    • The most difficult trail is actually through the national park. While the hike lasts just five hours, the jagged terrain and desert heat will make for a rather treacherous walk. The path will take you through the unique wilderness to the top of Mount Jamanota, the highest elevation on Aruba.
  • Moderate to easy:
    • For those seeking adventure but would rather not trek through the desert, an ideal option is a walk along Aruba’s Windward Coast to see the natural pool in Noord.

 

Martinique

The island of Martinique is known for having more than 30 ideal hiking trails. The walks bring tourists to waterfalls, mangroves and up peaks, offering stunning views of the island. Each of the trails are marked by the locals and well-maintained.

Best Hiking Trails for Tropical Vacations www.willfulandwildhearted.com

  • Moderate to difficult:
    • The climb to Mount Pelée is just four hours, but boasts a 4,600 feet climb. This view from the top is totally worth it for those thrill seekers who dare. Bonus points: it’s an active volcano.
    • The 12.4 mile hike that connects the two northern towns of Prêcheur and Grand-Rivière is a pretty unique experience. If you do this trek you’ll be able to say you’ve walked from the Caribbean coast to the Atlantic coast. Can’t say that every day!
  • Moderate to easy: 
    • The 2.5 mile walk along the Canal of Slaves is perfect for those who don’t have a high fitness level or just aren’t up for a challenge. The history of this jaunt is certainly not a positive one; the canal was built in 1770 by slaves as a way to get water for the towns Le Carbet and Saint-Pierre. If you’re up for a bit of history and fitness, this would be ideal.

 

Puerto Rico

If you’ve booked a flight to the breathtaking beaches of Puerto Rico, there are plenty of nearby tropical hiking excursions! Most of the trails are managed by Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment and are labelled well. This country is actually a supreme spot for nature fanatics, as Puerto Rico’s mountainous interior is perfect for hikers and climbers. For those who aren’t too keen on intensity, fear not!

Best Hiking Trails for Tropical Vacations www.willfulandwildhearted.com

  • Moderate to difficult:
    • El Yunque National Forest is home to possible the most popular trails in the country and for good reason. The sub-tropical rainforest is home to some of the world’s most gorgeous scenery and will make tourists feel as though they’re in a different world, albeit temporarily. The trails range in difficulty, so choose wisely! PROTIP: Those interested in more strenuous walks, go to El Toro Peak, El Yunque Peak or the Trade Winds trail.
    • A lesser known trail — the secluded Guajataca Forest Reserve — will bring delight to any and all Puerto Rico tourists. The trails range in difficulty, but none of them last more than a few hours – more beach time for you!
  • Moderate to easy:
    • A trip to La Coca waterfall is a leisurely but beautiful hike. It’s located within El Yunque, so just start at the trail head and go from there!
    • Another moderately easy hike within El Yunque is the walk from Big Tree Trail to La Mina Falls. This trail is unique as it will allow tourists to see some of the older trees – 200 to 300 years old – rather than the newer ones that account for most of the national park. This trail lasts just 45 minutes which is perfect for those without much time in need of a quick getaway!

 

Always remember to check the weather 

Before heading out to a tropical destination for a good hike, be sure to get a good hiking and weather app to bring along for the trip. That way, you can keep up to date with your traveling and weather app on what the changes in weather may be during your trip. WeatherBug, the best Android weather app around, is ideal as it can keep you up to date, no matter where in the world your hike happens to be!

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the WeatherBug app.

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18 Comments

  1. December 22, 2016 / 10:10 am

    Awesome! We’ve been dying to get to Kauai for the longest time, we got married on Maui, but want to do a second honeymoon and head back to Hawaii for the outdoor adventure and hiking trails in Kauai. Will have to check out your other recommended destinations too – maybe we can make it a combined trip!

    • December 22, 2016 / 6:53 pm

      That sounds like an ultimate adventure! I love that you’re doing a second honey moon 🙂

  2. December 22, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    Great post! I love hiking so this is so useful! I’m in the states at the moment and did a few hikes in upstate New York a few weeks ago before the weather turned. It was so lovely BUT soooo cold! I much prefer the idea of Hiking in the tropics! Will have to check some of these places out soon 🙂

    • December 22, 2016 / 6:52 pm

      I love hiking in a bit of cold air but when it’s too cold it’s definitely not enjoyable! I’ve done a few cold hikes and I much prefer warmer weather, too 🙂

  3. Shane Prather
    December 22, 2016 / 4:17 pm

    This makes me wish I’d have seen more of the Hawaian Islands beyond Oahu! I wish I’d also gotten off the beaten path in Puerto Rico. Such beautiful views!

    • December 22, 2016 / 6:53 pm

      I hope you can visit again in the future! I love mountain and hill top views for sure!

  4. December 22, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    Oh, this is helpful. I am hoping to go to Martinique and Aruba this winter. I would love to take a hike to explore the island. I really want to see some waterfalls. This is a great guide.

    • December 22, 2016 / 6:51 pm

      I’m glad you found it helpful! The Caribbean in the winter – what a dream 🙂

  5. December 22, 2016 / 6:10 pm

    Awesome list! I was just in Kauai and actually didn’t do any hikes…they seems all too intense compared to the ones in Oahu haha The Puerto Rico hike looks very lush and green. Love the rainbow in it.

    • December 22, 2016 / 6:51 pm

      Oh, great! I’m sure you had a wonderful time!

  6. December 22, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    I’ll admit that I always dismissed tropical places as a vacation destination, since I have zero interest in laying on a beach all day. It was only when a friend of mine went to the Bahamas and came back with photos of hiking and visiting historical sites that I realized what I was missing out on. This is a great list! Especially now that I’m in Canada and the winters are extra cold!

  7. December 22, 2016 / 11:54 pm

    I”m definitely taking down the names of some of these trails! My husband and I hiked about 40 miles on our honeymoon on Kaua’i + The Big Island and Kaua’i is just pure magic. We did the trail to Hanakapi’ai Falls (part of the Kalalau Trail and passing Hanakapi’ai beach). So, I can’t wait to check out these other trails! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Andrea
    December 23, 2016 / 4:28 am

    Hehe I was hoping to catch some Thai trails as I’m here for four months but still, that freaking Hawaii hike blows my mind….the colors of the water are so intense, it’s amazing! Loved Hawaii but it’s just so darn expensive! At least hiking is free 😉

    • December 28, 2016 / 1:41 am

      I loved hiking in Thailand! Have a great time – and yes hiking is always free!

  9. December 25, 2016 / 11:08 pm

    Puerto Rico is something that have vowed me. I would love to vlimb on that mountain. The list is good and the beaches are really awesome! I wish to visit all these places in the future if given a chance.

  10. February 9, 2017 / 7:21 am

    Hiking AND camping in Hawaii!? Sign me up. No really, it sounds amazing. So does Puerto Rico’s forest. I need to be in a tropical locale right now…

    • February 9, 2017 / 8:21 am

      I KNOW! I want to go there right now =)

  11. February 9, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    I have been dying to go back to Hawaii and explore the other islands, I think Kauai is the next island of choice! I also want to check out Aruba and Puerto Rico. We have been having rainy crappy weather lately so a tropical getaway sounds about perfect right now.

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