Steve and I made it back to St. Barth from our trip to Australia where we celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary. The trip from here takes 32 hours. We did not have time to deal with jet lag on the way back because my daughter Kim, grandson Matt along with his Fairfield University roommate Andrew were to arrive two days later for spring break.
We needed a larger villa so I rented the beautiful 3 bedroom Villa Lilu. I fell in love with the villa on my very first inspection so I was thrilled to be able to stay there. It is gorgeous.
Everyone wanted to do and see as much as they could while also trying to stay fit so several hikes were put on the agenda. If you are looking for something a bit unusual to do while you are vacationing in St. Barth, set aside a morning or late afternoon to hike to the Natural Pools and Washing Machine located in the unblemished area of Grand Fond.
Drive to Toiny along the main road which eventually leads to Grand Fond, an area of St. Barts that many people say reminds them of Brittany. There are spots where you can park your car above the rocky beach to take photos and listen to the surf crash onto the shore but do not swim there; the current is very dangerous. After your photo op, go a little further and when the road starts to curve, you will see a parking area with enough room for four cars to park.
The path leading to the beach and the trail is on the left.
When you arrive at the rocky beach which is NOT a swimming beach, turn right and off you go!
Climb up a few rocks to get to the goat path. (Sneakers or good walking shoes are recommended). The path is easy to follow but it is narrow so you need to walk in single file.
You will come across a spectacular view of a beach that lies in between where the rocks meet the sea. This spot is known as the “Washing Machine.” The beach was so named because at certain times of the year, the water crashes over the beach and swirls around it mimicking the action of a washing machine. Many people think the Washing Machine is in another area but my expert is Pascale Minarro who works in my St. Barth Office and has lived here for more than 30 years. Pascale walks along the trail every weekend and attests to the fact that this small beach is the authentic Washing Machine.
This photo was taken March 25, 2014 by my grandson Matt Pellegri. It was a beautiful spring day. In the winter months the water can be rough and in the summer months there are swells where expert body surfers enjoy practicing their sport.
Matt, advises, “Wear a hat and sunglasses because there is only one spot with shade along the way.” As you continue on the path Matt goes on to say, “It is likely you will see some goats grazing on the mountain along the trail.”
About 25 minutes into your hike, you will be exhilarated by the sight of the natural pools and want to take a dip, so be sure to wear a bathing suit.
Matt wisely states, “Be careful on the climb down as it is a little steep and be extra cautious of the small sea urchins that line the pools.”
The crystal clear water in the Natural Pools is created by the surf pounding against the high rocks and trapping some of the water that splashes over them.
Checklist for your backpack:
- Swim shoes
Enjoy the hike!