Few locals knew of Piscine Naturelle, and those who did warned me of a treacherous climb. Nowhere to be found on a map, this natural pool is said to be located on the southeastern side of St. Barts near Anse du Grand Fond. At the western end of the pebbly beach I followed a dirt path leading toward a rock outcropping and passed the intimidating waters of the “Washing Machine” where avid surfers test their fate.
A German local, his small dog and about 30 wild goats were the only others enjoying the dry and brambly landscape dotted with prickly pear cactuses and low-lying bushes. I peered over the edge at waves 60 feet below exploding onto rocks surrounding a tranquil aquamarine pool. While contemplating how to climb down, I noticed a loose gravel path discreetly tucked along the edge of the cliff. The path granted easy passage to the warm, shallow pool and rocks serrated by sandy bottom tributaries. While basking alone in the warm waters, it occurred to me that the locals who deem this spot treacherous are really guarding the island’s best-kept secret.