Tag: Nevis

St Kitts: A Tour of the Island

St. Kitts is a small island, but there are enough things to do on it to fill a day, maybe two, of non-beach going activities.  The below excursions are only what we did on this trip to St. Kitts.  The first trip I took, in 2008, included a rainforest tour.  You can also go snorkeling, scuba diving, zip-lining, take a catamaran to Nevis, etc.  Since we were pretty content just sitting on the beach, we decided to limit our touring to some less strenuous activities.

We left our hotel around 9:30, in the capable hands of Arthur, our driver and guide for our time on St. Kitts.  Most of the cab drivers on St. Kitts double as tour guides.  They drive on the wrong side of the road in St. Kitts, and the roads aren’t the best, so I’d recommend getting a driver if you want to venture off site.

Arthur drove us through the main town of Basseterre (not the best, in my opinion).  Basseterre is also home to Port Zante, where the cruise ships dock.  Basseterre has a lot of old, historic structures, but in terms of a place to hang out there isn’t much for a tourist to do.  The main road stretches around the edges of the island, so you get some pretty incredible ocean views as you drive.

We stopped first at Brimstone Fortress, an 18th century fortress on the slopes of St. Kitts’ mountain, which offers a wide view of the sea.  This is St. Kitts’ main historic site, and it tells the story of how the island was passed back and forth between the British and the French (although it was mostly held by the British).  The fortress offers an interesting glimpse into 18th century life on the island, and also gives gorgeous views of the Caribbean and the island.  On a clear day you can see several islands from Brimstone Fortress, but it was a little cloudy, so we only saw Eustacia.

Make sure you wear sunscreen, I burned even with my SPF fifteen.  Of course I got zero color the rest of the trip, go figure.

Our next stop was at Romney Manor, home of Caribelle Batik.  The manor is situated up on the slopes of the mountains in the center of St. Kitts, and therefore in its own little rainforest basin.  The manor was, of course, an old sugar plantation, but now it is a craft site and shop for the batik industry. Batik is a fabric dying process involving lost wax, and you can achieve some gorgeous color and design combinations.


The Beaches of St. Kitts

So I spent last week on St. Kitts.  St. Kitts was (is still, technically) a sugar island and a British colony that got bounced between the British and the French a bit, but it seems that the British won since everyone drives on the wrong side of the road.  Now the island is independent, and the nation is actually composed of two islands, St. Kitts and a smaller island called Nevis.  St. Kitts is also bordered by the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean on the other, so the island has a different feel depending on which side you’re currently visiting.  The Marriott at which my parents have their timeshare is on the Atlantic side, but we spent a lot of time at various beaches on the Caribbean side.

English: map of St. Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean
English: map of St. Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you can see, St. Kitts is sort of shaped like a chicken drumstick or a fish.  Here’s a photo of the view of the isthmus, as seen from the crest of a hill.  The Atlantic is on the left and the Caribbean is on the right.

So that’s cool, right?

On the Sunday of our trip we took a long, bumpy (roads in St. Kitts, not so great) drive out to the southern point of the island to visit Cockleshell Beach, a lovely beach on the Caribbean side with great views of Nevis.  Most of the beaches have beach shack restaurants on them, and many of these restaurants supply chairs and umbrellas for a small rental fee (or not, depending on whether or not it is a cruise ship day).  The drive down to Cockleshell includes going through numerous hills, past the construction sites of several large, multi-million dollar vacation homes, and around St. Kitts’ inland salt lake.  Very scenic but, again, very bumpy, so I was happy to arrive at Cockleshell Beach.  We grabbed chaises in the shade and spread out for a lovely day by the sea.

That land mass hidden in clouds off in the distance is Nevis.

Reggae Beach Bar, the restaurant by which we were situated, has a few animals on their premises, including rescued orphaned green monkeys, a goat, and Wilbur, the giant and famous St. Kitts pig.