Tag: Saint Kitts

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.

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Caribbean (and other) food on St. Kitts

St. Kitts has an enormous variety of food, from amazing Caribbean beach shack fare to upscale French food.  Even though some of the restaurants are fancy, the atmosphere is still extremely casual–neither Jon nor my dad ever wore pants or close-toed shoes to dinner.  Here’s an overview of some of the great food we ate while on St. Kitts.

Our first night on the island we walked from our hotel, on the Atlantic side of Frigatte Bay, to the Caribbean side of the bay.  The Caribbean side has a row of beach shack restaurants, all serving casual Caribbean fare in the sand.  We went to Cathy‘s, where the food is grilled fresh right in front of you and the service is sloooowwww.  Extremely slow, think island time multiplied by three or four.  It was fine, we weren’t in a hurry, and the food was AMAZING but, man, slow.

So that’s Jon and me and then my parents, all at Cathy’s.  Waiting for our food.  And here’s some food:

Grilled jerk (mild jerk) chicken with Caribbean rice, fried plantains, a potato salad, vegetables, and a green salad.  And this is a grilled Caribbean lobster with a lot of garlic butter:

And it was all delicious.

We spent our Sunday on Cockleshell Beach, and had lunch at the Reggae Beach bar.  Once again, simple, but delicious, Caribbean food in a beach shack overlooking the ocean.  Reggae Beach bar is fun because it is festooned with collegiate banners from all over the states–including a few Gator flags. Go Gators.

So that’s my lunch: the top is chicken roti (basically a chicken burrito stuffed with curried chicken and vegetables), Caribbean rice and beans, a salad, some veggies, and more fried plantain.  Also 100% awesome.

Sunday night we went to Ciao, an Italian restaurant within walking distance of our hotel, for their Mother’s Day price fixe.  I had a lovely lobster and avocado salad that was artfully presented in a lobster shell, lobster ravioli in a vodka sauce, and some sort of Neapolitan ice cream dessert that had little jellied fruit pieces in it.  The lobster parts were the best–one can never have too much lobster!

And here is the family (minus my sister, who hadn’t gotten to St. Kitts yet) post dinner.

Monday we ate at the hotel and then hit up a sushi place near the hotel for dinner–sushi is sushi, so no pictures, but if you’re jonesing for sushi when you’re on St. Kitts, check out Rituals Sushi in Friagatte Bay.

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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.

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