Destination: St. Kitts

by GO GlobeHopper

Intoxicating natural beauty, sunny skies, warm waters, and white sandy beaches combine to make St. Kitts one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus first spotted St. Kitts in 1493, when it was populated with native tribes, but the Europeans didn’t colonize until the British arrived in 1623. Its strategic location and valuable sugar trade led to advanced development that was among the best in the Colonial Caribbean.

St. Kitts is the larger of the 2 Caribbean islands that comprise the nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. It’s known for rainforested mountains and beaches of white, grey, and black sands. On its southwestern coast lies the capital, Basseterre, and Georgian buildings from the colonial era. Anchoring Basseterre is the Circus, a plaza modeled after London’s Piccadilly Circus, complete with a Victorian-style clock tower.

Airports 

All flights into St. Kitts (SKB) arrive at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. Also located at the airport is the private Kyanjet Lounge which can be used by commercial passengers for a fee (commissionable).

Cruise Port

Cruise Port

The cruise ship port is located at Port Zante and receives over 1.5 million cruise passengers annually Christophe Harbour is a newly built superyacht marina located at South Friars Bay in the southern peninsula region.

Hotels located in St. Kitts

St. Kitts hotels are, for the most part, located in the narrows of the South Peninsula with the Park Hyatt St. Kitts the most southern on Banana Bay, The Marriott, and Royal St. Kitts Hotel at Frigate Bay, Timothy Beach Resort also on Frigate Bay. At the very northern tip of St. Kitts is Belle Monte Farm at Kittitian Hill. The Four Seasons, Montpelier, Paradise Beach Club, Nesbit Plantation Beach Club, and Golden Rock Inn are all located on Nevis -accessible by water taxi or ferry service.

Language

  • English
Currency 

EC$ (Eastern Caribbean Dollar) although US currency is taken everywhere

Brimstone Hill Fortress

Activities and Attractions

The St Kitts Scenic Railways offers visitors a glimpse of the real St Kitts as the route is 18 miles by rail and an additional 12 miles by bus which makes a complete 30-mile circle of the island. This near 3-hour tour allows visitors to get a glimpse of many of the island’s villages plus famous and historic sites including Brimstone Hill Fortress. Also on the route are spectacular views of the ocean, lush rainforest, and many of the long-abandoned sugar cane estates, windmills, and chimneys which date back 350 years to when sugar production originally began on St Kitts.

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park which was known as the Gibraltar of the West Indies in its heyday was built over the course of 100 years by African slaves mostly under British command. This started circa 1690 when the first cannon was mounted on Brimstone Hill to recapture Fort Charles from French occupation. Numerous battles were subsequently fought to control the island’s profitable sugar industry with the most famous in January 1782 when 8000 French soldiers attacked the fortress. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site of historical, cultural, and architectural significance since 1999.

The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is one of the most expansive and well-preserved British polygonal-style fortifications in the Western Hemisphere. Visitors can walk to the top and wander through the courtyard and tour the old officer quarters and see the huge cannons facing out to sea.

Downtown Basseterre

Downtown Basseterre With a tour of the St Kitts National Museum complete, spend a few hours exploring the historic capital Basseterre which has applied for UNESCO World Heritage Status. Founded circa 1625 as the first French town in the Caribbean, here French and British colonial buildings are reminiscent of a finer era.

See the main Independence Square which was previously known as Pall Mall Square where slaves were once auctioned off to the highest bidder — many of these same slaves built the Brimstone Hill Fortress. Located at the north end of the Square in a charming old Georgian-style home is The Gallery Café, owned by local artist Rosey Cameron. No trip to the Square would be complete without a stop here. See amazing art and pottery reminiscent of the island, have an iced coffee and a homemade cake in this tranquil setting.

For pure relaxation in St Kitts, visit The Strip on Frigate Bay, which encompasses two areas.

The North Bay faces the Atlantic Ocean and is home to the luxurious St Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino. The South Bay on the Caribbean Sea which has The Strip is popular with locals and tourists alike, and there is a long stretching white sand beach along with numerous restaurants and bars. Many of the restaurants are open early. So you can go for lunch, hang out on the beach, or rock it up in the evening, especially on Friday nights to relax and shoot the breeze Caribbean style.

Much of St Kitts is picturesque and lush green. In particular, the Central Forest Reserve National Park covers 25% of the island and includes all land 1,000 feet above sea level. Due to its vastness, it has many scenic vistas and is home to the islands African Green Velvet Monkeys and 926+ plant species – 45 of which are endemic to the island and the Lesser Antilles. The Central Forest Reserve National Park is also an important source of water that is pumped into Kittitian homes after flowing down the deep-sided openings of the mountains and hills into a reservoir.

South Friars

With protection status since 2006, the Central Forest Reserve National Park is a great place to go hiking, mountain biking, or zip-lining with Sky Safari Tours. The full tour which takes about two and a half hours has five different zip lines including 1) The Monkey Trainer zip-line – 140 feet long, 2) The Boss zip-line – 1,320 feet long and 250 feet above the valley floor, 3) The Mango Tango zip-line – 1,000 feet long, 4) The Brimstone Blast zip-line – 900 feet long and 5) The River Rocker zip-line – 500 feet long. The views from the five lines but in particular the Boss Line are breathtaking not just of the rainforest valley but also out to the sea. So definitely one to experience while in St Kitts provided, of course, you are not scared of heights.

The Romney Manor Sugar Estate is a 17th-century plantation that is now home to Caribelle Batik where artisans craft tie-dye clothing. Here, visitors can see live demonstrations of the Batik process as artisans paint on the fabric. Gorgeous pillows, clothing, and other souvenirs are made from the paintings, all of which can be purchased. With the shopping done, explore the grounds of the estate which has a beautiful garden and pathways for wandering through the magnificent trees. The beautiful Saman Tree in the front of the estate is said to be 400+ years old. Remember while you’re visiting to stop by the Rainforest Bar for a cool rum punch, and take in the beautiful tropical surroundings.

St Kitts Beaches

A St Kitt’s itinerary must include an afternoon at one of the other stunning white beaches that surround the island. This includes South Friars Beach with its amazing sea life including squids and urchins, or Cockleshell Beach with its nursery rhyme name and views of Nevis. Next to Cockleshell Beach is Reggae Beach Bar & Grill which is a great place to hang out and drink a few rum punches, eat some fresh fish and seafood while taking in the beautiful scenery.

Donkeys on Nevis

Day trip or overnight to Nevis

A trip to St Kitt’s would not be complete without a visit to Nevis for its rich history, unique boutique hotels and resorts (anchored by the Four Seasons Resort Nevis), and volcanic mountains. And it’s only a ten-minute water taxi ride away. The beauty of St. Kitts and Nevis is that the destination is not an “all-inclusive” environment which allows an amazing culinary scene to thrive and continue to grow. Whether it be five-star epicurean excellence or a barefoot authentic fish fry you are seeking, both St. Kitts and Nevis deliver. All restaurants are conveniently located with the majority a short cab ride from the hotel or resort itself. At the high end of culinary experiences, there are so many choices.  Check out the restaurant list HERE.

Transportation

The most common transportation is local taxis which provide good service to all areas of St. Kitts. Car rentals are also available. For the more adventurous, there are helicopter and scooter tours. Bikes are also available in St. Kitts. For trips to the sister island of Nevis, water taxi service exists from Cockleshell Beach and Christophe Harbour. For guests staying at the Four Seasons in Nevis, the resort provides its own private water taxi service to its docks. Using a water-taxi service between the islands is a good way to go if you want to be independent. Also available – six passenger ferries that shuttle between Basseterre and Charlestown. The trip takes about 45 minutes and is both a pleasant and scenic way to travel. The main companies are MV Mark Twain/Sea Hustler and MV Caribe Breeze/Caribe Surf.

Fares are set at adult/child EC$25/15 one way. The actual schedule varies day by day. For the latest, ask at your hotel, call 869-466-4636, check www.sknvibes.com/travel/ferry.cfm, or text ‘Ferry’ to 7568 to get the schedule on your cell phone. Tickets are sold 30 minutes before sailings. It’s a good idea to arrive early as some boats sell out. Each year, St. Kitts and Nevis host numerous events and festivals that islanders and vacationers can enjoy together. If you’re going to be on either island during one of these events, make it a point to stop by — you won’t be sorry you did.

Cultural Celebrations

There is no festival that typifies the Caribbean more than Carnival, a typically pre-Lenten festival filled with colorful parades, masquerades, music, and street fairs. In St. Kitts, Carnival takes place over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. In July St. Kitts hosts another huge event, Culturama. Culturama is a week-long event filled with street fairs, beauty pageants, jump-ups, and live music. All of this is to celebrate the emancipation of slaves on St. Kitts and Nevis in the 1830s.

Golf

St Kitts and Nevis offer two gorgeous golf courses — the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club designed by Thomas Mcbroom and The Four Seasons Resort course over in Nevis designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Other courses to consider are Irie Fields at Kittitian Hill on the northern tip of St. Kitts and Christophe Harbour in the south peninsula adjacent to the Park Hyatt St. Kitts and overlooking the marina. This destination is emerging as a major golf destination in the Caribbean.

 

 

Source:  WheelsUpNetwork

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