St. Kitts Nostalgia – How a Three-Month break became a three-year adventure
My first visit to the island was attending the St Kitts Music Festival in 2017. I’ve never been more impressed by a place, especially in such a short amount of time – and I’ve been to over 50 countries and made more than 200 trips in the Abroad.
What made it so special was the island’s beauty, the openness and contagious humor of everyone I met, the food, the beach, the sense of safety and much more. I had to go back! On the second trip, a year later, I was on a mission to answer a burning question: would I still love the island if I traveled alone and without an exciting festival? Well, St. Kitts got me hooked because I moved there with my daughter six months later. First we stayed for a three month break during which she attended school and we enjoyed Caribbean life. Three months turned into three years; Moving to St. Kitts was my biggest decision ever.
Allow me to take you on a tour around the island so I can show you all my favorite spots. Twice a week British Airways will fly you from London to Basseterre, where your adventure begins. They have many hotel options across the island to suit all preferences and budgets. Still, my favorite is chosen for its unbeatable location at the end of the southeastern peninsula. Park Hyatt is located on the pristine beach of Banana Bay overlooking the island of Nevis and its majestic volcano. The hotel’s world-class spa, luxurious rooms and impeccable service make it very difficult to leave the hotel.
On your doorstep you’ll find Coconut Farm, a beautiful organic farm with a few cottages for rent and a cafe with shady hammocks for that swaying in the wind atmosphere we all love. On Saturdays, they host an early-morning yoga class that invites you to unroll your yoga mat among the coconut trees. You can’t leave without picking up some exotic fruits, homemade breads, handmade Cariborganics cosmetics, and the best rotis you’ll find in St. Kitts.
Walk a few minutes further to Cockleshell Bay where you will find the Spice Mill restaurant. Try their fresh mahi mahi fish for lunch or dinner while enjoying this view. Warning! You are persuaded by the waiters to try their delicious Hibiscus Margarita, made with locally produced hibiscus spirits with locally grown sorrel. You will not regret it!
The best sunset spot is hands down Friars Bay’s rustic Discovery Bar. This is an excellent area for swimming as the Caribbean Sea is so warm and calm.
Frigate Bay is the tourist hotspot with a number of hotels, golf course, restaurants and bars for “Limin” including The Strip. Friday nights at ZanziBar is where you show off your best moves to DJ Legal’s hottest island tunes.
The charming capital of Basseterre dates back to 1627 and is one of the oldest settlements in the eastern Caribbean. Street vendors give an authentic impression of everyday island life. A short stroll takes you to lively Port Zante, where you can shop to your heart’s content in the duty-free boutiques.
On weekends, I like to drive into the country and visit Wingfield Estate, a restored 17th-century rum distillery that now produces Old Road Rum. They also host an excellent rum tour that tells you all about the history of sugar and rum production in St. Kitts.
Just minutes away is Romney Manor, owned and ruled for centuries by successive Earls of Romney. The history of this area is amazing: it was once home to Sam Jefferson, the ancestor of former American President Thomas Jefferson. Today the property is occupied by Caribelle Batik where you can experience the techniques behind this fascinating craft used in stylish clothing and gift items – all available for purchase. After shopping, grab a slice of Caribelle’s delicious rum cake and enjoy it in one of the seating areas in the immaculate botanical gardens or under a majestic 400-year-old saman tree (also known as the rain tree). Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is your next stop on the island. This is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site of historical, cultural and architectural importance, built by slaves and completed as a military base in the 1790s. It was considered as impregnable as the Rock of Gibraltar!
Fort Brimstone Hill, National Park, St. Kitts
After exploring the fort, drive to Dieppe Bay where, on a clear day, you can visit St. Eustatius, Anguilla, St. Barts, and St. Maarten/St. Martin can be seen in the distance. Here you have two choices for lunch: the upscale Arthur’s or the rustic Mogsie’s, where the owner grills freshly caught lobster right at the cabin.
A 10-minute drive away is Black Rocks, a dramatically rugged black shore formed from lava from Mount Liamuiga. Located in the northern half of the island, the volcano last erupted 1,800 years ago and attracts nature lovers and hikers from all over the world.
The final stretch along the Atlantic coast offers a splendid opportunity to admire surrounding villages and witness the simple beauty of everyday Kittitian life. The St. Kitts Scenic Railway is the best way to explore this part of the island and a trip to remember. The railway line was built in 1912 to deliver sugar cane from the fields to the central sugar factory in Basseterre. Known as “the last railway in the Caribbean”, it operated until 2005. Today the line offers a unique way to discover the north-eastern part of the island from modern double-decker passenger coaches.
As you settle back in your seat and sip a complimentary drink, you can admire incredible natural vistas, including coastlines, cliffs and lush green vegetation, dotted with farms and reminders of the old sugar plantations with their windmills and chimneys.
These are just a few of my favorite activities, but you will want to create your special memories. And when you do, don’t be surprised if you also feel the urge to pack up and move there!