During our first tour of St. Kitts; Mount Liamuiga was one of the stops. According to our tour guide; the name Liamuiga is derived from the Kalinago name for the entire island of St. Kitts, which means, "fertile land." Mount Liamuiga is a stratovolcano and the highest point on St. Kitts. The last known erruptions here were about 1,800 years ago.
St. George's Anglican Church
During our first tour of St. Kitts we passed St. George's Anglican Church. According t our tour guide the original church on this spot was built by Jesuits in the late 1600's. It was burned down and replaced in the early 1700's. Over the years it has been damaged by hurricanes, fires and even earthquakes and is currently being restored yet again. My wife calles it the Little Church that could since they never seem to give up on it despite the damage.
Romney Manor Gardens
One of our stops on our first local tour of the area was Romney Manor and its gardens. The gardens at Romney Manor were absolutely beautiful. The gardens were quite lush with a colorful and an interesting mix of different flora and fauna.
In particular; we enjoyed the 400 year old Saman tree and Traveller's Palm. There were several benches for sitting back and enjoying the gardens as well as a look out point in which to see the old stone furnance from the sugar cane processing days.
We love visiting lush gardens and learning about the local flora and fauna. This was a lovely spot on teh property that we enjoyed quite thoroughly.
One of the stops along our first tour of St. Kitts was Romney Manor. This is a 17th century estate which boasts a large ten acres of property and had a large sugar cane crop. Romney Manor was once owned by the great Grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson (Sam Jefferson II). It was later owned by the Earl of Romney; hence the name Romney Manor. The grounds of the Manor were once the village of Carib indians.
During our visit we explored the beautiful gardens of the property; watched a Caribelle Batik demonstration; explored the ruins of the sugar cane processing area and saw the 400-year-old Saman tree on the property. We had an excellent time watching the Batik demonstration and perusing the merchandise. The garden were very nice; lush with interesting flora and fauna.
We enjoyed our visit here and would definitely return again.
Green Vervet Monkeys
Before we came to visit St. Kitts we were told there would be monkeys; small ones. My wife was excited by this as she loves animals and couldn't wait to see them. While we were on a local tour we saw a few of these monkeys out in the wild as well as a large group in a containment area in front of a residence. They are small creatures; size of a small baby.
My wife and I got to experience the monkeys up close and personal when back in Bassaterre. There are swarms of people carrying around monkeys on leashes and with diapers (some of them) for tourists to pose with and touch (for a price; we paid $20 for the experience). We had a fun time posing with a monkey and petting him. My wife wasn't happy though that he took a seat on her head but was glad to have interacted with him..
Most of the monkeys we saw looked well cared food, clean and well fed..hopefully that is the case all around.
If you arriving in Basseterre via cruise ship; you will arrive in Port Zante. Port Zante is the main shopping area for tourists with a large variety of shops; in particular duty free shops. You will find many stores carrying souvenirs, jewelry and duty free liquor. There are also several restaurants in this area as well as a local market. My wife and I enjoy wandering around here and doing some shopping before we boarded the ship later in the afternoon after our local tours. We were able to find all of our souvenir items here and for good prices.
Port Zante is also where cruise ship passengers can meet up for their shore excursions or hop in a Taxi. Taxi fares are at a fixed rate so there is no worries about negotiating a price.
Realize this is the big "tourist" area so there will be tons of taxi drivers and merchants selling their wares. Be prepared to get alot of attention. There are also many people with the local monkeys looking for a bit of cash to let you hold them and take pictures with them. So if you have a monkey phobia; be aware. My wife has indulged in this animal interaction and found the monkey quite friendly and looked well cared for by his owner.
Duty Free Shopping
Duty Free SHopping is a big attraction for visitors to any Caribbean island and St. Kitts is no exception. Most of the duty free shops are located at Port Zante right by the cruise dock. Duty Free items such as liquor, cigarettes, jewelry and the like can be found on the island.
Knowing your merchandise and prices will help you determine whether something is a good deal or not. My wife and I frequent the Caribbean so we know what island have the cheapest prices for the items we want. Liqour and cigarette prices are fixed prices but jewelry is always negotiable(haggle if you want); especially if you are paying in cash.
Independence Square is located in the center of Bassterre. The Square was once called Pall Mall Square but was remaned in 1983 after St. Kitts achieved independance.
The square has a dark history; as it was once the site where slaves were sold. The square is now a green space surrounded by shops and government buildings.
Basseterre Co-Cathedral of Immaculate Conception
The Co-Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic Church in Basseterre by Independence Square. The church exterior is a grey sone and quite ornate. The first church was built during the beginings of French occupation and over the years several structures have been built here. This current structure was built in the late 1920's.
During both of our trips to St. itts we have passed by the Cathedral on our way to further explore the island.
The heart of Basseterre is the Circus (modeled after Piccadilly Circus). In the center of four converging streets is a four faced green clock which is the Berkeley Memorial. The clock also has a fountain below it at the base of the structure. The memorial is in honor of Thomas Berkeley-Hardtman, a past legislator and estate owner. This memorial was errecyted in 1883 and still stands in Basseterre in a rather pristine condition.
During our two visits to St. Kitts we passed through this area on our way to explore other areas of the island. This area is a hub of both vechicle and pedestrian traffic and is lined with many shops and restaurants.
Fairview Great House
The Fairview Great House was the first stop on our tour in April 2014. We had a guided tour throughout the house that told of the family that owned the property and the plantation history of the island. This house is a prime example of plantation houses during the 18th century on the island. The house has been restored yet still has some of the originally pieces of furnishings as well as the original kitchen. During the tour; the guide asked if any one could pick out the authentic furnishings which my wife gladly did with absolute accuracy. The rooms are grand for the time period and are painted in bright colors. We enjoyed touring the house and reading the history of the property. My favorite part of the house is the large verandas that look out to the sea and to Nevis beyond. The botanical gardens on site offer a nice variety of the lush flowers and foliage of the area. Our tour of the house ended with some refreshing fruit punch served on the large side veranda.
There is also a well-reviewed restaurant on site called Nirvana that is open for dinner. We did not visit the restaurant but hopefully we will be back soon to do so.
Grey's Island Excursions
Thenford Grey is the owner and guide of Grey's Island Excursions and what a delight of a person he is. He's very knowledgeable about St. Kitts and Nevis and is so enthusiastic about showing you the islands. He offers a variety of tours to suit any one and has received awards of excellence from Tripadvisor for quite a few years running. His buses are quite new, clean and air conditioned. As he drives along the many sites you will visit during his tour he will give you a bit of history and answer any questions you may have.
I choose Grey's Island Excursions as my tour company from the many excellent reviews on Cruise Critics and Tripadvisor. Booking is very easy and if you have any questions you can e-mail Thenford and he will respond to your queries promptly. I booked my tour a few days prior to arriving on the island and was so surprised he had availability. Prices are very affordable and he will work with payment options. I paid cash at the end of the tour, but you can pay by credit card as well. I recommend him highly and believe that his love and knowledge of the island made my visit all the more memorable.
I chose the Grand Tour of St. Kitts which was about 4 hours long. The price was very reasonable at about $45. The tour included a short drive around Basseterre then on to Romney Manor and Caribelle Batik Shop after which we drove to Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park then a nice drive to the Southeast Peninsula and a quick stop to a relaxing beach where I did a bit of snorkeling.
After touring the Southeast Peninsula Thenford asked if anyone wanted to return to the ship early to do some shopping in town. I wanted to enjoy the beach so I decided to stay do a little snorkeling and sun bathing. He dropped us off a Ship Wreck Beach and agreed on a time to collect me and a few other travelers at a later time.
** During our second visit in 2015 we decided to do the island on our own, but as we excited the dock there was Thenford Grey, waiting for his clients who were on our ship. We had a lovely chat about my last trip and he remembered me :) I quickly thanked him again for a great first visit and said on my next visit we would contact him for a private tour.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Historical Travel
Romney Manor - Gardens
Upon arrival at Romney Manor you will be surrounded by lush gardens filled with beautiful ferns, shrubs, plants and a majestic Saman tree. The Saman tree is said to be over 350 years old. During our visit to Romney Manor Thenford Grey walked us around the gardens explaining many of the different plants found on the grounds. After we enjoyed a short demonstration of the Cabrielle Batik making we had time to wander along the gardens.
I enjoyed a few minutes admiring the Saman tree and wondering what stories it could tell of times past.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Castles and Palaces
Romney Manor was the first stop on our tour around St. Kitts with Thenford Grey. The Manor which has only been owned by 6 families in over 350 years, is one of St. Kitts most celebrated sites. This beautiful colonial estate was once owned by the grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson (and later by the Earl of Romney) and was a major sugar plantation before the emancipation of slaves slowed the production of sugar.
Today the estate is a major tourist attraction with the grounds boasting over six acres of land. The estate is also home to beautiful botanical gardens as well as the famous Cabrille Batik. During our visit we watched a demonstration of the Caribielle Batik technique, explored the grounds and the botanic gardens with beautiful flora and fauna (and a huge Saman tree) and walked around the grounds where sugar cane was once processed.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Shipwreck is located on South Friars Bay Beach. It's a place where you can grab something to eat and drink. They have a deck and steps that lead you down to the beach area with some lounge chairs and palm tree umbrellas.
Our guide dropped us off here for a little swimming, snorkeling and sun bathing as part of a tour. It was our last stop before heading back to the ship.
I enjoyed a nice meal and refreshing drink before taking a dip in the ocean. If you find yourself in this part of the island, I would definitely recommend that you stop here enjoy the beach and maybe grab something to eat and/or drink.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
Saint Kitts and Nevis Hotels
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