South Friars Bay Beach
South Friars Bay Beach is a stretch of powder soft sand located here on the southeastern part of the island. The waters are crystal clear and calm waters which make it a pleasure to do a little swimming and snorkeling.
After stopping at the Southeastern Peninsula our guide Thenford Grey dropped me and a few other passengers at the beach for a little bit of snorkeling and sun bathing. I had an enjoyable snorkel then I relaxed and did a little sun bathing. Located on the beach is Ship Wreck Beach (restaurant) with outdoor seating and a deck that takes you down to a few lounge chairs with palm umbrellas. After enjoying some time snorkeling and sun bathing I decided to grab a refreshing drink and something to eat.
It was a nice few hours of relaxing and enjoying my time here.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
Cathedral of Immaculate Conception
It is nice, and you feel in Europe when visiting it inside. It is small.
When English occupied Saint Kiits, Catholic Faith was forbidden, forcing everybody to be only Anglican.
But after many Portuguese migrated there from Madeira Island, it was impossible to forbide Catholicism, so finally a Catholic cathedral was built during the second part of the XIX century.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Budget Travel
Frigate Beach was a great place to stop and enjoy some beach time. There was a little bar/restuarant on site as well as restroom/shower facilities. Chairs and umbrellas were available for rent but we decided to spread out a towel in the sand.
We all enjoyed a nice dip in the water which was a beautiful blue and very calm. My wife stayed in the majority of our time here and my Mother in Law went for a quick dip as to not get her hair wet (I don't get it).
Some of the best views we experienced in St. Kitts were here. The steep hills provided a great lookout point for some of the beaches and water below. This area is also under some major construction; as new roads are being built as well as new housing.
Romney Manor: Firing Tunnel
On the grounds of Romney Manor were the ruins of a 17th century rum distillery. The ruins were surprisingly in good condition for its age; in particular the old firing tunnel. The firing tunnel itself is rather tall and could be seen from a look out platform on the garden grounds of Romney Manor. I could only imagine how labor intensive the product of Rum was back at that time without the current technology we so take for granted.
Bloody Point is a spot we stoppedat along the way to Brimstone Hill Fortress. This spot is known as Bloody Point due to a massacre in 1626 of over 2,000 Carib Indians by the Brittish and French. It is said that the river here ran red with the blood of the dead for three days.
Caribelle Batik Demonstration at Romney Manor
When my wife and I visited Romney Manor we were able to watch a demonstration of Batik. Batik is a process where wax is painted onto fabric and then dyed to create color patterns and designs. We watched the beginning of this labor intensive process and were able to see different stages of the dying process as well as the finished product. If the product is truly Batik the reverse of the fabric will have the same mirror image print on it; nice fun fact we found out during the demo.
After the demonstration we were able to peruse the shop offering numerous product of Batik from pillows, wall hangings, bags, and clothing.
Enjoy the Incredible Views
During our tour of the island we were able to see some incredible views of the island and of the water. There were several stops along our tour that had some breathtaking views of the hilly terrain and the crystal blue waters which made quite a sight.
Duty Free Shopping
As with any cruise port; there is plenty of duty free shopping to be had. Porte Zante is the big shopping area with jewelry stores, liquor shops and souvenir shops all in one large area. Prices here were quite good in comparison to other islands we have visited; in particular the liquor prices.
Brimstone Hill Fortress
My wife and I had the pleasure of touring the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park during our visit to St. Kitts. The Fortress itself was a highlight of the tour and is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Fortress is also called the "The Gibraltar of the West Indies", meaning it is supposedly invulnerable. The Fortress is set high up the hill giving it some incredible views that also means a military advantage of seeing the enemy coming.
The fort was abandoned by the British in 1853, until 1973 when it was restored and later declared a National Park in 1987. In 1999 it became a World Heritage Site. The fortress was constructed during a hundred year period from 1690-1790; using slave labor for construction. The fortress is constructed mostly of limestone and mortar which must have been quite the undertaking without modern construction equipment and the steepness of the hill.
My wife and I began our tour by walking up the Alphabet Steps ( a series of 26 steps) leading up to the fortress itself. Our tour allowed us to explore the Citadel, Western Place of Arms, Eastern Place of Arms, Magazine Bastion, Orillon Bastion, the quarters and Fort George Museum. My wife and I are military history buffs and thoroughly enjoyed our explorations.
The best part of this tour are the amazing panoramic views of the area. We had a bit of a cloudy day so the view was not as perfect as it can be; but the views were still specatcular to us. This was a highlight of the visit for both of us. If we visit the island again; I will definitely return here.
**There is an admission fee: Residents - $6.00 E.C ; Visitors - $10.00 U.S and Children - Half Price. Our admission fee was included in the tour price. If you would like an audio guide; they are available for rent at $5 a set. There is also a small girft shop, cafe selling drinks and food items and restrooms available by the carpark.**
Sugar Cane Genius
Nevis is smaller and cuter than its bigger brother – St. Kitts. It has almost perfect conical shape with elevation high enough to collect clouds on permanent basis. Moreover, it possesses some very special soil features that make sugar cane go “bananas” and in the process enrich its owners to the tilt. Gradually though, with the development of new sources of sugar in Europe, its sugar production became less profitable just as in any other Caribbean island or even useful altogether but the populace did not despair. Nowadays the local government with the blessing of its big brother, St. Kitts, has moved into financials, a business that is way less dependent on weather or soils, and allows saving for a rainy day in case its little-big ambition of independence realises itself one day.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Adventure Travel
Dieppe Bay goose bumps
Curious exposure to some unexpected undercurrents of St. Kitts’ social life can be obtained through a visit to some of the old plantations that have converted to inns and in this capacity show off the glory of the past through the practicality of the present. There are couple that are well advertised - Rawlins Plantation and the Golden Lemon. Well, the rumor that they are not operational started oozing down the pores of the 15 seat minibus but for non-believers this is not enough – they have to have a very hands-on cognitive approach. The sad truth of the matter (as dicovered so painfully) is that both are not in working order; the Golden Lemon has lost its proprietor to intrigue and the garden to a hurricane. The Rawlings Plantation has even juicier story to report going along the lines of the owner being indefinitely suspended till results of a murder case are figured out! Boy, who would believe that such horrific things might happen in Paradise!?!Related to:
- Historical Travel
Black Rocks that make you wonder
Black rocks area is touted by the now well entrenched into tourism marketing business literature which previously could claim that was independent with the aspirations of the independent traveler at heart. Well – no more. The result is another stop on the St. Kitts’ circular road well equipped with stalls to entertain and feed the masses. The rocks are not “jaw dropping” and might not be disappointing if there were no hyped up expectations. They are on the more exposed Atlantic side of the island and thus present a rougher picture of this idyll called St. Kitts compared to the placid waters at Basseterre for example. But there is not much more to it unless one counts the presence of the cutest little donkey, apparently just recently introduced to life on this planet. So rush down there to see it before it has lost its appeal to over exploitation on the plantations that are no more!Related to:
- National/State Park
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Romney Manor is one of the few plantation houses left on the island of St. Kitts in particular and the Caribbean in general. The sugar cane production, once a mainstay of the colonial existence is in total shambles nowadays as the Europeans have embraced beats as raw material for sugar. Even worse, they have developed artificial sweeteners which are many times sweeter than the natural product thus practically eliminating the need for cultivating sugar cane altogether. In this situation Romney Manor is a beacon of bygone times and as such attracts the attention. Moreover, this property was at certain point in the hands of a man who had the honor to be the great-grand father of the American president Jefferson, a fact having the power of a 1000 volt magnet to the cruise ship clientele, naturally mostly American. The modern marketing conveniences aside, this shows the amount of money and prestige the islanders had and their ability to venture into poorer colonies, namely New England, and make a name and position for themselves to such an extend that to be able to bid for the highest office in a land. Of course, in order to reach such a point the pioneers had to kill the local inhabitants (poor souls they should have succumbed to civilization through slavery and everything would have been alright), assume ownership of their property (which was, of course, a God-given right to teach the heathens a lesson) and fend off French interests (very ambitious these French, eh). On the grounds a splendid tree towers over the estate. It has seen it all – from misery to fortune but luckily can’t talk.
Adventures on the Last Railway in the West Indies
To anyone visiting the St. Kitts, a trip on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is one of the most unique ways to experience this unspoiled island. Even though it runs on 30-inch narrow gauge track, the train is made up of full-sized rail equipment, and it is not in any way an amusement park train as has been suggested elsewhere in earlier reviews. It also seems to be running quite reliably, and according to the Conductor on my trip does, the locomotive is very well maintained and very rarely has a mechanical issue: he said they have two good engines now, and have been running trains since 2002, for 9 years now (again, this confidence in the railroad's reliability - coming from one of the crew - is contrary to earlier reviews of the rail tour which appear to have been written by people who did not even take the train trip). Our train departed on time, and made its journey without incident.
The SKSR passenger train runs on a railroad that was built by British engineers to carry sugar cane from the fields in to the central factory 1oo years ago (1912 - 2012), and it is the very last link between the tourism economy of the present and the now by-gone era when when sugar was the island's main economic engine. The trip is 18 miles (2 hours) by train and 12 miles (45 minutes) by railway-owned sightseeing bus for a total journey of 3 hours (30 miles). It circles the entire island. The modern rail cars are double-decked: the view from the top observation level is fantastic, as you can see right out over the top of the tallest island vegitation. The lower level of the cars is air-conditioned, has tables and wicker chairs for group seating, and each car has a nice air-conditioned restroom. The on-board staff serves very nice complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (as many as you like!), there is a running commentary about the points of interest and the history of the island. The train even has live entertainment: there is a three-member choir group that comes through the cars and sings Caribbean songs.
On our train the locals in the villages and farmers in the fields would stop and wave at the train as it went by, and the pre-schoolers in one little town all ran out of their classroom and down to the edge of the schoolyard in their uniforms. They waved and yelled and went wild jumping up and down on the fence. I have never seen these kinds of reactions to visitors passing by when I have taken taxi tours in the other islands in the CAribbean: in fact, I haven't seen anything quite like this on any other island. The local people seem to have embraced this as "their train" in St. Kitts. As we came to the end of the train part of the tour, the choir sang the national anthem a three-part chapelle voice. It brought a lump to your throat. I didn't get the feeling that it was in any way a "touristy" thing to do (as one reviewer on this site did). Quite the opposite: I was told that the railway has 75 local people operating it, and that it is a major employer, especially in the villages where there is very little work. If there is such a thing as "sustainable" tourism, this railway would seem to be the last honest sustained link that connects the days of sugar cane to the new age of tourism.
As a note to price, I did inquire (because I had seen reviews about how "expensive" the train tour is). I was told the St. Kitts railway has not raised its ticket price at their Needsmsut Station in 9 years. Their 3-hour train tour ticket remains priced at US $89 per person, the same as it was back in 2003. I did compare this with the White Pass & Yukon Railroad in Alaska, and their ticket price for their 3-hour train is US $119. I have ridden this train as well: it is very scenic, but they do not offer unlimited free drinks.
I enjoy train travel where ever I go around the world because trains seem to show off the "real" colors of a country in ways that can only be seen from this type of transportation. You get the feel of a place, and of the people. You see the fluttering clothes on the line, and the naked toddler in the tin bath tub in the backyard. Some people who don't travel much would consider this to be a view of poverty. I consider it the real reason to get out of the house and travel to somewhere new.
I would recommend this tour to anyone who agrees.
Rail TravelerRelated to:
- Historical Travel
Saint Kitts and Nevis Hotels
Village Po Box 345, BASSETERRE, KN
Good for: Business
Good for: Solo
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