The spectacular Brimstone Hill Fortress is not only a National Park but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because of its historical significance. Perched high on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean Sea, the forboding mass of Brimstone Hill Fort has been called "The Gibralter of the Caribbean." Construction of the fort began under British rule in 1690, and took a century to complete, mostly with African slave labor. The huge fort, with its five bastions and citadel, covers 38 acres, and is one of the largest engeering projects even undertaken in the Caribbean. The fort eventually became obsolete and was abandoned in 1852. However, extensive restoration work began in the 1960s, and it was reopened as a national park in 1982.
Open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Adults: US $8.00
Children: US $4.00
When Christopher Columbus first arrived at this island on his second voyage, in 1493, he was so enamoured that he named it after himself and his patron saint, St. Christopher. Sir Thomas Warner became the first European settler on St. Christopher 130 years later, in 1623. He adapted the shorter version of the name, St. Kitts, and it has stuck ever since.
Warner lived on St. Kitts for 25 years, until his death in 1648. He also served as the first governor of the island. St. Kitts became the first permanent British and French settlement in the region, and was a strategic base for settling other islands such as Antigua, Martinque and Anguilla. Warner's tomb and a historical exhibit may be found here in the MIddle Island church yard.
Situated 800 feet above the sea, Brimstone is one of the most dramatic spots in the entire Caribbean. It commands astounding views of the Caribbean, including Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts. But the best I was able to do was to snatch a few pictures out the window of the van because our tour did not include it..
In February of 1782, a French fleet commanded by Admiral Count François de Grasse had orders to force the British from St. Kitts - the same admiral who had earlier helped the English colony now known as the United States to gain their independence.
His flagship was the 130-gun Ville de Paris. He had to take the massive Fort George on Brimstone Hill. At this time, the citadel had been under nearly continuous construction (by slave labor) for almost nine decades. A month of bombardment pounding the seven-foot thick walls of black volcanic stone (brimstone) led to the English surrender. One year later, the Treaty of Versailles returned St. Kitts to British rule.
Brimstone Hill was abandoned in 1851, and the fort suffered neglect and vandalism. In 1965, it became a national park, and was restored.
Hours : Sunday - Saturday 9.30 - 5.30
Fees : Residents - $5.00 E.C
Visitors - $8.00 U.S
Children - Half Price
Tours of Brimstone Hill are conducted daily, and highlights include the hospital, ammunition stores, artillery officer's quarters, the Prince of Wales Bastion, and the Citadel of Fort George.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING
The water at the Hill is not safe for drinking.
Children must be supervised and escorted around the citadel, museum and visitors' centre. It is dangerous for children to be unaccompanied by adults around Fort George (the citadel).
All visitors must abide by the Regulations against:
· removing any plant, animal or object
· cutting or injuring any plant or animal
· damaging or defacing any structure (such as carving or writing graffiti)
· playing or reproducing loud music or amplified sounds
· abusive language and other forms of disorderly conduct
Romney Manor is a 17th century plantation which houses the Caribelle Batik Factory. Locals hand-craft this fabric which is known world-wide. Using wax to cover areas of the fabric they do not wish to dye, the women "paint" wonderful designs on the fabric. The method takes several steps depending on how many colors they use. As you can see, the results are vibrant colors in beautiful designs and patterns.
Brimstone Hill Fortress is a National Park located in St Kitts. Preserved by UNESCO as a world heritage site. This site, built by the British Military between the 17th and 18th century is one of St Kitts finest attractions. Captivating, educational and provides a great half day visit.
My visit prior to this was in 1984 or thereabouts where i was only 2 years old! I don't remember the visit, but I have a picture to prove it.. I attempted to take another picture in the same location on my visit.. but I was taking the picture myself, so wasn't too successful.
I visited on a Sunday morning where most of the locals were seen carrying their books to church on the drive there. It is a steep drive up to the main entrance of the fortress where I was welcomed by several wild monkeys, cats and two cows. I was personally shown around by this gentleman who claimed to have worked there for nearly 20 years, although he looked particularly young ( he was also single and I think possibly hoping I would migrate there..) I particularly enjoyed the breathtaking views the fortress offered including the surrounding islands.
Well worth the visit.
The narrow gauge train goes all the way around the island, but it takes a good bit of time (like 4 or more hours) to do that, so they split the trip into two parts. One group gets on the train at the airport and rides the train out to the end of the island, and then rides the buses back to town. The second group (our group) takes a narrated bus tour from town out to the remote terminal and then rides the train to the airport where they are taken back to the ship by bus.
We got into our van, and eventually we got out to the place where the train was to arrive. First came a small railcar which was to inspect the track in advance of the train. Our driver told us we were to get on car #3, and we could be either downstairs in the A/C or upstairs in the open air. We picked upstairs of course. We got free drinks (with alcohol if desired), a sugar cake (a local delicacy), and there was a choir of three ladies who came around and serenaded us at various times. There was also a narrator for the train as a whole.
The first train of the 2007-2008 Season will operate on October 22nd. Hotel guests can purchase rail tour tickets from the tour desk at their hotel on-island.
After a ride of about 2 hours, we came through a gravel pit area and to the airport where we got on the buses again to be driven back to the ship. They gave us a free DVD with a narrative about the train on it after the tour.
We walked along to Independence Square. There was a St. Kitts Tourism Authority sign in three languages (English, French and Spanish) at the corner (photo 2). It said:
In 1834, this 3 acre area, then known as Pall Mall Square, described as "The Marketplace of Negroes", was a place where slaves were sold. Slaves were stored in the basements of homes nearby that today reflect a mixture of English and French architectural influences. In 1750, the local government bought the Square from King George II, and in 1983, it was renamed Independence Square"
The reason it was renamed Independence Square in 1983 was to commemorate the independence of the island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis from Great Britain.
A large fountain decorates the center (photo 3 and photo 5). There were trees and benches, and several dry fountains.
On one side of the square was the Immaculate Conception Cathedral (Catholic dating from 1927 - I had seen the tops of the two towers from the ship).
This is a gothic looking structure...almost castle-like in architecture inside built around the end of the 17th century. The views from the top of this fortress is stunning! I think I counted 6 islands from the top of the fortress. I recommend a visit here....but beware....for those who aren't in decent physical condition...there are a LOT of stairs to get to the top. The view is well worth it, though.
I went horse riding through the rain forest with Trinity Stables. They came to the hotel and picked me up then took me to the stables. The rides are all guided and doable even for a complete novice like me. We rode for about an hour and a half up hill through sugar cane and then rain forest. We had a short stoll in the forest had a soda and then rode back again. On the way back we saw some monkeys. It was a great way to spend a morning.
The Railway Tour is a wonderful concept in theory, and to some travelers, a not-to-be-missed highlight. However, website opinion is divided, with the other half echoing my view that it’s not worth the $89 fare.
The theme-park-like train runs on a narrow gauge track, encircling the island. The entire tour is 30 miles long, of which 18 miles is by train, and the remaining 12 miles by coaches. The train proceeds non-stop through rainforests, fields, and hamlets. Any sites of historical interest are too far away to view – such as the Brimstone Hill Fortress and Romney Manor.
However, from my train in March 2006, we didn’t even see the rainforests. We boarded and chose our seats on the open-air upper deck (lower level is A/C), with great views, albeit stationary ones of the nearby airport. We were served complimentary rum punches, given a brief introduction, and serenaded by a creole group. The train didn’t budge. The engine was broken, and repair efforts failed.
We were then loaded onto a bus for a consolation round-the-island drive, but we still didn’t stop anywhere of interest, except Black Rocks (photo #2), which I would scarcely call exciting.
Caveats before you decide on the train:
(1) The train is designed for cruise passengers, great numbers of which are disgorged every day here. The train was set up with this market in mind by whiz-tourism-guy Steven Hites, who also managed to Disneyfy Skagway’s White Pass & Yukon train. He once stated, “My job is to Walt Disney Alaska.” Well, the Caribbean also?
(2) Potential mechanical problems.
(3) Lack of sites of interest, due to no stops.
(4) The price is too high for value received.
Next time, I will hire a day taxi and guide to do some thorough sightseeing for an equal or lesser price. The highlight of our day was an impromptu taxi ride – with talkative driver-guide -- to the island’s southern end, whose narrow peninsula boasts the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other (photo #3). Of course, by then it was raining!
There are several experienced tour guides on the island that can take you where you want to go. We went with Jim Johnson. Him and his wife are
Biologists that offer several different hikes
We got to see them picking mangos because they were in season. We also saw the monkeys picking mangos. They threw more on the ground than they ate.
In the seventeenth and eighteenth century Nevis was famous for its spa that could possibly cure gout and rheumatism.
The once grand Bath Hotel and Spa stands as a ruin today.
You can go inside and have a look and imagine how it was back then
Pinney's Beach is a nice stretch of golden sand. The Four Season's resort is located on this beach. If you look in the back of the beach you will see some of the buildings.
It is not as quiet as it once was here but still worth a look.
The Hermitage is a 250 year old plantation house filled with antiques. They have one and two story cottages. They have open air dining for lunch and dinner. This is an interesting place to visit. Check out the old cistern on the grounds by the greathouse..
Montpelier Plantation is the site of the marriage of Horatio Nelson back in 1787. There is now a hotel on the property as well as a ruined 1794 sugar mill. There are pretty gardens and a very nice pool, which sits next to the ruins of the old sugar mill.
Village Po Box 345, BASSETERRE, KN
Good for: Business
Some of my best memories of our first trip to the Caribbean are of the time we spent at the Nisbet...more
Good for: Couples