Thursday, January 24, 2013

St. Kitts

We hadn’t really heard much about St. Kitts – but I’d read up on some independent tour operators on a forum and we booked with one of them. It ended up being the two of us plus one other family on our van tour. The driver gifted us a bottle of Arbor Mist for our honeymoon. This was an instant throwback to college when I used to drink a very large bottle of this wine/juice on my own, but a very sweet gesture, nonetheless. 

The first part of the tour was through the downtown area – we were struck by the incredible masonry. St. Kitts seems to be a bit better off than some of the other islands, I think in part because there are a few international medical universities on the island. Our tour guide told us about how sugar plantations used to be one of the main sources of income on the island, and that he used to work in the sugar industry. Now tourism has taken over as the number one source of income. There are a lot of resorts and condos being built there right now.

Masonry in the downtown area
As we continued along we stopped at Romney Manor (not Mitt Romney’s house, FYI), which has beautiful grounds and a batiking operation. A woman gave us a demonstration of their batiking process; they do some incredibly complex pieces. We bought a few small pieces – a bangle bracelet and a frog magnet.

A batik in process
Some examples of finished batiks
Next we went to Brimstone Hill, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a fortress at the top of the mountain/hill and we spent awhile walking around checking out the beautiful panoramic views. The fortress used to be called the Gibraltar of the West Indies due to its size and seeming invulnerability. In the 1700s there was a major battle at Brimstone Hill between the British and the French.

Views at Brimstone Hill
Canon and view at Brimstone Hill
We continued on our tour, stopping at a lookout spot where you get a great view of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.  (Don’t ask me which side is which!)

Next we spent a few hours on the beach in the South Friar’s Bay area, which is also home to Shipwreck Beach Bar. We enjoyed a lunch of Jerk Chicken and a few drinks – they had an extensive menu of frozen cocktails and Caribbean beers. There were also some monkeys and mongooses (mongeese?, I don’t know) hanging around the treeline in the beach area.

Drinks at the Shipwreck Beach Bar
After a few hours the van brought us back to the port and we spent some time in the shopping area, and finished the day off at Fat Tuesdays with some mixed drinks. 

Overall we LOVED St. Kitts, we are hoping to go back for an extended trip at some point in the future.

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