St Kitts

St Kitts and Nevis is a federal two-island nation in the West Indies. It is the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas, in both area and population. St Kitts has the only UNESCO World Heritage site (Brimstone Fortress) in the Leeward Islands. We have visited this island twice. The first time we rented our own vehicle and visited Brimstone Fortress (an imposing sight atop Brimstone Hill, nicknamed the “Gibraltar of the West Indies”), and Turtle Beach (on the SE peninsula). Our second visit was more relaxing, with the day spent getting a bit tipsy beneath a beach umbrella at the lovely South Frigate Bay.

A grand five-masted barque just off South Frigate Bay A glimpse of Basseterre as seen from Port Zante The bumper sticker says it all Close up of a spider; Basseterre harbor An old house in need of repair; Independence Square Colorful window shutters Shops across from Independence Square; Basseterre Robby in an old English style telephone booth (obviously now defunct) Center of Independence Square. The Square was an old slave market. (Slaves from Africa were temporarily quartered in the basement of a building on the south side of the Square) Co-Cathedral of Immaculate Conception; East Square Street Palm fronds; Independence Square Rustic looking houses; Independence Square The circus in Basseterre was modeled after the Picadilly in London Basseterre's circus Colorful batik styled pillows for sale at a store in Basseterre Flag of St Kitts & Nevis on the back of our taxi driver's headrest A very patriotic beach shack, adorned in the colors of the St Kitts & Nevis flag Pristine beach awaits us at South Frigate Bay This poor donkey looks absolutely miserable, adorned in silly ribbons; South Frigate Bay South Frigate Bay beach did not disappoint Robby relaxing beneath our shady umbrella on South Frigate Bay Lots of tourists enjoying South Frigate Bay Our beer of choice for our 6 for $10 special on South Frigate Bay Pier at South Frigate Bay The pelicans were having a field day at South Frigate Bay...this one has just swallowed a beakful of tiny fish Robby getting a bit drunk at South Frigate Bay Becky contemplates taking a dip; South Frigate Bay Rainbow colored coconut trees; South Frigate Bay Becky strikes a pose in front of the rainbow striped bar Locals sipping on beer at the rainbow colored bar; South Frigate Bay Robby next to his two favorite bartenders on South Frigate Bay After swimming and tanning to your hearts content on South Frigate Bay, why not grab a bite or ice-cold drink from one of the local beach bars? Taxis are a fixed price on St Kitts...this ride cost us $10 back to the Basseterre pier (from South Frigate Bay) Robby points to our massive cruise ship; Port Zante Welcome to St Kitts entrance at Port Zante Frances strolls through the Pelican shopping mall to get from the harbor to downtown Basseterre St Kitts colors blowing proudly in the wind St Kitts’ vista from Basseterre harbor A colorful wall painting behind the St Kitts tourism desk; Port Zante Another view of Independence Square; Basseterre After a short video about Brimstone Fortress at the gift shop, we walked up to the main garrison for fantastic panoramic views of the countryside, ocean, and beyond Becky, Robby, Shannon, Luke, Bob, Ann, and Frances in front of Brimstone Fortress Garrison courtyard; Brimstone Fortress Brimstone Fortress is the only UNESCO world heritage sight in the Leeward islands…a “do not miss” Another view of the impenetrable Brimstone Fortress Brimstone Fortress and its commanding view of the sea Hard to imagine that the British actually lost this stronghold position to the French back in 1782! Robby and Becky pose atop a Brimstone Fortress canon The Royal seal on the surface of the Brimstone cannons Oceanside view of St Kitts from Brimstone Fortress Bell archway at Brimstone Fortress Wax replica of a British soldier at Brimstone Fortress garrison A British military crest of a unit stationed at Brimstone Fortress We spent over an hour admiring the history and legacy of Brimstone Fortress St Kitts school children wearing school uniforms take a break for lunch (we were told that the color of the uniform indicates which school the child attends) Posing for the camera Unfortunately, Sprat Net Bar & Grill was empty for lunch…although we heard it is a lively place for dinner! Goats foraging for greenery on the sides of the road Views of the desolate Eastern side of St Kitts A scenic countryside photo complete with cows and tractor The symbol of Turtle Beach…a young turtle hatches from its egg Lots of green vervet monkeys at Turtle Beach provide inspiration to a local artist; Turtle Beach This beach hut looked like it had seen some wild party nights A cheeky monkey grabs French fries, dips them in ketchup and downs a swig of coke!!! Profile of a green vervet monkey Robby, Becky, Shannon, and Luke pose beside Wilbert the obese pig Robby doing bad things to Wilbert Becky bursts into laughter when Wilbert starts snorting loudly every time she rubs his belly Frances and Robby ponder some local jewelry from a talented entrepreneur Becky and Robby pose at the edge of the Turtle Beach pier The Turtle Beach Bar & Grill was a great place to spend our afternoon on St Kitts Becky struggles to hold onto this massive mahi mahi Not a bad haul from an afternoon deep sea fishing charter The kitchen’s chef wastes no time in carving the fish into steaks ready for the grill East St Kitt’s looks lovely as the sun is about to set Fran, Ann & Bob bask in the last of the day’s rays Becky and Robby are ready to watch the sun set at White House Bay Sunset at White House Bay foto gallery lightboxby VisualLightBox.com v6.1

17 Mar 2010: Believe it or not but we got up early on our cruise! We were awake by 0630 and hit the gym, with Becky running a few miles on the treadmill while Robby opted for the elliptical. Self serve breakfast was fine, and we requested beach towels from our room steward, Sebastian. Today’s port of call was St Kitt’s, an island we had already visited before. So today was going to be a beach day. Armed with a bottle of rum, we were off the ship by 0800 to explore the city center of Basseterre for a few minutes in search of a grocery store to get some coke. We stopped by the tourist information office for some recommendations on what beaches to hit, and were surprised when they told us to avoid our first choice beach (South Frigate Bay) since it was supposedly lacking sand and not very big. Of course, we disregarded their advice immediately afterwards! A short taxi ride to South Frigate Bay cost $10, and we wandered down the relatively empty beach taking photos and admiring the view when we befriended some locals who persuaded us to use their chairs and umbrella for $10. They also offered a drink deal of 6 drinks for $10….deal! They loaded us up with drinks and ice and we enjoyed our self-made rum & cokes before switching over to beer. Near the edge of the pier, pelicans were dive-bombing for fish, so Becky headed out to take some photos. Very cool! The pelicans were having a field day as there were schools of tiny fish as far out as the eye could see. Perhaps it was the alcohol or else Robby was unaware of his man strength, but he snapped our beach umbrella in half trying to adjust it. He felt so bad that he volunteered to give Becky’s Celebrity bag away, and gave a $10 donation to ease his remorse. In any case, we had a wonderful time at beautiful South Frigate Bay and have to disagree with the tourist information office staff who told us to avoid this beach. Our taxi driver on the way back to port was hilarious, dancing a little jig for us in the parking lot along with his buddy. The sun in the Caribbean is no joke, and Becky definitely got a bit too much of it today. C’est la vie!

10 Apr 2007: We visited St Kitts towards the tail end of our Easy Cruise itinerary. It was the last island for us to visit, sandwiched between St Martin and Antigua. St Kitts is the sister island to Nevis, which we had visited earlier in the week. St Kitts has a mountainous interior, surrounded by wide beaches. We had read that the St Kitts scenic railway would be an interesting ride, but after talking to some folks who had already experienced it, we decided to pass. Instead, our plan for the day was to visit the Brimstone Hill Fortress, dine at Sprat Net Bar & Grill, and hang out on Turtle Beach. But first we needed to find a rental car (taxi rides are bloody expensive).

The car rental agencies in St Kitts were packed with other day-cruisers looking for transportation. We ran around to Hertz, Avis, and Caines Rent a Car before finding a minivan capable of transporting all of us. Renting on St Kitts is not a budget experience! We were quoted the rock bottom rate of $105 for a 7 pax minivan (excluding CDW), and negotiated to return the vehicle at 9 pm. Unbelievably, the standard practice is to return the vehicle at 5 or 6 pm, even though most folks only have the vehicle for half a day (and are still charged for a full day’s rate).

Armed with a St Kitts road map, we made our way out of Basseterre on the coastal road towards Palmetto Point. It was a bit tricky navigating our way out of Basseterre, but as long as we kept the ocean to our left, we knew we were headed in the right direction. The drive to Brimstone was pretty scenic, although the roads were narrow and at points we’d have to stop to allow oncoming traffic the right of way to pass by. Brimstone Hill Fortress commands a high vantage point, and we took heed of the signs warning us to honk around corners. There are quite a few blind spots, and only the foolhardy would go careening up that hill at breakneck speed. Entrance tickets were EC$20 per person, and we opted to hire an audio tour guide.

Brimstone Hill Fortress enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status and for good reason. It is a magnificent remnant of history, and we were so glad that we stopped for a visit. The gift shop/museum plays a short video providing a brief overview of the site. We learned that this fortress served as a British garrison, which was overtaken by the French who seized it in 1782. The Treaty of Paris forced the French to return the fortress the very next year, and the British revamped and expanded the fortress to build upon their earlier mistakes. Afterwards, we were hungry for lunch, so we headed down towards Sprat Net Bar & Grill on Old Road Bay. Unfortunately, it was closed for lunch (open for dinner only) so we decided to drive onward to Turtle beach on the eastern side of St Kitts.

We were wondering if we were heading in the right direction to get to Turtle Beach Bar & Grill because the eastern half of the island is pretty desolate. Once we caught a glimpse of the Great Salt Pond, we knew that Turtle beach was just around the corner. We were greeted by our super friendly hostess, who beckoned us to a breezy corner table with a fine view of Nevis and the bay. After our late lunch orders were placed (conch ceviche, fresh mahi), we had to fight off the cheeky green vervet monkeys who were brashly hopping nearby our table trying to swipe a quick bite of French fries. Our waitress showed us an ingenious trick. The vervet monkeys are scared of frozen ice. Armed with a pitcher of ice, we watched as she flung ice cubes towards the monkeys who dispersed in fear. Our late lunch hit the spot, and afterwards, we dispersed to enjoy the facilities of Turtle beach. Some of us lounged in the chaise chairs by the beach, while others befriended Wilbert, a massive boar who weighs over 500 lbs. Some fishermen had returned with their catch of the day, and they proudly displayed their trophies on the pier. The kitchen’s chef hurried down to the waterfront to carve up the fish into fresh steaks, and fed the scraps to the massive stingrays hovering just below the dock.

Just before sunset, we drove out to White House Bay to watch as it disappeared below the horizon. We were in search of the green flash, but it eluded us. The sunset was magnificent, and it gave us all time to reflect on our busy day.

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