St. Kitts was my favorite destination on our Southern Caribbean cruise! The island is simply beautiful and has plenty of fun things to do. Our day in St. Kitts was relaxed, yet still full of activities. We visited a batik fabric shop with lovely gardens, admired amazing ocean views from atop an old British fort, and sipped piña coladas by the beach. This is an island I would love to visit again one day!
Basseterre, St. Kitts was the fourth stop on our Southern Caribbean cruise last February. At most ports of call, we made excursion arrangements through the cruise line. However, in St. Kitts, I arranged our day’s activities directly through an independent vendor. This was not only much cheaper than booking an excursion through the cruise line, but also allowed us to focus on exactly the activities we wanted to do. We used Grey’s Island Excursions and went on their Grand Tour of St. Kitts, which visited Romney Manor, Brimstone Hill Fortress, and South Friar’s Bay beach. We also briefly drove through the capital of Basseterre and later made a quick photo stop at the Timothy Hill lookout. Our guide was great and never rushed us. He always said, “Your time is my time.” He wanted us to get the most out of each stop, knowing we might not necessarily have another chance to return one day, which I really appreciated! I was very happy with our experience and pleased with the price we paid for such a nice day.
Our tour began with a brief drive-through of Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts and Nevis. Our guide pointed out some of the historical landmarks in the city, such as St. George’s Anglican Church, Independence Square (the old commercial center and site of the former slave market), and The Circus roundabout (modeled after Piccadilly Circus in London). The drive was brief, but I enjoyed getting a glimpse of Basseterre and learning about the city.
Romney Manor / Caribelle Batik
Next, we traveled for about 30 minutes before reaching our first stop: Romney Manor, an old sugar plantation that is believed to have once belonged to Thomas Jefferson’s great-great-great grandfather. Nowadays, it’s home to lovely gardens and to the Caribelle Batik shop. (Batik is a traditional Indonesian process for dying fabric, using wax to create patterns.) The shop has demonstrations of the batik process and also sells products made from batik fabric. This is a great place to leisurely stroll through the gardens and then meander through the shop to admire the beautiful fabrics. I bought a bright and airy blue scarf here as a memento of our tropical adventures!
Brimstone Hill Fortress
Our next stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress, an old British fort complex that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its history dates back to the 1690s when the British first started fortification there. When you’re looking out from the top of Brimstone Hill, it’s pretty easy to understand why this site was chosen for strategic purposes — the fort sits atop a plateau with a clear vantage point of the flat plains and the sea below. You can even see some nearby islands in the distance. The fortress is backed by rolling green mountains. To drive up to Brimstone Hill, you have to travel along a very winding, narrow road with sharp hairpin turns, but the view definitely makes the trek to the top well worth the effort! Aside from the views, we also had a fun time exploring the fort itself with all of its nooks and crannies, little odd windows, canons, and other unique details to discover.
The fort also has a small snack shop where we got some Carib sorrel beer and yucca chips to try out a few fun treats we couldn’t get back home. Both were good! The sorrel beer was quite sweet and the yucca chips were not all that different from potato chips.
Shipwreck Beach Bar & Grill
After our visit to Brimstone Hill, we drove south to a casual open-air bar & grill (called Shipwreck) in South Friar’s Bay. Our time at Shipwreck was super chill and relaxed. We had lunch and drinks (they had terrific piña coladas), lounged by the beach, and swam. The beach only had a narrow strip of sand and the water was slightly rough, but those were the only drawbacks. There were plenty of lounge chairs and palm frond umbrellas to rest under, and I loved the beautiful blue views of the bay! We also noticed a lot of wildlife activity. During our two or so hours at Shipwreck, we saw monkeys, mongoose, and a huge iguana. One final note if you visit: Make sure to wear water shoes for swimming! Sea urchins hang out at the bottom of the sea here, and I believe that’s true for many of the beaches in St. Kitts as well.
After wrapping up at the beach, we made a brief stop at the TImothy Hill lookout on our way back to the port. If you are in St. Kitts, please stop here! The view is breathtaking!
After spending our day visiting some of the highlights of St. Kitts, our guide dropped us off at Port Zante, where we could get back on the cruise ship. We still had some time before we needed to be on board though, so we walked around the port for a little while and stopped in some of the shops. Port Zante is a nice area with plenty of shops to visit.
Back on the Ship
Once back on board, we followed the typical afternoon and evening schedule we had become accustomed to while cruising. We had afternoon snacks in the Ocean View cafe, then sat up on the ship’s top deck to watch as we sailed out of port — and my-oh-my this was an amazing sight! We sailed alongside St. Kitts for a while and admired the island as it glowed in the light of the setting sun. We even passed by Brimstone Hill, which was fun to see sitting atop its plateau from the perspective out at sea. We had just been walking around up there only a few hours ago!
We ended our day with a delicious dinner and spent some time listening to a couple of the musicians on the ship. It was a full day! St. Kitts is a beautiful island and was definitely one of the highlights of our cruise!
This was Day 6 of our cruise. Read about Day 1 of our Southern Caribbean cruise here.
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