While flying over St. Kitts, I was impressed by the beautiful landscapes – lush green rainforests and mountains cascading into the Caribbean blue seas. The views were something out of a glossy travel magazine but these were real. I could not wait to explore the island! After relaxing for a bit at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & the Royal Beach Casino, those mountains were calling me to come explore. Thankfully, the resort concierge can arrange for a wide variety of off property activities. If you prefer something mild or wild, there is a sweet Sugar City adventure waiting for you. In the capital city, Basseterre, snap some photos of St George’s Anglican Church and Independence Square before enjoying some island shopping back at the resort. For me, it was all about the adventure!
Soar Without Wings
Ziplining has taken off in the travel world. After visiting Sky Safari at Wingfield Estate, it’s easy to see why. Sky Safari is located on, or in most cases above, the remains of a sugar plantation. We were given a thorough safety introduction and took our first zip on the short training line which is only about 10 feet off the ground. This helped ease the nerves of some of the folks in our group. Then, we boarded a truck to ride up to the top of the mountain. The 20 minute ride was quite bumpy but I considered it part of the adventure. Once at the top, the walk to the four remaining ground level platforms is easy. Guests ride one at a time through a short, collection of trees before the view opens up to a beautiful panoramic landscape with the seas on one side and the mountains on the other. The mechanics of the harness make it easy for riders to sit back and enjoy the view. The last ride is short but there are two lines side by side so you can “race” to the finish. Spoiler alert….if you weigh more, you’ll probably get there first. There are photos available for sale at the end for an additional fee. There are some basic requirements to know before you go. Riders must be at least six years old and weigh between 60-275 lbs. Wear closed toe shoes; they have some shoes you can borrow in the registration office if you forget. Finally, you cannot take anything bulky on the ziplines – safety first!
Mountains and Monkeys
My adventurous friends raved about the half-day Extreme Hike at Mount Liamuiga so I had to give it a try. How hard could it be, right? Well, it’s a challenge! From the uneven terrain to the elevation gains, this was no ordinary walk in the woods. Throw in the heat and humidity and you’ve got a recipe for sore muscles! If your older kiddos are athletic, adventurous, and willing to spend a day in the woods, then book your adventure with the concierge. You can request a guide to suit your hiking abilities and speed. After a 45-minute drive from the resort, we arrived at the trailhead. There were eight adults in our group and one very fit guide. At points along the trail, there are ropes to help you steady yourself and they really are necessary. The views of the rainforest are amazing! There are no snakes and few bugs so it’s easy to enjoy the scenery. Most of my group wanted to see how fast they could climb the mountain and went ahead with our guide but I preferred to amble on the trail. This allowed me to catch my breath, listen to the whistling frogs in the rainforest canopy, and try to spot the elusive green vervet monkeys who call St. Kitts home. While I enjoyed the solitude, I was rewarded with the most memorable encounter with one of those monkeys. I heard a rustling in the trees above me as I stooped to look at some butterflies. When I looked up, I saw a monkey looking at me! It was thrilling although a bit scary at first. We sat there and looked at each other for about 45 minutes before he got bored and wandered off. The view of the volcano crater at the top could not compare with this chance encounter. Taking it slow in this case paid off big time. When I shared my story with the hotel staff, they told me that there were probably lots more monkeys in the trees looking at me but I could not see them. Just as well. That knowledge might have been even spookier than the faces I found in the foliage along my solitary hike. Those speedy hikers missed these views, too. Magical and memorable!
History and Culture
After those adventures, it was time to explore something more down to earth! The Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor was a pleasant combination of landscaped gardens, historical architecture, and that world-famous batik cloth handmade on the property. We were given an informative demonstration on how the batik is made. One of the artists proudly told us about her design inspirations which incorporate traditional techniques. The shop has a wide variety of batik fabrics, pillows, clothes, and handmade soaps at reasonable prices. They accept credit cards and American dollars. I enjoyed wandering the gardens and was amazed by the 350-year old Saman tree. That tree was in place when the Carib Indians called this area home and stood its ground when Sam Jefferson, the great-great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, built his home. In the late 17th Century, Jefferson sold the land to Lord Romney. The property remained in their family for over 200 years. This is a great place to pick up a few souvenirs and holiday gifts for friends and family back home.
A short drive from Romney Manor is Brimstone Hill. This 800 foot high UNESCO World Heritage Site fort is incredibly well preserved. Music and historical festivals are held on the grounds throughout the year. During our visit, the rains were coming in off the mountains so we had to cut our time shorter than planned. The visitor’s center has loads of information on the design, history, architecture, and military roles this fort has played over the centuries. It’s really just cool to wander the grounds. The interior of the fort can only be reached by climbing up a steep ramp but it’s worth it. There are helpful displays which depict life in some of the interior rooms including soldiers in uniform. The park guides are more than willing to tell tales about ghost stories and legends. Take the time to listen. The guide books pale in comparison to these colorful stories. The kiddos will like it, too. There’s a gift shop, small snack bar, and restrooms. Be prepared for afternoon rains.
Paired So Well
Take advantage of the St. Kitts Marriott’s Pirate Kids Program and enjoy a romantic dinner for two at Carambola while the kiddos have their own evening adventure. The restaurant is a scenic ten-minute drive from the resort. A newcomer on the St. Kitts culinary scene, the Mediterranean inspired Carambola restaurant boasts a multi-cultural staff that has been trained at the finest restaurants across the globe. Fine ingredients make this a delicious stop for lunch or dinner. We enjoyed a wine paired evening with fresh seafood appetizers, steak and seafood entrees, and world-class desserts. The wine selection is impressive. Although we arrived after sunset, the beachfront views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean were still beautiful at night.
Thanks to the island breezes, any time of year is a good time to visit St. Kitts! There are several direct flights daily from Atlanta, Charlotte, JFK, Miami, and Toronto. Marriott offers a variety of promotions and special offers throughout the year.
Read my full review of the St. Kitts Marriott Resort & the Royal Beach Casino.
Don’t forget to enter to win your own Sweet September island getaway on St. Kitts!
Disclaimer: Special thanks to the St. Kits Marriott Resort for hosting me on this island adventure. As always, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.