Top Ten Thursday – Ten Places to Visit on St. Kitts

As always, this list is not scientific in any way and is not in any real ranking order. It’s just the places that I and other Ross students think are fun/interesting places that tourists should visit. (Click the bold links to learn more about a place or activity.)

1. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park – located on the west coast of St. Kitts between Challengers and Sandy Point, Brimstone National Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort was built by some of the island’s original slaves and was never officially finished. It offers one of the best views of the island and has a variety of displays about the fort, its military occupants and their daily duties. Residents (including island students) pay $5EC; tourists pay $8US. Open daily.

2. Caribella Batik and Botanical Garden – Batik is an island art of fabric dying using wax to layer colors. Caribella Batik is a shop located inside Romney Manor and offers some of the most authentic Caribbean souvenirs. The botanical garden allows visitors to view a wide variety of plants and trees native to the federation. No entrance fee.

3. St. Kitts Scenic Railway – The St. Kitts Scenic Railway is a day-long excursion taking riders from Basseterre up to the northernmost point of the island on a classic railcar. Riders only ride the railway in one direction and take either a bus or a catamaran boat back the other way. The railway costs around $100US for tourists and offers some of the most amazing panoramic views and photography opportunities on the island.

4. Sky Safari – Located on the same property as Caribella Batik, Sky Safari offers the adventurous an opportunity to ride five different zip lines through the island rain forest, depending on your safari package. A full tour takes 2.5 hours to ride all five lines; the half-tour takes an hour and 50 minutes to ride four lines; and the “three lines and river walk” option takes two hours and ten minutes to ride ten lines and enjoy a walk along the riverbank between. Cruise passengers must make their reservations directly with the cruise ship office. A full tour usually consists of eight people.

5. Shipwreck Beach* – Located on the west side of the St. Kitts peninsula, Shipwreck Beach is a relaxing place to grab an umbrella chair and a plate of the bar’s amazing chicken nachos and enjoy the crystal blue of the Caribbean Sea. Just be sure to swim only in the roped-off area, as sea urchins and fire coral are common, and do not stray into the trees that line the parking area. Many of them have poisonous sap and will burn the skin on contact. This is also a common place to see mongoose and the island’s famous green vervet monkeys. (This tourist’s video was actually taken at Shipwreck).

6. Reggae Beach (also known as Cockleshell Beach)* – Located way down on the St. Kitts peninsula, Cockleshell Beach is home to the famous Reggae Beach Bar, which lends the area its local name. This is a good place to find yachts of the rich and famous anchored nearby, and all manner of water sports equipment is available for rental, including fly surfing. Also a good place to find green vervet monkeys.

7. Basseterre – The capitol city of St. Kitts, Basseterre is home to roughly 19,000 people and offers a variety of tourist shopping and dining options. The main attractions here are Independence Square and Port Zante (where the majority of cruise ships dock). A good place for people-watching.

8. The Marriott Resort and Casino* – The Marriott is easily the largest building on the island and is worth a look, even if you aren’t a hotel guest. With two lavish swimming pools, a craft market, tourist shopping and a variety of restaurant styles, there is something here for everyone.

9. Palm Court Gardens – Located west of Basseterre in an otherwise residential area, Palm Court Gardens boasts one of the island’s only public infinity pools, as well as a small-scale botanical garden. The pool overlooks the Port Zante area and offers a full view of all cruise ships coming and going. There is also a gift shop where locals create a variety of items out of shells and sea glass found on the island. There is no entry fee for the gardens, but visitors are required to pay an $8US fee to use the pool.

10. Sandy Point – Not much by way of a town, Sandy Point’s one attraction is the place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Standing at the edge of the water, tourists can look out and see the opposing currents creating waves where there would otherwise be none.

*If you go to the beach on St. Kitts, be sure to choose one on the Caribbean (western) coast, like Shipwreck, Reggae or Timothy. The Atlantic (eastern) coast is known for its strong rip currents and beaches on this side are not generally safe for swimming. The Marriott private beach is an exception, although close care is still recommended. North Friars is a particularly dangerous beach for swimmers, but is often visited by those who wish to watch for sea turtle hatchlings on their way back to the ocean. It is a protected, monitored site for the turtles’ safety. Learn more about the sea turtle conservation program.

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