5 Off Beat Things About St Kitts/Nevis
By: Linda Thompkins
Each of these sister islands offer beautiful views of the other, and are separated by a two mile channel called The Narrows. St Kitts, the larger island is oval shaped, and the land narrows into a jagged strip that boasts fine beaches. The smaller sister Nevis is circular in shape, and is a lush mountain capped by clouds, and surrounded by coral reefs.
Photo By slack12
St Kitts and Nevis offer travelers a backward glimpse into the old world West Indies plantation tradition and hospitality. Popular activities include water sports, hiking, and eco-tourism in the interior. Both islands offer some of the best pristine beaches in the region.
Photo By slack12
Each is deserving of its own off beat list of things to do and see, so let's start with St Kitts
1. The Federation of St Christopher and Nevis - the islands official name
The Carib Indians called the island "Liamuiga" which means fertile isle, and the current name obviously bears no similarity. Columbus named the island St Christopher, and it's unclear whether the name was for himself or the patron saint. After Britain claimed the island, the name was eventually shortened to a British nickname for Christopher.
2. Mount Liamuiga
The Carib name for the island is still in existence with one landmark - Mount Liamuiga (pronounced lie a mee guh). St Kitts is popular with hikers, and this spot is definitely for those with experience and stamina. The summit is at 3,700 feet, and it's not easy getting there. The roads around the island are quite good, but going into the interior you need four wheel vehicles - but you will eventually have to park them, and hike on foot for quite a distance. The trail is very steep and slippery. Descending into the crater is accomplished using vines and ropes - and there's a surprising small lake at the bottom. Figure on 5 hours to complete the hike if you're in good shape, and you will need an experienced guide.
Photo By CaribbeanHotels
3. St Kitts Scenic Train
Tourists and many cruise passengers short on time take the Scenic Train to get a view of the island. The double-decker train travels around the coastline through many small villages and old sugar cane fields. The one disadvantage is not being able to stop and take photos, and when the cruise ships are in port it's usually sold out. Actually it is cheaper to hire a taxi for an island tour, you can take all the photos you want, and not be confined to a schedule.
Photo By Stephen Rees
4. Raw Sugar Cane Treat in Basseterre
Basseterre is the capital city, and the most hectic movement you will normally find is when the ferry comes in, and on market Saturday. The seaport capital is surrounded by lush green hills, and pretty white colonial houses with tiny latticed balconies dot the streets. As you stroll through the city, it's likely you will run into a vendor selling sugar cane stalks. You can purchase a stalk for less than two dollars. If you've never seen raw sugar cane up close, it looks very similar to a bamboo stalk. The technique is first stripping off the exterior of the stalk, taking a bite, chew the reed to get the juice - you do not actually eat the cane. The cane juice has a surprising vanilla like flavor.
4. Best Photo Op
The west coast road leads to Brimstone Hill Fortress - nicknamed "Gibraltar of the West Indies" - here you'll have awesome views of Montserrat, Nevis, Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts. The fort has been restored and was designated a national park in 1985.
Photo By MyDifferentDrum
5. Best Local Items to Purchase
Leather goatskin items, sea island cotton/batik clothing, and the hand blown glass vases, bowls, plates in interesting shapes and colors found specifically at Glass Island in the capital.
Now on to Nevis - The tiny island has a charming West Indian flavor - the place is slow and easy
1. Nevis is home to Pinney's Beach, one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean.
It's easy to reach, and a short drive from anywhere on the island. Protected by reefs, it's perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Just west of the beach is the most picturesque lagoon with soft golden sand, and lots of swaying palm trees. The Southern coastline offers the best white and golden sand beaches, while the Northern coast beaches are mostly black sand.
Photo By ninophile
2. Alexander Hamilton House
The first U.S. Treasury Secretary was born on Nevis. The home dates back to the 1600's, has been restored and offers a small museum. It's located in the capital city of Charleston which has some of the best preserved historical buildings in the Caribbean.
3. Goat Water is Popular Local Dish
This local dish is tasty, and is served in local restaurants on Saturdays. It's a tomato based stew made with goat meat, breadfruit, papaya, spices, and dumplings which locals call droppers.
4. Best Local Items to Purchase
The jellies and jams made from local fruits are delicious. Other local items include goatskin leather, and chutney, guava cheese, honey, and a very distinctive pepper sauce.
5. An Oprah Recommendation in Nevis
While visiting the island Oprah heard the best cook on the island was Ms. Mestier, and she hires her to cook a private dinner. Obviously the meal was great as "O" convinced her to open her own restaurant. Miss June's West Indian Guesthouse requires advance reservations, and serves dishes from Trinidad, India, French Caribbean and New Orleans.
About the blogger:
Linda Thompkins is the owner of Travel 2 the Caribbean and a travel consultant that specialize in what she knows best - Caribbean Travel. She has been doing business online for eight years, and throughly enjoy her job. Her husband and I her have traveled throughout the Caribbean, and know the islands and culture extremely well.
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