Regarded by many visitors as the jewel of the Caribbean, the volcanic island of St. Kitts offers some of the region’s most dramatic panoramas and scenic photo opportunities. Intriguing coves, excellent interior hiking paths, and palm-lined beaches are hallmarks of this classic Caribbean destination.
|Offshore view of St. Kitts|
The easiest way to view the island, which is only 65 square
miles, is aboard the historic St. Kitts Scenic Railway. You’ll travel 30 miles
around the island on a narrow-gauge railway along a route where sugar cane was
once carried from plantations. At one time St. Kitts was the leading sugar
producer in the Caribbean, and the railway remains a vital part of the island’s
economy. The train returns to the capital city of Basseterre, the island’s main
shopping spot, where batik and local artwork are especially popular buys.
Smooth sand and warm water on beaches of St. Kitts
For beaches and water sports, head south to Frigate Bay, where most of the hotels are located. The island’s best white-sand coves are just beyond at the Southeast Peninsula. Green vervet monkeys scamper freely here, often looking for a hand-out. Bird watching, scuba diving, and golf are popular activities. Year-round temperature averages a balmy 79 degrees, making these mountainous islands a great place for a winter or early spring vacation.
|On a catamaran excursion to snorkel|
|Fish gather by the wrecked boat|
While visiting St. Kitts, we took a sail and snorkel excursion operated by Blue Water Safaris. We sailed on a catamaran down the island’s southwest coast to Shitten Bay, where mountains provided a welcome windbreak. Although the weather was partly cloudy and winds quite strong, water temperature remained a comfortable 82 degrees—except for people sitting on the trampoline section of the catamaran who got soaked as water splashed over the boat during our 45 minute ride.
|Exiting the water from snorkeling|
At the snorkel site the water was much calmer. A wrecked boat by the shore provided a boundary and haven for fish. With water 22 feet deep where the boat anchored, it was easy to stay away from large rocks under the surface and mustard-colored fire coral that stings if touched. In addition to numerous coral specimens, several varieties of large and small fish were sighted swimming beneath our masked faces. Yellow and black striped fish and iridescent blue fish swam provided color underwater. We also saw a small octopus stretching its tentacles on a rock, adding interest and surprise to our adventure at St. Kitts.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier