With my parents in August, my friend in September, and fellow crew friends in recent weeks, I’ve explored St. Kitts much more than usual! I’ve learned quite a bit about the island and have seen more of the great things it has to offer.
St. Kitts was formally named St. Chistopher’s, after Christopher Columbus, who discovered the island. It is 68 square miles and has 45,000 people. The capital, Basseterre, was named by the French, and translates as “below sea level”. Much of the information I have about the island came from Dennis, a cab driver that I have ridden with on two separate occasions. He is quite a character, and spices up his drives by sharing more about his home. Dennis took my parents and me to Timothy Hill, a beautiful viewpoint where you can see the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. I have returned twice since then!
My second visit two Timothy Hill was supposed to be followed by a beach trip, but rainy whether resulted in a change of plans. I ended up doing an island tour with my friend. We were told that it is now off-season in St. Kitts. There only about 1 ship per week this time of year, but during on-season, there can be 2-3 per day. This is a big issue, as tourism is now the major industry on the island. Sugarcane was the primary industry for about 400 years, but the factories closed in 2005. Tourism brings in a lot of money, but can also be inconsistent.
While driving around, we saw what locals call Monkey Hill. St. Kitts is called Monkey Island because there are over 60,000 monkeys on the island. In the port and on the beaches, there are always men carrying cute monkeys around for photos. We also saw the local beer factory—Carib—and the airport, with a runway just 1 mile long.
I saw a small beach called The Strip, because it was lined with a strip of bars and restaurants, which I returned to with my roommate and a couple guys from the sports staff a couple weeks later. We forgot to bring a volleyball to take advantage of the nets on the beach, but we still had a lot of fun. We bought umbrellas, chairs, and, best of all, aloe massages! I enjoyed a couple Sexy Monkey cocktails (don’t ask what’s in it), and some chips and guacamole. Although it wasn’t a very pretty beach, it was a very entertaining day. I think the Sexy Monkeys, massage, and company contributed more to my experience than the setting!
In my recent exploration I discovered another beach. It’s about 10 minutes beyond Timothy Hill, a total of 25 minutes from the port, called Cockelshell Beach. From there, you can see Nevis, St. Kitts’s sister island, comprised of 35 square miles and 12,000 people. On my first visit, my parents and I were dropped at Mundo, a small bar where we bought chairs, umbrellas, and a few drinks, and were entertained by Val, one of the bartenders. On my second trip, I was in a group of 10 crewmembers. We went to The Mill, and I enjoyed a $5 lounge chair, some delicious mojitos, and a mini burger. I also got 2 samples of an aloe massage, which I reluctantly declined. The water was warm and inviting, so clear that I could see my feet. Strolling along the beach, I could appreciate the soft black sand. The view of Nevis was fantastic, and the beach never got too crowded. Both visits were excellent.
The things I have seen in St. Kitts and the experiences I’ve had have made me come to love the island! It’s a shame I wasted 1.5 contracts not knowing how much it had to offer.