Let’s Travel: 11 Things I Learned Visiting St Kitts and Nevis
by Stephanie Koathes Jun 24, 2019
I got a chance to take a journey to the Eastern Caribbean and visit the twin-island federation of St Kitts and Nevis. My four-day experience in the islands shattered some of my preconceived notions and expectations.
Here are 11 things that I learned (and that surprised me!) while visiting St Kitts and Nevis.
1. There’s a lot of good food.
St Kitts and Nevis knows how to do good food. For such small islands, there’s a huge range of eateries to enjoy. From wooden beachside structures serving up excellent seafood to elegant restaurants and unique farm-to-table experiences, there’s a lot to enjoy if you’re a foodie. There are even quite a few food trucks on St Kitts.
2. There’s no “sin” tax on alcohol.
Wine and spirits aren’t subject to any kind of “sin” taxes, and so they’re surprisingly cheap in St Kitts and Nevis when compared to other countries. I was a little too excited about this. If you’re a wine-lover, you might want to bring home a bottle or two (or three) for a rainy day.
3. Almost no one wants to hike the dormant volcano.
St Kitts’ interior is dominated by the sleeping volcano, Mt Liamuiga. The crater at the summit of this lush green mountain was shrouded in thick, white cloud during my visit. I intended to take the approximately 4-5 hour hike to the volcanic crater, but unfortunately (or fortunately) this didn’t happen. But talking to some locals, I discovered that the hike does not seem to be on many bucket lists. In the words of one Kittitian, I met: “Never done it, will never do it.”
4. There are monkey crossings on Nevis.
And for a good reason. Driving along, I saw a monkey dart across the road holding a green mango in its mouth.
5. Speaking of mangoes…
Nevis is very proud of its delicious mangoes, and they have their very own variety: the Amory Polly. Yellow-skinned and juicy, the Amory Polly mangoes that I tasted were delicious, whether or not they really are the best mangoes in the world is still up for debate!
6. The rum punches are really, really good.
Really good. I didn’t have a single bad rum punch during my week in St Kitts and Nevis. Fruity and refreshing, most often served with a dash of nutmeg on top, they were a delight to try. Hermitage Plantation Inn on Nevis has an exquisite rum punch which Prince Charles and his wife Camilla enjoyed on a visit to the island.
7. It’s completely different when cruise ships are in.
The shopping and food area of Port Zante was calm and quiet when no ships were docked. Once ships came in for the day, the energy completely changed: not just around the port. Everywhere came alive. From dancing masquerade performers and taxis on the hunt for passengers to crowds of people along the popular South Friar’s Bay Beach, St Kitts suddenly got very busy.
8. Shellfish is not what you might think.
When I ordered stewed shellfish at Black Hat’s on Nevis, I wasn’t expecting what I got. I assumed stewed shellfish would be an assortment of shellfish, but what I got was a fish…called shellfish. Yes, there is a fish called shellfish, because it has a crustacean-like shell, and it’s delicious.
9. St Kitts and Nevis is the land of old mills.
A lot of the history from the days of slavery has been preserved around the islands. You can find old water mills scattered all around both islands. St Kitts and Nevis has done an amazing job preserving their history. Brimstone Hill Fortress and Wingfield Estate on St Kitts, and over on Nevis, New River and Coconut Walk Estates and the capital, Charlestown, are good examples. Beautiful old churches dot the Nevis landscape.
10. There’s a lot of luxury tucked away.
There are the elegant villas of Kittitian Hill and the beautiful Park Hyatt on St Kitts, and the cool air of Golden Rocks and celebrity-sightings at the Four Seasons on Nevis. St Kitts and Nevis manage to pack in a lot of luxury in their small islands.
11. There are beach bars galore.
This twin island federation knows a thing or two about good beach bars. You’ll be spoiled for choice along the Frigate Bay strip on St Kitts, which is lined with bars where you can eat, drink and watch the waves. Chinchillas and Vibes Beach Bar are two popular spots for locals. Or head around to South Friars and walk up the beach to Discovery. On Nevis, there are also several good beach bars right by the water like Turtle Time. Turtle Time is animal-friendly, leaving out a water dish for dogs who need a drink.
Bonus: Boiled peanuts! I didn’t know boiled peanuts existed.
Until next time SKN!