> Destinations > St. Kitts and Nevis > Trip Reports > Trip Report
Visited early April 2005 - Stayed at the Timothy Beach Resort - 86 degrees every day.
Rather than echo what many others have said, I would like to add some new material that might be helpful for the first time visitor. I read this web site very closely before I visited but there were several things I wished I knew before I got to St. Kitts.
Take a ½ day taxi tour ASAP so you'll get your bearings. The taxi will take you to most of the popular places - the Brimstone Fort (45 minutes to explore), the Romney Plantation and batik factory for 45 minutes. This place has some amazing gardens. After that you'll head for Black Rocks, Carib Petrographs, all the towns on the island and a very cool place where the Caribbean and the Atlantic meet. The cost was $20 a person if more than two people take the trip. There were about 10 of us in the mini-van cab and we saw everything we needed to see, except Turtle Beach. This was a really good deal, even if you plan on renting a car later in your stay.
You will not need to change money. Every bill you'll receive will be listed in Eastern Caribbean as well as the US$. My banker girlfriend checked every bill and the rate was within a couple of pennies of the going exchange rate. Cab drivers all take US$ and seem to prefer it.
St. Kitts is very, very quiet at night (Read - DEAD). Although we ran into one guy there who claimed to be in a bar until 3:00 A.M. the night before. We also met one single American woman who was there for a friend's wedding and was eager to go home since all she did was hang on the beach all day and go to the casino each night. She claimed the tours were too expensive. Being something of a self contained and go-with-the-flow adventure travel person will make St. Kitts both palatable and enjoyable.
Timothy Beach Resort (TBR) is on the Caribbean side. It was built in the 70's as a time share. I wished I upgraded to a better room with a kitchenette with a coffee maker. Having hot water would have made coffee, tea, and hot oatmeal viable low cost breakfast options. Bring some parachute cord for a makeshift clothes line on the balcony. The clothes will dry overnight. P-cord is much lighter than extra clothes. Even the basic rooms at the TBR have small fridges in them. In fact, next time I'll have the taxi take me from the airport to the IDG supermarket (you'll pass it anyway and Kittian taxi drivers will wait) and then check into the TBR. Bring an insulated bag and a small ice pack from home for day trips and the beach. The front desk staff at the TBR are great.
TBR is on one of the best beaches on the island. The Kittians go there. You can snorkel, rent umbrellas, jets skis, kayaks, etc. The best snorkeling is done on the far left side of the beach The Monkey Bar and Mr. X's Shiggity Shack are on the beach and about 100 feet from TBR. Do not miss either establishment.
You could spend several days on St. Kitts just checking out what will someday become the St. Kitts Strip - TBR to the Marriott Hotel, a distance of about a ½ mile each way. If you are not staying in Basseterre, you will probably be staying the resort area - the future "Strip" area of the island. I'm not sure I personally would have wanted to stay in Basseterre. If you are staying in the resort area, know that almost everything is a cab ride away. Always confirm prices with the drivers before the ride.
The Frigate Bay Resort is 2/3 of the way from Basseterre to the TBR - Strip area. There are no sidewalks and it is pretty deserted esp. at night. I would not have felt comfortable walking from Frigate Bay Resort to Turtle Beach or the Marriott at night.
The only American chain restaurant we saw on St. Kitts was Kentucky Fried Chicken and we heard there was a Subway. Both were in Basseterre. We passed on visiting both.
Marriott Hotel - It is pretty. It is America, not St. Kitts. You'll see a lot of very badly sunburned Americans there. The Sunday Brunch for $25 a person is a good deal. They also have a coffee bar. A light American breakfast (a coffee and a pastry for under $3.00) is otherwise very hard to come by on the island. We were able to walk down to the Marriott, got breakfast, and walked back to the TBR before our day tours started a couple of mornings.
St. Kitts is a very "barefoot" place. A golf shirt, a pair of karkis and sandals will get a man into any place on the island. Leave the tie & jacket at home.
The IGA Supermarket, where you'll find many familiar American brands, saved us a lot of money. Every meal eaten out is going to be expensive, which is fine for dinner, but the $25.00 breakfasts and lunches (for 2) can add up fast. You will want to buy a bottled water, juice, cheese, oatmeal bars, etc.
We were able to do at least two more tours thanks to reading this website and stopping by the IGA.
Ram's Convenience Store - on the strip - great place for a midweek food and water re-supply after you have first visited the IGA. Good supply of souvenirs, which are hard to find on the island. Not that this is a bad thing.
Tax Rate 9% - Gratuities of 14% is sometimes added to the bill. You'll want to check the check.
Renting a car is about $40 a day. License and insurance is extra. Driving is on the right. Gas was $3.50 USD a gallon.
About 1/3 of the island is covered in sugar cane. This will be the last year the crop will be harvested. It is unclear what the Government will grow on the land next year. The island is going to look very different next year.
Caribbean side beaches - No waves. Atlantic side beaches - Waves & very rough surf. My girlfriend still has a scar on knee from when she was wave jumping on an Atlantic side beach and got thrown down into the sand.
Take the all-day catamaran sail / snorkeling cruise. The Spirit of St. Kitts was beautiful and the crew were awesome! A lunch on Nevis is included. The best $72.00 USD I ever spent. These people know what they're doing and enjoy doing it well.
Television - the entire island is serviced by a U.S. satellite company out of New York. Its easier to find news about what's going on in the Bronx than what's going on in St. Kitts.
40,000 Kittians - 60,000 Green Vervet monkeys on the island. You will see monkeys. The monkeys will amuse you. You will not amuse them. You have been warned.
Turtle Beach - The bar / restaurant rated by Men's Magazine as one of the best 25 bars in the world. Check out the salt ponds on the road just before you get to the beach. Its worth the $32 cab ride for the amusement park value of the cab ride alone. Goats wander the beach. Monkeys hang out on the path from the restaurant to the beach. A goat walked atop the table next to ours. You could throw an ice cube from your glass into the sea. Make sure you see the 700 lb. 3 year old pig. A very cool place to spend a ½ day and have a meal. Views of Nevis straight ahead.
The beach itself is only so-so. Its very rocky. But don't miss it.
Marshall's was nice. Very good meal. Cost was about $120.00 for 2. Good place for the big special meal out. Ottley's Plantation is the other place, but its way out there on the northeast side of the island.
PJ's - decent Italian food. A lot of food for the money. PJ's is on "the strip". Pizza was about $25.00 with salad. The meatball dinner contained about two days worth of food.
There is a small English restaurant / pub on the strip near PJ's and the Ram Store. It had a decent English breakfast and the English couple running it were nice enough. Sorry, I can't recall the name.
Fisherman's Wharf - was very good. On the water by Basseterre Harbor. Buffet style. A lot of food.
The restaurant called Sprat Net, which is located a considerable distance outside of Basseterre, on the eastern side of the island, was recommended to us by several cab drivers. The locals eat there and they like to recommend it. It is only open for dinner. During the day the staff is out fishing for the entrees. We never got there. Next time.
The volcano walk was a tad disappointing. I've been to Iceland so I could have been jaded. Its a moderate uphill walk. The rim is visible only from a rock at the end of the trail. There are mongooses awaiting you on top. The buttress trees are very cool to look at. The guide was great. The hike through the rain forest (and it poured rain on us like you could not believe) was great.
There is a leather-back turtle viewing tour for about ½ the year. It runs at night. The cost is $80.00 I mention it because I only found out about it from a flyer on the island.
It is possible to fly to St. Martin for $60 USD, which I believe was a one day round trip price.
Nevis - We both thought it was VERY overrated. Everything is very spread out and tucked away in various former plantations. The islands are the difference between Martha's Vineyard (St. Kitts) and Nantucket (Nevis), if that helps you. The only place we were panhandled was in Nevis. The ferry over both ways was crowded. We were hit with several taxes (a couple of dollars) both ways. Not worth the day we spent there. The famous baths are a joke. It's a modern pool about 20 feet square that you can bath in if you're into public bathing. My girlfriend was expecting a modern day spa. Oh well. The garden was very nice, but it took us a lot of time and money to see it.
I'd spend a week in St. Kitts again and I'm glad I went now. In ten years I believe it will be a very different travel experience.
Thanks to John for this trip report ...