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St. Kitts - a former colony

It was my first time in the Caribbean (I don't count Cuba as it is a place of its own right – a different world). It was November, nice and warm - unlike home, so perfect holiday destination.

First thing that one notices is that not all the places have aircon. There are the good taxis with build in aircon and the ones au naturelle - with open windows.

The second thing that jumps at you or rather crawls up to you is the fact that although this place has nothing to do with the latin "mañana" the attitude is exactly the same. People here even get slightly upset if you're trying to rush them, no matter how much you smile or how desperate you are. They are not really chatty either - but then in this heat, who would be.

The island itself is not very big, drivable in a car in one day. And that was the plan - to rent a car and do some sightseeing. It turned out that firstly, it is way cheaper to move around in taxis and secondly, the state of the roads was shocking. Add to that enigmatic street signs or lack thereof and you'll see how much more convenient the taxis are. Although it could be a conspiracy.

Apart from lying on the beach, snorkelling, doing aqua aerobic in the hotel pool and eating a lot, there are few places that you can see. You are on a former colony so of course you will find an abandoned sugar cane plantation. Quite interesting history lesson especially for someone like me, who doesn't know much about slavery. Having grown up in a country that didn’t have any colonies I never had to face my county’s history that way.

In the same area there you can find organized jungle walks. They are quite tame and safe - not your proper hike but quite few hours of a nice wander with a good guide who can tell you about the plants and animals living in the woods. You get to see a lot of massive anthills. And parasite trees called "matapalos" in Spanish - they grow on other trees and use their roots to get nourishment from the ground. After a while the original tree is completely dead and serves as tunnel for food for the parasite. We didn't see any monkeys but apparently during the mango season they go crazy for the fruit.

Your next stop could be the Brimstone Hill Fortress - UNSECO World Heritage Site. It is a bit on the outskirts but definitely worth a visit. You can see almost the whole island from there. When you realize how steep is the hill itself you begin to appreciate the work that was put into building it. The construction was carried out for over 100 years by African slaves, from the beginning it was changing hands between the French and the British until it was abandoned in 1853. Once it was considered the "Gibraltar of the West Indies".

The capital city, Basseterre, is quite walkable with nice markets on the weekends and shopping malls near the port - those huge Caribbean cruise ships stop there so the infrastructure is adequate. That also means that for few hours the ship is there you can count on crowds of tourists strolling on the streets.

All in all a beautiful island, great place for a week of laziness and relaxation. There are also quite few golfing courses with some gorgeous vistas.

If you would like to explore it further:

St. Kitts in images

St. Kitts - a former colony
St. Kitts in images
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