Day one on my press junket to St. Kitts involved some swimming and a very fine dinner. Day two was packed with more great food, a Jeep tour of the island, and a sunset catamaran cruise – a full, fun day in a gorgeous setting.
We met Greg of Greg’s Safaris and set off on a four hour Off The Beaten Path tour. Greg is a really interesting guy, and since he was born and raised on St. Kitts, he knew everything and everybody. His company is the only one that can take Jeep tours of the hilly, rainforest interior of the island. He also does hiking tours.
Jillian Ryan getting into our Jeep
We started out driving through the main part of town, passing by Port Zante, which has duty-free shopping and a new cruise ship terminal, and the popular public market, which is open on Saturdays – Greg said to try and get there by 8am if you can!
Even the KFC is colorful!
We also passed the Ocean Terrace Inn, which is renowned for its Friday night West Indian buffet and steel drum band. It also belonged to Greg’s parents, until they sold it in the mid-90s.
Our first stop was an old abandoned sugar plantation. Everything was done to make these houses as cool as possible in the Caribbean heat. The ceilings were high, there were louvers around the doorways to keep the air moving, and the kitchen was in a different building.
Shadwell Great House
Every plantation had a banyan tree, because they grew more or less horizontal to the ground, and created a lot of shade.
Another plantation we visited had a gorgeous Poinciana tree (also called the Flamboyant Tree, for obvious reasons). We saw many of these pretty trees in St. Kitts, but this one was absolutely breathtaking.
Greg parked the Jeep under the Poinciana, and got together a nice snack full of different kinds of island fruits, coconut goodies, and rum while we explored.
Our next stop was an old sugar processing mill. About one hundred of them dot the landscape. These were not happy places, since like many labor-intensive industries at the time, the work was done by slaves. Greg brought stacks of photos to help us see some of the history of the sugar mills.
The last stop was St Mary’s Anglican Church in Cayon, which has a rich history as part of the abolitionist movement. The vicar of St. Mary’s in the 1770s, James Ramsey, had started out as a doctor, but after seeing the horrors of a slave ship he became an Anglican priest and an outspoken opponent of slavery. He was also the inspiration for James Newton’s famous hymn, Amazing Grace.
We clamored onto the Jeep one last time and headed for the Marriott. It was a pretty amazing afternoon.
After some time back at the hotel, we headed back to Port Zante to board a catamaran – my first time! – for a sunset cruise, with Leeward Island Charters. We took our shoes off and climbed aboard.
The people in the next boat were showing off their catches and basically goofing around for our benefit.
As we headed away from St. Kitts the clouds rolled in – perfect timing! It was a gorgeous evening.
Our leader from Diamond PR, Lisa, with Ava’s daughter and Kayt’s son
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