St Kitts has something for everyone. Foodie types will love St Kitts’ food and restaurant scene and luxe lovers will want to hang out at all the venues on the St Kitts luxury list. Dreamy white sand beaches are heaven for sun worshipers, there’s natural beauty for nature lovers and a strong heritage for history buffs. And there’s more. Much more. St Kitts is an island of adventure, activity and adrenaline. I had five island adventures in St Kitts. Hold onto your hat…
St Kitts Rainforest Hike
Lush rainforest covers over a quarter of St Kitts. Mount Liamuiga’s foothills are shrouded in verdant green and, in places, it extends as far as the coastline. And it’s still growing. Diligent conservation and protected status since 1902 means the rainforest is getting bigger by the day.
Hard core hikers can climb to the top of the highest peak on St. Kitts, also one of the highest in the Caribbean. Mount Liamuiga at 3,792 feet is a tough five-hour climb so you’ll need to be very fit but I’m told the views from the top of the dormant volcano are epic. We took a more laid-back style of hike.
Into the Jungle
Our St Kitts rainforest hike started at Wingfield Estate near to the ruins of a sugar mill and rum distillery. Expert guide, O’Neil Mulraine, is passionate about the plants and wildlife of the rainforest. His extensive knowledge of ‘bush medicine’ and herbalism was passed down to him through the generations and was fascinating to hear as we weaved our way through the jungle.
Protected from the sun by the rainforest canopy we followed an easy trail brushing aside hanging banyan roots as we went. Over 400 species of plant and tree can be found per acre and there are 10-12 different types of mango alone. O’Neil picked out different varieties of plants and told us their uses. Amongst them, Silver Trumpet to regulate blood sugar and Stinky Nuts to forecast rain (still not really sure about that one).
A creature I really didn’t expect to see in the rainforest was a hermit crab. O’Neil moved aside a rock to reveal a fine specimen, legs clawing as it was brought out into the light. There are vervet monkeys in the rainforest but not one did we see. They were off as soon as they heard us coming. O’Neil did an excellent monkey call to encourage them down but they weren’t fooled and all we found were half-eaten mangoes as evidence of their presence.
Towards the end of the hike O’Neil offered us a short-cut. We could climb up a 30ft wall of trees and banyan roots or take the longer uphill option. We took the longer route. Of course O’Neil scaled the wall in no time at all.
After our hike it was time to see the rainforest from a totally different perspective. From above. Flying through the air we took an adrenaline fuelled zip-line over the tree canopy at speeds of up to 80km an hour. Sky Safari Tours has five zip-lines. The highest is 250 ft which gives amazing views of the rainforest below and panoramic views across St Kitts. That’s if you dare to open your eyes! This was one of my favourite island adventures in St Kitts.
The final zip has the added dimension of a dual line which means you can get competitive and race the person next to you. That zip-line was a real buzz!
Horse-riding in the Countryside
A favourite activity in St Kitts was horse-back riding through the lower reaches of the mountain rainforest with Trinity Inn Stables. A peaceful few hours were spent ambling past disused sugar mills along a well-trodden path. The horses were well-behaved but had a definite pecking order. My horse was last in the line up but if we overtook the horse in front of us we were soon put back in our place. There was an order and the horses ensured we stuck to it!
The views across the lush green landscape out to sea were stunning. We passed vervet monkeys stealing crops in the fields and small-holdings busy with chickens and packed with home-grown vegetables. This was one of those moments when I realised that St Kitts had worked its magic on me and I’d well and truly settled into that Caribbean vibe.
Swimming with Turtles
I’ve wanted to see turtles in the wild for a long time. When I set eyes on a creature I want to see it in its natural habitat without being caged or restricted. Where it belongs. In the wild. That little dream of mine came true in St Kitts.
Our catamaran trip with Blue Water Safaris had a stop scheduled for snorkelling en route to Nevis. Snorkels donned we slipped into the warm ocean. Within a minute or two someone called out ‘turtle’ and we all dipped under the water. And there it was, a fairly young Hawksbill, about 18-inches long. For a few minutes I swam along behind the turtle as it moved gracefully through the clear turquoise water.
Sea urchins clung to the sea bed and large shoals of brightly coloured fish darted past. Even if the turtle hadn’t made an appearance it would still have been one of my favourite St Kitts moments.
Sea Turtle Monitoring in St Kitts
St Kitts Turtle Monitoring Network is busy working with local volunteers to develop a long term sea turtle monitoring & protection programme. Turtles nest on two beaches in St Kitts and we visited one to see how they’re monitored. Turtle tracks about 6ft wide were imprinted in the sand leading up to a large dip in the sand where eggs had been laid the night before. That must have been one massive turtle.
During turtle nesting season visitors can go out with a guide on a special night-time ecotour to see nesting female turtles, and later their hatchlings. We dropped by during the day to see evidence of where the turtles had nested overnight. At night time the beaches are protected and closed except to the Monitoring Network who run the tours.
Kayaking at Reggae Beach
Reggae Beach Bar and Grill in Cockleshell Bay has a really chilled vibe going on. ‘Rush slowly’, the bar’s motto, says it all. But as well as liming and chilling on the sands there’s another side to Reggae Beach, it’s also home to the adrenaline fuelled St Kitts Water Sports.
Kite-boarding, fly-boarding, jet-skis, kayaking, snorkel adventures, surfing, wake-boarding, paddle-boarding and loads of other water-based activities are waiting for the active visitor to St Kitts. The ‘rush slowly’ mantra appealed to me and I opted for a gentle kayak in a glass-bottomed boat around the bay. It suited me just fine.
What did you think of my island adventures in St Kitts – which one would you choose?
If you want to check out the island for yourself BA frequently offer UK residents 7 nights in St Kitts at very competitive prices. See here for more details.
I was in St Kitts as a guest of St Kitt’s Tourism Authority. Many thanks to all sponsors – BA for flights, accommodation, activities and meals. As always, my views and opinions remain 100% my own.