It’s been a tough spring as far as work goes, following a tough year when KEEN owned my life, so I was more than happy to jet off to the islands for a few days and leave it all behind. (True story: I only opened my laptop once. That’s practically an anomaly for me.)
I’ve known Angie since 2008; we used to work together when she was in consumer PR in NYC. We’ve traveled to the Bahamas a couple times and also to Orlando when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter first opened to drink all the Butterbeer with our sisters and my mom. I met Jade through travel blogging several years ago; we became fast friends and have since also been on a few trips together—with many others planned this year for Travel Mindset—from Chicago to Knoxville (and Gatlinburg next week, Panama City next month, Montana in June…).
It’s safe to say these gals are two of my absolute favorites. But I’d never been on a trip with both of them at once. Where better to change that than beautiful St. Kitts?
When you work in the travel industry, you become jaded; I just assume everyone knows about the Caribbean gem that is St. Kitts and Nevis. But according to comments on many of my Instagram posts, it’s an enigma to many of you, and truth be told, I knew little about the island itself beyond its location until I checked it out firsthand. So, to kick off my ample coverage on this tropical jewel, here are some things I love about St. Kitts.
1. It’s beautiful. Duh. Like, insanely beautiful.
2. It has one of the last functioning passenger railroads in the Caribbean. The two-hour trip on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is a must for all visitors, families or otherwise.
3. The islanders are some of the friendliest people ever. I’ve been to more than a dozen Caribbean islands, and let me tell you they’re not all this way (St. Maarten, I’m looking at you). But on St. Kitts, you get the impression the locals are actually happy you’re there.
4. You can stay on a plantation. An excellent option for honeymooners or couples, the family-owned Ottley’s Plantation Inn was one of my favorite spots on the island.
5. Or if you wait a bit longer, you can check in at the brand new Kittian Hill come December. Warning: you’ll never want to check out, I guarantee you. I can’t even describe how this property is going to change the entire face of tourism on the island.
6. If you’re traveling with children, you can make your base camp at the uber-kid-friendly Marriott St. Kitts. That beach, that pool—I could have lain out here forever.
7. Mr. X’s Shiggidy Shack. No further explanation needed; the name says it all.
10. For the Caribbean, it’s super affordable. Sure, you’ll pay a bit more than you would Stateside for meals, but then again, it’s not exactly cheap to fly in fresh produce to the middle of the Atlantic. As someone on the island told me, you want to pay more so you know you’re at least getting a decent quality. But food aside, everything else was far more affordable than other places I’ve visited in the islands.
11. It’s easy to reach if you’re on the East Coast. Even from Nashville, which has zero direct flights to the Caribbean, it was a six-hour trip for me with a connection in Miami (less time than it would take to get to San Francisco).
12. It’s got great tourism infrastructure while still feeling authentic. In my experience, as an island gets built up, it compromises authenticity. Not in St. Kitts. It’s got one road that rings the perimeter and virtually no traffic. Also, there was free Wi-Fi nearly everywhere we went, even restaurants, something I have trouble finding when traveling in Europe and sometimes even U.S. destinations.
13. There are monkeys. And who doesn’t love seeing monkeys in the wild? Just watch out for your lunch….
14. It’s got loads of history if you’re into that sort of thing. And I’m not just talking French and British occupation history. Did you know, in fact, that two of our founding fathers (Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson) had ties to this glorious slice of real estate? Hamilton was born here, and Jefferson’s great-great-great-grandfather was buried there and had a well-known sugar plantation, Romney Manor, on the island.
15. The food is excellent. I’m not generally a fan of Caribbean food as a whole—many of the islands are not foodie destinations, you must admit—but I didn’t have a single meal that wasn’t drool-worthy on St. Kitts. That seafood. So fresh! So tasty. (Perhaps not the best decision to eat so much the week before I have to be in an already tight-fitting bridesmaids dress, but hey, you only live once.)
17. The diving is top notch. Or so my dive writer friends tell me. We tried to hop on a dive boat, but the timing didn’t work in our favor this go ’round. No worries; I will be back.