Caribbean Adventures on St. Kitts
By Candyce H. Stapen
If you are looking for a less traveled Caribbean getaway that comes with good beaches, few crowds, volcanic peaks, lush rainforest and one of the Caribbeanís most important historical sites, then visit St. Kitts.
Itís easy to time travel when you stand at the Citadel, the 800-foot high summit of St. Kittís Brimstone Hill Fortress, and look out at the breaking waves from between the canons first placed here in 1690. The 38-acre structure, engineered by the British and built in 17th and 18th centuries by the backbreaking labor of African slaves, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national park. Kids love to cross the dry moat, admire the six-foot thick walls, explore the parade grounds and walk the trails in search of the islandís green vervet monkeys.
Along with the fort, the grazing cattle and goats plus the fields of wild sugar cane, and the limited development, enable the islandís west side to convey a sense of the Caribbean of long ago. So does lunch at the Rawlins Plantation Inn, a hilltop 10-room boutique hotel built from the ruins of a 17th century sugar cane estate. At the sumptuous West Indian buffet, you and your kids can sample fried plantains, chicken curry, jerk pork, beef croquettes in ginger sauce and other island dishes. (Reserve ahead).
You can also obtain scenic sweeping views of coastline, farmlands and abandoned stone windmills, on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, formerly used to transport cane. However, be careful. The three hour round-trip may require too much sitting still for most kids (and many adults.)
The concierge at the family-friendly St. Kitts Marriott Resort & the Royal Beach Casino can assist with tour arrangements. Along with three pools, comfortable rooms, a spa and a casino, the hotel features a daily Kidz Club for ages 5-12 years from 9:00am to 4:00pm as well as some evenings. Youngsters dye T-shirts, create pottery, go on beach walks and test their Limbo skills.
Thoughtfully, along the wide stretch of sand, the resort has placed 99 lounge chairs with attached canopies, enough so that no one has to make a pre-dawn run to claim a spot. Sometimes the beach at the Marriott can be rough. For calmer waters, take a short cab ride over the hill to Frigate Bay Beach.