St Kitts Trip Report
We have been back now for almost a week from our 11 night stay on St. Kitts. It was our first visit to the island. Our initial reaction was mixed but in time the island surely grew on us. It turned out to be one of the most relaxing vacations we have ever had in our 36 years of marriage.
We left home on April 20th and spent the night at Bradley Airport, our local Connecticut airport. We spent the night at an airport hotel that offered free parking with a stay as our flight was before 7 am. We also wanted to get to the airport early in hopes of securing exit seats that we were able to do.
Our American flight was fine and uneventful and direct to San Juan with lots of leg room.. I was glad to have packed a lunch and lots of water as we got up at 4 am! And had no breakfast. We had a short wait in San Juan and took American Eagle to St. Ktts.It is cool seeing the other islands we fly over enroute.
Finally we had arrived! We went through customs easily and went outside to meet our Hertz person. The Hertz office was empty so we waited. After a time we called. Bear in mind we are in Ct clothes and it is hot! (Tip: Maybe making a change of clothes in San Juan layover might be a good idea!)
When she finally arrived it was paperwork time! The phone was ringing off the hook and this Hertz gal worked in slow- no slowest motion. My husband stood outside manning our luggage. I wanted to get a license also and there was in addition to a license fee an extra charge of $40 for the second driver? (In retrospect for the wee bit I did drive this was truly a waste of time and money)
When she did pull up with the car it was the wrong model. We had booked a compact and she showed up with a subcompact that had only ¾ tank of gas. They were clearly not ready for our reservation. I insisted on getting the compact just in case of an accident we would have a wee bit more protection. After now going back to the office and a round of phone calls it was decided we should take this car to their other office in Bassetere and get the correct car. To get off the airport we had to pay $1ec. tax!
Right off the airport you hit your first of many roundabouts and have to adjust quickly to driving on the left side of the road. With a little difficulty we found the Hertz office. At least this girl was more efficient but we still had another round of paperwork to do.
I did mention to this gal that we wanted to get a car on Nevis for a day and wanted to use the exchange program. (I had learned about this free exchange in my research.) She tells me Hertz does NOT offer this program. When I asked why I was told that they used to have a Hertz office on Nevis but due to lack of business it was closed. This was disappointing and just another expense for us. (I was later to learn that Avis does not have an office on Nevis yet offers this deal using an independent company on Nevis called Noels.)
Finally we get our car! We find our way to our lodging for the night-The Ocean Terrace Inn which is actually located in Bassetere. When we checked in (and we are feeling very hot and tired at this point) she offered us a rum punch. What perfect timing!—and we eagerly accepted it.
We had rented a condo for our stay but since it was rented for this night we are staying at OTI. It is a lovely property overlooking Bassetere Bay. The grounds are quite lovely and tropical nestled into the hill. One feels relaxed just being here. Our room was spacious and lovely with a refrigerator and private patio-porch. We are finally ON vacation!!(I got this room for $94 plus tax on Expedia –the honeymoon special)
We spent an hour of so by the pool and relaxed and swam. It was so refreshing. We are getting hungry and it is still early. On Friday nights the OTI offers a West Indian buffet and entertainment EXCEPT it doesn’t begin until seven PM and we are fading fast.
We decided to take a drive and maybe hit Shiggidty Shack early? We got ourselves lost for awhile and then in the distance this monstrous building came into view. I knew immediately what it was—The Marriott- and also knew from my research that the Shiggidty Shack could not be far away. We drove by the Marriott and passed Sea Lofts on the way. We went in and checked out from the outside our unit #46 and were quite pleased with what we saw. You never know when you rent these places cold REALLY what you are going to get. Sea Lofts is located right next to the Marriottt. They are like tree houses (sort of) on three levels with decks on the top two. We could see that our unit was going to have great ocean views. I was particularly pleased as I love to look at the ocean but I can’t take the sun.( I had an ugly (literally) experience with a facial chemotherapy cream this winter that kept me hidden in the house this winter in pain for over a month—too much sun as a kid and Irish skin.)
We were turned around and found TBR and Shiggidy Shack. It was late afternoon so it was mostly populated by people with young children. We saw a glorious sunset and had dinner. I had the spiny lobster and John had the grouper. The lobster (and the only one of my trip there) was quite meaty and rich and delicious. My husband like the grouper but found it to be a rather small portion. I found the sides to be blah so he filled up on those too. Our waitress had sort of a lackadaisical attitude and little personality. It was not what I expected at a popular beach bar. It certainly was far from jumping at 7 pm when we left. In fairness we never made it back to SS so we might had come away with a totally different estimate the next time.
We found our way back to OTI and creased by 7:30. Aren’t we a fun couple so far? H
Lest you have the impression we are truly boring I forgot to mention we also enjoyed a couple of pina coladas before dinner and they were delicious! I am not sure my husband had ever had one before but he was in love! He has a sweet tooth and for these drinks and all the pina coladas to follow on this vacation they went down like KoolAid!
Our bed at OTI was quite comfortable and we slept about 11 hours straight. We woke up to all the birds chirping outside and felt renewed and refreshed and ready to vacation!! We had coffee in the room and some of the remaining snacks from our plane picnic—granola bars in fact.
Now my first order of business is to check out the food shopping on the island. This is where I found out I had been a bit delusional. Since our condo was such a terrific location with the most wonderful views (and as you know we are not night people) I thought we might go out to lunch a few times but mainly I would cook dinner. I envisioned all the wonderful fresh fruit on a tropical island, the fresh beautiful fish straight off the boat and the beautiful fresh vegetables I would get from the Farm market in downtown Bassetere. I knew they had one on Saturdays and this was our first mission.
We set out early and easily found the market. It wasn’t at all what I had envisioned—not at all. I was a bit in shock. I checked all the vendors out until I found one I sort of liked. The fruit was not beautiful and limited. What they had seemed very ripe. The fresh vegetables had a stunted look to them and had not been cleaned up at all. One really positive thing I found were wonderful tomatoes. They grow on the island and are very much like our native tomatoes here in late summer. I love them and bought a couple of pounds almost every day we were there. They were a good price too. I bought them anywhere from 2.oo ec a lb to 4.50. The price did vary that much. There is a truck that parks on the main street almost every day and he has the best prices.
I bought quite a bit that day in the farm market-potatoes, sweet potatoes, green peppers, cabbage. Limes, mangoes, bananas, cukes and tomatoes etc etc.
We then checked out the grocery stores. We tried the Rams on Main St and had a bit of a culture shock there. We then went to Horsfords and that was an improvement at least. The grocery shopping is limited to say the least, a bit expensive and different. They had no fresh meat or chicken or fish—all were frozen. (I was to find out from people in the stores that they bring in legally their own meat for their stays on the island. I do wish I knew this as I definitely would have done that!)
With the exception of Canadian bacon I bought no meat while we were there. Instead I bought a lot of tunafish!?—no kidding!
We had time to kill today as we could not get into our condo until after 2:30. We decided to take the drive I had heard so much about to Turtle Beach. It is truly a breathtaking drive! It is a hoot as well with the conventions of goats and cows. Turtle Beach has a website I visited several times before we left and it gives a perfect feel for Turtle Beach. I felt at home as soon as we arrived!
We decided to buy rum earlier—when in Rome etc. We are wine drinkers. We could not find anything in the grocery to mix it with. We enjoyed a couple mango coladas at Turtle Beach before lunch. There was a couple there who had been on our flight in and they were from Ct. Small world she went to the same high school as our kids. Anyway we enjoyed talking with them. We shared conch fritters and coconut shrimp for our lunch. The conch fritters were quite good but I thought the coconut was a bit burned. Of course we saw the monkeys and other pet animals. Anyone visiting St Kitts should definitely take in the Turtle Beach experience. They have a great beach, free chaises, snorkeling, swimming, music and all sorts of animals. The rooster goes all day long. The fat pig never moves—just naps. He is only three but can barely walk as he gets all the leftovers from the restaurant. The drive there is spectacular! There are other great beaches nearby on this point as well.
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St Kitts Trip Report