Savvy About St. Kitts

Frigate Bay Beach On St. Kitts
Frigate Bay On St. Kitts

St. Kitts is more than just a beach island

By Tab Hauser
GoNOMAD Senior Writer

St Kitts Cockleshell Bay Beach
Craig and Sheryl happy on Cockleshell Beach Tab Hauser photos.

The Caribbean island of St. Kitts can make any vacationer happy. It has nice beaches and several attractions worth visiting.

When combined with good food and local spirits, you have a wonderful couples or family getaway.

Kitts is located 51 miles south of St. Martin and two miles north of its sister island of Nevis. The island is 18 miles long by 5 miles wide. St. Kitts is a scenic place. Here you will find the best beaches in the lower, narrower section to the south and the tall mountains to the north.

St. Kitts Beaches: Time to Lime

The number one attraction in the tropics is the beaches. St. Kitts has several of them on the Atlantic and Caribbean sides. When it is “time to lime” go to the leeward or Caribbean side. We avoided the beaches on the Atlantic due to the rough surf and wind.

The leeward beaches offer soft sand that appears darker due to its volcanic mix. The surf here during our visit was almost lake-like.

All three locations below had beach clubs that served drinks and food and offered lounge chairs and umbrellas. Some had a small charge for their use, while others had you buy lunch or drinks for their use.

The beach shacks offered reasonable prices. On Cockleshell Bay, a few places sold beer for $3.

Cockleshell Bay Beach is at the southern end of the island. It has a beautiful view of Nevis. The popular Reggae Beach Bar and Grill is sectioned off to the east.

We liked the food there but found it a bit crowded. There is more room on the beach on the other side of the taxi dock. (Insider tip: Ask for the non-cruiser rate on their chairs rentals at Reggae)

South Friars Bay is a pretty stretch of sand. It has four beach bars with the upscale Carambola on the northern side. We enjoyed lunch at the moderate-priced Shipwrecks on the southern end of the beach.

St. Kitts Scenic Railway (Tab Hauser)
St. Kitts Scenic Railway

Frigate Bay is the closest to the capital and the smallest beach. There are several beachside restaurants with lounge chairs. We stayed at Timothy’s Resort here because it had its own section of sand away from the day visitors.

St Kitts Off the Beach

For those that want a beach break, St. Kitts is worth exploring.

St. Kitts Scenic Railway

If you like trains, a good way to view the island is on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. It was completed in 1926 and is known as the “last Railway in the West Indies”.

Their three-hour excursion takes guests on a circle around the island. The first 18 miles are via a narrow gauge diesel train and the last 12 miles are by sightseeing bus.

The fun starts with an open bar upon departure. (I did not realize Piña Coladas make a wonderful breakfast drink.)

Fairview Great House St Kitts (Tab Hauser)
Great views of the Caribbean are seen from Fairview’s balconies

During our clickity-clack run at 10 mph, an announcer told us the train’s history as well as points of interest on the route.

These included bridges, scenic views, mountains, churches, and ruins of sugar plantations.

On board, two St Kitts traditional masquerade dancers performed for tips.

Fairview Great House and Rum Tasting

The restored Fairview Great House & Botanical Garden is an example of classic colonial architecture that was built in 1701.

Part one of this tour started with an energetic guide named Tasheba. She explained the history of the house and then led us around the various rooms.

Here we saw period furniture. This included four posted beds, desks, wooden commode toilets, and a dining table for 16.

St. Kitts Fort Brimstone (Tab Hauser)
Fort Brimstone offers sea and island views

Visitors were allowed to enjoy the views of the Caribbean Sea and Nevis from the large balcony.

The house tour continued to the kitchen where we viewed the original volcanic stone and brick oven. It finished in the stone basement where there is a room dedicated to St. Kitts slavery past. Kan Tours

Part two of the visit continued to a lecture room complete with a slide show on the Shipwreck brand of flavored rums mixed in St Kitts. (

Guests were given tastes of a four-year-aged spiced rum along with four flavored rums. After the tour, take a stroll around the 2 ½ acre garden or take a dip in their pool.

UNESCO Fortress with a View

Fort Brimstone St Kitts (Tab Hauser)
Fort Brimstone is a UNESCO sight

The Brimstone Fortress National Park is one of St. Kitts most popular destinations.

Sitting majestically at 800 feet high on 37 acres, it was once called the Gibraltar of the West Indies. It is multilevel with walls seven to 12 feet thick and canons all around.

Brimstone’s history began in the 1690s with several cannons placed atop it.

It was considered complete in the 1790s and is one of the best-preserved fortifications in the Western Hemisphere.

Restored rooms of the fort act as a museum detailing what life was like.

Even if you are not a fan of military history, come to this side of St. Kitts for the views of the nearby islands.

On a clear day, you can see St. Martin 50 miles away.

Wingfield Estate and Old Road Rum

Wingfield Estate St Kitts (Tab Hauser)
Wingfield Estate sugar production ruins

The Wingfield Estate is a former sugar plantation founded in 1625. On the grounds are the picturesque ruins of the sugar and rum production.

This includes the lime kiln, St Kitts’ tallest stone chimney (step inside for a cool view), and an aqueduct that powered the mill.

There is also an excavation of one of the earliest rum stills in the New World where it is reported that Thomas Jefferson’s great, great, great grandfather sipped from.

Wingfield is also the home of Old Road Rum . For a small fee, you will be given a detailed tour and tasting of this imported rum made for them.

For those that wish to learn and appreciate rum, take the one-hour “sommelier style” class for $50.

Wingfield Estate St Kitts rum ruin TabHauser
Wingfield may have had one of the oldest distilleries in the Caribbean

Afterward, you will truly appreciate this fine spirit. I enjoyed this session along with sipping their 12-year-old rum and craft cocktails that followed.

Batik at Romney Manor

The Romney Manor, adjacent to the Wingfield Estate had its start in 1626 by Thomas Jefferson’s ancestors. It is claimed to be the first permanent plantation settlement in the Caribbean.

The manor sits on landscaped grounds with an impressive 400-year-old saman tree.

The house has pretty shutters, shingles, and gingerbread on the roof lines. Inside there is nothing original.

Since 1976 the house and grounds have been the factory and store for Caribelle Batik. These are pretty fabrics made from painted-colored wax. In the center of the store is an artist.

Batik Romney St Kitts (Tab Hauser)
Batick demonstrated and sold at the Romney Estate

She explains while she paints, how batik is made. The store sells all types of clothing, accessories, and art.

Admission to the Wingfield Estate is good at the Romney Manor.

Fun With Rum on St. Kitts

Hi Hibiscus Rum St Kitts (Tab Hauser)
Chemistry Class at Hibiscus Rum

Owner and Master Blender Roger Brisbane runs a chemistry lab like no other under the Spice Mill Restaurant. For over an hour, Roger has guests sit at stations complete with beakers, hibiscus, different natural spices and flavors, an alcohol hydrometer, and a personal bottle to mix it in. There was also a muddler and martini shaker.

St Kitts Romney Estate (Tab Hauser)
The 1625 Romney Estate

Roger in his class talks about why he likes the hibiscus plants and his infusion process for tequila and gin.For our class, we were directed to take his aged rum and infuse it with any of the ingredients in front of us.I went easy on cinnamon and clove but added a little more vanilla and ginger. Afterward, we checked our alcohol volume and labeled our bottles to take home.

As a bonus, Roger, using a mini-still made some hibiscus-infused gin that made the perfect gin and tonic.

St. Kitts Food

St. Kitts offers a meal for any taste and any budget. Below are places I tried and liked.

The Carambola Beach Club has an excellent three-course Caribbean dinner for $40. Ala Carte ordering is also available. Service was flawless.

The Spice Mill is fine dining as close to the sea as you can get. The menu is continental and Caribbean.

Bellemont Farm to Table

The Bellemont Farm has a splendid farm-to-table intimate dinner limited to ten served on a rustic 30-foot table. The setting is elegant with views of the sea. During dinner, a large fire roared nearby.

Dinner is served family style with each dish explained. A welcome cocktail and wine are included for the $150 price. My minor complaint is that the wine should have been stepped for this price.

St Kitts Farm to Table Belle Mont (Tab Hauser)
Farm to shared table at Belle Mont Farm Resort

Serendipity located in Basseterre has a view of the harbor. The menu is continental with a good choice of seafood, lamb, beef, and vegetarian. Service was excellent and friendly.

For beachside casual: Shipwrecks, The Monkey Bar, and The Reggae Beach Bar and Grill

The North Square Food Truck Court at independence square is where Kittians go for a fast lunch. We tried the Rastafarian vegan truck for something different.

Sprat Net serves dinner of fish, lobster, ribs, chicken or pizza. On certain days there is live music. Prices are reasonable and seating is on picnic tables. Get here 10 minutes before sunset.


When staying on St. Kitts, extra care should be taken when searching for a place. If you are booking a beachfront hotel or condo, make sure the beach is usable to your standards. The Atlantic side can be rough and rocky.

St Kitts sunset at Sprats Net (Tab Hauser)
St Kitts sunset at Sprats Net

We stayed at the Timothy Beach Resort because it was on Frigate Bay, which is a calm leeward beach. The resort offers spacious rooms and has a small pool with a restaurant. We splurged $40 extra for the large one-bedroom unit with views of the sea.

Roadside ruins from a 200 year old sugar plantation in St Kitts (Tab Hauser)
Roadside ruins from a 200 year old sugar plantation in St Kitts

Getting Around

If you want to see the sites and dine around, I recommend a rental car from Ry-Lux.

While their cars are a little older, they have good rates and good service. (My tip for British-style driving is to put a “post-it note” on the inside windshield saying “think left” directly under your line of site)

For St. Kitts events, accommodations, restaurants, and attractions click here

Read my story on St. Kitts’s sister island Nevis, click

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2 thoughts on “Savvy About St. Kitts

  1. We visited St Kitts in March 2022 as part of the itineraries of a cruise on the Star Flyer. Island was beautiful. We missed the launch back to the ship at the first stop, but glad we did. We took a taxi to the next anchorage, and our driver was a fabulous tour guide. Wish I’d read your article before we went though. We’ll go back!

  2. What an informative review of St. Kitts. We’ve been to St. Kitts a few times, but as a day visit from a cruise ship at another port. The only recommendations we ever had was a list of a couple of beaches and some local food suggestions. I didn’t realize there was so much more to St. Kitts. I now want to make this a destination instead of a 5-hour visit. It would be great to rent a car and check out the places you reviewed in your article. Thanks for putting St. Kitts back onto our must do list.

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