One of our very favorite Caribbean islands is St. Kitts. We have been fortunate enough to stop there on two separate cruises, and we are looking forward to yet another amazing St. Kitts day in just a couple of a months.
On our first visit, we were determined to see as much of this island as possible. Having researched the heck out of different possible tour operators, we finally landed with Royston. Reviews were all excellent and he seemed to be the favorite on Cruise Critic (my favorite one-stop-shop for cruise information). Here is Royston’s website if you are ever planning a trip to St. Kitts: Royston Tours St. Kitts
Royston arranged a pickup at the port, and we were loaded into the van and ready to roll by 9am. Unlike many cruise excursions, Royston runs a small operation–no big buses or caravans, but just a small group of people in his van. He has taken the windows out, which allows for a nice breeze, better picture-taking, and of course the befriending of donkeys…
Our tour was a 4-hour trip around the island with stops at some of the important historical sites, tourist attractions, and Royston’s favorite vista points. Our first two destinations were both old sugar plantations, remnants of St. Kitts’ rich history of growing, processing, and exporting cane sugar.
Wingfield Estate Sugar Plantation
Our first main stop was at the Wingfield Estate Sugar Plantation Ruins. If I recall correctly, this was both a sugar plantation and a rum distillery, owned by Samuel Jefferson, an ancestor of Thomas Jefferson. It is now the site of an archeological dig and tourist attraction, currently owned by a man whose aim is to preserve this part of the island’s history.
Swinging Through the Forest
After wandering through this little piece of St Kitts history, we walked to the outskirts of the Wingfield Estate property and right into the lush, green beauty of the Central Forest Reserve. Here we followed a small stream as we made our way to our next stop: vine swinging!
After this brief but exhilarating Tarzan experience, we trekked back out of the forest and hopped into the van for a short drive to the site of another large and once prosperous sugar plantation, Romney Manor. This estate and plantation were also originally owned by Samuel Jefferson, and are just a hop, skip, and a jump (aka 1.4 km) away from Wingfield. These days Romney Manor is home to Caribelle Batik, botanical gardens, and a 350-year-old saman tree.
Caribelle Batik started up in the 1970s and uses the traditional Indonesian batik method of dying beautiful designs into fabric. They make clothing, accessories, and artwork, all of which are unique and beautiful. I can honestly say it took a whole lot of restraint not to walk out with more than a few purchased items. If you have the chance to visit this shop, you will be supporting a wonderful local business, and I guarantee you will not find yourself lacking in souvenirs!
We did not have a chance to wander through the acres of botanical gardens on site, but we were still treated to the beautiful surroundings of trees and flowers right outside of the batik shop.
As I’m sure you can imagine, we were reluctant to leave such a beautiful place, but there was so much more of beautiful St. Kitts yet to be seen. So we boarded our open-air tour van and got back on the road…
The second half our tour with Royston
- Brimstone Hill Fortress
- Timothy Hill
- South Friar’s Bay