When I’m on a cruise, I always want to make the most of the limited time I have in each port of call. Here’s my recommendation on how to spend a lovely day on the island of St. Kitts in the Southern Caribbean:
Head for the beach: As soon as you get off the ship in Basseterre, head to the taxi stand, which is a short walk from where you’re docked. Find an available cab and ask to be taken to Cockleshell Beach, which is on the southern tip of the island and features clear blue waters and white sand. It may be worthwhile to see if any other tourists at the cab stand are also heading in that direction, as you’ll be able to share a cab/van ride and split the cost. If you do decide to share a ride, make sure all parties want to head back to the ship around the same time, and agree upon the fare with your cabbie before departing. You’ll also want to tell your driver what time to pick you up from the beach.
Our cab driver was quite knowledgeable about St. Kitt’s history, culture and landmarks, so we got a nice impromptu guided tour as we made our way to Cockleshell Beach. He even stopped the car at a nice vista point so that we could take a few photos of the beautiful coastline (one of which is posted above)!
Stake out a spot and have some lunch: When you’re dropped off at Cockleshell, you’ll most likely be right near the Reggae Beach Bar, a popular (and crowded) watering hole. I suggest making a right (if you’re facing the water), and going for a nice stroll further down the beach until you get to the Spice Mill restaurant’s beach bar. Grab one of their loungers or daybeds and settle in for a few hours of fun in the sun! Order some Carib beers or cocktails, and when you get hungry, try the food from the restaurant (I liked the fried conch). There were a few would-be masseurs trying to sell massages with fresh aloe, but I politely turned them down and they left me alone. If you want to hop on a jet ski for a quick jaunt, there’s usually a fellow on hand with one available for rent (don’t be afraid to negotiate on the rental rate).
Take a quick stroll through town: After you’ve spent a few relaxing hours on the beach, walk back to where your cabbie dropped you off to catch your ride back to the port. Before returning to the ship, I took a pleasant stroll through the quaint British-influenced town of Basseterre. Check out Independence Square for a nice photo op with the town’s cathedral in the background, and if you want a souvenir, look for one in a local shop or grocery store instead of the tourist-y options right next to the port.