Cockleshell Beach, St Kitts
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{Video} St Kitts, West Indies

I just spent a luxurious week on the island of St Kitts. One month ago, I had never even heard of the island. Now, I adore it.

St Kitts is a caribbean paradise proudly sporting the tagline, “follow your heart” and viewed by many as “the next St Barth“. St Kitts is still quite underdeveloped, which is what I loved about it. While there are some major constructions underway, the island holds its authentic charm where you will not find a single McDonald’s or Starbucks. 

Quick notes:

  • The island is populated by thousands of students who attend the local universities, mostly the veterinary school. Thursday is their big night out along “The Strip” – a bunch of open-air beach bars along South Frigate Bay. This area is the must-go for a boozy night out – starting at Shiggidy Shack for plenty of live music, seafood, dancing, flame throwers and bonfires on the beach.
  • For centuries, St Kitts was a giant mass of sugar plantations, which the government stopped in 2005 as it was no longer profitable. Almost everything is now imported, making the cost of living incredibly high. Which is odd because the volcanic soil and climate of the island make it a haven for harvesting fresh produce, however most of the locals just don’t seem to want to do it, so the island relies on tourism as it’s main source of income.

Here are some of the spots that really grabbed my attention during my stay…

Christophe Harbour

I was in St Kitts to film another WPT Alpha8 series of episodes, with almost 30 players taking to the felt in our $100,000 buy-in poker tournament. We held the event at the exclusive Pavillion, a private club at Christophe Harbour, one of the multi-billion dollar developments.  When I first walked in to the Pavilion I was blown away – it is absolutely stunning with an infinity pool overlooking the private beach. And considering they’re selling land from anywhere between $600k to $6 million, you have to expect this place to be nothing short of incredible!

For three days, we transformed the beachfront bar/restaurant into an exotic, outdoor, high stakes poker room and TV studio. It was easily the most impressive poker setting I’ve ever witnessed, and the players agreed.

During the breaks, players were able to jump in the pool and/or caribbean sea, and they even had a bocce ball game going.  I’ve never seen such a chilled out tournament before – it was easy to forget these guys had each staked $100,000.

It was so relaxed that the antics were typical of school camp… Here is one helluva prank Bill Perkins and Sorel Mizzi played while I was interviewing Antonio Esfandiari…

Before the tournament took place, some of us arrived early to film some travel features around town. We had a magical tour guide, fittingly named Magic, who drove us around the island to explore all that this little treasure of the West Indies has to offer.

Our brilliant tour guide, Magic, from Magic Tours – I highly recommended!

The view from Carambola Beach Club.

Basseterre, St Kitts

Old Road, Basseterre, St Kitts.

Beautiful views overlooking South Friars Bay Beach

Beautiful views overlooking South Friars Bay Beach.

The eerie, abandoned Fort Thomas Hotel

The eerie, abandoned Fort Thomas Hotel.

Lion Rock Bar, St Kitts

The perfect spot for a drink in the sand, Lion Rock Bar.

Ottley’s Plantation Inn

Ottley’s Plantation Inn is one of the most beautiful places to stay as a guest to St Kitts. As they describe on their website “You won’t be confused about which island you’re on, or which chain owns your resort. You won’t be thinking about other St. Kitts resorts either. You won’t be comparing the lounge chairs or the food. You’ll know exactly where you are because there is no other place like it in the caribbean, or in the world. Everything at Ottley’s Plantation Inn is, quite simply, divine.” Ottley’s is an old sugar plantation, much like most of the historic sites on the island. The only difference is that they’ve preserved the old sugar mill stone so elegantly. They’ve converted an cotton house into a unique double-roomed villa, and the walls of the original factory into a stunning setting for a pool bar and world-class restaurant with a delicious menu that’ll make any mouth water, even this meatless mouth! The main gardens are immaculate and they even have their own rainforest trail you can lose yourself in. While the resort can accommodate a number of people at one time, you’ll always feel like you’re in blissful solitude with your loved one. Ottley’s takes romance to a whole new level.

Ottley's Plantation Inn, St Kitts

Sitting at the poolside bar at Ottley’s Plantation Inn.

Ottley's Plantation Inn, St Kitts

The private rainforest trail at Ottley’s Plantation Inn.

Ottley's Plantation Inn, St Kitts

The spa at Ottley’s Plantation Inn.

The stunning grounds of Ottley’s Plantation Inn, St Kitts.

Spice Mill Restaurant

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to eat at Spice Mill Restaurant — the night I planned to eat here (Thursday) they were closed — but I did stop by for an afternoon drink while walking along Cockleshell Beach, and this place is absolutely gorgeous. As they describe on their website, Spice Mill is “an authentic and unique Caribbean dining, wining, liming and indigenous architectural experience“. It’s a favourite dining spot for the expat locals, which means the food must be good.

Spice Mill Restaurant, Cockleshell Beach, St Kitts

Spice Mill Restaurant, Cockleshell Beach.

Spice Mill Restaurant’s private beach beds on Cockleshell Beach.

Reggae Beach Bar

While I feel uneasy about the caged monkeys at this place (although according to a number of commenters below, they are well loved), Reggae Beach Bar seems to be the hotspot of the island during the day, situated on Cockleshell Beach. This is the place to come for a true caribbean island experience, complete with reggae tunes, pina coladas (or my new fav, B.B.C – banana, Bailey’s and coconut cream), fresh seafood, a stunning beach, and enough activities to please any water-lover. We even took Jason Koon, one of the Alpha8 players, here to film a segment with him flyboarding around the Caribbean, Iron Man style (see below).

Reggae Beach Bar

“Rush Slowly” is the theme at Reggae Beach Bar – perfect!

Cockleshell Beach, St Kitts

Cockleshell Beach, St Kitts.

Jason Koon Fly Boarding in St Kitts

Jason Koon fly boarding in St Kitts.

Fari Organic Farm

Saving my absolute favourite until last… Ital Creations at Fari Organic Farm is a little drop of fresh, whole-food, organic heaven. After a couple of weeks on the road eating mass-produced resort food, I was ecstatic to be taken here by a local friend. The farm is owned by a beautiful, chilled out couple with seven young children. They greet you with “one love” when you arrive and feed you with vegetarian deliciousness and freshly-squeezed green juices made from locally-grown Moringa Oleifera, also known as “The Miracle Tree” (see below). I wasn’t quick enough to snap a shot of the juice – my kidneys/liver/intestines demanded it so much that it went down too fast! Oh, and just when I thought I was satisfied, we returned again the next day for a yoga class in the middle of the farm at sunset. Bliss.

Ital Creations, St Kitts

Ital Creations, a hut of deliciousness at the entrance to Fari Organic Farm.

A delicious veggie patty wrap with papaya dressing, from Ital Creations, made using ingredients grown right here at Fari Organic Farm.

Sunset yoga at Fari Organic Farm.

It’s highly likely (hopefully) that we”ll be returning again next year for another WPT Alpha8, so please let me know in the comments below if you have any other favourite spots not listed here, and I will add them to my to-do list.

LG x

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  • Reply
    December 16, 2014 at 8:13 am

    On shipwreck there is an amazing jamaican place called jamrock. I am heading out now to the island so enjoy that place

  • Reply
    November 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    I am very happy to be from Old Road. Great Article

  • Reply
    Simone Mestier
    December 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Hi Lynn,
    Great article and beautiful pictures. Thank you for putting St Kitts where I was born on the map some more, like you said, a month before you did not know about St Kitts, now many more persons will know us. It was good to meet you if only briefly. Hope you do come back soon to us here where according to Reggae Beach we “Rush Slowly”

  • Reply
    Karen Berry
    December 3, 2013 at 4:31 am

    I have lived on St Kitts for the last 15 years. Shame on you for getting your picture taken with a baby monkey. If you believe that they are treated well from birth you are sadly mistaken. Did you think to ask how they got the baby in the first place and what they do with them when they get to big and their fangs go in? Well I will tell you how they get the babies. They either buy them from guys who shoot the mother and then take the baby or they run their dogs on the mother until the baby falls off or they do this themselves. When they get to big they let them go and then they have to fend for themselves. They cannot become a member of a wild troupe as the troupe is a family and will not let in a new monkey. So they most likely die alone. They are out in the hot sun all day while their so called owners wait for people like you who think it cute to get your picture taken with a baby monkey.
    Wake up!!

    • Reply
      Lynn Gilmartin
      December 3, 2013 at 5:23 am

      Hi Karen, I really appreciate your passion for animal welfare and for sharing your story here – but lacing it within an attack does not help. As I wrote, I felt uneasy about the whole thing but could never get any information other than positive. I asked a government official and even a couple of vet students, whose opinions I felt I could trust. You live there, visitors don’t, so it’s hard to find out the truth when you’re only on the island for a day or two. I am grateful you’ve posted this awful information here for future visitors to read – that is what helps. Thank you.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2013 at 12:31 am

      Karen……WOW. First off lambasting the woman as if she knowingly participated in any of those activities was uncalled for. Secondly, what you are describing is not the norm. As in any country in the world, there are those who are not appreciative of animals, St. Kitts is no exception, however I will say again what you have described happens in a minority of situations. I know of farmers, my uncle being one of them who have their crops regularly raided and destroyed by monkeys, he keeps dogs as other farmers do to scare away the monkeys. Sometimes an adult female monkey gets badly injured or killed yes and they baby is left, but instead of killing the baby or leaving it to fed for itself and most likely die the farmers find persons willing to take them. I know serveral monkey vendors and they take really good care of their monkeys and even have roomy cages in their backyards for when they get too big or too aggressive to have around people they are unaccustomed to. Please don’t make it sound like Kittitians just go around cruelly hunting down these animals for sport even though many view them as pest because they out-number the humans almost 3 to 1 and cause extensive damage to food crops.

  • Reply
    Nancy Meredith
    December 3, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Great article and beautiful photos! Glad you were able to visit my “home away from home”. Hope you can get back one day to continue your tour. Best of luck!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2013 at 2:09 am

    This was a wonderful well written areticle, thank you so much for it. I am always delighted when people get the chance to experience my beautiful and unique island. Must do stuff Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park!! The views are breath taking and on a clear day you can see five neighbouring islands from the top….zip lining at Sky Safaris. I can never, ever visit Romney Manor and Caribelle Batik enough! A hike to Mt. Liamuiga, a catamaran cruise (in the day you get snorkeling and lunch…but if you are here around a full moon do the night one on Irie Lime) Food…OJ’s Watch No Face Ital in Basseterre Cnr of Central and Fort Streets, Sprat Net in Old Road. Mega close to Five Ways and some of the other great Bars along the Strip. Try I-Queen’s soft serve non dairy ice creams is yummy local flavours such as ginger, watermelon, five finger (carambola) she is at the bottom of Independence Square ( a great Ital food cart is next to her as well) Visit Glass Island for great hand made glass pieces, jewelry, etc. Just walk around enjoy and experience St. Kitts. A day or two in Nevis is a must, you can rent a car and travel over on the Seabridge…Visit Sunshine’s on Pinney’s Beach, (there is this place just after you get off the Seabridge going into Charlstwon…I don’t remember the name but the food is great, Coal Pot, Miss Junes (by reservation only..Oprah raves about her cooking) vist the Bath Hot springs for a hot…but relaxing soak in the natural minerla waters (the soak really does help the achy joints and muscles….Ok I’ll stop now lol….Oh…Golden Rock Plantation or Nisbet Platation are great places to stay!

  • Reply
    John Loves Paradise
    December 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Dear Lynn,
    Congratulations in capturing the spirit of St.Kitts!
    Fantastic pictures and comments!
    Before you come back take a look at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ilovestkittsandnevis/sets
    Best Regards
    John Loves Paradise

  • Reply
    Maurice Widdowson
    December 2, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Just for you I’m building a rain forest bar at Romney Manor. You just have to come back. Great article, it’s all the reasons I chose to live here.

    • Reply
      Lynn Gilmartin
      December 3, 2013 at 5:27 am

      Sounds amazing!! Please let me know when you’re open for business – I will be there! 🙂

  • Reply
    A. Warner
    December 2, 2013 at 10:08 am

    The island is a beauty i can’t stay away…i will be again next month January 2014….visiting family and just relaxing. You must go to Sprat Net Bar & Grill the food and atmosphere is fabulous; a great vibe. I encountered Magic in Jan2013…he is amazing…i will be looking for him again next month!!!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Hi.. I love Ottleys!! I know the owners. They are wonderful people. I stayed at Ottleys on 2 occasions. It’s the most beautiful place. I cried when I left there. It’s a little piece on heaven on earth.

  • Reply
    Jeff Andrade
    December 2, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Hi Lynn,

    It was great to meet you and hang out with you for a few days. You really are a true professional and I’m glad you brought Jason out for the Flyboarding. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Lynn Gilmartin
      December 3, 2013 at 5:26 am

      Thank you so much Jeff, it was so nice to meet you too! Good luck with your foot, I hope you can get back out in the water soon! See you again next year 🙂

  • Reply
    Kittitian Lady
    December 2, 2013 at 3:46 am

    As a Kittitian I am very happy that you enjoyed your stay and sure do hope you keep you promise to revisit. Brimstone Hill is an awesome place to visit; learn a bit of history and capture some amazing photos (I love your photography) of breath taking views of much of the island. The Scenic Railroad is an option for a partial island tour. Caribelle Batik is also a great spot to visit. Be sure to try the fine cuisine of Fisherman’s Wharf. See you next time in sweet Sugar City!

  • Reply
    Jasmine Rivas
    December 2, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    Liz Pereira
    December 2, 2013 at 1:31 am

    If you come back you must visit Shipwreck Beach Bar on South Friars.

    • Reply
      December 2, 2013 at 6:05 am

      Great drinks!! Get the ship wrecked drink!

  • Reply
    Robert Gorvett
    December 2, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Go and see Ken at the Lovers Bar in old road, he cooks the best chicken on the island(sorry)
    You must do a trail walk next time, the best way is to get some of the vet students to take you.
    By the way great article.

  • Reply
    Zara Nuru
    December 1, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    This post made my day! Thank you. Also made me homesick. This is the land of my birth! The island is so beautiful but many of us locals work so hard that we never get to enjoy it’s splendor. Some simply take it for granted….until we find ourselves in the concrete jungles longing for sea breeze and a slow rush 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz Pereira
    December 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Great article. Glad you enjoyed my beautiful island.

  • Reply
    Dale Kerr
    December 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Yeah St Kitts is great. I was there in ’95 when I was over for the Australian cricket tour. One highlight was spending a couple days on Nevis, beautiful beaches. Take a boat across one afternoon, even if you can only spend one night. And make sure you get to Barbados one day.

  • Reply
    December 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Great commentary! As a citizen of St.Kitts-Nevis, I am happy to know that you enjoyed your stay. I would just like to point out that pictures # 5 and 6 above are not in the capital city of Basseterre but rather in an area known as Old Road. We hope to welcome you back again soon!

  • Reply
    Sarah K
    December 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I’m so glad you got to visit this place I will call home for the next couple of years. It’s such a wonderful island. However, I feel the need to tell you the caged monkeys at Reggae Beach are some of the most well-taken care of monkeys on the island. It’s somewhat of a refuge for them because of differing circumstances, they couldn’t be released back into the wild. Some were babies when their mothers were killed or they were injured, rehabilitated and unable to be released. The owners of Reggae Beach Bar love animals and love those monkeys.

    • Reply
      Lynn Gilmartin
      December 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Sarah, thank you for your comment! I am so happy to hear this about the monkeys. Another local told me otherwise, but I’m not sure what the opinion was based upon, perhaps just observation as the monkeys did seem very agitated. Thanks again 🙂

      • Reply
        Liz Pereira
        December 2, 2013 at 2:19 am

        I totally agree. The monkeys at Reggae Beach Bar were orphans and the owner took them in. They wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild. They are definitely well taken care of.

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