If you’re going to the Caribbean, then you need to get straight into the mood – just as I did! Arriving into St Kitts in the early evening, (or midnight my time) we headed out for dinner on “The Strip”, to a Caribbean beach bar called – the “Shiggidy Shack” with typical Caribbean food including fresh fish and lobster. There was a great vibe here, lively music and fire-eaters for entertainment. The Strip is about loosening up with a rum punch and partying the night away!

Like all the Caribbean islands, there is so much history to learn and understand about the turbulent past of these beautiful islands. We visited Brimstone Hill Fortress, with its panoramic views of the mountains, rainforests and the coastline. It was built by African slaves for the British Army in the 18th century, and stood guard over any approaching unwelcome ships.

St Kitts and Nevis (its sister island) were mainly used for producing sugar, and evidence of this is everywhere – you can see how the scruise dec 09 480ugar was farmed and produced, at any of the charming Plantation Inns or you can even stay in a sugar cane windmill!  The Scenic Railway, utilising a track created to transport sugar cane between plantations and a central factory, was still used for this purpose until recently in 2005. If that’s all too staid, take a “Sky Safari” through the tropical forest on a zip wire – you’ll be sure to have a view of the scenery from quite a different angle!

 

Nevis (reached easily by a regular ferry service) has evidence everywhere of Lord Nelson’s time here, with an entire museum devoted to his life. There are marked sightseeing spots to visit, like the place where he was married, and Saddle Hill Fortress which was Nelson’s lookout for enemy ships.
Peak Heaven, in the mountains, gave me an opportunity to learn about the lives of Nevisian people – showing us their traditional hand built houses, a restaurant serving traditional cuisine, and a shop selling an array of old fashioned games and pastimes.

Another beautiful, and quite different island is Anguilla. Larger and more populated, it has retained its charm and stayed uncommercial and exclusive. Anguilla is most famous for its beautiful beaches – some of the best in the world! The hotels and resorts here are also some of the best in the world – those frequented by celebrities seeking peace and tranquillity, or beautiful secluded villas on the coast, away from everything you are sure to find what you are looking for! Anguilla also has a unique Art scene. Artists from all over the world choose to come here to showcase their work.
If that’s not for you, how about lunch on your own desert island? Just off the coast is Sandy Island, where you can have a traditional Caribbean barbecue in a beautiful location with sun, sand and sea.
The people of Anguilla are friendly and welcoming, you slip into the tempo and feel a  part of their community while you are there. Sing and dance with the locals at the lively Sunday morning church services, or sing and dance in the bars at Sandy Ground in the evening, they love you to join in and you are greeted by warm smiles and encouragement.

It was hard to leave Anguilla for our final island, but Antigua did not disappoint! Not at all!
Perhaps the most visited of all the islands in my trip, the atmosphere in Antigua was a little busier, a little more touristy. Did you know that Antigua has 365 beaches? One for every day of the year! 
I spent two nights in the Sandals Grande Antigua – a luxury all-inclusive couples hotel. And like all Sandals Resorts it lived up to its reputation, offering everything you need for a great holiday, and no bills to worry about! It’s on the famous Dickenson Bay, a beautiful setting – a perfect beach for sunset walks, it must be Antigua’s most romantic hotel.

I picked an exciting option to see the island, by a 4×4! I enjoyed the drive through the forests and up hidden tracks to the peaks of the mountain. Although very bumpy, the ride was great fun and well worth the views of the harbour from the top!

Driving down past banana trees and pineapple plantations, we got to the coast and boarded a catamaran for the afternoon. This is what the Caribbean is all about! Reefs to snorkel and time to do some marine life spotting! I shared the warm sea with lots of brightly coloured tropical fish admiring the coral and I was lucky to spot squid, conch, jellyfish (they don’t sting!) and even a reef shark! I had a traditional Caribbean barbecue lunch onboard and later we had our own secluded beach to relax and swim – lovely! What a great day!

Ok, so now I’m home, and back in my routine but my trip to these wonderful places has left me with fond memories and no doubt I’ll be back before long!

If you’d like to know more about St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla or Antigua – give me a call or email: charmaine@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the Gallery!