Saturday 5 January, St.Kitts: Exploring the beaches along southern shores of St. Kitts.
Leisure relaxing morning, enjoying the clear sky and warm sun. We’ve missed it yesterday when we drove around the north part of the island and it rained most of the afternoon.
The usual drill: dinghy ashore to Salt Plage, tie the dinghy to their dock…only this time a security guard tells us off “you can’t leave the dinghy here now, only after 4pm”. Well, where exactly have we left it for the last week? “I haven’t seen it” he continues. Anyway, we do leave the dinghy there with the security simmering!
Today’s excursion takes us to the dry and sunny part of St.Kitts, the south peninsula. Which is home to the nicest beaches St.Kitts has to offer.
First, Sand Bank Bay, home to The Pavilion. This is part of the Christophe Harbour development, a bar and restaurant with a small infinity pool overlooking the bay. The white sand beach is covered with sargasso weed, same as all the beaches on windward side.
The pool is exclusively for villas owners, but the restaurant is open to general public, if one can get in passed the security guards.
To begin with we thought this development is another one prone to failure, but we learn from one of the staff that 15 villas are already built, with the most recent one opened just two weeks ago. Fingers crossed for them.
The Pavillion is beautifully done, with the small pool surrounded by lawns and shady palm trees, and the restaurant very nicely decorated. Basic but chic. All very inviting. Too early for lunch or drinks, so we move on thinking we return later on for lunch.
Next road sign points us towards Sea Breeze and we find a ferry terminal at the end of the road. But next to it there is a small wild white sand beach, ruined by a party boat which plays awful loud music. The tourists it seems to have dropped here on the beach are keeping as far distance as they can to the boat.
In Cockleshell Bay, Reggae Beach Bar is the top destination for tourists coming from the cruise ships, the taxis seem to drop them all off here. It is absolutely packed, with sun-beds lines up next to each other leaving hardly any space to walk. Not exactly our scene, all these red lobsters on sunbeds!
We take our time to walk this bay from one end to the other. It has a nice beach, despite the hundreds of sun-beds rented by the several other beach bars.
At the opposite end of the bay is Spice Mill, a very popular venue with the locals. Slightly more upmarket than Reggae Beach Bar, it has a better feel to it. The restaurant is nicely done and the beach bar has the rustic “rum shack” look to it.
Banana Bay is the next one along, a mixture of white sand and black minerals. This is home to Park Hyatt, which is also part of Christophe Harbour development. At first sight the resort doesn’t look like much. But once we go in and walk the grounds, we come across the pools area which is very nicely and smartly done. The main pool is made to look like one would enter the sea from a shallow beach. And there is another pool one level up with very few sun beds around, overlooking the bay and Nevis volcano in the distance. Absolutely spectacular. The hotel itself consists of villas, each one with a rooftop infinity pool. And sadly, not many tourists about. This should be high season for them… but who knows, maybe they had high occupancy rate over Christmas and NYE.
From the very upmarket and somehow glamorous Park Hyatt we drive to Turtule Beach. This bay is where the kite-surfing school conducts the lessons. And we were told that this is a world renowned place for kite-surfing. So our expectations were quite high after seeing some great kite-surfing spots. Plus, I have been contemplating on getting a hired instructor to teach me how to kite surf. Glen had some attempts while we were living in Dubai, but I am a bad student and don’t really listen to him.
Imagine our not so pleasant surprise when we find a pretty much deserted bay. There used to be a restaurant here, now closed and the building in an advanced state of dilapidation. The beach is absolutely covered in seaweed and I can’t even begin to consider this as an appealing bay for anything, let alone kite-surfing. I understand the wind is right here, and the bay is long, but that’s all about it.
A guy from the kite-surfing school and probably one oh his students are about to launch their kites so we sit for a while observing them. And sure enough, their lines get covered in seaweed as they try to launch. Not for me, thank you.
The only positive is that we learn from him we could kite off Marriott beach, so we will go and investigate on that beach later.
Our next stop is Frigate Bay, in search for some lunch. Shiggidy Shack has a good reputation so we settle there. It wasn’t busy so we thought our meal will be served fast. It wasn’t the case. But when it was served, eventually, it was quite tasty. Or we were too hungry.
In the meantime we found out that this section of the beach where all the bars are is called The Strip. And at a nearby table I overhear somebody speaking Romanian. Very surprising, as St. Kitts is not exactly the top destination for any European tourists, let alone Eastern Europe.
When we arrive at the Marriott Royal Beach Resort, we first drive to the beach located after it. The kite-surfing instructor told us “drive till the end of the fence, then there is a dirt road to the right and you can drive almost all the way to the beach”. What he failed to mention is that here is the dumping ground for all the sargasso weed collected from the beach. Mountains of rotting seaweed, which smells accordingly – sickening.
But we are here now, so we might just as well go all the way through to the beach. A nice wide beach, cleaner than Turtle Beach. Waves are quite choppy and there are several clusters of rocks, which explains why only experienced kite surfers come here. Appealing enough to Glen, so maybe we will come back with all the gear.
Since we are here anyway, we pay a visit to the Marriott too. Which is a lot less stylish compared with the Park Hyatt. It’s not bad looking, it just has the feel of mass tourism, with no recent uplift. And while at it, we inquire if we can cross the hotel grounds with our kiting gear, which we get an affirmative reply for. Wonderful! As there was no way on Earth I could have been persuaded to go through the dump-ground again.
Almost sunset now, so we are ready to end today’s excursion with sunset drinks at Shipwreck. A looooot busier than few days ago. Same clientele, the expats community. Very cheerful and friendly crowd, and we get chatting to few of them. One lady invites us to her mum’s surprise party in Nevis next week, and another lady gives us more insight about climbing the volcano.
We end up spending the evening listening to the very colorful stories of Doug, the Dutch Consul here in St. Kitts. Not only that he is very charming and entertains us with his stories, but he also buys us a round of drinks.
Back at Cloudy Bay we spend what is left of the evening relaxing and listening to the rain squalls on the deck above. Let’s hope they are all gone by tomorrow.