A Caribbean Island with Monkeys?

A Caribbean Island with Monkeys?

It’s possible you’ve never even heard of the two island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Many people haven’t when I tell them about it. For myself, it’s the place where my great grandparents were born.

The first time I visited St. Kitts and Nevis was in 2004. Unfortunately, I was only there for a few days and didn’t get to see as much as I had wanted. Of course I had to return, so in 2015 I was able to visit for 2 weeks.

Charleston Fire Station, Nevis
Downtown Charleston, Nevis
St. Kitts Skyline

St. Kitts is the larger of the two islands and was a lot more congested. Nevis has a much more relaxed atmosphere. It’s a popular Honeymoon destination. Most of the trip was spent in Nevis.

View from Palm Court Gardens

Mount Nevis is a dormant volcano, however ever so often you can see steam escaping through tubes in the ground. Is it really dormant or just patient, like the “dormant volcano” that erupted on the island of Montserrat years ago? I didn’t stay long enough to find out.

Besides the volcano is something else that makes Nevis stand out. It’s the Green Vervet monkeys located on both islands. Locals say that they outnumber the people. Monkeys are not a common sight in the Caribbean. It’s one thing that makes the island special. If you’re like me you’ll also be interested in the food.

Green Vervet Monkey

Think about deliciously seasoned rice, fish and cabbage. If you have a sweet tooth like I do, you’d appreciate the coconut filled turnovers and the rich, decadent rum cakes. There was also a drink I had never heard of before this trip.

Rum Fruit Cake
Fungee (molded cornmeal)
Coconut turnover and rice
Sorrel Soda

I went into a store while there and bought a soda. The flavor was called Sorrel (Sar-ral). I had never heard of it before and found out that it’s a flower in the hibiscus family. The leaves are dried and made into a drink enjoyed during special occasions. It was absolutely delicious. So delicious that I bought some of the dried leaves so I could make the drink once I flew back home. Don’t you come to an island to relax though?

Golden Rock is a little spot nestled in the ruins of a sugar plantation. It includes accommodations as well as a restaurant on it’s beautiful grounds. Unfortunately I was too early to have dinner there when I visited, but walking through the grounds was enough. If you do decide to visit, make sure you are able to stay at least one night in one of the rooms. Many of them are actual former sugar mills. What Caribbean trip would be complete without stepping foot in the sand?

Golden Rock Nevis
Gold Rock Nevis

The beaches are beautiful. The volcano contributes to some of the beaches having black sand, which isn’t something you see everywhere you go in the Caribbean. It’s something you want to bottle up and take home with you, which is possible at least when traveling to the U.S. You aren’t able to bring back the delicious fruits though.

Papaya Tree Nevis

One of the fruits I saw a lot was papaya, or papua as the locals call it. Before this trip, I did not know pineapples grow out of the ground. Am I the only one who thought pineapples grew on trees? Go figure. Now this is important.

No trip to St. Kitts and Nevis is complete without visiting the Palm Court Gardens . It’s a garden that was donated by the owner as a place for locals and tourists to enjoy. Think of a cafe with delicious smoothies and a swimming pool overlooking the sea. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase handcrafted items from on-site artists and designers. It was one of the last places I visited on my trip and I was so glad I did. 

Palm Court Entrance
Palm Court
View from Palm Court Gardens

St. Kitts and Nevis isn’t a place you hear much about. That adds to its charm. It’s like your own secret island no one else knows about. Think about it the next time you plan a vacation. You’ll be glad you did.

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