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Conflicting feedback on what to do for the day

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I have researched quite a bit what to do with our one day in St Kitts. I sent out several emails to tour operators and catamaran/water craft groups. I have read I dependent reviews. And now I am thoroughly confused! 

 

Catamaran option - one only sails if there a minimum of 15 people, the other said they aren’t sailing the day we are there. There is a mini speedboat option but I am reading mixed reviews on the operator. 

 

The tours sound like like a lot of windshield time - more driving around than really doing anything out side of a couple stops (Brimstone sounds Worthwhile for sure, but lava old flows do not). 

 

So I am now thinking it might be just a DIY day. And I am totally good with that. I am reading that Cockleshell and Friars Bay are two highly rated beaches with chairs and umbrellas?  So which of the two would have better food options, fewer crowds,  and better snorkeling from shore?  Would you recommend spending time in Basseterre and if so how much?  Are there good restaurants with views and great food?  We are in port from 0700-1800 so we have a nice long day. 

 

I would simcerely appreciate thoughts and input on all this. Thank you

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We've been to both Cockleshell (May 2013) and South Friars (Sept. 2015).  We loved both.  I'll try to provide a little info. on them.  

 

Cockleshell:  It's at the southern tip of St. Kitts and is about a 30 minute ride from port.  The two main places I know of are Reggae Beach Bar (on left end if looking at the water) and Spice Mill (down towards the right).  When we were there, we were on the Reggae end, but just down a bit where we were able to rent loungers/umbrella (think it was about $10).  Although the sun came out for about a half hour, that was our rainy day, so we ended up dodging the rain at Reggae.  We were the only ship in port that day, so it wasn't super crowded.  I have seen reports that Reggae and the beach in front of it can get rather crowded.  I don't really have any first hand information about Spice Mill, I just know from what I've seen here it's a bit more upscale and quieter.  Overall, Cockleshell is nice and and has really nice views over to Nevis.  We didn't snorkel the day we were there (rain) but I know there is snorkeling on the Reggae side but I don't know if it's great or not.  Charge is $28 per cab/each way which can be split if more passengers.  The minimum charge would be $7.00 pp/each way. 

 

South Friars:  It's in the middle of the island and only about 15 minutes from port.  There are three main areas along South Friars that I know of.  If facing the water, the one on the far left is Shipwreck Beach Bar & Grille.  Next to Shipwreck is Discovery.  At that apposite send (far right if facing water) is Carambola Beach Club.  When we were there, we were at Shipwreck.  Personally, I loved it, but it's not for every one.  I'll list some positives/negatives from our experience but the "negatives" weren't negative for us.  First the positives:  beautiful views (including Nevis); didn't feel crowded; food and drinks were reasonably prices (we just had beer, $3.00 each); friendly staff; loungers w/palapas are free to use (palapas have large nails to hang belongings from); they have both swimming and snorkeling; beach is black sand at times, which looked really pretty with some of the lighter sand mixed in and also with the color of the water; the actual restaurant/bar sits above the beach and is open, so great views out over the water.  Now for the negatives:  due to erosion from storms, the beach is narrow and there is only room for one row of loungers/palapas; on the snorkeling side there are a LOT of sea urchins so water shoes recommended.  If your snorkeling and the tide is out (water will look shallow over reef), the easiest way would be to get in the water on swimming side, swim out some, and then over to the snorkeling side and exit the same way.  There is a marker.  I didn't notice any urchins on the swimming side, hung out in the water a lot, but that's not saying they aren't there.  Bathrooms are in a shack across the parking lot, which isn't very wide.  If it's a day with a lot of wind or the water is choppy, I would not recommend Shipwreck as the water would probably come up to the loungers.  Discovery: located right next to Shipwreck but no personal experience.  It seems to get good reviews/positive comments.  Carambola:  there is a charge and it is more upscale.  The beach is wide with the typical lighter colored sand.  There is snorkeling there.  That's all the information I can provide since I have no personal experience.  All of these places along South Friars have the same views.  When we were there and from recent reports I've seen, the charge to South Friars is $4.00 pp/each way. 

 

Since you mentioned DIY day AND Brimstone, that is exactly what we did on our cruise in 2015 (it was just my husband and I).  At the end of the pier should be someone with a sign that says tours, taxi's or both (forget exactly, but you can't miss him/her).  We told him what we wanted (Brimstone for about an hour and then beach).  It was $28.00 each way per cab to get to Brimstone, plus $10.00 pp for entrance to the fort (kids are half price).  We spent about an hour (definitely recommend, great views a plus) and our driver waited.  From there we went to South Friars (Shipwreck) and spent several hours there.  That cost was $4.00 pp/each way or $8.00 pp/round trip.  So for the 2 of us, we paid $92.00 total for the day.   

Edited by pghsteelerfan

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Wow pghsteelerfan!  This is REALLY helpful information. I sincerely appreciate all your time and effort. Thank you. We love DIY days. For us that is just part of the magic in travel. So I think I may look at mirroring your 2015:cruise day. Thank you 

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20 hours ago, Vineyard View said:

Wow pghsteelerfan!  This is REALLY helpful information. I sincerely appreciate all your time and effort. Thank you. We love DIY days. For us that is just part of the magic in travel. So I think I may look at mirroring your 2015:cruise day. Thank you 

Forgot to add, ask your driver to stop at the top of Timothy Hill - great photo ops overlooking narrow part of St. Kitts where you can see both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.  Some beautiful views from that opposite side too.  Timothy Hill is on the way to both South Friars and Cockleshell. 

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One more question. I keep reading about the Romney Mannor - and I am getting the feel that this could be more tourist attraction than authentic worthy stop. Any thoughts? 

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Another option is to pinpoint a couple of places you'd like to see and rent a car. We did that a couple of years ago and are doing it in April and driving to cockleshell and brimstone. Last time we went, last April, we climbed mt liamiuga. I really recommend the car. But taxis are good also.

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I hadn’t really thought about that jean87510. Some places are certainly easier to do this than others, so it sounds like it may work well. It is an option to look at. Thank you

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Romney Manor is the name of the site where Caribelle Batik is located. Romney Manor is the location of the plantation's great house. The great house burned over 20 years ago. The plantation is called Wingfield Estate. It was established in 1625 by  Sam Jefferson, the great, great, great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. There is a small fee($3.00 US) to enter the grounds but there is much to see. The name Romney manor comes from the Earl of Romney who purchased the site in the late 1600's from Jefferson. 

Edited by paul58
additional information

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Thank you Paul58. I scrolled through some pictures the other day of the location. I will take a closer look. I Appreciate your response. 

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What's the charge for at Carambola and anyone know how much?    I thought beaches were public property...

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The beaches are open to anyone but any amenities such as a bathroom, shower, lounge chair or umbrella are at a cost.

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On 1/31/2019 at 10:14 PM, Vineyard View said:

I have researched quite a bit what to do with our one day in St Kitts. I sent out several emails to tour operators and catamaran/water craft groups. I have read I dependent reviews. And now I am thoroughly confused! 

 

Catamaran option - one only sails if there a minimum of 15 people, the other said they aren’t sailing the day we are there. There is a mini speedboat option but I am reading mixed reviews on the operator. 

 

The tours sound like like a lot of windshield time - more driving around than really doing anything out side of a couple stops (Brimstone sounds Worthwhile for sure, but lava old flows do not). 

 

So I am now thinking it might be just a DIY day. And I am totally good with that. I am reading that Cockleshell and Friars Bay are two highly rated beaches with chairs and umbrellas?  So which of the two would have better food options, fewer crowds,  and better snorkeling from shore?  Would you recommend spending time in Basseterre and if so how much?  Are there good restaurants with views and great food?  We are in port from 0700-1800 so we have a nice long day. 

 

I would simcerely appreciate thoughts and input on all this. Thank you

 

Genteel cruisers head for Sunshine's on Nevis.

Contact them via social media (Facebook) as they may have a small party of guests arriving on your day, with the possibility to share the ride over, or they have another option for you.

 

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Just returned from St. Kitts.  We did a boat trip over to Nevis through bluewatersafaris.com   

 

We had about 10 on a small motor boat that picked you up at the cruise terminal.  Took a quick, 25 minute trip over to Nevis where all but the three of us got off the boat to do a Plantation Tour then Beach Break. 

 

We were taken to Pinney Beach where there were chairs and umbrellas waiting for us.  Spent about three hours on the beach there, with a wonderful lunch and bar set up (extra charge), but Ebony was fantastic, she took good care of us.   There is a roped off swimming area, and the chairs were at the water's edge.  Just lovely.

 

The beach is literally 50 feet from the Four Seasons Beach and Resort (and you can help yourself to their wifi).

 

The boat came and picked us up, and back to St. Kitts we went, with time to wander the port shops.

 

Recommend!

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That sounds like a good day. Could I ask what time you left and returned?  Blue Water Safaris told me their full day pat would not get us back in time for our 6:00 sail away. They offered up their mini speedboats as an option - which we are considering thank you

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On 2/2/2019 at 7:19 PM, jean87510 said:

Another option is to pinpoint a couple of places you'd like to see and rent a car. We did that a couple of years ago and are doing it in April and driving to cockleshell and brimstone. Last time we went, last April, we climbed mt liamiuga. I really recommend the car. But taxis are good also.

Hey! Who did you rent a car from in St. Kitts? And was there free parking at all of the beaches? We love to go to different beaches and snorkel so we were trying to decide how to do it and if parking isn't a problem, this might be the best choice for us (and having as much time as we'd like at the scenic overlooks).

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2 hours ago, flcruising89 said:

Hey! Who did you rent a car from in St. Kitts? And was there free parking at all of the beaches? We love to go to different beaches and snorkel so we were trying to decide how to do it and if parking isn't a problem, this might be the best choice for us (and having as much time as we'd like at the scenic overlooks).

We rented from avis. Just a heads up. St kitts isnt really known for snorkeling. I've seen sea life at shipwreck if you want to try there. I dont remember any charges for any parking. I could be wrong about brimstone so I'd double check the website. 

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32 minutes ago, jean87510 said:

We rented from avis. Just a heads up. St kitts isnt really known for snorkeling. I've seen sea life at shipwreck if you want to try there. I dont remember any charges for any parking. I could be wrong about brimstone so I'd double check the website. 

Okay, thank you! Do you have any suggestions on things to do with renting a car if snorkeling isn't great?

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1 minute ago, flcruising89 said:

Okay, thank you! Do you have any suggestions on things to do with renting a car if snorkeling isn't great?

I'd head to brimstone just to see it. I'm more of an active traveler and museums and forts dont really interest me but I liked brimstone. Go to caribya.com and look at snorkeling at st. Kitts. That site is great for ideas. I would try shipwreck. It's pretty rustic but has the monkeys and decent snorkeling. 

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6 minutes ago, jean87510 said:

I'd head to brimstone just to see it. I'm more of an active traveler and museums and forts dont really interest me but I liked brimstone. Go to caribya.com and look at snorkeling at st. Kitts. That site is great for ideas. I would try shipwreck. It's pretty rustic but has the monkeys and decent snorkeling. 

Us too. We always skip those types of activities. I'll definitely check that out. Thanks for your help!

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We are to be in on our cruise in 28 days. I had planned on booking with Royston Tours, as I have read reviews that this was a good touring agency in St. Kitts.  He just told me that the date we were coming, he would not be able to accommodate us.  Would we be better off just getting a Taxi out of the port, and have a few suggestions of what we want to see/do, and see how much they will charge?

 

Any suggestions on this would be helpful.

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