Our last day island hopping was spent on the beautiful island of St Kitts. This was truly one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to, and I hope that more people get the chance to visit this island as well as its sister, Nevis.
We spent a large part of the day with a wonderful tour guide who showed us three very special places as well as giving information about the capitol and other aspects of the island.
Our first stop on the tour was Clay Villa. The house is still in the hands of the family who have owned it for generations. Philip and his wife, Bridget, open their home for tourists in order to help raise money for the rescue animals they take in (like these lovely turtles above). They’ve taken in various birds, monkeys, turtles, tortoises, fresh water sharks, and other animals that need special attention, love, and care.
Philip gives a little history lesson and shows everyone around the amazing grounds and the lovely home. And then at the end of the tour he makes the most amazing rum punch–you absolutely must try it if you get a chance to go–from fruits in the garden.
Clay Villa is unusual for a plantation on the island because its still in the hands of its original owners. This is because they were the only family to believe that slavery was wrong, and though this led to them being shunned by the colonials (to this day, they’re not on any map of the area), when the island gained independence from Britain, they were able to keep their land instead of it reverting to the people.
I think for my Mom, the highlight of our tour was seeing the batik being made at Claribelle Batik on the grounds of the ruined Romney manor. Each piece is truly a unique, handmade work of art. Each part of the process is done locally (mostly by women) from the designing, waxing, dyeing, cutting, sewing, and selling.
This amazing artisan is waxing a piece of batik for its third color. The wax resists the dye, so for each color added, more wax is put on to protect the area. A piece with 5 colors takes 9 days to complete because after each dip in the dye, it must be hung to dry for 24 hours. A waxer works with one piece from start to finish. The woman working on these pieces has been creating batik for 25 years. After the piece is finished, it is boiled and the wax is reclaimed and reused.
The area is also a botanical garden. This particular tree is over 400 years old.
It was extremely hot and humid in this area, and we were relieved to get back in the air conditioned car.
Our last stop was a photo op at Timothy Hill, at the top of which you can see the Atlantic on one side and the Caribbean sea on the other.
The tour lasted so long that we only got a little bit of time to spend on the beach, but I wouldn’t have changed one minute of the day. We went with the island phrase “rush slowly” as our motto. It was probably my favorite destination of the trip, and someday I would love to go back there.
Have you been to St Kitts? What is your favorite island/favorite aspect of the Caribbean?