St Kitts – Plantation Splurge and Mega Fortress

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St Kitts’ UNESCO-listed Brimstone Hill Fortress towers over the Caribbean and the regular amphibious landing of cruise ships. The fortress is the kind of mega historic site that is rare in the Caribbean. The ride north through villages gives way to the winding ascent up the mountain and to the sprawling site with sweeping views around the island. Any first-time visitor must make time to visit.

Brimstone Hill Fortess St Kitts

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What this site, and island, must be like when cruise ships invade at the capital, Basseterre, is something I am glad I missed. May is an ideal window between them and hurricane season.

Basseterre St Kitts Cruise Ship Terminal

St Kitts is served by infrequent flights from the US, such as Delta’s weekly Atlanta service, as well as plenty of regional flights. There is no ferry service except to nearby Nevis, of the combined entity St Kitts and Nevis. I flew in on WinAir on a day trip.

None of the car rental agencies have active airport offices, though they do pick up on request. The frustrating thing is they all close by 5 pm daily and because of security do not have after-hour drops, so I was facing a 5 pm drop ahead of a 7:45 pm flight. Through a lot of questions, and information from Courtney at Hertz, I decided to shorten my circuit of the island, return the car, and have Hertz drop me at the ferry terminal for a quick jaunt to Nevis. A separate post will follow but for rental cars, there is an expensive car ferry to Nevis on the south of St Kitts, as opposed to the passenger ones in Basseterre, however rental agencies may not allow the car to be take over.

Basseterre is a skippable, bustling, hot town with a big cruise dock. The major resorts are southeast. I did get my fix of soursop.

Soursop on St Kitts

I headed north for the fortress and then continued around the north of the island circling back to Basseterre. In all I spent about 4 hours with frequent, short stops to see the remnants of sugar plantations.

Sugar Plantation St Kitts

Luxury accommodations like Ottley’s Plantation Inn distinguish St Kitts for those who can afford it and are much preferable to cookie cutter resorts, though do lack beaches. Ottley’s published rates start at $199 for off-season. I did not get a chance to visit any of its competitors. My jaw was still on the ground by Ottley’s pool.

Ottley's Plantation Inn St Kitts 01

Ottley's Plantation Inn St Kitts 02

Ottley's Plantation Inn St Kitts 03

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I’m not sure if it has changed, but as of Oct 2013 when we last visited, Thrifty Car Rental had an active airport office. Very easy pickup and return at the airport.

Rapid Travel Chai

@Matt – I did see that office, did not look like it had been used in a long time, but perhaps they do use it for when large flights come in? On my weekday there was nothing but the small WinAir type flights.


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