Local Eats (and Drinks)-St. Kitts

We spent the most amazing day on St. Kitts at a magnificent beach club.  With $3 local beers, we decided to bypass the fancy restaurant and hit up the beach bar instead. 

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You know it’s a small world when you start chatting with the people across from you and it turns out they live in the next town over back home.  They were big basketball fans and the BOY needed to discuss the recent Indiana game.  I was happy to get some restaurant recommendations for when we got home.  I was all set to order a Carib (as it was my third day in the Caribbean and I was yet to try one) when the bartender suggested two other local brews.

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The Skol, he explained, was what the islanders REALLY drank and the Stag he described as ‘the man’s beer’.  With a sales pitch like that, I ordered the Skol and the BOY went for the Stag.

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I loved the view from the bar, but took my second beer ‘to go’ leaving the BOY discussing basketball with our new friends and headed back into the sunshine.

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The BOY returned hungry, and so we decided to take a stroll down the beach to see what was available.  We discovered a popular local beach bar and grill.

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While the BOY waited for his burger, I walked around to explore.

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The beach bar was inviting, and the colors were so dynamic!  I couldn’t stop taking pictures…

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The BOY was thrilled with his burger, which was a steal compared to our beach resort restaurant.

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And as always, I was in LOVE with the view!

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The only thing missing from the day was a Carib, but I guess that’s a good enough reason to schedule our next visit to the Caribbean.  Don’t you think???

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Last Island-St. Kitts

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So I totally didn’t mean to get a panoramic view of the port and just realized it as I loaded up these pictures.  I think it gives you a good idea of my view from the boat during my morning run and yoga session.  Who wouldn’t love getting sweaty running laps around a tiny track with a view like this?!

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We took our time getting off the boat and enjoyed breakfast in the dining room.  We had no real plans for St. Kitts…just a bathing suit on our backs, towels and sunscreen in our bags, and camera in my hand.

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We wander through the built up port looking slightly lost as we discussed our options.  There were plenty of taxi drivers available to take us around the island flashing pictures of dazzling beaches.  We asked about one beach that we had looked up online before the trip and were told it would cost us $28 each way. 

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We continued walking through the little port town debating our options when a man chased us down waving his arms and offering to drive us to the beach for $5 per person.  He explained that he already had 4 people in his cab so it would be cheaper.  We continued to go back and forth…having no real plan or destination in mind.  I’m always nervous when something sounds to good to be true, but I liked the idea of a $10 cab ride and I really liked the idea of having other cruisers in the taxi with us as we traveled unknowingly across the island.  We finally decided ‘why not?’ and started walking to the parking lot with our new escort. I was slightly nervous we wouldn’t be able to find his cab as he continued to try to round up patrons, but it was easy to spot since there was only one RED TAXI in the parking lot.  The Reggae Van!

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The road to the beach was narrow and windy and in true Caribbean fashion, our driver dashed in and out of cars and around rock slides as he pointed out local landmarks.

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I held on for dear life with one hand while I tried to snap pictures of the bright scenery with the other.

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From the looks of the parking lot still under construction, I didn’t know what to think when we arrived at our beach destination.  But the minute I walked through the door, I knew we had hit the jackpot.

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The colors were magnificent and it looked like a scene straight out of a movie.  We rented two chairs, but we ended up spending most of our time in the swimming in the water taking more goofy pictures with our disposable camera, walking along the beach, or searching for seashells in the sand.

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Time flew by way to quickly and before we knew it, our Reggae taxi was back to get us.  The BOY and I decided that we wanted to stay and that it would be okay if the boat left us in paradise for just a few more days.

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As we were exiting the parking lot, I realized that I had no idea where I was.  Last minute, I tried to snap this picture to remember (and recommend) the beach when I got home.

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The Carambola Beach Club is overlooking St. Friar’s Bay.  It is only a few weeks old and they are still working on the website.  It seems that they are known for their Caribbean cuisine and wine; however, the menu is pricey.  Unfortunately, we just missed the tapas bar that opens at 2:30 each day.  The good news is that you can get local beers for $3 and the view is priceless!  Speaking of views, on the way back to the ship, our driver stopped at the top of a hill so we could get pictures of this breathtaking view where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean.

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And the other side of the hill, home to the St. Kitts Marriott which can house up to 900 guests at a time!

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I really hope to be staying at that Marriott one day!  The funniest part of our ride back was the man riding the donkey that literally bumped into our taxi as we crept up to the top of the hill.  He had the most adorable monkey on his back, who was holding on for dear life, but popped up just as I snapped my picture.

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We returned to the boat excited for two more days at sea, but sad to be leaving the sunny Caribbean behind.

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Is it cold and snowy where you live?

There are more beautiful views and islands stories of St. Maarten and St. Lucia to warm you up.

Snorkeling in St. Lucia

Good morning St. Lucia!

 

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I enjoyed breakfast on the balcony as we pulled into the island.  A few of my ‘neighbors’ were up to check out the view too.  Needless to say, I didn’t get much reading done.  I was too busy snapping pictures.

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The BOY and I were scheduled for an excursion at 11:30AM.  This gave us a little time to get off the boat and roam around the shops in the port.

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We saw a visually impaired band that was really pretty good and bought a few little trinkets to take home.

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Then got back on the boat to change into our bathing suits.  We boarded a speed boat and headed out for a 60 minute ride to the pitons.  The pitons are twin volcanoes on the west coast of the island and a popular site to see in the Caribbean. 

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On the way out there, we received our snorkel equipment.  With size 15 feet, the BOY always has trouble with this part.

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The view from the boat was incredible.

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And snorkeling between these towering green mountains was tons of fun!  I can’t say that it was the best snorkeling that I’ve ever done, but there were some colorful fish to see and a spectacular view to enjoy!  The colors even looked good on our disposable camera.

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Afterwards, we enjoyed a cold Piton beer (a local brew that we hadn’t tried yet) and a stroll beside this beautiful beach resort.

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After a full day on the island, we got back on our boat for some free rum punch and another scenic route ‘home’.  We boarded the cruise ship and set sail for our last island, St. Kitts.

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Local Eats-St. Maarten

After an afternoon lazing around on the beach and drinking cool beer, the BOY and I were ready for some lunch.  We checked out a few places (he had his heart set on a burger), but many of them were very expensive.  And one was all out of EVERYTHING.  We wandered into a casual open air café with tourists and locals sitting at tables and surrounding the bar.  Out front, there was a reggae band playing on the beach.

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And a great view of the beach.

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We sat down next to a friendly woman and started chatting.  It turns out that she used to work in the city next to where we live.  She now lives and works in St. Maarten.  What a small world!  The BOY was set to order a burger when the chef (a friend of our old neighbor) came out to say Hello.  He nixed the burger idea (but approved of my fish taco wrap) and told the BOY he would make him something special.

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The result was this shrimp wrap with special sauce.  It tasted EXACTLY like the Bang Bang Shrimp from Bonefish, and the BOY was thrilled!  The chef came out and the BOY was able to put down his wrap for a moment to share his compliments.  My fish wrap was also tasty and the fries were seasoned perfectly.

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The only bad news was that they only took cash.  Luckily we had enough to pay for lunch and leave a nice tip.  The worse part is that I totally can’t remember the name of the restaurant.  If you’re interested, its on the southern side of the boardwalk, right next to a drink hut.  There are yellow walls and high tables out front with a white awning.  Look for a laminated menu (as seen in the first wrap picture) and super friendly staff.  Happy hunting…it’s totally worth it!

First Stop-St. Maarten

 

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The BOY and I were also here when we were newly dating in 2007.  I thought it would be fun to get an updated picture this year (on the right).

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It was a beautiful day and we took the water taxi over to Great Bay on the Dutch side of the island. 

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I couldn’t tell you the exact temperature as it was in Celsius, but who really cares when you’ve got blue skies, crisp clear water, and bright green palm trees!

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There is a boardwalk with shops and restaurants right along the beach.  With four cruise boats in the port, the town was packed with tourists.

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For $20, we were able to rent 2 padded chairs, an umbrella, and get a bucket of beers on the north end of the beach, where it was a little quieter.

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We continued last year’s Beer Tour, by sampling the local brew, Amstel BRIGHT.  On this hot day, it was light and refreshing.

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The water was cool and clear and the view spectacular.

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We spent our day splashing and goofing around in the water.  With a sandbar that big and super salty water, I was bummed that I forgot my goggles for a swim, but happy to have a disposable water camera to use in the water.

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We took a walk north along the beach.

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After the beach, we walked along the streets checking out a few shops and sampling a guavaberry daiquiri.

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So funny…as I was looking through old photos yesterday, I stumbled upon this one from my family’s vacation in 2004.  The BOY and I had a big laugh at my ‘signature’ pose.

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Eventually, we had to return to the boat.  I was sad to leave St. Maarten, but the ‘Sail Away’ deck party is always fun, especially with four boats leaving the port.  Plus, the sunset was beautiful!  I’m looking forward to my next trip to the island.

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