Tag Archives: Caribbean

Beautiful Basseterre, St. Kitts

When you explore St. Kitts, especially if you arrive via cruise ship, the first thing you encounter is the monkey peddlers.  Here’s the warning:  They will want to take your picture (Their monkeys, your camera).  Not a bad thing, a guy’s gotta make a living, right…but if you want to hold a monkey, as I did, be sure to negotiate your terms in advance!

Monkey Head

As you wander into town, away from the cruise terminal, you will come across Independence Park.  Notice the old stone buildings, where slaves were once held prior to being sold in the slave trade.  And if you are lucky, like we were, beautiful bougainvillea will be in bloom.

Bougainvillea St. Kitts

Across from the park sits the Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral Catholic Church. This cool and stately church, flanked by palms at the front entrance, welcomes all travelers and is beautiful in its simplicity.

St. Kitts Cathedral

Also on the park is the Gallery Café, a gem not to be missed. Enjoy the art, but be sure to wander all the way to the back, for a brunch snack and a little rest in the quaint garden seating area.


If you get an opportunity, hire someone to take you up to Romney Manor (originally owned by Thomas Jefferson’s great, great, great grandfather) and now the site of Caribelle Batik. If you are a fabric hound, as I am, watching these talented women draw in hot wax is not to be missed!

Caribelle Batik

We barely scratched the surface of St. Kitts.  After meeting some of her warm, friendly people, I can only hope that we get the opportunity to return someday!

Batik photo credit: Caribelle Batik, St. Kitts



A Gem in St. Kitts

Gallery Cafe

While exploring the heart of St. Kitts, the hubs and I were fortunate to discover this little beauty.  Always attracted by the pastel colors of the Caribbean buildings, add the two words “gallery” and “cafe”, and I’m so there.

Anyone who allows the street dog to snooze in the middle of the gallery floor is alright in my book. And Leah Cameron-Blake is just that type of person, and her Gallery Cafe is oh, so special. Open Mon. – Saturday, 10:00 – 4:00, the sign says:  Sometimes a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later. (What’s not to love about that!) The lovely art offerings left me trying to figure out how to get them into my suitcase or ship some home.  But when we ventured a little deeper inside, we discovered a cozy cafe counter, and a cool inviting outdoor seating area.

Gallery Cafe 2

On top of that was our freshly made caramelized onion and goat cheese quiche, the pastry crust of which was so flaky and tender, it crumbled under my fork.  And when Ms. Cameron-Blake brought out about a half dozen grapefruits and freshly squeezed them, hubs was in heaven, and, it was then that we knew this place was one of those hidden gems we seek when we travel.

Gallery Cafe Yummies

I asked her permission to link to her Facebook page, but no one paid me for this endorsement.  I just like to share the discoveries that delight us!

St. Lucia, The Jungle, and Me!


One of the things on Our List was to go on a zip line.  Now, being the picky wife that I am, I told the hubs that I did NOT want him to take me 20 miles north of town, to one of our small local zip-lines which has been set up in conjunction with the ski area.  NOPE – NOT ME!

I wanted to zip-line somewhere exotic!  Somewhere where there was the possibility of seeing parrots or monkeys!  We found the right place at Treetop Adventure Park in St. Lucia!

I do not know whether it was the 12 lines cut through the top of the lush forest canopy, the speed, the height, or the ridiculously fun demeanor of the guides – but I’m pretty sure this was my favorite part of our 10-day trip!  The guides at TreeTop made even me, a confirmed chicken, soar through the trees like a hawk.  (Our guide Melvin gave our group the nickname, “The Chicken Hawks!”) After the first line, there was nothing scary about it.  See for yourself:

Nobody paid me to write this post.  I just wanted to share one of the most stinkin’ fun things we did on our wandering!


Adventures of Caribbean Cruise Newbies

Cruise coffee on balcony

Jeremy and I just returned from a 10-day Southern Caribbean cruise.  Now don’t go getting all judgey on me – I recognize that there are some, for lack of a better term “travel snob” bloggers who don’t consider cruising to be “real travel.”  But we had never been on a cruise before, so out of a sense of obligation, we just really needed to check it out for ourselves!  You’re welcome.  Here’s the scoop:

Cruising, at least of the 10-day variety, could be considered expensive – Until you look at it as separate hotel accommodations, travel cost, food, entertainment, touring…all rolled into one.  If you were to try to do this on your own, and calculate it on a per day basis, it would be much more expensive, especially if you take advantage of the on board activities.

We saved up –   We paid for the cruise on our credit card, a year in advance, and by the time the cruise arrived, it was, for the most part, paid for.  Same for the airfare to Ft. Lauderdale.  And we were considering this our trip to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary – Kind of a big, damn deal!

I did lots of research in advance –  I first started with a list of all of the cruise lines leaving the US.  Then I decided when we wanted to go.  I quickly learned that there were still waaaayyyy too many options.  So I started researching the different islands in the Caribbean.  I made a list of places that intrigued me, and whose cultures I was curious about.  THEN…I figured out which cruise lines had a ship going where I wanted to go.  Since we were probably not going to do this again any time soon, better get it right.

Different cruise lines have different cultures – I chose the Royal Princess for us.  Very, very, few children or teenagers.  On board ambiance included string quartets and bands playing “older” music.  For a minute, we thought, “Dang – We’re the youngest ones on this ship” …and then we considered the alternative.  Also important, once you decide on a ship, a YouTube search will usually yield a video tour that someone has posted, so that you can look around. The Royal Princess is a huge ship, and while she holds a gazillion passengers, we never ever felt crowded.  Well maybe a little in the scramble for deck chairs on sea days.

You can choose shore excursions…or not – We chose to do some excursions, because, as I said, we are newbies.   Folks on a shore excursion will never get left behind.  The tour guides, while locals, provided lots of information and history about each place.  That said, in each port were locals who were offering the same types of services for a bit less.  We hired a private tour in Barbados, and were given a delightful tour of the island, by a local in a taxi.

How you dine is not as much an issue as I thought it would be – We chose “Anytime Dining” because I thought it would be a pain to be told when we had to be to dinner, and I didn’t want to have to make idle chitchat with a shoe salesman from Poughkeepsie. (No offense, Poughkeepsie shoe sellers!)  Turns out, each day you are back on the ship in plenty of time to shower and change for dinner, no matter when or how you choose to eat.  It really is not that big a deal, and many people say they’ve made lifelong friends of dining companions.

Getting a stateroom with a balcony was worth it – At least for a first time cruiser.  We completely enjoyed both waking up early in the morning to watch as the ship came in to port, as well as stepping out to look at the full moon and feel the Caribbean air.  Many people say that they choose inside (less expensive) staterooms because you don’t spend that much time in your room – but I LOVED having my coffee and breakfast delivered to me so that I could enjoy it on the balcony.

Cashless Cruising – The cruise card = How the ship makes money!  Someone told me, “You can tell how much you enjoyed the cruise if you end up getting off with a $2000 bar bill!  Ours was not that bad, but I could see how it could happen.  Just hand them your cruise card, and it goes on your bill.  You’ve. Been. Warned.

The cruise lines have got embarking and disembarking down to a science – Yes, they know how to get you and your luggage on, off, through customs, and on your way in a ridiculously efficient manner.  You don’t really need to worry about how much stuff you have.  They handle it all with ease.

But the best part of it all:

The floating motel moves from one destination to the next, while you enjoy exploring the people and their culture in the places you’re visiting.  We saw and did so many amazing things.  Too long to share in this post, but I’ll keep writing.  I’ll also post them at our companion travel blog Encore Wanderings.  Look for it.  We did some CRAZY FUN STUFF!  Can’t wait to share with you guys!