St. Kitts Tourism Authority’s CEO Racquel Brown shares some of her favourite things to see, do and experience on the Caribbean island
Naturally, St. Kitts is home to the staples that make the Caribbean a hotspot for Canadians — sunny weather, sandy beaches, great food and activities like diving, zip-lining and snorkelling. But for Racquel Brown, the CEO of St. Kitts Tourism Authority, part of what sets the destination apart is its preservation of culture, heritage and traditions.
“When you come to St. Kitts you will definitely have beach, beach, beach, which I love, but we have unique, authentic experiences that belong to the Caribbean that are still intact and I think that’s what makes the visit exceptional,” she tells Travel Courier. “What’s really special about St. Kitts is it has the traditional and quintessential essence of what many Caribbean destinations used to be.”
When the time comes to visit the island —St. Kitts is still closed for air and commercial traffic — Brown shares some advice for what to experience.
Witness where past meets present
Originally built to transport sugar cane, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is now a way for travellers to take in the island’s coastline and soak up sweeping views from the open air upper deck.
“It takes you around St. Kitts and you see the remnants of old sugar plantations and you get a feel of what it was in the past and also in present time because you are passing schools that are open, kids are waving to you, you interact with day-to-day people,” she says. “What I like about it is you really get a sense of how the island was when it was all sugar plantations.”
Take a bucket-list worthy crater hike
Adventure seekers can take a hike up the highest mountain in St. Kitts, Mt. Liamuiga, with a guide or on their own. Along with bragging rights, climbers will be rewarded with views of a crater, which should also satisfy those on the hunt for photos to inspire wanderlust on social media.
“When you get into that crater, it takes your breath away,” she says. “For me a crater is on the bucket list and there are very few places that have craters, especially dormant volcanoes. It’s quite an experience. Because we’re a volcanic island and we’ve been dormant forever, it’s really beautiful and you are going through the rain forest.”
Step back in time at Brimstone Hill
Learn about St. Kitts’ complex history by visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.
“It’s the reason why St. Kitts is English and not Spanish because we were colonized by Spanish, French and English,” she says. “It’s a beautiful fortress and it’s in complete form as what it was created and it has you in awe because you can see the dutch colonies from there. It speaks about the history of the destination as it speaks to being a modern colony.”
Discover the lost art of Batik
Head to Caribelle Batik on the Romney Manor historic estate to witness Kittitian artists utilizing the ancient Indonesian art of Batik.
“There used to be batik factories all over the Caribbean. This is the last remaining one here and you can actually see the artisans making the designs on the cloth,” she says. “We’re losing a skill in the world because we just want to do things so fast. Seeing something in its true traditional form — and then what’s beautiful about it is they have a store that sells everything from pots and pan holders to cases for your laptop to clothes for women, shorts, so in addition to paintings, you get to see the what this material can do and what you can create with it, and how it provides a livelihood for many people in the community.”