Refreshing St. Kitts Scenic Railway
When visiting amazing St. Kitts and Nevis islands in the Caribbean, we could not miss the Scenic railway, one of the very popular ways of getting to know the most important facts and what to do on St. Kitts.
Since its transforming from the sugar train to the scenic train on the 26th January 2003, it’s been the only train with Apakelo music and the Last railway of the West Indies.
We were welcomed with a smile, chose places to sit in the first car, prepared cameras and ears to listen, and opened eyes.
The 2 hours and 28 km of the St. Kitts scenic railway was accompanied by the Tour Director narrating us local stories.
Interesting facts about the places we passed by:
- We went back in time to learn that after sugar production there was also cotton and tobacco production on St. Kitts.
- Up to 100 years ago there were snakes on St. Kitts but the Europeans brought the mangoos who killed them. Now the only wild life on the island are monkeys and brown deer. Then full of grasshoppers, butterflies, birds and other smaller animals.
- Surprisingly (at least I found it surprising), there are pig farms on the island. We saw one or two in the distance.
- The hurricane in 1988, 89 and 1999 were strong and damaged the coast that was left with no electricity and water for certain time.
- There’s different kind of beaches on St. Kitts – dark brown sand beaches on Keys close to volcano while on the Southern part of the island the beaches have white sand (Frigate Bay, South East peninsula).
- 75% of island fresh water comes from the rainforest.
- There is cable TV on the island.
- Many local fishermen go fishing at 5 am to midday.
- Lethal yellow coconut palm disease devastated many coconut palm trees on St. Kitts and on Nevis.
- 3 weeks of National carnival 15 December to 3 January every year and last week of June music festival when many celebrities and artists come here for 3 nights. A good time of the year to visit St. Kitts.
- For the last time so far, the Mount Liamigua volcano erupted in 1888.
- The French brought the monkeys to St. Kitts and Nevis in 1793 and left them there. Ever since the monkeys damage the farms.
- It is said that nowadays ”There’s twice as many monkeys as people on St. Kitts.”
- Scientists from Boston and Connecticut have done research here for 40 years already.
- On the train we crossed the Christ Church bridge which is the only bridge to cross the main road on the island.
- All high school students were given a new laptop on St. Kitts and Nevis and even many other schools have computers. There’s a public school in every village, at least one in each and the kids have to wear uniforms. In primary schools children plant tomatoes to learn some agriculture. (my thumbs up)
- St. John’s Anglican church in BelleVue we spotted from the scenic railway is over 350 years.
- Locals go swimming to Dieppe Bay where water is warm and there’s no sharks.
- Many almond trees around, also cinnamon and ginger are the island spices.
- St. Kitts is full of both sheep and goats. They look a bit different to the European ones I’m used to. The best way to differentiate them according to the local explanation is that sheep have long tail pointed downwards vs. goats short tail pointed upwards.
- The white Egrets (birds) flew to St. Kitts running from a hurricane and then stayed there. Nowadays you can see them pretty often.
- We saw Dutch islands Statia and Saba close by from Dieppe. Dieppe was the first French town on the island, hence the French name.
- In St. Paul’s town we crossed, there’s the house of Prime Minister (he is a doctor.)
- All the inhabitants on St. Kitts older than 65 years get free health care.
- St. Kitts has diplomatic ties with Taiwan since 1983 – they assist the locals with the expertise with agriculture.
- Many US students at veterinary schools. Asian and African students do their medical studies here too and rent houses from the locals and also buy cars from them.
- In Kittian Hill Village situated down the volcano in the forest you can rent luxurious houses.
- St. Kitts has one of the most fertile soil in the Caribbean – it was first called Liamigua = fertile island but then received the short name after St. Christopher.
The pleasant views on the St. Kitts scenic railway not only filled me with lots of useful information, but drinks were served on the island too. I only had water to hydrate myself on a hit day (I don’t drink alcohol), but guys tried rum punch or frozen daiquiri. To kill the cravings, we tried both traditional Kittitian custard and sugar apple cake that locals usually share with their neighbors. Here we shared them with our friends and other tourists on the scenic railway.
The pretty views of the island and the sea were increased by a three-voice local band, the St. Kitts Railway Choir singing on the train. I had goose bumps from the funny yet very truthful lyrics and the incredibly superstar voices of the singers. Singing ”enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think, the years go by quickly as you ring.” got stuck on my mind until now.
My trip to St. Kitts and Nevis islands was a press trip organized by the St. Kitts Tourist Board in the collaboration with St. Kitts Scenic Railway as part of my Adventure and Spa project. All the opinions in this article are my own as usual. Thanks a million to the tourist board, Zarina and Maynard.
*** It took me 5 hours to write this post about St. Kitts Scenic railway.