My friend had to catch up on her school work on Thursday, so I went with a few of her friends on a 3-4 hour horseback ride through the jungle! I had set up the arrangement through Trinity Inn Stables, which was a little confusing when we first showed up. The stables are behind an apartment building, so you don’t recognize them right away when you drive up. But it was smooth enough to pay, put on the riding helmet they provided, and then go out to the stables and mount up. The first part of the trip is in the open, so be sure to wear sunscreen or a hat if you are fair skinned like myself. The trail actually goes behind the botanical gardens at Fairview Great House, so it was interesting to know roughly where we were.
This was not a trail ride for beginners, though, or for anyone who isn’t comfortable on a horse (unlike most calm trail rides in the US). They trotted frequently, and a couple of them were spirited to run a little ways before slowing down again. Eventually you make it in to the shade of the rainforest, but that’s when the hills began. There were some pretty steep hills, and if you didn’t know how to sit in the saddle correctly it made things much more difficult for your horse. After we got to the top, our guides grabbed a coconut off a tree, cracked it open, and we had coconut and sodas at the top of the mountain. The ride down was similar to the ride up, except we really had to hold them back or the horses would have run all the way back to the stable.
Today was a MUCH needed spa day. My friend had class most of the day, so I made plans to go to the Marriott and spend a few hours in the spa. Luckily, I planned this for the day after the horseback ride, because man was I sore! I was supposed to have a seaside massage, but the cabana was under renovation, so I stayed indoors instead. I moved between the hot tub, cold tub (it was excellent for my muscles to alternate between the two), the sauna, and the steam room. The massage itself was fantastic – I did the 50 minute swedish massage. I walked out of there feeling like a new person! Afterwards, I spent a little time at the Marriott’s beachside bar, enjoying the view, before taking the cab back to my friend’s house.
Saturday was supposed to be my last full day on the island, so we drove out to the southern tip of the island (the roads here were even worse than the rest of the island), just to see it, and then spent the rest of the day at Shipwreck again. The waves were a little choppier this time around, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy – it didn’t come anywhere near St. Kitts, but it pushed bigger waves across the Caribbean. We stayed there for hours – reading, swimming, and drinking. Once the sun set, we packed up and headed back home.
Day 8-11: Sunday – Wednesday
I was supposed to leave the island on Sunday, for a few days spent in San Juan, Puerto Rico. But due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, flights all over were cancelled or delayed. My flight on Sunday got cancelled and rebooked for Monday. My flight on Monday got cancelled and rebooked for Tuesday. Now, I was supposed to leave San Juan on Tuesday, but I didn’t want to wait and hear that my flight was cancelled again, since Sandy was still wreaking havoc on the Northeastern United States. So I changed my flight to fly from St. Kitts to Miami on Tuesday night, and then from Ft. Lauderdale airport back to Baltimore on Wednesday morning.
I suppose there could be worse problems than being stuck for a few extra days on a tropical island, but I was stressed to the max because everyone I know and love was in the path of this terribly destructive hurricane. I could only sit and watch the news on TV as they showed the worst of it heading for New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut (at a rough guess, I would say 80% of my friends and family live in those three states).
It would have been nice to be able to keep my 3 day/2 night stop in San Juan, but I guess that’s what happens when you travel – things can change at any moment. When I flew down to St. Kitts, Sandy was still only a “tropical wave” – there was no indication it was going to be a hurricane, let alone a destructive force headed straight for everyone I know.
I’ll do a little write-up soon on what it was like trying to change my travel plans in a foreign country while everyone and their brother were also trying to change their plans. Initial impressions were that Hotels.com was initially unhelpful, but eventually helpful in the end. British Airways was frustrating, but that might have been because I booked an American Airlines flight through British Airways. Airtran was very helpful and efficient. All of the travel plans worked out in the end, and I saved $90 and spent 500 points more than my original plans would have required.
So that was my trip to St. Kitts! I would definitely go back – though I would probably spend all of my time at Shipwreck. I have never felt as relaxed as I did floating on the warm Caribbean waves at the beach, drinking margaritas, and eating locally caught fish. Whenever I get frustrated, or stressed out, or even when I can’t sleep, I let my mind drift back to the gentle swell of waves beneath my back, under the bright blue sky with the verdant hills in the corner of my eye. The trip was worth every cent if only for that one moment.