The island of St. Kitts is showing up on many cruise itineraries recently and there is no better introduction to the island then the St. Kitts Scenic Railway.
A Little History
For 365 years, the main economy in St. Kitts was the sugar cane. The cultivation of sugar cane is very labor intensive and there was a large scale importation of African slaves starting as soon as the Europeans came to St. Kitts. Most of the islands in the region stopped cultivating sugar cane in the 20th century, but St. Kitts was about to continue on by building a modern factory and a narrow gauge railroad that connected the sugar estates to the factory which was completed in 1926. By 2005 the factory was now too old and the sugar industry had drastically changed so the Prime minister announced that the sugar cane industry was to be permanently closed at the end of the 2005 season. St. Kitts then changed its focus of the economy from sugar to tourism and the narrow gauge sugar cane railroad became the St. Kitts Scenic Railroad.
About the trip
The train is a double decker train with the top car offering 360 degree views of the environment. The steps are not hard to getup, they are normal steps so if you can climb a flight a stairs I recommend going to the top. The entire trip is 30 miles, but 12 of those miles are covered by bus. While on the train a group of four people sang different songs. They were quite good, and were called the St. Kitts Railway choir. They also had different rum drinks and when I was on the trip, they had seconds. The train very slow, it takes two hours to go 12 miles but if you have liked other slow scenic railroads, you will like this trip as well.
The part of the trip by bus has many interesting sights going by fast. There were several stops I would like to visit another time, but the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park which is UNESCO World Heritage Site is the top of my list when I return. On the train, the narration gets little old but the music and the view is great. The railroad goes around the northeast coastline of St. Kitts where you will pass by rain forests, sugar cane, estates and villages. It is a nice way to watch the scenery go by and to see both the beautiful and real St. Kitts.
If you are on a cruise ship, I recommend just going on the shore excursion, there really is no reason to book it on your own. If you are traveling on your own, you need to contact them to find out about times and tickets.
The St. Kitts Railway is a great trip to do, however, I will caution if your idea of fun is more active and you do not like to watch the world go by at a very slow pace, this is not the trip for you.