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St. Kitts' Scenic Highway

Nov 27, 2007
Less than 20 years ago, the picturesque southeastern peninsula of St. Kitts was accessible only by boat. Though the island is small, no passable roads existed for locals and tourists to visit the undeveloped beaches of the Atlantic coast. In 1989, however, St. Kitts completed work on a remarkable roadway that would connect the corners of the island and offer visitors a scenic route to tour the Caribbean landscape. Known officially as the Dr. Kennedy Simmonds Highway - named for the island's first prime minister - this road remains one of the most important developments in the island's history and great way to see everything St. Kitts has to offer.

If you are like most of the Caribbean's visitors, you will probably want to spend a good part of your vacation on the beach, admiring the weather and the scenery. On St. Kitts, some of the best beaches are located along the narrow southeastern peninsula accessible by the Simmonds Highway. While the beaches in this area are typically not as wide as those near the island's capital city, Basseterre, most are known for their powdery sand and excellent views. One of the most popular beaches on the island's southern shore is Friar's Bay, site of some exciting new developments. Locals and knowledgeable tourists will also recommend the beaches at Sand Bank Bay, Cockleshell Bay and Banana Bay.

After the Simmonds Highway began providing access to the southernmost part of the islands for locals and tourists alike, several developments started taking shape. One of the most ambitious projects is the sprawling Whitegate Development Project. While parts of the complex are still in the planning stage, the Whitegate Development Project will include the Beaumont Park Racetrack and the luxury area known as Kittian Heights. Located at Dieppe Bay, this project will incorporate several new restaurants, shops and tourist opportunities in the coming years. The most exciting project for families will be the four-acre theme park known as Marine World. Situated on the shore at South Friar's Bay, Marine World will allow families to view local marine life in state-of-the-art aquariums and participate in dolphin encounters.

Though most of the activity along the Simmonds Highway takes place on the beaches, there is plenty to see before the end of the road. The road begins at Frigate Bay on the western half of the island and winds its way through many of St. Kitts' best sightseeing spots. Much of this scenery at the island's interior was generated by volcanic activity. Along the Simmonds Highway, you will pass one of the most picturesque volcanic sites on the island - the Great Salt Pond. Known for its sparkling pink color, this water-filled volcanic crater is one of the most photographed sites along the highway.

As you progress down the 6 mile highway, you will probably notice the coastal terrain becoming rockier. Exposed to the winds and waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the southeastern portion of the island will greet all visitors with an incredible scenic contrast to the calm beaches just a few miles to the northwest. After passing through the grassy, rolling hills near the beginning of the highway, rocky cliffs and lagoons will come into view. Amongst the windswept coves you can find one of the locals' favorite hangouts - Turtle Beach. As grazing cattle and goats find their way to the tiny beach, locals enjoy fresh seafood at the one of the most charming restaurants on the island. Of course, visitors are always welcome to join in on the food and fun.

Though taxis and some tour buses cruise along the Simmonds Highway, the best way to see the sites is renting a car. At your hotel or resort, you will be able to find information on daily car rentals and your concierge may be able to reserve a vehicle for you. As there is plenty to see in just over six miles, you may also want to ask your concierge for tips on the best way to see the southeastern peninsula.

If you want to see all the natural diversity that St. Kitts has to offer, take a ride down the Simmonds Highway. With white sand beaches, rolling hills and windswept cliffs in just over six miles, you might not find a more scenic road anywhere in the Caribbean.
About the Author
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about vacationing in the Caribbean and St. Kitts Marriott Resort and Casino for the Marriott Resorts.
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