Cooking classes in Dominica | Experiences Caribbean

Caribbean food is rich in flavours and personality, with influences from many other countries. Caribbean food is fresh, colourful and often very local, particularly on Dominica where the fresh fruit & vegetables are so easily available around the island. A cooking class is an excellent way to learn about the cuisine on Dominica as well as a nice introduction to a few recipes you might even want to try back home.

Daria has been running cooking classes since 2006 and has won over her customers with her cheery approach and in depth knowledge of Caribbean cuisine. She recently filmed with her beloved ‘Chef Ainsley’ British chef Ainsley Harriott as part of his show ‘Caribbean Kitchen’ which can be seen on ITV.

A class with Daria is like learning recipes from an old friend, she’s passionate about using fresh, local ingredients and many of them come from the surrounding houses and almost all from Dominica itself, except the rice which is imported from a neighbouring island.

I opted for a private class with just Daria and her daughter as an assistant and then my friend & I. As it was a small group we cooked in Daria’s private kitchen upstairs, but with larger groups particularly when a cruise ship has docked then she has a huge kitchen downstairs which can cater for lots of people cooking at once.

We cooked a variety of dishes with Daria talking us through the ingredients for every recipe and encouraging us to get stuck in with the preparation & cooking itself.

First we prepared some Titiri fish cakes/fritters. Titiri is a local fish which seems to come under different names around the Caribbean, the fish is mixed in equal parts with wholewheat flour, lime juice, chilli sauce & coriander before being fried in oil until it’s slightly crispy on the outside and doughy in the middle. It made a lovely snack often chosen for breakfast in Dominica but also went down a treat as a mid cooking nibble.

Another favourite dish we prepared was Creole Fish. A colourful recipe of yellow fin tuna served with pepper, onion, tomato & a marinade ofparsley celery, spring onion, thyme, chives, garlic, lime & parlsey. Creole food is a fusion of cultures and history and Daria describes creole as having attitude. In her own words “Creole is colour, creole is flavour.”

Alongside a coconut rice & beans and plantain cooked 2 ways we dined on the balcony with beautiful garden views before finishing the meal with a fruit salad mixed with local spice infused rum.

Daria’s class was one of the most enjoyable things we did in Dominica and the food was certainly one the top meals of the trip as well. It’s a fantastic introduction to Dominican food and a fun way learn about the flavours of the island.

To book visit Experiences Caribbean |Classes usually run every Tuesday and Friday, but they can be flexible. Prices are $100 USD per head which includes the class, a full meal and 2 free drinks. Up to 30 people.








Ilhabela, beautiful by name, beautiful by nature

Ilhabela, beautiful by name, beautiful by nature

Why Ilhabela should by on your radar for a delightful island getaway.

Ilhabela, sometimes ignored in favour of Ilha Grande for backpackers, indeed lives up to it’s name as the Beautiful Island. It’s a lush green island with expansive national parks, and a laid back cool vibe with welcoming locals. As a foot passenger it’s free to travel across from São Sebastião, on the ferry which departs frequently throughout the day and travelling around the island is easy with a good bus service and numerous tour operators offering 4×4 services to off the beaten track spots. It’s a sailing haven and home to yacht clubs that host numerous regattas throughout the year, as well as being popular for other watersports including scuba diving and free diving.

The island offers a range of accomodations to suit all budgets, from the simple hostel right up to world standard hotels. but for a personal family touch a pousada is the way to go. A pousada is a mix between a B&B and a small boutique hotel and staying in these often means you’ll be interacting directly with a local family with inside knowledge.

Pouso Sambaquis is a top choice on the island, a tropical hideaway close to the main beaches of the north side. The immaculate rooms look out onto a beautiful pool surrounded by a flower garden visited by up to 30 different species of birds. Maria, the housekeeper bakes fresh daily treats for the breakfast, whilst Alex the nature loving owner can provide personal tours to hidden beauty spots and wildlife havens.

Ilhabela is covered in National Parks and for anyone interested in wildlife, particularly bird watching, as well as flora & fauna it’s an ideal place to visit. The park rangers ensure the parks are left as nature intended and clearly marked paths allow for exploring without disturbing the animals and plants. Numerous trails lead through the parks, to observation towers where you can catch a glimpse of toucans amongst other colourful favourites whilst looking over the top of the trees. There are waterfalls galore in the parks, and if you set off early you might be lucky enough to get one to yourself.

For those who like the finer things in life, on Ilhabela’s 41 beaches there are some fantastic beach clubs including Villa Salga with it’s lovely views of James Bond- esque villas on the hilltops. Swanky yachts pull up nearby the club and drinks are shuttled out to them whilst others dance and drink cocktails on the private beach area.

Whilst in the summer months, Ilhabela is usually busy with local and foreign tourists during low season you can get some fantastic deals on the island and you’re sure to be delighted by the beauty and tranquility Ilhabela offers.

Sustainability on a cruise | How to travel in a more sustainable way.

The topic of cruising and sustainability often comes up and before/during my first cruise I did some research as to how one can cruise more sustainably. Much of this (as well as choosing which company to cruise with) actually comes down to decisions you can make during the cruise, and I wanted to highlight some of these below.

1. Choose to sail from a local port.

In terms of your carbon footprint then flying, especially short haul is one of the worst things you can do. Whilst we all do want to reduce the impact we are having on the planet, most families would be unlikely to forego their Summer holiday, but a holiday where you don’t have to fly is definitely an improvement. I chose to sail on the Sapphire Princess which departed in Southampton meaning I was able to get the train to my port of departure rather than having to fly in. It was very convenient for me and avoided the need to spend more money on a flight, as well as avoiding the airport stress.

2. Recycle

As well as recycling facilities around the ship I was very pleased to learn that everything you put in a bin in your cabin is separated for recycling. So even if you don’t get chance to put your bottles/papers etc into a designated recycling area, then it will all be separated and recycled anyway.

3. Don’t get sheets changed daily

On cruises as with hotels then your sheets will be changed daily and your towels will be replaced, cutting down on your cabin’s laundry is a good way to reduce your carbon footprint however. On board the Sapphire Princess I was able to speak to the friendly staff member assigned to my room and alert them that I didn’t need a change every day.

Equally just by folding and rehanging your towels you’ll be able to make it clear that you don’t need them replacing. This might seem like a small step but if everybody on the ship did the same it would make a big difference.

4. Don’t waste food

Food and dining is obviously a large part of any cruise, but despite all the delicious options you’d be surprised how much food is wasted in any restaurant both at sea and on land.

Much of this lies in us all having eyes bigger than our stomachs, and over ordering. It actually takes a while for your stomach to know that you’re full and especially with a delicious buffet it’s easy to over-order. Do as the Europeans do and take your time with your food, choose a few smaller plates and then go back for more helpings when you’re sure you have room!

5. Use fillable stations instead of plastic bottles

Thanks to the David Attenborough effect most people and now trying their hardest to cut down on single-use plastic.

Take a reusable bottle on board and ask staff members to fill it up for you rather than opting for plastic bottles. Equally don’t forget that on many cruise lines the water in the taps is of very high quality and perfectly safe to drink. Try filling up your reusable water bottle from the tap in your cabin before bed, adding a couple of slices of fresh lemon before putting it in your room fridge to cool for the next day.

On board the Sapphire Princess there were plenty of areas where you could get a drink without the need for any single use plastic.

6. Don’t flush waste down the toilet
This is a steadfast rule for general living; it’s always better to put waste in the provided bin rather than flushing it. As previously mentioned rubbish in the bins is sorted and recycled so better to put it in there to ensure that any ‘black’ and ‘grey’ water is actually cleaner when dropped in accordance with the law.

This article was written in AD partnership with Princess Cruises but as always all the opinions are my own.

First time on a cruise? What you need to know?

If you’ve booked to go on your first cruise or are currently browsing options to have a cruise as your next holiday then you may be wondering what things you need to know before you travel on a cruise ship for the first time.

I recently travelled with Princess Cruises from Southampton on my first ever cruise so I’ve put together a handy guide that answers all the questions I had as well as some things I found out on the way.

What do I need to pack?
Obviously this will vary from cruise to cruise but below is a list of general items you will need to pack. Just like a hotel then often you will be provided with a toiletry set in your cabin, equally there will be an on board shop where you can purchase any items that you may have forgotten. Don’t panic if you do forget something as at the port days you’ll also be able to go shopping.

  • Comfortable shoes for hiking/walking on port days
  • Swimwear for the pool
  • Suncream
  • Smart clothing for any formal nights on board (see ‘Formal night’ section.)
  • Travel adapters
  • Camera (obviously) although there will often be on board photographers
  • Gym kit; many cruise ships will have gym facilities that you may wish to use

What is the formal night like?
Many cruise ships have at least one formal night, and whilst it’s not always compulsory that you get involved, it is a fun evening and an excuse to dress a little fancy. Formal nights will be announced in advance so you’ll have time to plan. On my cruise is Princess Cruises on board the Sapphire Princess then many people opted for tuxedos and evening gowns, with a few choosing a more simple shirt and tie.

Our formal night started with a champagne waterfall in the main atrium which was a fun activity where you could volunteer to pour the bottles and was a great photo opportunity.

Can you get laundry done on board?
Just like at a hotel it will more than likely be possible to get your clothes washing done on board. The system will probably include ticking a box to say what needs washing and leaving it for housekeeping to collect.

What about phone signal?
When you’re near a port or of course docked then of course you will be able to get signal on your phone and the normal roaming charges from your network supply will apply. However once you’re out at sea then if your phone joins a maritime network then you’re likely to come back with some pretty hefty charges. Best advice would be to switch the roaming off your phone shortly after you leave a port to avoid any extra costs.

Can I drink the water on board?
Unlike on a plane, there’s no need to worry about the quality of the water on board. It will all have been through rigorous testing to ensure it’s top quality for your to drink straight from the tap.

What kind of activities are on board?
There will be two separate options for your time on the ship.
1. Every ship will of course have the options available every day; for example the swimming pools, perhaps a casino, gym, running track or shuffleboard.
2. There will be daily activities announced on the ship, these will vary but may include shows and live performances, bingo, quiz sessions, art auctions and movie nights (on the Sapphire Princess they had the popular ‘Movies under the stars.’
For the daily activities you will be able to plan your day as you’ll have access to a schedule to see’what’s on’.

What happens on port days?
Of course the ports of call are an exciting part of any cruise. You’ll be informed as to the time of arrival and if the ship is docking right by the port then you’ll be able to disembark when you wish. If you have a tour booked of course you’ll have to ensure you’re off in good time to meet your group/guide. Equally be mindful of the time you need to back on the ship and leave plenty of time to board.

What is a tender?
A ship’s tender or just ‘tender’ is a boat used to transport the passengers to the port when the ship is unable to dock directly by the land. It’s a safe and quick way to get to shore. Sometimes this will involve travelling in lifeboats for example or just smaller boats to reach the ship.
If tenders are being used on a port day you will be informed in advance and sometimes may be given a specific time or group to travel with. Before the ship leaves in the evening you will be informed of the time of the last tender.

What is a muster station?
You’ll be allocated a muster station when you get on board. Put simply, this is the location you need to meet at should there be an emergency. If the emergency alert were to go off then you should make your way to the assigned location (clearly marked) and await further instructions from the crew.

Will I need an adapter for the plug sockets?
This will vary from ship to ship. On board the Sapphire Princess as it was an American ship then the plug sockets were 3 pin US so many people required an adapter, however these were available in the shop to purchase.

Will I feel sea sick?
Generally it’s not common to feel sick on cruise ships, as the larger the ship the less noticeable it will be that you’re slightly swaying. Some people actually find the movement of the ship fairly relaxing as they are going to sleep.

This post was written in AD partnership with Princess Cruises however the article and everything in it of course reflects my opinion and not that of the company.

St Kitts Food | What to try and where to eat?

St Kitts food is definitely going to be one of the top things about your trip to the beautiful island. St Kitts is a haven for seafood lovers and the island has a range of options for dining, from street side cafes & stalls right up to fine dining restaurants with ocean views. Below is a list of top recommendations for St Kitts food and restaurants with something for every taste.

St Kitts food with music while you eat 

Sprat Net 
Don’t be fooled by the exterior; Sprat Net is THE place to be on a Friday/Saturday night. It’s a casual eatery with incredible food, the kind where the whole group will go quiet as they savour every bite. Lobster & ribs is the most popular dish, but the shrimp is also popular. For vegetarians there isn’t as much on offer but the good sized pizzas are a nice option.

The lively bar serves up beers and a selection of rums. This is a fun way to dine, with large tables so you may end up sitting with others, and a live band playing hits on the stage.

Don’t be afraid to eat with your hands as trying to pull apart lobster with a plastic fork can prove fairly difficult!

20190607_2137211446142238697516788.jpgSprat Net Bar & Grill (Opening Times)
Monday & Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday to Friday – 6-11:30 pm
Saturday: 6-11:00 pm
Sunday: 6-10:00 pm

St Kitts food when you want something healthy

Ital Creations -By Pass Road oposite side Army Camp, Basseterre

If you’re a vegetarian/vegan or even if you just fancy a little change of cuisine then head to Ital Creations for fresh, tasty vegan cuisine. With the original location on an organic farm which you’re free to wander around, Ital has become so popular that another location has opened up at Ross University Campus.

The owner Yaya is originally from Puerto Rico started cooking healthy food for her children before it turned into the successful business it is today. The word ‘Ital’ comes from the Rasta term for vital, and on an island obsessed with meat/fish then perhaps a weekly visit to the café is indeed vital.

There are daily specials and regular favourites such as the delicious gyros packed full of eggplant and green banana. The smoothies are also popular, served in biodegradable cups.

Open – Monday – Saturday 930 – 4pm

For a beachside cocktail

Carambola Beach Club -Friars Bay

Friars Bay is a fabulous place to go during the day or evening. For those wishing to get wet there are all kinds of watersports including jet ski rental, inflatables and snorkelling. If you just want to relax then there are sun loungers overlooking the waves outside the Carambola Beach Club where you’ll be able to pass many chilled hours.

The cocktails are great here, with originals and old favourites, and the beers are ice cold.

Open daily – 11am -11pm

St Kitts food for a romantic meal

The Pavilion  – Christophe Harbour

With grand pillars and incredible views The Pavilion is one of the top dining options on the island. From the moment you enter you’re greeted warmly and the staff will continue to be knowledgable and friendly throughout your meal.

The food is elegantly presented with high end ingredients. Even small details aren’t overlooked like the freshly baked bread served before the meal and the use of micosalads so reminiscent of top London restaurants.

The menu is a great fusion of Caribbean and International flavours and this is also reflected in the wine list.

Open – Tuesday to Saturday 530 – 10pm

St Kitts food for the very trendy

SALT Plage -Christophe Harbour

A stand out on the island, SALT Plage is incredibly trendy. All palm trees and live music, it has netted seats over the water allowing you to sip a drink above the fish and lapping waves.

There’s a pleasant jetty lined with flags and fairy lights making a great place to watch the sun go down. Meanwhile back near the bar itself there is live music and the smell of the grill wafting over in the wind is sure to build up your appetite.

There’s a range of unique takes on cocktails and the friendly staff are happy to make a suggestion.

Highly recommended!

Open – Daily 4pm – 10pm

Railway Bar & Grill – Old Road, Saint Thomas Middle Island, St Kitts

Located near a lot of the main attractions such as Sky Safari Zip Line and Caribelle Batik, The Railway Bar & Grill is no frills dining that doesn’t skimp on taste. The menu is straightforward and simple, with local dishes like rice & peas, a range of wings, plantain and catch of the day fish.

It’s well priced and a good place to try some local dishes and you won’t leave hungry.


Open – Monday to Saturday 9am til 11pm

For elegant dining

Marshalls Restaurant  – Fort Tyson, Frigate Bay.

A good introduction to dining on the island, Marshalls offers healthy portions including local favourites such as the ‘Seafood Coquille’. As in many places on the island, seafood is high up on the menu here, but the meat offerings such as the mixed grill are excellent for those with a big appetite. The desserts including home made ice creams are also very popular. It’s a great option for group dining.

Open -Sunday til Saturday 6pm – 10pm

15 things to do in Beverley | What to do in Beverley

Beverley is a delightful small town in the North East of England with a range of activities to suit all ages, and a huge amount of history and culture attached to it. It’s an ideal low key weekend break, with romantic hotels, some top dining locations and enough galleries, churches and quirky trails to keep you greatly entertained. Here are some top things to do Beverley.

1. Take a walking tour with Paul Schofield. Paul is originally from nearby Hull but knows the whole of East Yorkshire very well. His tours are tailored to the specific groups and are full of personality and fascinating stories. Paul knows not only some hidden gems around the town but also has many stories to suit.

He’s jolly and fun, with excellent local knowledge not just about the history of the area but also local customs, the best pubs to visit and funny stories about the town.


2. Enjoy some fine dining twists on traditional meals at The Beverley Arms. With fantastic views of St Mary’s Church The Beverley Arms is a smart yet cosy hotel and bar/restaurant. The popular restaurant and bar serve real ales as well as some top food choices including a fantastic scallops & black pudding starter. Many of the dishes are recognisable choices but with updated twists. It finds a great balance between classy yet unpretentious, and this is reflected in the guests some of whom choose to dress up for dinner, with others comfortably casual.

The rooms are traditional and elegant, featuring tartans and ornate wallpaper, large walk in showers and tubs with luxury toiletries. It’s a great base to explore Beverley and certainly one of the most popular hotels in the region with good reason.






3. Follow the painting trail. In a rather unique trail around the town, children and adults will enjoy finding the 22 full-sized paintings sited around Beverley. Paintings from local artists Fred and Mary Elwell (whose works were given to Beverley Art Gallery in 1958) make up a fun tour and outdoor art exhibition called ‘Painting The Town Fred And Mary.’

Even for those not particularly art focused it’s a bit different and the outdoor nature of it will certainly keep children interested.

4. Visit St Mary’s Church
You’d be forgiven for thinking that St Mary’s was in fact the cathedral given it’s size, but St Mary’s Church is in a fact a simple parish church, just a large and beautiful one. The outside is spectacular and it’s a lovely place to walk around and admire the architecture.



5. Visit the Market Cross
Beverley is still a popular market town, and on a Saturday the large market stretches across the main square and draws in people from miles around, as well as locals of course. The Grade I listed Market Cross was built in the early 1700s and has been a proud central point of the town since then, drawing people to the market. It bares a number of coats of arms and some detailed carvings making it a beautiful as well as functional piece.



6. Browse the local boutiques. Beverley has some wonderful boutiques and shops including record stores like Bug (pictured below). A top place to start is in St Mary’s Court which has some lovely clothing stores, a popular Gelato spot called Poma and some great unique gift shops.
Beverley is home to many high street brands but if you wander around the side streets and around the main square there are some independent shops including trendy clothing boutiques as well as high end salons.

7. Sample some luxury chocolates at the White Rabbit Chocolatiers. A small shop with some wonderful chocolates and truffles, it has extended and now features a popular cafe. Come for the chocolate slabs in flavours like ‘raspberry & amaretti’, the truffle counter including a delicious cappuccino flavour and the incredible decorated chocolate eggs.

8. Spot the intricate carvings of musicians at Beverley Minster
Beverley Minster is spectacular. It is grand, ornate and makes one marvel at how it was even designed let alone built. Spend a while exploring the different areas, taking note of the charming carvings of musicians dotted around. The minster has some beautiful stained glass windows and even those not particularly interested in religion or architecture are sure to be blown away by its majestic nature.






9. Have a pint of Sam Smith’s at the White Horse. Known locally as Nellie’s this local institution is a popular pub serving very well priced ales from the Sam Smith brewery.

It’s large and traditional with lots of separate areas and a huge amount of history that keeps the locals coming back and the tourists wanting to visit. My dad tells me stories of it having gas lamps and a table with jugs of beers, which conjures up images of something like Oliver Twist. Obviously it has had to update somewhat since then, but only as much as the law requires, meaning The White Horse is like stepping back in time.

10. Follow the trade trail around the town.
Beverley has a rich history of trades and the trade trail is made up of 39 unique sculptures depicting the trades and guilds of the region. In Medieval times Beverley was an important stopping point between York and Hull for coaches and it became a wealthy town with many skilled inhabitants including tanners and carpenters.

Follow the trade trail and spot some street art designs of varying sizes and shapes as you learn about the history of the town.

11. Follow Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit

Lewis Carroll was known to have spent a lot of time in Beverley with his family and a carving in St Mary’s Church surely does bare a strong resemblance to the White Rabbit character in his books. It is believed that this carving was part of the inspiration for the character.

12. Visit the old Friarage and it’s slanty facade.
The old friarage is now a YHA hostel, it what must be one of the most interesting buildings for a youth hostel. Slightly hidden away near the minster it’s a charming old building with some pleasant gardens including old wells, but the main draw is the front side with it’s very slanted walls, from some angles you would wonder how it manages to stay upright!

13. Walk around and take in the old buildings and Tudor timbers.
Beverley has some fantastic buildings, many of which are hundreds of years old. Be sure to look up as you walk around the town and spot some of the the buildings that have stood the test of time including a few authentic black & white timber designs, many with original street signs.


14. Visit The Westwood

The Westwood is very pretty area of natural beauty just outside of the main town area. It is a great place to take a walk (plenty of parking spaces nearby), and take in the fresh air and lovely views, but it’s also pleasant just to drive through if you’re not much of an outdoorsy person.

15. Check out the sand sculptures
The Beverley sand sculpture trail is made up of sculptures from local artist Paul Hoggard. These 12,10-20 ton sand sculptures are housed in some significant buildings around the town including inside Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church and represent things associated with Beverley through the ages. The sculptures are incredibly impressive and almost look as if they are carved from stone.


For more information about Beverley visit;

St Kitts; A one week itinerary | What to do in St Kitts

St Kitts is an island with so much to offer. As well as the usual delightful beaches one might expect from a Caribbean Island it’s an adventurous place with a whole range of activities for the discerning traveller. There’s a rich history and culture and those with an interest can visit the sites of sugar factories and rum distilleries. There are dormant volcanoes and hills giving incredible views over St Kitts and the neighbouring islands, and you have your pick of how to explore, be that vigorous hikes, ATV excursions or Jeep Safaris.

Below is a suggested St Kitts guide for making the most of your time on this beautiful island; taking in the sights, partaking in adventure activities, learning about the history and of course as the locals say ‘limin’.


To get yourself accustomed to the area, start your trip with a downtown ‘safari’ tour on an open sided bus. Giving you a glimpse of the strip, Port Zante, downtown Basseterre and zooming past vast golf courses, it’s a great way to see some of what the island has to offer and paves the way for the rest of the week.

One good suggestion is Sir Walter Safari Tours;  friendly and knowledgeable he will take you to some important spots downtown while giving an informative but not too in your face audio description on the way.

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Prices – 1-4 person $80 total then 20 dollars per extra person.
In the afternoon head to Sky Safari Zip Line – for some aerial fun. After a safety briefing and practice run you’ll be taken up the hill to the first of four zip lines. You’ll soon be flying across the tree canopies and getting views right out to the water.
The guides are funny and it’s a great activity as long as you’re not afraid of heights. Many of the lines get up to some high speeds and go from fairly high up so it’s not for the faint hearted.
Time – around 2 hours – $89 USD – Weight limit 125kg


Today head to Brimstone Fortress – It’s a UNESCO site and one of the best preserved historical fortifications in the Americas. The construction of the Brimstone Hill Fortress started in 1690 and took just over 100 years to be finished.

Cannons were first mounted on the Hill in 1689 by the French but following that , the English used the hill as a fortress taking advantage of it’s over 900 foot height.

The fortress is vast and in a remarkably good state of affairs. It has a fascinating yet tragic history and knowledgeable local guides can show you round the area, teaching you to identify British or French cannons and explaining the history of the site.

brimstone fortress st kitts.jpgbrimstone fortress st kitts.jpgbrimstone fortress st kitts.jpgbrimstone fortress st kitts.jpg20190608_1258308121007281843582923.jpg

 $10 adults / $5 children – Opening hours 930 – 530 – Free WiFi at the café

In the early evening head to trendy Salt Plage for sunset. This open air bar and restaurant is the epitome of cool, with it’s very instagrammable net seats over the water enabling you to sip on a cocktail while watching the fish below. The flag laden jetty has seats going out to the sea, while the seats near the bar itself are treated to live music.

The cocktail menu is top notch, and there’s a range of table snacks/sharers as well as the popular main dishes. It’s a place to be seen on the island and it’s easy to spend hours here enjoying the cool sea breeze and a few cocktails as the sun sets.

salt plage st kittssalt plage st kittssalt plage st kittssalt plage st kitts

4pm until late – St Christophe Harbour


Start the day with a quick visit to the Carib petroglyphs- St Kitts has been inhabited since 2500 BC and these Carib drawings are from the  original Carib inhabitants before the Europeans arrived in the 17th century. They are believed to be a sign of fertility and locals joke that you should touch the rock if you want to get pregnant.
carib st kitts

Next head to South Friars Bay. Check out beachside bars for lunch and a cocktail before taking some time to relax on the loungers or the soft sand.

If you’re still not ready to sit still then there are a lot of watersports on offer. Jet ski excursions round the bars are good for thrill seekers, and if you want a good laugh then try out the inflatable sofa-like items that you can sit on with friends before being pulled across the water at high speeds.

There’s also snorkelling and for those who want it a little more laid back the water is lovely and warm for good old swimming.

top beach st kitts


Today, make sure you have a big breakfast as you’ve got a big climb ahead of you.

mount liagmuga st kitts

Mount Liamunga is a dormant volcano on St Kitts offering fantastic views into it’s lush green crater, and also out to the Caribbean Sea from certain viewpoints. It’s a tough hike, with sections that involve scrambling and climbing, so if you’re not that fit it’s probably not for you. O Neil Mulraine is the islands favoured guide. He’s over 60 but the fittest pensioner you’ll ever meet and he will put you to shame as he bounds up the trail without breaking a sweat. Prepare for the hike to take all day; usual times vary from 4 hours round trip if you’re very fast to 10 hours for those needing to stop for a rest frequently. Hiking in St Kitts

Make sure to pack water, mosquito repellent and your camera for the views from the top! It’s hard going even if you’re in good shape, but the views and feeling of achievement make it all worthwhile. Even if you only have one day in St Kitts, it’s worth the effort.

volcano hike st kittshiking st kitts

ONeil Mulraine can be booked from most hotels on St Kitts or contact


Ready for your weekend in St Kitts? In the morning head over to Wingfield Estate – named after The Earl of Wingfield from East Anglia. Even for those who are not huge history fans then Wingfield Estate will still be of interest. It’s thought to possess the earliest examples of British Masonry anywhere in the Americas as well the oldest in tact rum distillery in the West Indies.
Much of the site is very well preserved and showcases the process of sugar production. Over the years more and more areas are being unearthed and the current caretakers have great plans to turn the site into a thought provoking visitor area, tastefully done, that tells the stories of those enslaved here. Gradually, more and more of its past is being unearthed and the eventual plan is for it to be the centrepiece of a learning and reflection centre. It’s an absolute must if you want to learn about the history of St Kitts.
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Afterwards head to nearby Caribelle Batik– Batik is a style of dying and waxing material and Caribelle produced it’s first Batik in 1976 before going onto the be some of the most sought after textiles in the Caribbean. It’s a fun and interactive visit with the friendly staff happy to do some demonstrations and answer questions.
It’s a hugely detailed and skilled job so it’s fascinating to stand and watch the ladies at work producing the brightly coloured and cheerful designs.
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On site, make sure to visit the 400 year old tree. Originated in South America, the seeds would have been planted by settling Amerindians and it’s now so wide stretching that some of the branches reach down to the ground.
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In the evening head to where the party is at; Sprat Net. It’s a relaxed affair, a bar/restaurant built from wood with one side opened up for views. There’s a live band playing at the weekends, playing lively versions of top hits.

The bar serves up a few options including beers and a variety of different rums, but what you’re really here for is the giant portions of fresh seafood and meat. Top recommendation would be the lobster with ribs, but also choose from other options including shrimp, all served with bread and corn on the cob. For vegetarians, opt for the delicious smelling pizzas. It’s definitely one of the top things to do in St Kitts.

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Old Road Town, Saint Thomas Middle Island, Saint Kitts and Nevis


Be prepared to get dirty again as today you’re going on an exhilarating Jeep tour of St Kitts  in a Jeep Wrangler with SKN Jeepers. SKN Jeepers are the top jeep rental in St Kitts. If you drive you can choose from either manual or automatic vehicles but friendly owner Ellington is happy to take the wheel if you’re a little nervous. Tours take you up into the hills to see a different side to the island as goats and cows wander past and you’re able to get views right out to Nevis.
It’s a dusty journey with a lot of bumps and very much ‘off road’ but that’s what makes it so fun. 
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$65 per car – SKN Jeepers

If you’re keen on history then start of the day with a tour of St Kitts colonial house Fairview Great House.
It’s a beautiful old colonial house with examples of the bath houses, original bedrooms & bathrooms, volcanic stone & brick oven and a great gift shop. It’s also possible to do rum tastings including a coconut cream and a delicious mango rum. Free WiFi.
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Finally after a busy week you deserve a little more beach time  so try visiting Cockleshell Bay or South Frigate Bay and soak up the sun before your flight home!

For more information please visit – 
Hope you’ve enjoyed this St Kitts Guide / St Kitts Itinerary and then it helps you plan you trip to St Kitts.




















The Bower House | A delightful Cotwswolds stay

I’m a big fan of boutique properties, I find the attention to detail is usually much higher and the service often more personal.  Indeed, at The Bower House you’re welcomed as an old friend and the smiling staff have great suggestions for the local area.


The five rooms are individually designed, with different styles, layouts and sizes to appeal to a range of guests. I stayed in Room 1, which was spacious but furnished in a way that felt cosy, especially with the slightly drizzly weather outside. There were many details in the rooms that have addressed pet peeves of mine at other hotels over the years; fresh milk was provided in the fridge, necessary for people like me that have their coffee pretty white and who don’t want to have to empty 12 UHT pots to make it drinkable.

There was a bath oil provided, once again presumably an idea of someone who has stayed in too many hotels where you have to empty the shampoo bottle into the bath to make any bubbles. Plug sockets were plentiful and near both bedside tables, a detail so often missing and making it difficult to charge one’s phone overnight.

810_7350The rooms come with a mini bar/drinks including local gins and quality wines, and the television comes with a Netflix account. Normally I’d say that I don’t go to a hotel to stay in and watch television but there was something about The Bower House that made me want to actually relax and enjoy the room. It’s designed in a luxurious way, but one that doesn’t feel pretentious, just quality furnishings allowing you to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

810_7322The bathroom is huge, featuring ‘his n hers’ sinks, a deep bath tub as well as a large shower with a range of quality shampoos and lotions. Once again it strikes me that the designers /managers will have stayed in the room as the small details make it so functional. Separate towels for the bathtub and the shower area make for easier post bathing and even the addition of the full length mirror alongside the sink mirrors and make up mirror mean every eventuality is thought of.


The stylish bar serves some great cocktails, some featuring twists on classics like the margarita with a dash of pear brandy and some foreign favourites like the Pisco Sour. The bar and dining area is a mix between modern and traditional, with old paintings on teal walls and vintage style drinks trolleys next to brightly upholstered chairs. 810_7401



I enjoyed the ambience in the dining area. It’s clearly a popular location for a meal amongst guests at the hotel but also with customers travelling in from miles around to dine there. I opted for the Roasted Chorizo as a nibble for the table, followed by a perfectly done salt & pepper squid with homemade chilli jam.



810_7449Desserts were excellent including the Treacle Tart and the chocolate fondant served with honeycomb. The Bower House is also a popular brunch spot, and on Saturdays the restaurant was a lively affair with families and couples choosing from American Pancake stacks, smoked salmon and poached eggs and other breakfast delights alongside  mimosas and a selection of coffees.810_7537For a fantastic nearby option for dinner or drinks is The Howard Arms. A cross between a local style pub with friendly regulars & small groups enjoying the bar, and smartly dressed couples dining in the restaurant area. As well as a selection of real ales they have some fantastic wines including a great English white which went excellently with the Cropwell Bishop stilton bon bon served with grilled pear. 810_7457

810_7474The Howard Arms offers both traditional favourites like fish & chips, and slight twists like the ham & duck egg, but also more fine dining presentations such as the ‘Ham Hock Rillete with crispy black pudding, soused vegetables and apple sauce.’ 810_7491





Shipston on Stour is a very pleasant town with some great unique shops, independent boutiques & charming delis to spend a couple of days wandering around, and The Bower House makes an excellent luxury base from which to explore.


The Bower House

The Howard Arms


What to do in Pico Bonito National Park?

Only a short drive away from La Ceiba is Pico Bonito National Park. It’s a haven for birdwatchers and nature lovers and draws in visitors from all over the world keen to spot some of the rare birds found in the area.

Pico Bonito Lodge and Spa is a member of the group Small Luxury Hotels, which is quite fitting due to the intimate environment at the lodge. It’s one of the top places to stay in the country and a fabulous location from which to explore the local area.

The accommodations are in private wooden bungalows complete with a terrace, hammocks and an en suite bathroom with showers giving the feeling of being outside without actually having to be.


The grounds themselves are lovely to walk around; close to the hotel I saw, with the help of local guide Older, two Central American screech owls just a short walk from the reception. Equally easy to spot are the dainty hummingbirds that flit around the outside dining area making breakfast a delight for nature lovers.




The spa area is set within wooden teepee style huts and the treatments range from the usual manicures to speciality treatments and unique experiences. I opted for the Vichy Shower, a treatment I hadn’t heard of before but will certainly be remembering. You lie on a wooden table and are showered with warm water while the therapist scrubs you with a variety of products; a bit like a more luxurious version of a Turkish hamman. Following the exfoliation you’re massaged and left feeling relaxed and extremely smooth & clean.810_5790

Going to sleep there is a pleasure. The mattresses are incredibly comfortable and at night time you’re actually pleasantly relaxed by the sounds of nature; a real life version of a sleep machine recording.


There are even nearby natural swimming holes, with incredibly clear water and a number of rushing waterfalls. The pools are only a short walk from the lodge yet still feel as if you’ve just discovered them yourself.

Xocolatl Chocolate

Honduras is known for it’s coffee but another major export is actually chocolate, and Xocolatl are producing high quality as well as showing tours of the estate.

Surrounded by hills and lovely waterfalls the tour takes you around the grounds showing the areas for drying the beans as well as seeing the cocoa plant and trying the fruit. Here the chocolate is naturally sweeter as they have planted other fruit trees and vanilla around the cocoa plants.

After a pleasant walk you’re able to try your hand at producing your own chocolate using a traditional Mayan tool similar to a mortar and pestle. Then using the moulds you can shape your creations and sample the tastes!

Nature hike with @ReservacionesLaCeiba

Reservaciones La Ceiba are a wonderful company that give locals the chance to build up their skills as a guide by developing their language skills, growing their confidence and entrepreneurial skills.

This means that the guides used have a huge amount of knowledge about the local area and it’s fauna and flora as they have usually grown up close to where they run the tours.
As we walked through the area our local guide would demonstrate the different uses of the plants and trees.

I get bitten badly by mosquitos and the guide even showed me how to use a termite nest as a natural repellent. The guides can tailor your tour to your particular interests, and I was keen to find the local natural swimming holes as well as learn about some of the local plants. Equally the hikes can be changed to suit your level of fitness and if you don’t want to stray too far then there are some lovely river crossing bridges as well as sights just along the river.

For more information & for tours please contact Choose Honduras

Visiting El Paredon, Guatemala -What to do in El Paredon

So you’re planning on visiting El Paredon, Guetemala? Good choice!

El Paredon is a small coastal surfer village, down the coast from Montericco; it’s bigger more developed brother. It has a laid back vibe, with relaxed travellers wanting a Guatemala surf camp, or to explore the local area and meet new friends. Visiting El Paredon is a great idea for those looking to surf, chill and enjoy lazy hostel vibes. This El Paredon Guide will take you through some of the top things to do in El Paredon.

How to get to El Paredon, Guatemala from Antigua, Guatemala.

There are shuttles leaving from many hostels in Antigua daily, prices should be around 90-100 Q.

Visiting El Paredon without a shuttle is possible, and if you’re keen to do it yourself, or on a tight budget then you’ll need to take a series of buses.

First head to the bus station behind the main market in Antigua. Take one the chicken buses heading to Esquintla. Although it’s not a strict schedule they seem to leave just before the hour and cost 10Q. When you arrive in Esquintla take one of the minivans heading to San Jose for 10Q.

The next part is slightly trickier. You can either get a tuk tuk which will be quite expensive and defeat the point of you doing the journey yourself..or wait for the local bus heading there that leaves at 3pm from the main bus station.

What to do in El Paredon | What to do when visiting El Paredon, Guatemala 

The black sand beach in El Paredon barely touched by development means that it’s ideal for running and walking on. That being said, the sand is incredibly hot during the day so be sure to bring sandals if you plan on doing it before 4pm. There are sometimes yoga classes on the beach and spontaneous games of beach football seem to happen daily around 4/5pm.

El Paredon is one of the top spots if you’re looking for a Guatemala surf camp as of course surfing is obviously a very popular pastime here. Early mornings and just before dusk are the most popular times. A number of hostels offer surf classes and there are always plenty of locals on hand to help out.

La Choza Chula is  not for profit that runs tours within the local community. They offer turtle spotting trips, cooking classes and bracelet making classes amongst other trips, and the money raised goes back into the community to build libraries and local facilities. 

Where to eat in El Paredon?

There are a number of local eateries including a bakery selling some lovely fresh bread and cakes, as well as a number of places on the main street cooking up homemade chips , tortillas and fried chicken.

Pacifico actually started out as a pizzeria, and has maintained it’s reputation as the best food in the area. It has a wood fired pizza oven and cooks up homemade pizzas quickly made with fresh dough and a range of toppings.

It also does a selection of pastas and salads and some incredibly addictive chocolate nutella balls for dessert. You’re probably not visiting El Paredon for the food, and it’s much more likely you’re going for the surf, but as far as staples and post surf carb loading you’ll be sorted.

Where to stay in El Paredon | Top Hostels in El Paredon

When you’re visiting El Paredon, Pacifico El Paredon is a great choice for those wishing to have a beach front location with the nicest pool in the town. The pool has a well designed shallow strip allowing for cooling off from the hot weather, then when the sun is too strong there is a shaded Jacuzzi style pool as well as a large hammock area used for reading and practicing yoga.

It has a number of lovely bungalows with thatched roofs looking over the pool, as well as a suite with a semi- outside waterfall shower which gives you a view of the starry sky at night time, as well as it’s own private balcony.

The vibe of Pacifico is a laid back one, and it’s a great place to relax for a few days and chat to other like minded travellers. There are spacious sofas to relax on near reception and the multi-lingual staff and owners are more than happy to help out with queries.


The dorms are airy and comfortable with plenty of shared facilities. Pacifico can organise transfers to a number of locations including Antigua & Atitlan, as well as stand up paddle boarding, kayaks and local tours.

There’s a popular bar and restaurant on site serving some of the best food in town. (See where to eat for more details.)


I hope that you have found this guide to El Paredon, Guatemala useful and that it has given some tips as to what to do in El Paredon. Many people find that when visiting El Paredon they end up staying longer than expected and soaking up the vibes for a while…so enjoy!

Top places to eat & drink | Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras

Santa Rosa de Copan is great for foodies. It has a huge choice of cuisines from street food options right up to romantic steak houses and restaurants with food so good that orders come in from all over Honduras.

It also has a lively nightlife with a number of cocktail bars and clubs to choose from.

Below are some top choices in SRC as to where to eat, drink, party, drink coffee and chill in Santa Rosa de Copan,

Calitos Grill
In a courtyard decorated with great street art Calitos Grill is owned by two brothers; both passionate about food but also with a vision to create an atmospheric place to spend an evening.

The menu here is fairly simple, but with everything done incredibly well. Top notch burgers including fillings such as pineapple and a range of meats, loaded fries, and ribs with yuca fries are all designed to have you licking your fingers clean.

It’s a great place to come with friends, and the street food style big tables make for friendly dining.





Los Brasas
Los Brasas is one of the top restaurants in the city. Large potions, quality ingredients and a strong house sangria worth sharing between friends.

Primarily a steakhouse, it serves a range of steak options including a fantastic surf & turf.  It finds a good balance between being a romantic restaurant for a date, but also a good option for family friendly choice; especially if you’re hungry! Top tip; try the seafood soup for a starter.

Mass Bar & Restaurant
A sleek bar and restaurant run by some friendly and lively owners. There’s a lovely outside area and the well stocked bar serves up imaginative cocktails. Come earlier for a bite to eat and a couple of drinks, or after 9 for a lively atmosphere late into the night.20190125_18372720190125_190143

Lenca Maya
A favourite on Trip Advisor, Lenca Maya is a good option for anyone wishing to have a crash course in Honduran food. A big menu with many traditional offerings, you’re even able to try your hand at making tortillas here, before tasting your creations alongside a whole host of dishes in a colourful environment.



A trendy brunch bar that turns into a lively wine bar by nightfall, Teos has a spacious terrace looking out onto the street below. It’s a great place for a big breakfast with good wifi and a stylish layout.

Locally famous Timoshenko is a Honduran liquor that’s so popular some restaurants have even included it in some of their sauces.

The two flavours are coffee and fruit, with the former being served with milk and a cream topping giving a tiramisu flavour overall. Come and look round the bar area to see the bottles on sale and the antique decorations.

Kaldis Koffee
Listed as one of three Honduran Coffee shops in the Phaidon’s book on where to drink coffee, Kaldis’ is a small coffee shop with a range of preparations for your coffee including some very traditional methods. It also has some of the best cakes and desserts in the city, including a lovely tiramisu, and a instagram worthy



Cafe de las Velas
It’s a small but characterful cafe with a craft shop inside. Here the handicrafts are made by local underprivileged women; they have a great range of candles and soaps. The cafe also creates jobs for the local people including some homeless individuals.




A tiny with a lot of character, Estucafe has 17 different offerings to prepare your coffee; from the ones you’ll recognise like a percolator, to contraptions that look like something from a science lab.

You’ll then be offered dozens of options of the coffee itself. Cups are heated to specific temperatures while the coffee is weighed and water levels measured. It’s a long process but the sheer effort of accuracy and effort that goes into each coffee makes for great viewing and even greater coffee.



Le Casa Doña Olimpia
Doña Olimpia is a Santa Rosan institution. It’s famous roast pork is so in demand that they have orders coming in from all over the country, especially at Christmas when the lines are ringing off the hook.

Strictly for meat eaters only, the house special is roast pork, marinated for 12 and then roast in the kilns for 8 hours. It comes out salty, crispy and rich, and is then served alongside a thick gravy and slices of mandarin.  Wash down with a Copan Dry.


Zotz ticks a lot of boxes; great choice for a sports bar, cool roof terrace to sip on the giant cocktails, and with a long menu.

It has a family friendly atmosphere inside with kids toys and large TVs, but also does a great range of beers and cocktails.

A great addition to their menu is some fantastic hand made pasta which will definitely line your stomach well before a night of drinking and dancing.



New York Discoteque
This small nightclub doesn’t really get busy until 10pm, when the town’s fashionable crowd come to dance and party into the early morning.

Loud music, well priced drinks, you know the score.


For more information please contact Choose Honduras

10 reasons to visit Santa Rosa de Copan | Honduras



1. It’s a great introduction to Honduras
It’s often overlooked by tourists rushing to Copan Ruinas meaning that it’s less touristy and feels like a very authentic Honduran experience.

Only a couple of hours from the Salvadorean border and well located on the way to both San Pedro Sula and other major destinations, it’s an ideal stop for a few days of taking in the sights.
2. It’s known as the capital of coffee in Honduras
SRC has over 40 coffee shops each with their own personal style and unique selling point. Not only is the local coffee fantastic due to the ideal altitude for cultivation, but the nearby tours where you can learn about the process make the final product even more enjoyable. Top recommendations are Estucafe with it’s 17 different methods for making coffee, and Kaldis coffee offering some of the top cakes in town to compliment your drinks.
3. It’s got an active nightlife.
There are plenty of bars and dance spots in the city, and on a weekend the streets are alive with young people bar hopping, drinking cocktails in trendy bars such as Wazzz or enjoying the beers at Calitos Grill. On top of this there are regular events and festivals adding to the local atmosphere including projections of films onto the central cathedral.
4. The streets are very pretty
A big effort has been made to preserve the original look of the centre and the cobbled streets alongside the colonial style coloured buildings make for pretty viewing. The cathedral with it’s central dome is lovely to visit and many of the buildings nearby are great to look at with their big balconies and white & red colourings.
5. It has food options that have people travelling in from all over Honduras.
Doña Olimpia has been making top end roast pig for over 70 years. During busy periods the kilns are constantly on roasting the 12 hour marinated meat and orders come in from all over the country. It’s a family business and they’ve perfected the crispy pork that has people coming back for the rich and salty dish.
6. It has a number of businesses trying to lead the way in sustainable tourism.
Yate Aqua Park runs adventure trips around the area including tubing, rock climbing and abseiling. With each tour the participants are expected to clean up a bag of rubbish from the roadside at the end of the day.
Cafe de las Velas sells crafts made by underprivileged women and creates jobs for them in the Café.
Seis Valles cafe and coffee producer is finding new technologies in coffee production that cuts down their carbon footprint as well as aiming to recycle as much as possible during the process.
7. There is beautiful countryside so close to the city.
Just outside the city it’s possible to go on some great hikes, the Hummingbird lookout is less than an hour walk to a great lookout point and only a 35 min drive away is Hacienda Montecristo offering horse riding and other farm activities such as calf feeding and trying your hand at milking a cow.
8. Markets, arts & crafts
For those of you who love arts & crafts there are a whole host of options. Lenca Mayan Placita is a lovely location with colourful umbrellas lining the ceiling and brightly coloured murals on the walls. As well as the small cafe there are a number of artisan shops selling delightful craft items, soaps from natural products, traditional clothing and local foods.
The central markets are also great to walk around; not usually visited by tourists it’s great to see the locals in cowboy hats eating their meals, unusual vegetables and herbs lining the narrow walkways, and vendors selling all sorts of dishes including when I visited…a bull testicle cerviche!
9. Cigar production
A lot of people hear ‘cigar’ and think of Cuba, but actually Honduras is one of the top producers of cigars in the whole world. Much of the tobacco here is actually repackaged in Cuba and sold as Cuban cigars on the international market.
There’s an interesting cigar museum and shop, with information about the history of tobacco in Honduras and Santa Rosa de Copan, as well as rare cigars on display, with the option to purchase local and international cigars in the shop.
10. There are even speciality local liquors
On one of the prettiest streets there’s a tiny shop and cafe selling Timoshenko, a locally famous liquor.
Coming in two flavours, one coffee and the other fruit, this moreish drink is not only served on it’s own or in the case of the coffee one; with milk, but is so popular that many restaurants incorporate it into sauces and dishes.
For further information please contact;