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St. Kitts and Nevis

St-Kitts

Great Destination:

4

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

7.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Primary appeal is to Mid-Authentics and Centric-Authentics; less so to Venturesome types of personalities

Did You Know … ?

  • St. Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas in both area and population.
  • Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. secretary of the treasury, was born on Nevis (Charlestown).
  • The Citizenship Act of 1984 allows purchasers of property worth $350,000 or more to apply for full citizenship.
  • Nevis has the right to secede from its union with St. Kitts.
  • In 1607, the first boatload of Jamestown settlers spent a few days on Nevis before moving on.

South Pacific, Caribbean style

Unique among Caribbean islands, the St. Kitts and Nevis islands are more like a South Pacific paradise with a rain forest, rich soil, mountains, a lush green landscape, a lake and seaside lagoons. Uncrowded and unspoiled, the country has a strong program to protect its ecosystems.

Quaint shopping areas and beautiful colonial homes add to the visitors’ sense that they have transplanted themselves to a very different time and place. Some plantation homes have been transformed into grand, intimate inns.

Both St. Kitts and Nevis have beautiful beaches, with some of the best on the southern end of St. Kitts. The islands offer activities such as water sports, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking.

St. Kitts is the party island, especially at Frigate Bay where almost all the island’s popular bars and restaurants are located and partying is a nightly activity. Nevis is more subdued, and it attracts more affluent and eco-conscious travelers.

The country’s capital Basseterre is not known as one of the prettiest in the Caribbean, but smaller towns have unique colonial homes and inns. Charlestown, the chief town on Nevis, is charming with 18th and 19th century Georgian buildings from the colonial era.

The temperatures are mild year-round, about 79 degrees. Hurricane season is June through November and it can be devastating. Hurricanes of 1998 and 1999 destroyed a major portion of the islands’ tourism base. These days, tourism is central to the islands’ economic well being, having replaced sugar, the traditional mainstay of the economy here.

Although the island nation has a tiny population (about 43,000, down from 51,000), direct flights are available from U.S. mainland cities and San Juan, as well as London/Gatwick.

Nevis was forcibly unified with St. Kitts by the British in the late 19th century, but many Nevisians believe their needs don’t receive proper attention. A 1998 Nevis referendum fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to separate from St. Kitts, but Nevisians continue to work toward a split

Things to do for Venturers

  • Hike to Nevis Peak, strenuous but spectacular. Or for a less taxing hike, go to the rim of Mount Liamuiga, the dormant volcano on St. Kitts.
  • For divers, there are many shipwrecks and interesting lagoons, but diving is still in its infancy on both islands.
  • Windsurfing and body surfing are both available on the Atlantic side of the islands although the islands lack a world class reputation for these sports.
  • Ocean kayaking is a great adventure because you can tour much of the islands by going around them and stopping at isolated beaches.
  • Rent a mountain bike or racing bike in Charlestown to explore Nevis.
  • The southeast of St. Kitts has a variety of hidden beaches where you can find places that you’ll enjoy without other tourists or locals. Discover them on your own.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Rent a bike and tour both islands. But pick your spots carefully because so much of both islands is hilly and difficult.
  • Better yet, explore areas on horseback which can get you to almost any place not easily accessible on foot.
  • St. Kitts and Nevis is a good place for snorkeling with mild temperatures, warm waters and environmentally protected areas.
  • Like to party? Join a group on a catamaran sailing from St. Kitts to Nevis where you’ll dock, swim, relax on the beach, enjoy a barbecue and party all the way back.
  • Arrange for a hiking tour through your hotel with guides who will explain the islands’ flora and fauna, as well as describe local history and culture.
  • Stay in a hotel in Frigate Bay, the narrow part of St. Kitts where you can swim or snorkel in the Caribbean on the leeward side in the calm waters in the morning and body surf in waves on the Atlantic Ocean in the afternoon.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Take a rain forest walking tour along nature trails — a unique experience in the Caribbean.
  • Join a sailboat cruise to a neighboring island and enjoy a beautiful sunset and dinner on board your boat.
  • Charter boats will also take you to the neighboring islands of Antigua, Saba, St. Barts or St. Eustatius to enjoy a change of scenery and activities.
  • Enjoy golf at one of three well-designed courses featuring the usual seaside views.
  • Big game fish can be caught in these waters, particularly since the islands have been vigilant in protecting their natural resources.
  • See the massive Brimstone Hill Fortress overlooking Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts. Because of its impregnability (seven-foot walls), it is called the Gibraltar of the West Indies. Begun in 1690, it took almost a century to complete.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the St. Kitts Tourism Authority at www.stkittstourism.kn and the Nevis Tourism Authority at www.nevisisland.com