Saint Kitts

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Travel Guide Caribbean Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Kitts

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Introduction

Atlantic Ocean left, Caribbean Sea right

Atlantic Ocean left, Caribbean Sea right

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Saint Kitts is one of the two main islands that together make up the country of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Saint Kitts is the bigger and more populated one, where the capital Basseterre is located.

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Geography

The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Kitts and the neighbouring island of Nevis constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow 3-kilometre, channel known as "The Narrows". Saint Kitts is 10 kilometres away from Sint Eustatius to the north. St. Kitts has three distinct groups of volcanic peaks: the North West or Mount Misery Range; the Middle or Verchilds Range and the South East or Olivees Range. The highest peak is Mount Liamuiga, formerly Mount Misery, a dormant volcano 1,156 metres high.

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Sights and Activities

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park

The compound known as Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park dates back to the 18th century and was known as the 'Gibraltar of the West Indies' as it was once a major British garrison until it was abandoned in 1850. Since the 1960's there have been restorations and as a result much of the fortress has been returned to how it looked like before. It was designed by the British and built by African slave labour and the fortress is a testimony to European colonial expansion, the African slave trade and the emergence of new societies in the Caribbean and therefore is placed on the Unesco World Heritage List.

Brimstone Hill Fortress

Brimstone Hill Fortress

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht


The Citadel on the main hilltop has 24 cannons and provides excellent views of Sint Eustatius and Sandy Point Town. Inside are old rooms displaying colonial history featuring cannonballs and swords Brimstone Hill itself is a volcanic cone named for the sulfur vents that you will undoubtly smell as you drive past the hill along the coastal road. For more information check the Brimstone Hill Fortress website for details.

Saint Kitts Scenic Railway

St. Kitts Scenic Railway operates a scenic tour on the island of Saint Kitts on an old railway track formerly used by sugarcane plantations. This tour runs on a 48-kilometre (30-mile) loop and takes about 3 hours to complete.

  • Black Rock - a collection of black lava rocks on the western coastline of Saint Kitts

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Events and Festivals

Battle of St Kitts reenactment

Held annually on March 28, this takes place over three days at Brimstone Hill Fort. History comes alive as the famous battle between British and French forces in 1782 is reenacted here. It is a great spectacle that allows you to imagine this aspect of colonial life in the 18th century. The real battle actually took place on January 25th and 26th but the modern reenactment takes place in March.

St Kitts Carnival

A fun festival held from the middle of December until early January each year, with lively events happening over the Christmas period. For example, a major highlight of the festival is “J’ouvert morning,” whereby steel and brass bands parade through the streets playing music that many people dance to. The music goes well into the early hours of the morning. It is an extremely lively festival, and the basis is to celebrate St Kitts and Nevis’ proud Caribbean culture.

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Weather

Saint Kitts has a warm and humid tropical climate with temperatures usually around 30 °C during the day and around 23 °C at night. June to September is slightly warmer with temperatures above 30 °C at daytime and not dropping below 26 °C on average at night. Rainfall is spread throughout the year and possible in every month but July to November is the wetter time of year while February to May is somewhat drier.

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Getting There

By Plane

Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (SKB) is a short drive north of Basseterre. Windward Islands Airways (Winair) flies there from Nevis and Saint Martin while Leeward Islands Air Transport flies to and from Antigua and Barbuda and St. Thomas. Connections to North America and Europe include Miami and New York by American Airlines, and London by British Airways. There are also seasonal flights to Toronto and flights to Charlotte and Philadelphia.

By Boat

Domestic:
Six ferries operate between the islands of Saint Kitss and Nevis: the MV Caribe Queen, MV Carib Breeze and MV Carib Surf, the MV Mark Twain, the MV Geronimo and the MV Sea Hustler. The MV Mark Twain is currently inactive, but the other 5 vessels have a total of 15 sailings a day between both islands in either direction, between 6:30am (first sailing from Saint Kitts) to 7pm (last sailing from Saint Kitts). From Nevis, the first one leaves at 7:00am and the last at 6:00pm. Crossings take about 45 minutes and provide an excellent way of travelling between the capital Basseterre on Saint Kitts and Charlestown, the 'capital' of Nevis.

International:
There are no regular international boats serving the island, though once every week or two there are boats between Basseterre on St. Kitts and Philipsburg in Sint Maarten. Mainly locals go shopping for the weekend as the ferry returns the other day again. You might also be able to find a fisherman who will bring you from for example Sint Eustatius but don't count on it.

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Getting Around

By Train

St. Kitts Scenic Railway (see above).

By Car

Renting a car is a great way to explore Saint Kitts for a day or two. There are cars available at both the international airport as well as downtown. Outside Basseterre, traffic is light and safe.

By Bus

On Saint Kitts, there are 5 bus routes which all originate and terminate at the capital Basseterre. They are:

  • Basseterre to Sandy Point travelling west, starting at the Ferry Terminal
  • Basseterre to Capesterre travelling west, starting at the Ferry Terminal
  • Basseterre to St. Peter's travelling north, starting at College Street Ghaut
  • Basseterre to Molyneux travelling east, starting at Baker's Corner
  • Basseterre to Saddler's travelling east, starting at Baker's Corner.

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Eat

A number of restaurants are located in Frigate Bay. Mr. X's Shiggity Shack, Cathy's, Patsy's, Boozies and Vibes Beach Bar on South Frigate Bay beach are more traditional, casual beach bar restaurants.

On the opposite side, on North Frigate Bay, there are several western-style restaurants, including Ciao (Italian), Rock Lobster (seafood, mixed American and Caribbean) and PJ's (American, delicious pasta).

South Friars is home to Godfather's, Jam Rock, Carambola Beach Club and Shipwreck Beach Bar.

Cockleshell is home to Lion's Beach Bar, Spice Mill and Reggae Beach Bar.

Around the island there is also the Royal Palm at Ottley's Plantation (upscale), Sprat Net (casual, seafood) and Nirvana Restaurant.

In Basseterre you will find Circus Grill, Ballahoo, and in Fortlands there is Serendipity (upscale) and Ocean Terrace Inn's Fisherman's Wharf.

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Drink

There are a large number of local spots to get drinks (locally bottled soda and beer). These include little bars along the side of the road throughout the towns and cities, especially down by the ferry pier. On the southern peninsula there are a number of beach bars and bar/restaurants. On South Friar's Bay beach and South Frigate Bay beach in particular there are a number of beach bar 'shacks' along the beach serving drinks and some offering food.

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Sleep

Most of the luxurious hotels are on the peninsula in the east of the island. It's good for a stay at the beach, with all the amenities you need, including pools and restaurants, but a far better option is staying in the capital Basseterre and make trips from there. It's a lively place with good nightlife but small enough to walk around and enjoy the culture and people. It's also safe!

The following options are all in Basseterre:

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This is version 11. Last edited at 14:45 on Aug 4, 17 by Utrecht. 7 articles link to this page.

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