St. Kitts Is the Island of Limitless Possibilities
Attitude is everything, just ask the people of St. Kitts. In many respects this laid-back island paradise is your quintessential Caribbean island. It’s a place where beach shack bars grill up fresh caught fish and lobster, where you can see the colorful fisherman boats dotting the horizon in the morning, and where mischievous monkeys swing from the canopy of an expanding rainforest as they watch you trek through the lush foliage with no other people to be seen for miles around. There are pristine beaches, hundreds of days of sunshine each year and of course, a population of native Kittitians who love nothing more than enjoying life to the fullest.
Visitors find themselves enthralled by the natural beauty and vibrant culture found all over the island.
Like most places in the Caribbean, St. Kitts and its sister island Nevis closed their doors to tourism for much of 2020, but the island is once again open to visitors and welcoming international flights. Cruise has not yet resumed but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep the island on your radar. If you’re looking for your next destination that has it all, let us show you why St. Kitts is the island for you.
Traveling to St. Kitts
St. Kitts recently reopened for tourism and they’re taking guest health and safety very seriously. St. Kitts and Nevis have been recognized for their efforts in successfully mitigating the spread of COVID-19 with low infection rates and no community spread since the pandemic began.
To keep infection numbers low, international visitors are required to produce a negative nasopharyngeal RT-PCR COVID test taken 72 hours prior to travel. Proof of a negative RT-PCR test and confirmation of booking at a Travel Approved hotel is required to complete the traveler form at knatravelform.kn and the destination does not allow at-home or saliva test. Travelers are required to book their accommodations at one of the hotels currently Travel Approved which includes: Four Seasons, Golden Rock Inn, St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Marriott Vacation Beach Club, Montpelier Plantation & Beach, Paradise Beach, Park Hyatt St. Kitts, and the Royal St. Kitts Hotel.
There’s nothing better than looking forward to your next cruise vacation. When cruising resume, St. Kitts should be on your bucket list. The island’s authentic culture and unique attractions make it a vacation destination for everyone. If you’re in search of the perfect Caribbean vacation, St. Kitts may be just what you’re looking for!
As you slowly cruise into Port Zante you’ll see the vibrant colors of the island’s capital city Basseterre strikingly set against a backdrop of rolling green mountains that look like they hold undiscovered adventures. Cruisers sailing into Port Zante, Basseterre are met with a number of options when they disembark. The city of around 14,000 is one of the Caribbean’s oldest settlements dating back to the 1600’s. It’s easy to find your way around the city thanks to a grid pattern layout as well as English being the official language. Visitors are met with a delightful mix of sites with historical significance and contemporary establishments, many within walking distance of the cruise port.
One of the first sights to greet cruisers when they disembark is the impressive archway of the Old Treasury Building, now home to the National Museum of St. Kitts. It’s imposing size and stone exterior is reminiscent of the days during British rule when the light atop the building guided in countless ships transporting the island’s number one export: sugar. The museum is an excellent place to start for those looking to immerse themselves in the unique history and culture of St. Kitts and Nevis. Learn about the role sugar played in the development of the region and how the island gained full independence from British rule.
Walking tours of the city offer even more insight into the history of the St. Kitts, including a visit to Independence Square, a section of the city dating back to the 1700’s that once housed the slave market and served as an administrative center for the city. Laid out in a design that looks like the Union Jack, the square was once surrounded by 18th century homes. Though over time many deteriorated, some were rebuilt in their former glory like the Court House and the public library. At the center of the square one will find a picturesque fountain adorned with three Grecian styled ladies and surrounded by bright flowers.
Stops on the walking tour also include St. George’s Anglican Church, now renamed The Pro Cathedral and Parish of St. George with St. Barnabas, is an English parish style building and the largest church on the island. Razed by wars and natural disasters, the church has been rebuilt
several times over the past few hundred years. Inside you’ll find the oldest pipe organ in the Western Hemisphere commissioned from Booth of Wakefield and brought to the island in 1872.
Basseterre is also home to the best shopping and dining on the island. In Port Zante one will find the bustling Amina Craft Market where artisans and makers set up stalls daily selling different types of crafts made from leather, wood, coconut, banana leaves, shells and more. Browsing the market, you are sure to find a unique treasure that will serve as a memento of your visit to this remarkable island. Some of the hottest peppers in the world are grown in St. Kitts, so if you like to add a dash of flavor to your cooking be sure to pick up a locally made hot sauce.
Definitely don’t leave the island without at least sampling some of the local rums. Distillers like CSR, Belmont Estate and Brinley Gold Shipwreck offers up a selection of rums that are renowned in the Caribbean.
Restaurants on St. Kitts range from high end eateries to sidewalk vendors and everything in between, but they all use the freshest local ingredients and flavors sourced from the land and sea. You’ll find a wide variety of dishes inspired by the island’s French and Creole heritage,
plenty of which comes from the waters surrounding the island. The national dish of St. Kitts and Nevis is a must-try: stewed salt-fish, served with plantains, breadfruit, and coconut dumplings.
In Basseterre one of the most popular eateries, amongst both visitors and locals alike, is El Fredo’s. Here chef and owner Jasmine Francis cooks up delectable local dishes like garlic conch, curry mutton, and the lobster shrimp combo.
Staying in Frigate Bay
Most of the island’s hotels are located around the Frigate Bay area just a short ride from Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport and Basseterre. There’s the impressive St. Kitts Marriott Resort with a generous 388-rooms with well-appointed interiors and a bevy of restaurants to choose from. Just across the street from the Marriott is The Royal St. Kitts, a family-owned hotel with spacious rooms and a delightful staff that’s ready to assist with any inquiry. Down the road is Sugar Bay Club Suites & Hotel set amidst beautifully landscaped gardens with views of the Atlantic. Close by, on the Southeast Peninsula, you will find the luxurious Park Hyatt St. Kitts which boasts sprawling rooms with private outdoor balconies that open up to a breathtaking view of the sister island Nevis.
All of these hotels are located just a few minutes from the island’s hot spot: The Strip at Frigate Bay. This row of restaurants and beach bars embodies the pulse of St. Kitts. No matter which day of the week, here you can find a cold, refreshing drink or a fresh-grilled lobster dish. At nighttime musicians and performers add a little extra flair to this lively spot with sounds of steel band music echoing out into the distance.
Popular spots include Vibes Beach Bar, Cathy’s and perhaps the most famous bar on the whole island, Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack. You’ll find both locals and tourists enjoying themselves in Frigate Bay so don’t be surprised if you find yourself coming back again for the lure of good drinks, good food and good times. If you want to be close to the action on The Strip, consider staying at the charming Timothy Beach Resort which offers spacious rooms with beach views. It’s located just at the northern end of the Strip and is home to another popular hangout, the Dock Bar.
St. Kitt’s Adventures
For some, the perfect vacation includes a lounge chair, an ocean view and a drink made from local rum. While St. Kitts has that in spades, there’s plenty of activities and excursions for those with an adventurous spirit. From windsurfing and snorkeling to hiking Mount Liamuiga, an island tour to visit historic sites or a relaxing train ride onboard the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most popular sites on the island is Brimstone Hill Fortress where those who venture up to the towering Citadel are treated to panoramic views of the neighboring Dutch islands. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the best-preserved forts in the Western Hemisphere and one of the earliest surviving examples of the polygonal fort which was an innovation in its time. Learning the history behind this imposing structure will take you through a time when European colonial powers fought over the small island nation, a key stake in dominance of the region’s sugar trade.
Explore Mount Liamuiga to see the island’s lush rainforests with gorgeous hiking trails. Visitors who book a tour are bound to see wild monkeys, birds and picturesque Poinciana flowers as they explore the trails. Enjoy the breathtaking vistas from the summit, an experience that is sure to tick your bucket list. Don’t feel like putting on your hiking boots and hitting the trails? Get a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest on the zipline tour at Sky Safari. Soaring over the canopy will give you a glimpse at just how expansive the flourishing rainforest is and marvel at the towering trees that seem to reach up, basking in the sunshine.
For a more leisurely day book a trip on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. This luxury rail car is a relic that remains from the island’s past as a sugar producer. Once used to move tons of sugar, today the railway invites visitors aboard for a tour around the island. The stone remains of a former sugar plantation reclaimed by nature, young children eagerly waving at the passing train from the open field where they meet to practice their rugby skills, a charming village filled with bright jewel-toned homes – around every bend you’ll see a new side of St. Kitts.
Spending a day on the water is an absolute must in St. Kitts. Hit the water with Blue Water Safaris by taking one of their mini speedboats out for a spin. Marvel at the splendor of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and feel the spray of the sea. Head down to Cockleshell Bay and visit St. Kitts Water Sports to grab some gear for a little snorkeling. The reefs surrounding the island are teeming with life and every now and then a docile sea turtle enjoys swimming alongside the snorkelers almost as if to say hello to the new visitors. For a more leisurely day at sea, consider a catamaran cruise. Sitting back with a drink in hand you’ll be in awe at the beauty of the island as you pass by hidden coves and secluded sandy beaches that glisten in the sunlight.
This article was sponsored by the St. Kitts Tourism Authority.