Guide to St Kitts & Nevis
St Kitts & Nevis have all the usual joys of the Caribbean – lovely beaches, safe swimming, delicious food and tropical sunshine…
Both islands also have much to explore too – the plantation houses and their history as well as the Nevis connection with Lord Nelson who married Fanny Nisbet of Nevis.
There are walking and cycling trails and guided hikes up their mountains – wildlife in abundance and two absolutely charming capital towns. The food is amongst the best in the Caribbean too……
Bassettere – St Kitts
Reminders of St. Kitts’s rich colonial past are everywhere in the capital. At the heart is The Circus, with its ornate Victorian clock tower. Surrounding it are graceful buildings with latticework balconies, a range of stylish shops, and bars with verandahs where you can sit and watch the world go by. There’s even an old-fashioned red telephone box. A short walk brings you to Independence Square, where slaves were once bought and sold. Today, it is a peaceful garden overlooked by elegant houses and the Roman Catholic cathedral. Walking Tour of Basseterre
Beaches – Nevis
There are lots of beautiful beaches on Nevis, many of them offering water sports, bars and other facilities. Pinney’s Beach and Oualie Beach are popular with families and there’s good snorkelling to be found at Nisbet Beach, Herbert’s Beach, Gallow’s Bay and Long Haul Bay. Newcastle Beach is famous for its white sand and good walks and Fort Ashby Beach is a popular spot for birding and picnics. If you fancy a swim in a more secluded location, try Lovers Beach.
Beaches – St Kitts
St. Kitts may be a small island but there are still plenty of beaches to suit all tastes. The dark, volcanic bays in the north are striking but most beach action tends to concentrate in the protected south-east. At Frigate Bay, where the island is so narrow you can walk from coast to coast in a few minutes, the rollers on the Atlantic beach are good for body surfing while the calm waters on the Caribbean side make it popular with families. Both beaches have bars and restaurants nearby. If you are looking for more deserted coves and bays, then head for the south-eastern tip of the island. Friar’s Bay South has a couple of bars with a local feel while Cockleshell, Sand Bank Bay and Banana Bay are very secluded. The liveliest place on the peninsula is Reggae Beach (Cockleshell Beach) and Friars Beach (area of Carambola Restaurant) which has a popular bar and restaurant and live music.
Brimstone Hill – St Kitts
No trip to the island would be complete without visiting this mighty 18th-century fortress, which sits high on a hillside and has spectacular views over the Caribbean Sea. Built by African slaves, the fort’s five bastions and citadel cover 38 acres and took more than 100 years to complete. The fort is considered to be one of the finest examples of British military architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historic sites and ruins – Nevis
The island is covered with the ruins of sugar plantations, which declined in the late 1800s after slavery was abolished and sugar beet competed with cane. The ruins offer a fascinating glimpse into the island’s colonial past. Among those worth a visit are Eden Brown Estate, which some believe is haunted, Montravers Estate, an important archaeological site, and New River and Coconut Walk Estates, which overlook Montserrat on the east coast and include the tallest windmill on Nevis.
Horatio Nelson Museum – Nevis
This museum celebrates the British naval hero’s connection with the island and contains the largest collection of Nelson relics in the Western Hemisphere. Nelson was stationed on Nevis, fell in love with a widow called Fanny Nisbet and married her in what is perhaps still the most famous wedding on the island to date. The ceremony took place under a silk cotton tree in the grounds of Montpelier Plantation and the bride was given away by Prince William Henry, who later became King William IV.
Museum of Nevis History
This two-storey, Georgian-style building was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, who was born in Nevis in 1757. He only lived on the island until the age of nine, and then moved to St. Croix with his mother. Later in his life, he helped draft the U.S. Constitution and was an outspoken advocate of the emancipation of slavery. The building today, known as Hamilton House, houses one of the island’s two museums on the first floor. The second floor is the meeting room for the Nevis House of Assembly. The lovely stone building was built around 1680, but was destroyed in an earthquake in 1840, and then restored in 1983. Its historic value coupled with its beautiful setting on Charlestown harbour overlooking St. Kitts in the distance make it an island treasure and a delightful place to spend an afternoon.
Nevisian Heritage Village – Nevis
This collection of replica houses in a traditional village setting, dating back to the Carib Indian era, shows how island homes have developed over the years. The display includes a blacksmith’s, a rum shop, a shoemaker’s shop and flower gardens.
Rainforest – St Kitts
While sugar cane covers the coastal plains, the lush interior of the island is an ecological haven for a wide variety of rare birds, butterflies and the elusive green vervet monkey. St. Kitts is one of the few places in the world where the rainforest has actually grown in the last 20 years and is bursting with tropical fruits, colourful flowers and exotic wildlife. We strongly recommended you take a trip with one of the experienced local guides who will talk you through the various specimens of flora and fauna and explain their medicinal uses.
Romney Manor – St Kitts
Here’s a perfect opportunity to combine clothes shopping with a visit to an outstanding tropical garden. Romney Manor is part of an estate once owned by the Jeffersons, whose grandson went on to become US President and is now home to the Caribelle Batik factory and a lovingly restored botanical garden. Watch live batik demonstrations, browse through the shop with its huge range of riotously colourful fabrics, and then wander among the lush vegetation of the 17th-century sugar estate.
St Kitts Scenic Railway
If you want a relaxing and unusual way to see the island then a sugar train tour is the perfect answer. The train uses the track still used to transport cane from the plantation estates to the sugar factory and deep-water harbour. There are breathtaking ocean and mountain views as it hugs the coastline, passing old plantation homes and crossing dramatic bridges. Each of the five double-decker carriages has air-conditioned seats below with an open-topped upper deck. St Kitts Scenic Railway Tour
Charlestown – Nevis
The charming capital of Nevis is filled with interesting 18th and 19th-century buildings and is one of the best remaining examples of the colonial era in the Caribbean. Well worth a visit is the Museum of Nevis History, a Georgian-style building in a beautiful setting on the harbour with views over to St. Kitts. Some of the best shopping can be found in the recently restored old stone Cotton Ginnery near the ferry boat pier. The complex includes a bookshop, arts and crafts exhibits, clothes and gift shops, a beauty salon and a restaurant. The market near the ferry dock is the place to go for local produce, spices and homemade sauces. It’s open daily except Sunday; the busiest days are Friday and Saturday.
The Botanical Gardens – Nevis
Set in the Montpelier Estate with views of Mount Nevis in the distance, this is one of the finest collections of tropical plants in the Caribbean. A leisurely walk around the seven acres will take you through orchid terraces, roses and vines, cacti, fruit trees and a collection of more than 100 species of palm. Most impressive is the rainforest conservatory, modelled on Kew Gardens, where more delicate plants flower among thundering waterfalls and huge Mayan-type sculptures.
Boat and Catamaran Cruises – Nevis
Many companies will take you on a full or half-day trips taking in some of the most beautiful sights off the shores of Nevis and giving you the chance to snorkel and swim in some of the best possible locations.
Diving & Snorkelling – St Kitts & Nevis
The South East peninsula of St. Kitts offers some fantastic sheltered snorkelling. Dive St Kitts offer various snorkelling trips and scuba packages. The Atlantic and Caribbean waters surrounding St. Kitts and Nevis offer Scuba Divers a wealth of experiences, from colorful reef formations to fascinating wrecks. Whether you like shallow reef tops, walls, wrecks, drift diving or incredible diversity in fish life, scuba diving in Saint Kitts and Nevis is a great choice.
On Nevis there are dozens of reefs and wrecks just minutes offshore, even the most experienced divers are impressed with the wide choice of sites. Fully qualified dive centre – Dive Nevis located at Oualie Beach will take you out to explore the virgin reefs among the majestic stands of pillar coral and long slender tube sponges. Snorkelling is also available.
Golf – St Kitts & Nevis
The Royal St. Kitts Golf Club is a spectacular Caribbean golf course. Originally opened in 1976 and recently renovated, Royal St. Kitts is one of the best conditioned and most scenic golf courses in the Caribbean. Royal St. Kitts plays as an 18-hole, but with three other sets of tees it is fun for every level of player. This extraordinary layout boasts water hazards on 10 holes, 80 bunkers and a multitude of coconut palm trees along the Atlantic Ocean.
The 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course at the Four Seasons Resort has been ranked the 7th best golf resort by Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Except for the key holiday seasons in December and January, the course is open to visitors who are not guests at Four Seasons. There is also a small 9-hole course, Cat Ghaut Chip’n Putt in Newcastle, which includes a nature trail.
Horse Riding – Nevis
If you fancy an hour or two in the saddle, Nevis Equestrian Centre offers riding lessons to brush up your skills and 10 different rides, which will take you to beaches, rainforest trails and mountain slopes. Hermitage Plantation Inn also organises trail rides in the hills around Gingerland and up to the breathtaking views of Saddle Hill, the mountain that Admiral Nelson used as a lookout.
Nature trails and hikes – St Kitts & Nevis
Hiking and walking are two of the most popular activities on the islands. On St Kitts, a visit to a dormant volcano is one of the most spectacular trips you can make, hiking up Mount Liamuiga and through the rainforest to the top, where on a clear day you will be able to see neighbouring islands. On Nevis, there are several trails which you can follow to explore the lush rainforest surrounding the extinct volcano of Nevis Peak. For any walking and hiking trips we recommend you go with an experienced local guide, who will lead you safely through the forest and explain all the fascinating features of its plants and wildlife.