A Look at St. Kitts

Man watching the sunset 300x199 A Look at St. Kitts

If you were a bird flying high above the Caribbean you would notice that one of the islands below you has a distinct similarity in appearance to a guitar. This would be the charming island of St. Kitts. Home to around 35k residents, mostly of African descent, it is part of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis – a two-island nation made of St. Kitts and neighboring Nevis.

Though relatively small in size (running around 18 miles in length and about 5 miles at its widest) St. Kitts is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a swath of rainforest, a dormant volcano, many kinds of plants and birds, and a thriving tourist industry. It also has many fine beaches, a lovely and large reef system popular with divers, and a large number of historic sites and hiking trails.

It is obvious that the popularity of St. Kitts has to do with the scenic beauty that the islanders work to protect. And it is easy to see that the gorgeous weather that St. Kitts experiences on a year round basis plays a part in the high number of visitors as well. The daytime temperatures rarely exceed 82 degrees Fahrenheit and the nighttime lows rarely dip below 65 degrees as well.

Tourism is an important part of the island’s economy, and yet there is a distinct absence of the overcrowding of resorts and hotels, as is the case with other Caribbean islands. This is because the country also puts emphasis on transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing. It currently has an enormously high literacy rate – around 98%  – making it one of the top locations in the region.

The capital city of Basseterre is a thriving area with the fascinating area known as the Circus. This is named after the world famous Piccadilly Circus in London, and is a spot just packed with fun shops, wonderful restaurants and cafes, and all kinds of unique sites – including a functioning clock tower. Outside of this sole urban area, the rest of the island is generally preserved.

There are historic sites to explore, geological and natural attractions, and the many excellent beaches that dot the outer perimeter of the island. Only in recent years have highway projects been used to facilitate tourism to the largest and most pristine beaches, and for the most part, these have remained protected and intact.

The largest port in the capital is also a common stopping point for large cruise ships that arrive several times each week. This means it is a “must see” destination for any visitor to the Caribbean.

How to Choose a St. Kitts Accommodation

smiling couple in front of St. Kitts property 300x200 How to Choose a St. Kitts Accommodation

If you already know that you will head to St. Kitts for an upcoming vacation then congratulations are in order. This is because it is an island that many consider to be one of the best kept travel secrets in the world. The island of St. Kitts is one of the two islands in the small nation of Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and though it is a stop on the large cruise tours, it is still not as flooded with tourists as the other areas of the Caribbean.

So, good for you that you have discovered this little treasure, but now you have to determine where to stay. Geographically speaking you will quickly determine that most of the accommodations are in the South Peninsula and capital city areas of the island. The northern and western areas of the island are inhabited but only sparsely. You can still find very interesting options for accommodations at the plantations outside of the typical tourism areas, and these may be a good choice if you are an avid hiker, walker, wildlife watcher, or someone who really enjoys true peace and quiet.

The accommodations available in this area include Ottley’s Plantation Inn on Hermitage Bay or the Golden Lemon Inn sitting almost at the northernmost point of the island. Rawlins Plantation is a bit closer to the center of the island but is still out of the way and tucked along the bottom of the dormant volcano known as Mt. Liamuiga.

For those who want to see the local nightlife, enjoy the largest array of restaurants and accommodations, and to spend time in the more populated areas, we’d say that you want to remain in the southern areas of the island. This means the areas near Bump and Dieppe Bays.

Here you discover the resorts like Timothy Beach Resort, the Sugar Bay Club, and the large St. Kitts Marriot Resort and Royal Beach Casino. You can also keep your costs under control by renting one of the “self catering” apartments that are just up the coast on Old Road Bay. There are three large apartment complexes with options for travelers and yet they are not so far removed from the local amenities as to be “out of the way”.

Take some time to really consider what you want to see and do during a stay on St. Kitts. There are accommodations for all preferences and you will really enjoy the many sites and services available wherever you go!

Reasons to Honeymoon on St. Kitts

Laughing couple in St. Kitts 300x200 Reasons to Honeymoon on St. Kitts

A Caribbean honeymoon may sound like a bit of a cliché to some, but they haven’t seen what St. Kitts offers. Unlike the other tourist heavy destinations in the region, St. Kitts remains a bit of a hidden gem. Though you will find that almost all of the major cruise ships make a point to stop in the island’s largest port, there is still a distinct absence of the typical tourist shops and restaurants.

This may have something to do with the island’s small size or it may just be that few have yet to really explore all that this remarkable location has to offer. This is interesting too because the country’s primary “industry” is tourism. While all of the reasons for St. Kitts’ relative peace and quiet remain a bit vague, you should know that it is a remarkably perfect choice for a honeymoon.

Here are our essential reasons why:

  • The government puts an emphasis on preservation and there are long stretches of beach, long mountain and hiking trails, and many historic spots that remain heavily protected and very natural. This gives honeymooners and travelers a lot of quiet and private locations to spend time outdoors.
  • There is a diversity of accommodations ranging from the enormous spa and resort settings to the plantation houses in the northernmost reaches of the islands. This means you can enjoy a very basic accommodation or one that is a “one stop” resource for all of your needs.
  • There is plenty to do on St. Kitts, and even though honeymooners are known for spending a lot of time alone and in their guest rooms, it is still nice to have some great walking, shopping, and sightseeing readily available. The island has almost no areas in which there is not something interesting, unique, or just plain scenic.
  • Dining options are impressive on the island and you can enjoy everything from the day’s catch at the local fish shacks to five star gourmet meals at a resort.

So, if you are looking for a place with ideal weather, excellent scenery and beaches, plenty of activities to do, good nightlife, remarkable food, and yet a small number of tourists, look to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. You will be able to book any sort of accommodation, enjoy all kinds of amenities and services, and rely on gorgeous weather to put a wonderful finishing touch on your honeymoon.

 

Why You Should Visit St. Kitts

St.Kitts Beach1 300x200 Why You Should Visit St. Kitts

The winter is coming and there is nothing that you can do about it! And yet, maybe there is! For example, why not escape the winter weather with a visit to St. Kitts?

Why this spot and not another part of the Caribbean? While the entire region is beautiful and offers weather that is really a true break from the worst of winter’s arctic blasts, it is really only a place like St. Kitts that can give you the kind of peace and quiet that makes a journey so revitalizing and restoring.

Nowhere else is quiet in the Caribbean? That is a bit of yes and no answer because there are certainly many remote areas and private spots all over the region, it is simply that the bulk of the tourists to this area have tended to overlook St. Kitts and its neighboring island of Nevis.

What is so interesting is that at the same time that others head to the larger and more crowded islands, the major cruise ships still stop at St. Kitts and the country’s economy really depends heavily on tourism too.  So, there is plenty of tourism it is simply that the island doesn’t feel overwhelmed by it.

Now, that has a lot to do with the ways that the government has managed the landscape. For example, though it is a very small island, St. Kitts has a dormant volcano, several parks and land preserves, and even a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The largest number of hotels, restaurants, beaches, shopping venues, and recreational spots are in the southern parts of the island, but there is a lot to do and to see all over the place.

For instance, if you want to hit one of the finest and most popular beaches throughout the entire region, it would the Cockleshell Beach on St. Kitts. Locals head here almost every night to dine at the many remarkable and funky fish shacks, enjoy live music, and take in the atmosphere. During the daytime hours people rent water equipment and enjoy the excellent beach.

Of course, you could heat out of town and along Old Bay Road to visit Brimstone Hill. This is where you’d find the remarkably well-preserved Brimstone Hill Fortress that was built in the 1700s! Head farther north and encounter old plantations where you can eat gourmet meals and book a room for the night.

Obviously, St. Kitts is a place to visit because it has so much to offer and because it has been fortunate enough to retain its wonderful charm even as it grows in popularity.

No One is Ever Bored on St. Kitts

St. kitts rock climbing 300x200 No One is Ever Bored on St. Kitts

Small in size it might just be, but you will never run out of things to do during a vacation in St. Kitts. This is because it is not just a place full of outdoor adventures, but also one with lots of history and culture. This means you could easily spend a full day or two hiking the local sites, swimming and snorkeling at one of the gorgeous beaches, or just shopping and dining in the little towns.

To give you a better idea of all that St. Kitts has to offer, consider the following list of things that you should do during even a short stay:

  1. Shopping – The capital town of Basseterre is full of very comfortable streets, but you will want to keep two things in mind. The first is to avoid this town when you see that one of the big cruise ships has arrived. This is because the entire town center, the “Circus” can begin to feel like an actual circus thanks to the crowds of happy tourists purchasing the beautiful crafts and local merchandise. The second thing to keep in mind is that you will want to dedicate at least one full day to shopping, whether in town or as you wander the different areas around the island.
  2. Hiking – Many say that St. Kitts seems relatively small and flat, but that does not mean it is a poor place to walk, hike and explore. Consider the following “recommended” spots for those who like to head out of town:
    1. Black Rocks – On the northwest side of the island it is actually the remnants of the final lava flow from the now defunct volcano (Mt. Liamuiga).
    2. Mount Liamuiga – This dormant volcano stands around 3,500 feet above sea level. This means there are some steep and treacherous paths. Hire a local guide for this climb to stay safe and to get details about the many sights along the hike.
    3. Beach going – For the loveliest spots on St. Kitts you will want to stick to the southern and western beaches. These include:
      1. Cockleshell Beach – On the South Peninsula, this is the “must see” beach and is great for those who want to do water activities too.
      2. South Friar’s Bay – On the western coast, it is a very popular tourist location but has good restaurants and hotels.

With just this short list you could easily fill a full week of time on St. Kitts, and we encourage you to do so!

Must See Beaches of St. Kitts

St.KItts Beach 300x200 Must See Beaches of St. Kitts

The Caribbean region is full of appealing islands, but many of them feel a bit crowded because of their popularity with tourists. Fortunately, there are still a few relatively undiscovered treasures remaining, and the island of St. Kitts is one of them. Though it is on the regular “rounds” of the large cruise ships, it is clear that the large masses of regular tourists have not yet found out about the lovely landscape, the many activities and amenities, and the gorgeous beaches of St. Kitts.

When you pay a visit to the island, the following beaches need to be placed on your “must see” list. Keep in mind that most of the safe, comfortable, and popular beaches are going to be found south and west of the capital town, and in an area known as South Peninsula. Though there are some fine beaches along the northern and eastern shores, they don’t enjoy the shelter and protection of the southern areas.

The best beaches include:

Old Road Bay – Though it is usually tagged as a good beach for those who like to hike along the dunes or walk in the sand, it is also a very historic part of St. Kitts. Here is where you can find the “Carib Petroglyphs” and the remnants of a very early settlement established by Sir Thomas Warner. You can also easily reach Romney Manor and Brimstone Hill Fortress on foot from these areas.

Cockleshell Beach – This is usually the beach identified as the best of all beaches on the island. This is South Peninsula beach that has many other equally fine beaches surrounding it. What distinguishes this one is that it is also a popular location for the local nightlife and for the rental of water equipment. This means it is a good spot for enjoying the best local street food and for exploring the local waters. You can even see Nevis (the other part of the two island nation) from this beach.

South Friars Bay – This is normally described as the island’s “second best” beach and it is surrounded by popular restaurants, hotels, and tourist venues.

St. Kitts has great beaches and the three above are those to be considered your “must see” destinations when you pay a visit. Remember to pack a picnic and bring your camera because you will want to stay and enjoy the scenery.

A Day Away from the Hotel on St. Kitts

Couple sightseeing in St. Kitts 300x200 A Day Away from the Hotel on St. Kitts

Yes, we know, you don’t want to leave the comfort of the spa or the warm sandy beach while on your St. Kitts getaway, but you will miss out on a lot of amazing things if you don’t plan at least one or two “day trips” during any visit to this interesting and scenic island.

Below are our most frequently recommended explorations for anyone visiting St. Kitts:

  1. A Day in the Capital – Now, before you say that spending time in a city is no way to enjoy a vacation, the capital city of St. Kitts, which is Basseterre, does not have a city feel at all. This is a true walking town and you can spend almost your entire time just wandering the shops and cafes in the neighborhood around the “Circus”. With the clock tower at its center it is a district that includes Kalabash, Front St., and Cayon St., and is just a short walk from Independence Square.
  2. Brimstone Hill – Though the name sounds a bit scary, this is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known as providing visitors with one of the most accurate experiences of what life during the 1700s was like on the island. It is what remains of an old fortress and is extremely well preserved. You also get to pass Old Bay (a lovely beach) as you make your way to this site, so make a stop there too.
  3. Mt. Liamuiga – This is a 3500-foot climb up a dormant volcano. It is often done with the help of a local guide, which is a wise choice because there are so many plants and animals to see. You can even book a tour down into the crater if you are brave enough!
  4. The Cane Train – Once the sole source of income for the island, the old sugar cane trains are now a popular attraction. They take you along what was once the thriving shipping route that wound through sugar cane fields and into the processing and shipping areas of the capital. Today, the journey moves from the fields and into the city.

Here you have four very simple and yet very scenic day trips in St. Kitts. Any of them could incorporate a trip to a local beach or historic site, a meal at a fine restaurant or local establishment, and a visit to a few wonderful “Kittian” shops. Make sure you try at least one of these journeys!

Book a St. Kitts Wedding

St. Kitt Wedding 300x200 Book a St. Kitts Wedding

If you are someone who dreams of a destination wedding but who dreads the hassles that a wedding outside of your homeland means, you can turn to St. Kitts as the ideal solution.

This is because it is a country with the least amount of paperwork and hassles facing a couple, and because there are some top quality wedding services available. Consider that the following list comprises all of the “must have” items in order to plan your wedding:

  • You must both have a valid passport.
  • You must both have a certified copy of your Birth Certificate.
  • If you have never been married before you need an Affidavit confirming this, but if you have been divorced you need a decree absolute (a certified copy of the divorce decree).
  • All documents must be in English.
  • No residency is required.

With these items you can obtain your St. Kitts marriage license, and then you have to clarify the religious needs of the wedding too. If a Catholic wedding is to occur the couple has to meet with their parish priest and get formal documentation. If another form of minister is to conduct the service the couple should also have their resident minister send letters verifying them. Many weddings are also performed by a Justice of the Peace.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to consider the gorgeous weather and the idyllic settings where weddings can be held on the island of St. Kitts as well.

For instance, you are allowed to plan and host a wedding almost anywhere on St. Kitts. If you are interested in heading up to one of the historic churches, that is perfectly acceptable, but you can also have your wedding on one of the gorgeous beaches. Maybe you would prefer the assurance of a wedding venue and that would mean that one of the many resorts and hotels could serve as the perfect setting too.

Naturally, that means that you have to also consider such things as the food and the accommodations for the guests. No worries there because the food on St. Kitts is famous throughout the region and is based on West Indian cuisine with a lot of modern flair thrown in too. If local foods are not to your liking, don’t forget that the many resorts and restaurants also have some of the best chefs available, and you could order almost any sort of specialized cuisine for your wedding celebration.

 

Shopping Adventures All Over St. Kitts

shopping plaza 300x200 Shopping Adventures All Over St. Kitts

Why would a large cruise ship making stops all over the Caribbean head to the tiny island nation of Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis? It is due to many things, including the fact that the island has some lovely scenery, remarkably fine beaches, and some very cool shopping venues.

Let’s start with the most obvious and the one that most people aboard a cruise ship visit too: The Circus. Named after London’s much wilder and larger Piccadilly Circus, this area in the heart of the capital city of Basseterre is a great spot for exploring many small boutiques and artisan shops. You should also make a point of sampling the different cheesecakes available in all of the local cafes as this is an unusual but common local treat.

The downtown area is also home to the TDC mall, the Anima Craft Market, the Pelican Mall, NS the Public Market. In any of these spots you do need to keep your eyes open for vendors offering up some of the finest of the Kittian products (goods made by island residents). A short list of what to purchase includes:

  1. Any handmade batik garments and fabrics;
  2. Jewelry from local materials;
  3. Basketry items;
  4. Leather goods made from goat skin;
  5. Household linens; and
  6. Any artisan products such as paintings, prints, post cards, and more.

Of course you are going to find many other locations all over St. Kitts offering up these same Kittian goods. (The term Kittian is the one chosen by those who live in the islands and who offer their merchandise for sale.) Try to spread out your shopping rather than doing it all in one location, as it is great to really support the artists and artisans who are not fortunate enough to have a capital city stall or shop.

Keep in mind too that the days when the cruise ships are in port are days when the central market areas of Basseterre can be impossibly busy and crowded. If you really want to enjoy your day of walking the side streets and exploring the main town, try to plan it around the days when tourists are in the area.

Also remember that you can usually find many of the same Kittian goods in gift shops and hotel or resort stores. A great way to get your hands on batik goods is to also make a tour of the factory on the island and to literally buy right from the source!

Major Activities in St. Kitts

St.KItts  300x200 Major Activities in St. Kitts

What do you do on a Caribbean island? This seems like one of those overly simple questions, but when you ask about the main activities on St. Kitts, the answers are not all that brief or simple.

For instance, it is a major stop for the large cruise ships touring the Caribbean, and yet the island itself often seems very quiet and peaceful. This is because so much of the “day trip” visitors from the cruise ships remain in the lovely and charming capital city of Brasseterre. This means that you can do a lot of shopping in St. Kitts, but you’ll want to time it to the days when no ships are in the harbor.

What else can be considered a key activity on the island? Hiking and walking are major past times and for such a small island it really offers a tremendous range of terrain. You can walk the old Black Rocks trail that is made up of the ancient remains of a once active lava flow. You can hike more than 3,500 feet above sea level as you head up the now dormant Mt. Liagmuiga volcano. And you can tour the many historic sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brimstone Hill.

Walking and shopping are great, but what else? There is a lot of eating and drinking to be enjoyed on this island too. From the excellent local bars of the Frigate Bay Beach area (which are also great for tasting native specialties and cuisine) to the Plantation dining that is known for four-star experiences, your palate never gets bored.

There is also the sightseeing – take the Cane Train to tour the old cane fields, enjoy the Caribelle Batik Factory and see how the gorgeous local fabrics and garments are made,  stroll the wonderful streets of the capital (including Cayon, Fort, and Kalabash), and drive the many scenic roadways.

Shopping, eating, sightseeing, hiking…the last major activity that occurs on St. Kitts is the beach going. The island is literally surrounded with lovely spots to enjoy ocean views, splash in the sands, and soak up the sun. Keep in mind that some are very windy and choppy (those on the eastern and northern boundaries), while others are of the remarkably perfect kinds meant for hours of endless relaxation.

Clearly, there are many things to do in St. Kitts and it all begins when you make your plans to head to this charming destination!