St Kitts is the largest of the two islands that form the small Caribbean nation of St Kitts and Nevis. It’s a place of volcanic peaks, beautiful beaches and laid back local lifestyles.
St Kitts comprises an area of just 65 square kilometers, but although the island might be compact with a tiny population to match, there are a huge number of attractions awaiting visitors.
There are volcanoes to climb, jungles to explore an intriguing colonial history to investigate. There are beach bars and restaurants to enjoy, outdoor activities aplenty and perhaps even the odd cricket game to watch too.
There are a lot of things to do in St Kitts, and here are the best of them.
Don’t leave home without: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Caribbean
Top 9 Things to do in St Kitts
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St Kitts has a huge range of sights and activities for such a small island. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the rugged, volcanic landscape, with excellent hiking and beautiful scenery to explore.
Beach lovers can relax on the coast in the hot weather, enjoying cocktails on the sands or water sports in the warm Caribbean Sea. Here are the best places to see and things to do in St Kitts.
1. Check out Basseterre
Discover Basseterre, the capital of St Kitts and Nevis, and one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean, dating back to the mid 17th century when it was founded by the French.
It then passed into British hands and today is the center of this independent island nation. Many visitors to St Kitt’s may simply pass through the port or use Basseterre as the gateway to the islands volcanic peaks and beach resorts, but the city is brimming with history.
Walk the colorful, colonial-inspired streets and visit the fascinating museums to learn more about St Kitts and Nevis.
2. Visit the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects and preserves the historic Brimstone Fortress.
This vast, towering network of fortifications was constructed by the British on Brimstone Hill to protect one of the country’s first overseas colonies.
Learn more about St Kitts’ long history of war and conflict between European powers amongst the fortress’ old walls, bastions and bunkers, and enjoy the spectacular views from the hilltop.
Delve into the culture and history of St Kitts on this 3.5-hour sightseeing tour with a local guide. Travel through Basseterre, then continue through charming hamlets like Challengers Village and Boyd’s Village on the island’s main road.
Learn about the Carib Indians, the island’s original inhabitants, during visits to Bloody River and Bloody Point. Admire the imposing Brimstone Hill Fortress, then spend time relaxing in the sand and surf of Cockleshell Beach or South Friar’s Beach.
3. Enjoy the views of Mount Liamuiga
Mount Liamuiga is the highest peak on St Kitts at 3,792 ft (1,156 meters). It’s a dormant volcano, and the arduous, steep hike up the slopes to the huge crater is one of the most popular outdoor activities on the island.
The walk can be tough and a guide is recommended, as the trail is only loosely marked. A good level of fitness is required, but the views along the length of the hike and from the top of the crater are the best on St Kitts.
4. Take the Scenic Railway
If hiking tall volcanoes isn’t your thing, then the best way to experience St Kitts’ natural beauty is to take a ride on the St Kitts Scenic Railway.
This is one of the only rail lines on any Caribbean island, and it was originally built by estate owners to move sugar across the island from the plantations and was known as the Sugar Train.
The train journey takes tourists through the wild, green and beautiful scenery of St Kitts, past beaches and in the shadow of volcanoes, for a train ride like no other in the world.
5. Explore one of the many beaches
St Kitts is well known for its variety of beaches, with beautiful white sands offering visitors a traditional ‘beach’ and the more unusual black sand beaches giving tourists a taste of the volcanic activity that has shaped this island.
In the south, close to Basseterre, Frigate Bay is one of the best options for white sands, clear water, and excellent resorts and nightlife.
In the north, the secluded black sands of Dieppe Bay are a beautiful, quiet spot where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea.
6. Go Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
As with any Caribbean destination, St Kitts is popular for the chance to see a diversity of marine life. Around the island, there are plenty of places to jump in the water to snorkel and dive, with many reefs fringing the coastline.
Frigate Bay is a great spot for tourists to get acquainted with the Caribbean Sea, with a huge array of fish and even larger marine animals such as turtles frequently visiting the reef here.
7. Visit the Plantations and Estates
The history and culture of St Kitts are inseparable from slavery and estates, as the island was colonized by Europeans as a way to make money from valuable sugar cane plantations.
These plantations are found across the island and some are now even hotels. Visit the Wingfield Estate, the oldest on St Kitts, to learn more about the darker history of the island before exploring the nearby Romney Manor to not only learn about the history of the island but also to see the vibrant, contemporary, cultural exhibitions on show here today.
8. Take A Day Trip to Nevis
Nevis is the other half of St Kitts and Nevis, and no trip is complete without a tour of the smaller island to the south. Separated by a 3-kilometer channel known to the locals as The Narrows, ferries run regularly from the port in Basseterre across to Nevis.
While touring the island, visit the beautiful, rugged beaches and explore the historic plantations.
9. Spot Green Vervet Monkeys
St Kitts is one of the only islands in the Caribbean that has a resident population of monkeys! Brought to the island during the slave trading days by ships, the Green vervet monkeys can be seen all across the island.
While they are fun to spot and watch, be wary though. They are very wise and cunning, meaning they’ll take any opportunity to relieve you of your possession when you are not looking. They can also bite, so do not get close or try to pet them.
St Kitts Travel Planning Guide
Where is St Kitts?
St Kitts is found amongst the islands of the West Indies, where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.
St Kitts is separated from the neighboring island of Nevis by a small, narrow strait and the country’s central location in the Caribbean has left it with a unique and diverse culture that mixed African and Caribbean roots with European colonialism.
How to Travel to St Kitt’s
St Kitts is well connected internationally through the island’s international airport, with daily flights to various airports in the USA, including Miami and New York, which in turn have excellent connections across the world.
There are direct and charter flights to London, while more local services are available to other Caribbean islands.
The island caters to many cruise ships, and this is a popular method of visiting St Kitts. Neighboring Nevis is just a short boat ride away. Other Caribbean islands can be reached by infrequent cargo ships or charter ships too.
Being a small place to visit, traveling around St Kitts is relatively easy, with local microbuses connecting most major towns with the capital Basseterre. Taxis can be found across the island too, while many tour operators can arrange sightseeing trips that take in the most popular sights.
Check out this guide if arriving by Cruise Ship: Fodor’s Caribbean Cruise Ports of Call
The Best Time to Visit St Kitts
St Kitts boasts a hot, tropical climate, with consistently high, all year round temperatures. The island though is found within the notorious Caribbean Hurricane Belt and violent storms can hit the area at certain times during the year.
The hurricane season generally runs from June to November and can be an unpredictable time to visit – although of course, this is when there are fewer visitors and accommodation can be extremely good value.
The most popular time of year to travel to St Kitt’s is between February and March when cruise ships dock and charter flights bring in tourists looking to enjoy the cool, dry climate.
This is the best time of year to enjoy all the best things to do in St Kitts. Of course, that said, we visited in early January and enjoyed a very quiet island, almost to ourselves. So there is always that to consider.
Where to Stay in St Kitts
St Kitts, being such a small island, has just a few accommodation options for tourists to stay at, and is particularly lacking in budget hotels. There are though, plenty of luxury hotels, beachside resorts catering to tourists, with Frigate Bay being the best place to stay to enjoy laid-back island life.
The capital Basseterre has a few hotels, however, most of the better options are found outside the city, and in other areas of St Kitts, including many unique and historic former plantations and estates.
Is St Kitts Safe?
St Kitts is one of the safest islands for tourists to visit in the Caribbean. Although gangs operate in the capital of Basseterre and criminality can be a problem in the poor areas of the city, tourists are only really the victims of petty thefts or minor scams, which can all be avoided.
Tourist specific areas and sights are all very safe to visit, as are the large hotels and resorts.
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