Like its sister island, Nevis, St. Kitts has a surfeit of natural beauty, where green volcanic hills rise from turquoise seas and colorful tropical blooms climb velvety hillsides. Cruise to St. Kitts to kick back on sugary beaches fringed in swaying palms, or explore historic forts, reminders of the days when the islands were the “pearls of the British Caribbean.”
Swim in the sparkling cove and relax on the white sands of Frigate Bay.
Spot the ruins of stone windmills in green fields.
Ride the St. Kitts Scenic Railway through the island’s countryside and mountains.
Stroll the blooming gardens at Fairview Great House.
Peruse jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs in the shops at Port Zante.
St. Kitts and neighboring Nevis achieved full independence from Great Britain on September 19, 1983.
Sugarcane cultivation, processing, and export dominated the St. Kitts economy from British colonial days to the 1970s—and it wasn’t until 2005 that St. Kitts shut down its last sugarcane factory.
St. Kitts’ official name is St. Christopher—named by Christopher Columbus himself on his arrival in 1493.
Within Walking Distance
Your Carnival St. Kitts cruise docks in the capital city of Basseterre, filled with British colonial architecture and boutiques. The town’s round square, known as the Circus, was a favorite promenade spot for plantation owners. At the square’s center is the Victorian Berkeley Memorial Clock. Drop by the marketplace, where country folk bring baskets brimming with mangos, guavas, soursop, mammee apples, and wild strawberries and cherries just picked in the fields. St. George’s Anglican Church, on Cayon Street, is the oldest church in town and worth a look.
Beyond the Port Area
An entertaining way to hit the island highlights is aboard the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, a century-old train that chugalugs along old sugarcane tracks around the island. Depending on your preference, St. Kitts by Rail & Sail, or St. Kitts by Rail & Scenic Drive are two excursions that provide a beautiful tour of the island. A restored 18th-century manor home is the centerpiece of Fairview Great House & Botanical Garden, 3 miles from Basseterre, and Fairview Great House & Panoramic St Kitts excursion provides an insightful history of the colonial island life.
Among the largest and best-preserved forts in the Caribbean, Brimstone Hill Fortress & Gardens dates from 1690, when the British fortified the hill to help recapture Fort Charles from the French. Perched on the upper slopes of a tall, steep hill, it’s a panoramic photographer’s dream, complete with views of mountains, the Caribbean Sea, and neighboring islands. St Kitts Highlights & Brimstone Hill Fortress excursion takes you there as well as to the beautiful Romney Gardens set amid the ruins of a sugar estate between Basseterre and the fort.
Beaches In St. Kitts
All St. Kitts’ beaches are free and open to the public. However, expect to pay a fee to use beach facilities such as umbrellas, cabanas, and for water sports equipment. The narrow peninsula in the southeast contains the island’s salt ponds and also has the best white-sand beaches; beaches in the north are made of gray volcanic sand. Beach Extravaganza offers an all day excursion to the beach.
On your Carnival cruise to St. Kitts, you’ll find some of the best swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. Explore the island’s rugged southeast peninsula by kayak or snorkel with Nature Kayaking. Head to secluded Smitten’s Bay for snorkeling among diverse reef fish and coral formations. Sister Island Nevis has one of the Caribbean’s best beaches in Pinney’s, where you can swim in crystal-clear water, and stroll on the shimmering golden sand.
Shopping in St. Kitts
Look for local specialties from St. Kitts, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, ranging from paintings to pottery, jewelry, jams, teas, and handmade batik fabrics in Basseterre shops. The Port Zante terminal has shops selling jewelry, clothing, rum, cigars, and souvenirs.
- English is the official language of St. Kitts and Nevis.
- The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, but many local businesses quote prices in U.S. dollars; always determine which currency locals are using before making a purchase.
- St. Kitts enjoys a warm, tropical climate, with sunshine, humidity, and frequent rain showers.
- St. Kitts cruises dock in the newly rebuilt Port Zante.