Saint Kitts and Nevis

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS TRAVEL GUIDE

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Saint Kitts and Nevis is a dual-island nation situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. It's known for cloud-shrouded mountains and beaches. Many of its former sugar plantations are now inns or atmospheric ruins. The larger of the 2 islands, Saint Kitts, is dominated by the dormant Mount Liamuiga volcano, home to a crater lake, green vervet monkeys and rainforest crisscrossed with hiking trails.

 

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Saint Kitts and Nevis

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SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Basseterre
  • Currency: East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
  • Area: 261 km²
  • Population: 52 441 (2018)
  • Language: English
  • Religion: Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
 

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SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 1 May, Labor Day
  • 8 May, Victory Day
  • 14 July, National Day
  • 15 August, Assumption
  • 9 October, Abolition Day
  • 1 November, All Saints Day
  • 11 November, Armistice Day

Also, Easter Monday, Ascension Day and Whit Monday.

FESTIVALS IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

  • St Kitts & Nevis National Carnival - Also known as  ‘Sugar Mas’ , is a unique Caribbean carnival. It takes place annually between Christmas and New Year and is the only Caribbean carnival to blend the spirit of Christmas into the festivities. The island is taken over with the carnival fever, colourful costumes, displays, partygoers and with many activities to be enjoyed throughout the duration of the carnival, it will be an experience to remember.

Saint Kitts and Nevis
 

BEST TIME TO VISIT SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

Located in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis experiences warm and humid conditions throughout the year. As with most Caribbean islands, the climate of St. Kitts and Nevis is heavily influenced by the marine environment. The average temperature is 26-28°C in summer months and 24-25°C in the cooler months of December to February. The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis have a wet season between July and December, during which the islands receive up to 150-250 mm of rainfall per month, and a drier season between January and April. Mean annual precipitation on Nevis is about 1170 mm, while the average rainfall in St. Kitts is strongly related to altitude. The hurricane season extends from June to November when low pressure systems and tropical disturbances pass through the area.

 

The best time to visit the Caribbean is generally considered to be December to April, when it’s slightly cooler (particularly in the northern Caribbean), drier and less humid, and tourists flock to escape the northern winter. May to November can be soggy, with hurricanes possible from July to October – though these are rare in the far south.

 

  • High Season (Dec–Apr) - People fleeing the northern hemisphere winter arrive in droves and prices peak. This is the Caribbean's driest time and can be cool the northern islands.
  • Shoulder (May–Jun & Nov) - The weather is good, rains are moderate throughout. Reduced visitor numbers and the best mix of affordable rates and good weather. makes this an ideal time to visit the Caribbean.
  • Low Season (Jul–Oct) - Hurricane season; the odds of being caught are small, but tropical storms are like abound. During this time room prices can be half or less than in high season and you will find eastern Caribbean’s beaches good for surfing.
 

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Located in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles, St. Kitts and Nevis experiences warm and humid conditions throughout the year. As with most Caribbean islands, the climate of St. Kitts and Nevis is heavily influenced by the marine environment. The average temperature is 26-28°C in summer months and 24-25°C in the cooler months of December to February. Seasonal and diurnal variations in temperature are small and only at higher elevations do temperatures drop below 17°C. The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis have a wet season between July and December, during which the islands receive up to 150-250 mm of rainfall per month, and a drier season between January and April. Mean annual precipitation on Nevis is about 1170 mm, while the average rainfall in St. Kitts is strongly related to altitude. The central mountain range in St. Kitts receives an annual average of 2,500-4,000 mm in rainfall, while coastal areas receive a more modest annual average of 1,016 mm. Furthermore, in St. Kitts, along the South-East Peninsula (SEP), mean annual precipitation ranges from 990mm on peaks to 864 mm at Cockleshell Bay. The hurricane season extends from June to November when low pressure systems and tropical disturbances pass through the area. The occurrence of hurricanes is strongly linked to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with more frequent hurricane activity associated with La Niña events, and less frequent events occurring in El Niño years. Heavy rainfall associated with storms and hurricanes contributes significantly to wet season rainfall totals.

Saint Kitts and Nevis

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

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FEBRUARY

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AUGUST

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SEPTEMBER

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OCTOBER

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NOVEMBER

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

HIKING & CYCLING IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

The best months for outdoor activities in Saint Kitts and Nevis, are December to May when it's driest and least humid. From June to November the rain usually falls in brief, very heavy showers with the peak hurricane season from August to November.

BEACH OPTIONS IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

Saint Kitts and Nevis enjoys a hot, tropical climate suitable for beach going all year round. The driest and least humid months are typically from December to May, so these are best for enjoying the beaches. From June to November the rain usually falls in brief, very heavy showers with the peak hurricane season from August to November.

SURFING IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

The best months for surfing in Saint Kitts and Nevis is from November to April. The most popular surf spots are North Friars Bay and St. Kitts Marriott Reef.

KITESURF IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

There is pretty good wind for windsurfing in Saint Kitts and Nevis from December to April. Turtle Beach is also an ideal spot for learning to Kitesurf.

For more details on kite surfing in Saint Kitts and Nevis expand this section!

 
 

HEALTH RISKS IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS TRAVEL COSTS

The Caribbean is not cheap, but there are ways to get the most bang for your buck with a little forward planning and some savvy choices

 

  • Budget less than US$150 Room away from the beach: under US$100, Meal at a locally popular restaurant: US$10, Ride local buses: US$3
  • Midrange US$150–300 Double room in the action: US$200, Visit parks and beaches that are free, rent bikes or snorkel for US$10 per day Rental car for exploring: US$40 to US$60 a day.
  • Top end over US$300 - Beautiful rooms at the best resorts in high season: US$400 and over, Activities in beautiful places: US$100 and up, World-renowned meals: US$100 per person and more.
 

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some of the best ways to save money:

  • Travel in groups Bring your friends and other couples along with you and rent a villa.
  • Book far in advance For high season deals.
  • Book at the last minute For incredible deals as hotels dump empty rooms.
  • Follow the divers They demand great value near beautiful waters.
  • Ride buses and ferries You meet folks and may have an adventure.
  • Live like a local Save money while having a more authentic visit.
  • Travel in low season Prices can drop 40% or more.

 

GETTING AROUND ST. KITTS & NEVIS

Boat Several companies operate passenger ferries linking Basseterre on St Kitts and Charlestown on Nevis in about 45 minutes. Boats depart at least once hourly between 7am and 9pm. Tickets are sold from about 30 minutes before sailings. In peak times, arrive early as some boats sell out. Drivers can use the Seabridge car ferry which makes the trip from Major’s Bay in southern St Kitts to Cades Bay on Nevis in 20 minutes roughly every two hours. Current schedule available here.

Bus There is no public transportation on either island, but privately operated minivans serve communities on an erratic schedule along the main roads. All have license plates starting with a ‘H’ and can be flagged down.

Car To hire your own wheels, you need a local driver’s license (US$25 for 3 months) valid on both islands and issued by the rental companies. Driving is on the left side of the road, the steering wheel is on the right and speed limits are posted in miles per hour.

 

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

ST KITTS

St Kitts definitely has a beat, and it’s not just the one blasting from the many minibuses hauling folks hither and yon. Its capital, Basseterre, is a fascinating place to wander and very much the commercial heart of the island. After the demise of its sugar industry, St Kitts's economy is largely driven by the cruise-ship industry. Most visitors head straight to the north of the island where the past is still starkly present in the form of abandoned sugarcane fields and ramshackle villages. The south of the island is largely undeveloped except for some funky bars on glorious beaches competing for rum-fuelled tanning sessions.

 

St Kitts’ bustling capital, Basseterre (pronounced ‘bass-tear’), has a compact downtown next to the cruise-ship terminal. At its centre stands the Circus, a roundabout anchored by a Victorian-style green clock tower. Nearby, locals ‘lime’ on grassy Independence Square, a former slave market framed by Georgian-era brick houses and a dignified cathedral.

 

A drive around the northern part of the island is a must. The entire circuit is about 35 miles and can easily fill half a day, especially with an extended stop at the landmark Brimstone Hill Fortress. Beyond here lowlands covered with abandoned sugarcane fields run up the hills to Mt Liamuiga, the 3792ft dormant volcano that dominates the interior. A guide is recommended if you want to hike to the crater rim.

 

Frigate Bay, some 3 miles southeast of Basseterre, is an isthmus dividing the calm Caribbean side and the surf-lashed Atlantic side, which is dominated by a hulking Marriott resort. The area teems with good restaurants but the key draw is ‘the Strip’, a row of funky beach bars along South Frigate Bay. Beyond here, St Kitts’ south is scrubby wild terrain filled with five-star beaches, grassy hills and salt ponds.

 

Download map waypoints for St. Kitts & Nevis here: KML / GPX

 

(more location details are available in the above map)

 

NEVIS

Coin-shaped Nevis (pronounced ‘nay-vis’) is a smaller, neater version of St Kitts, sprinkled with rustic charm and infused with a keen historical awareness and appreciation. Many visitors come here just for the day but those in the know stay much longer. There’s nothing brash about this sweet and unhurried island, whose blissfully uncrowded beaches fringe a forested interior that rises to majestic, often cloud-shrouded, Mt Nevis (3182ft). The coastal lowlands support bougainvillea, hibiscus and other flowering bushes that attract numerous hummingbirds. It’s this lush landscape that makes Nevis so popular with bikers, hikers, birders and other nature and outdoor fans.

 

The ferry from St Kitts docks right in pint-size Charlestown, Nevis’ cute capital, where banks and businesses coexist with tourist facilities and gingerbread Victorians. It’s a fun spot for a stroll and is rarely crowded. The closest beach, lovely Pinney’s, is a 15-minute jaunt north.

 

Charlestown is the starting point of the Nevis Heritage Trail, which links 25 sites of historical importance, including churches, sugar estates, military installations and natural sites. Look for the blue and green markers or pick up a leaflet at the tourist office or the museums.

North of Charlestown are Nevis’ best beaches and the massive Four Seasons, the island’s only five-star resort.

 

The circular road traverses the lush southern part of Nevis between cloud-shrouded Mt Nevis and Saddle Hill, skirting crumbling sugar-mill stacks and plantation-estates-turned-hotels. In the east, the population thins out and the sloping, green flatlands – once sugarcane plantations – run down to the turbulent Atlantic. It’s a desolate and dramatic landscape.

WHAT TO PACK FOR SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

The Caribbean islands are casual, so bring light, comfy clothes: a bathing suit, T-shirt and shorts will be your wardrobe. Add long pants or a dress for nights out. 

  • Sun hat Buying at home ensures a better fit.

  • Quick-dry towel A small one, for when the whim to swim hits.

  • Flashlight For night-time reading, blackouts.

  • Resealable bags / Drybags Essential for keeping things (cameras, air tickets, passports) dry on boat trips.

  • Snorkelling mask with corrective lenses Suddenly, reefs are in focus!

 
Saint Kitts and Nevis

WHAT TO EAT IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

These dishes can be found across the Caribbean:

  • Callaloo - A creamy thick soup or stew blending a variety of vegetables (eg spinach, kale, onions, carrots, eggplant, garlic, okra) with coconut milk and sometimes crab or ham. The base can be spinach-like.

  • Roti - Fiery chutney sets off the curried chicken, beef, conch or vegetable fillings in these burrito-like flat-bread wraps.

  • Conch - Look for farm-raised versions as conch in the wild are endangered. This large pink mollusk is cooked with onion and spices in a stew, fried up as fritters, or sliced raw and served with a lime marinade.


Take time to meet the locals by doing what they do – you’ll enjoy a more affordable and authentic experience.

  • Eat at lunch wagons or stalls. The local fare is cheap and often incredibly good.

  • Drop by a local bar – often the de facto community center. Besides a drink, you’ll get all sorts of useful – or wonderfully frivolous – advice.

  • Look for community fish fries or barbecues in the Eastern Caribbean.

 

LGBTQ IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

 
Saint Kitts and Nevis
 

WHERE TO STAY IN SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

There are large resorts on both islands, but most accommodations are still small-scale hotels, plantation inns, guesthouses and apartment rentals. Tax and a service charge add 22% to the bill.

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