St. Kitts and Nevis Vacation - Destination Guide
If you haven't been to St. Kitts & Nevis on vacation, now is the perfect time to pay a visit here! A vast variety of the best things to do is waiting for your arrival. Water sports, historical tours, sightseeing and hiking trails, ATV excursions, horseback riding and dolphin swimming are among the most popular activities and attractions chosen by the visitors of St. Kitts & Nevis islands. Join us on this thrilling and fun experience of discovering the true beauty of St. Kitts & Nevis on vacation!
Why vacation in St. Kitts and Nevis?
Here are the top reasons that attract tourists to St. Kitts and Nevis:
There are so many great reasons to visit St. Kitts & Nevis that it is impossible to list them all. These two graciously charming islands have a lot to offer any tourist. Start your journey in St. Kitts by exploring the nearby famous landmarks such as the Independence Square, take a scenic Railway Tour, visit Brimstone Hill Fortress, Frigate Bay, Romney Manor or Great Salt Pond that will inspire you in so many ways.
Botanical Gardens on Nevis
Photo by Peter Long
Botanical Gardens on Nevis are a must-see, and some of the most popular beaches where each one holds its own story to share are all must-visit locations. Pinney's Beach, South Friars Beach or Cockleshell Beach are among a few hotspots for your next tanning session. An array of fun and amazing water sports are offered any time of the day. Choose between kayaking, snorkeling, cruises and boat tours, diving, fishing, sightseeing adventures and history learning trips or simply soak under the sun and spoil yourself on a mesmerizing beach in a local luxury resort.
February visitors will get lucky to spend their time off during this winter month as the biggest celebration of the Carnival takes places then. Top-name performers from the entire Caribbean region, beauty pageants, parades, exquisite food, energizing music and intoxicating dancing is just a small fraction of what to expect during this event.
Both St. Kitts and Nevis are steeped in the local history. Ancient monuments proudly stand above major cities, captivating gallery halls welcome thousands of tourists, while massive Churches and Cathedrals with hand-painted murals are perfect for anybody who wants to peak in and discover the religious side of the islands. Open up the doors into the fairytale world you have always dreamed of seeing!
Although the islands are famous for their extensive sugarcane fields, that still do exist here, many of them now serve as cozy inns or are left as the atmospheric ruins. The nature is truly unbelievable here. St. Kitts has something other islands do not-a dormant Mount Liamuiga volcano that is also home to a crater lake, luscious rainforest and green velvet monkeys that can be spotted while you walk through.
Best time to go to St. Kitts and Nevis
November to early December is great time to go on St. Kitts and Nevis vacation for those who don't mind the rainy days, as the hurricane season stops in early December. Weather during this time is wet but warm at 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are looking for super cheap accommodation rates, no tourist traffic and warm weather, visit the islands then.
The best time to visit St. Kitts & Nevis is around the months of May and June. Green Valley Festival in May and St. Kitts Music Festival in June are two of the most popular events that gather many people annually. Weather during the month of May stays warm at 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit), while June, the hottest month of the year, enjoys temperatures at 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) with a slight tropical breeze. This is also the time when the hotels significantly drop their rates to lure more tourists in, so going on St. Kitts and Nevis vacation during these two summer months is something to look into.
Where are St. Kitts and Nevis on the map?
Intoxicating natural beauty, gorgeous clear blue skies, velvety-sand beaches and warm Caribbean waters make St. Kitts & Nevis one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean umbrella.
St. Kitts & Nevis is a dual-island nation, situated between the deep waters of the Atlantic ocean and warm Caribbean sea. It is located 415 km (258 miles) southeast of Puerto Rico, and 104 km (65 miles) southwest of Antigua & Barbuda.
Capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis
Photo by Roger W
Basseterre, a charming capital of St. Kitts & Nevis, has everything you will ever want to experience during your St. Kitts and Nevis vacation. One of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean, Basseterre is located on the south western coast of St. Kitts and its estimated population in 2016 is close to 16,000 residents.
Lush mountains, white and black sand beaches and a rich historical heritage with a ton of eclectic galleries, remarkable buildings containing museums, shops and Cathedrals are awaiting your arrival. Basseterre is also filled with colonial homes, ancient monuments and is beautifully decorated with tropical ravishing plants and greenery courtyards.
Basseterre is a perfect location to start your water adventures in. Here, you many engage in kayaking, fishing, catamaran cruises and yachting, and do not forget that some of the city's best snorkeling and diving tours that leave from the Basseterre's port daily. There are a lot of things to check out while visiting the islands' capital on your St. Kitts and Nevis vacation, so book your valuable time wisely in order to snap the best photographs, see the most stunning landmarks and learn a thing or two about the local history.
Charlestown, a tiny town with the population of 1,500, is the capital of Nevis, and the island's commercial center.
Photo by Steven Tsai
Population in St. Kitts and Nevis
The estimated population of St. Kitts & Nevis at the end of 2016 is 56,525. The national ethnicity of the citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis predominantly is of African descent. Afro-Caribbean citizens make up most of the population of the islands, whose ancestors came from a slave trade and were brought from Western and Southern Africa to work on the islands' sugar plantation fields. A smaller percentage of other inhabitants of St. Kitts & Nevis are descendants of British settlers and migrants from other nearby Caribbean islands, as well as Portuguese and Lebanese residents.
Religion in St. Kitts & Nevis is a very important aspect of every day life. The most predominant faith practiced here is Christianity; however, other communities such as Rastafarian, Orthodox and Roman Catholics are also present on the islands.
Local Language in St. Kitts and Nevis
English is the official language of St. Kitts & Nevis, so travellers from English-speaking countries will not have any problems communicating on the island during St. Kitts and Nevis vacation as it is the primary means of communication.
You will also discover that a patois of Caribbean English or even Lesser Caribbean Creole is spoken on the islands. Although it requires a little more time to understand and catch on the phrases, visitors never have problems making their way through the islands comfortably, as everyone in St. Kitts & Nevis speaks English.
How to get to St. Kitts and Nevis
Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport is located northeast of Basseterre, the island's capital city, and provides full capacity to accept the largest international and domestic aircrafts as well as cargo and private jets. There are a few nonstop flights scheduled from the United States to St. Kitts, but none to Nevis. Passengers flying from Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami or New York will have no problem getting to St. Kitts directly. Connections to St. Kitts can also be made from other Caribbean places such as Antigua, San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
Major European airline companies offer direct flights to St. Kitts by making transit stops in Antigua. Their service frequents 2-3 times per week making St. Kitts accessible year round. British Airways is the only European airline carrier that offers nonstop flights straight to St. Kitts. Canadian companies provide both nonstop and direct flights to St. Kitts. Board a plane in Toronto and be in St. Kitts in less than 5 hours, or if you are flying from Montreal, keep in mind a transit stop must be made in one of the US major cities.
Passengers on their way to Nevis should know that it is much more affordable to fly to St. Kitts first and take one of the regularly scheduled ferries. Most ferry companies make 2-3 daily trips, but check their schedules in advance to avoid possible wait times and/or delays. Trips to Nevis are a quick 30-40 minute ferry ride, so if you are up to a little bit of exploring during your St. Kitts and Nevis vacation, hop on a boat and enjoy the tucked-away Nevis for a day.
Vance W. Amory International Airport in Nevis welcomes international and domestic aircrafts of all sizes from nearby Caribbean islands. It only has one runway, but can accommodate numerous arrivals and departures daily. Although a trip from St. Kitts to Nevis is a quick 15-minute flight, the ticket cost will jump high compared to that of a ferry.
Travellers from North America who choose to fly directly to Nevis avoiding a stop in St. Kitts, may also get to this small paradise island from either Antigua, that offers charter plane flights, Dominica, Virgin Gorda or Tortola, US Virgin Islands, St. Maarten or Puerto Rico.
St. Kitts and Nevis vacation options
St. Kitts has various cozy and comfortable places to stay in. Whether you choose gorgeous tucked-away plantation inns, reasonably-priced but beautifully decorated hotels, waterfront cottages, ocean-view condos or all-inclusive resorts, your stay in St. Kitts is promising to be good!
Nevis, on the other hand, is a small island that does not have any large resorts. However, most accommodations here are upscale, luxurious and perfect for peaceful and laid-back getaway. You may even take one of the offered day trips here and indulge in pure relaxation before hitting up a good night venue in St. Kitts.
Weather in St. Kitts and Nevis
High season in St. Kitts & Nevis only lasts from mid-December to the beginning of April with temperatures varying between 24-28 degrees Celsius (76-82 degrees Fahrenheit).
December to June is also a dry season on the islands. And even though December to March is considered to be the coolest period of the year with daily temperatures at 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), the surrounding seas stay warm all year long.
July to November is a wet season, and frequent precipitation is common, especially closer to September. This period is also prone to hurricanes and although this tropical cyclone is unpredictable and devastating, they are a rare occurrence in St. Kitts and Nevis. Temperatures during this time stay high at 28-31 degrees Celsius (82-88 degrees Fahrenheit) and humidity is a persistent guest during the daytime. Sea temperature will pleasantly surprise you at a whopping 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit). You get a little break from the heat during the evenings and nights during your St. Kitts and Nevis vacation with numbers going down to almost 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit).
Public Transportation in St. Kitts and Nevis
Once you land in St. Kitts & Nevis for vacation, there are a few ways to freely move around the islands. Public transportation in both St. Kitts & Nevis consists of buses, taxis and scooters. Buses, that are privately owned minivans but government licensed, have green license plates that begin with "H" or "HA". Even though there is no specific bus schedule, the public transport runs on a regular basis, especially during morning and afternoon hours (with less frequent service on Sundays) and flagging down a bus or getting off just about anywhere is never a problem. To give the right of way to taxis and to avoid competition, buses do not serve the Frigate Bay area.
Bus fares will not cost you an arm and a leg, but instead of paying your way with US currencies, use local money, many bus drivers prefer to get exact change in EC$.
If you don't mind travelling on a scooter, it is one of the most exciting ways to explore St. Kitts & Nevis. Scooters can be easily rented out and the costs are much lower than renting a car. Grab a partner and avoid all the city traffic when you navigate through the streets of the islands.
Taxis is another reasonable way to go about the islands on your St. Kitts and Nevis vacation. Taxis are not metered but the fares are predetermined and depend on the destination you are trying to reach. If needed, your taxi driver can also serve as a skilled and competent tour guide. If he does, at the end of your tour thank him with a tip, he will greatly appreciate it. Water taxis are also available to those who are travelling between St. Kitts & Nevis; however, they are not as cost-saving as the nearby ferries.
Ferry service is a great option to travel between the islands where car and passenger ferries are also at your service. Car ferries can accommodate up to 35 vehicles and will transport you and your car to either island in just 25 minutes. Ferries make daily trips and are super cost-effective.
Rent a car in St. Kitts and Nevis
Driving in St. Kitts and Nevis is on the left, British-style, but some car rental companies give out American-style cars. You can get by without renting a car in Nevis, because taxis and guided tours are readily available for your convenience. However, if you are staying away from the Frigate Bay-Basseterre area in St. Kitts, you will definitely require renting a vehicle.
There is not a lot of traffic on either island, and to your surprise you will not spot any traffic lights. Having said that, some drivers do drive aggressively and make sudden turns, just be alert and watch out for dangers of the road.
A temporary driving permit and a fee of $24 (US) is required to qualify to rent a car in St. Kitts & Nevis. There are quite a few affordable car rental agencies on both islands, but expect to pay extra for air conditioning.
One well-kept road in St. Kitts that is clearly marked, circumnavigates the island, but if you swerve northeast, the roads there lead to the plantation inns, where the ride can get quite bumpy. Roads on Nevis are fairly smooth, especially if you go in the north, west and south directions. East side of the island does have some potholes, bumps and pigs, goats and sheep have the right of way all throughout the island, so when you are driving, keep a close eye on the local animals wandering around and crossing the roads about anywhere they please.
Money in St. Kitts and Nevis
The national currency of St. Kitts & Nevis is Eastern European dollar (EC$) and although most major hotel chains, large restaurants and shops accept US dollars, be prepared that the change will be given in local moneys, a currency without use once you leave the islands.
Credit cards are also accepted practically anywhere in St. Kitts & Nevis, but small inns and local shops situated further away from the tourist area might not welcome this form of payment. If you are planning on travelling and exploring the islands remotely from downtown core, it is beneficial to keep some cash handy. It will eliminate the necessity to search for banks and ATM machines during your St. Kitts and Nevis vacation.
Banks and ATMs, that only dispense EC dollars, are located on both St. Kitts and Nevis, and can be easily spotted at the airports and local banks.
Some vendors have their prices displayed in both, US and EC currencies; however, with the local conversion rates, you will end up paying slightly more if you use your US money. But unless you are making a large purchase the difference in price is not that significant. A few tourists noticed, that some vendors only have one price ticketed on their items. If you are not sure which currency is displayed, always ask to avoid paying more.
Tipping in St. Kitts and Nevis
Tipping is a necessary part of your budget when you travel to places where the service staff heavily relies on the tips received from the tourists. You will be very much appreciated if you make an effort to reward them for their service on your St. Kitts and Nevis vacation.
Normally, the hotels will add a 10%-15% service charge to all of their bills. Carefully inspect before paying, and in case the gratuity was not included, be generous and leave at least 15% for the staff. Anything on top of that is at the sole discretion of the guest.
Restaurants have the same tipping policy, and if the 15% surcharge was not included in the bill, kindly leave anywhere between 10%-15% on top of the final invoice. A lot of dining establishments split the service charge among the employees, so the entire 15% does not always go to your server. If he/she went above and beyond and provided exceptional service to you, leave some cash either at the table or give it directly to them.
Bellhops and porters generally get $1 per each bag they help you carry while housekeepers and maids receive $2-$3 in tips per day. Taxi drivers get 10% of the trip fare, and if he went out of his way and acted as your tour guide or helped you with your heavy luggage, feel free to leave a few extra dollars.
Solicitation in St. Kitts and Nevis
Street vendors are tossed throughout both St. Kitts and Nevis, offering its residents and visitors the best of locally grown produce, souvenirs, and hand-made jewellery. You will see a few vendors on the beach as well, who will gladly work out a good deal for you. If you are not interested in purchasing, simply let the vendor know. They are very communicative and friendly, so do not be alarmed if they exchange a few words with you.
Roadside stands, farmer's markets and souvenir huts can be found practically anywhere, and although St. Kitts has more of them, there is an abundance of local fresh fruits and vegetables on Nevis as well. Here, you may even negotiate a discount, the vendors will gladly give you a few extra bucks off your purchase. They are never pushy and try to keep their distance and give you space to explore their merchandise.
Safety in St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Kitts & Nevis is a combination of 2 tiny islands where tourists will not get lost, harassed or feel unsafe. However, common-sense precautions must be followed petty crime and burglaries might happen anywhere you travel to.
Remember, those that come for their St. Kitts and Nevis vacation to show off might get themselves in an unpleasant situation, so follow a few rules and exercise regular safety measures to have a worry-free time. Do not walk around with big loads of cash or expensive flashy jewellery, rather keep them in your hotel safe or security box. Avoid walking alone at night outside the resort, grab a friend or better travel in small to large groups to ensure getting to and from your destination safely.
Although both islands are generally safe, and becoming sick with a major illness or getting poisoned is very rare, the biggest health risk in St. Kitts and Nevis is sunstroke or dehydration. Bring a lot of high quality sunscreen and always carry a bottle of water with you to quench your thirst!
Do not stop if you are flagged down by pedestrians, and whether you are driving the vehicle or it is parked, car windows should be fully rolled up and doors should be locked at all times. Keep your hotel suite doors locked as well, and safeguard your valuables anywhere you go.
Water in St. Kitts and Nevis
Tap water in St. Kitts & Nevis is absolutely safe to drink, it is chlorinated, purified and has a pleasant taste to it. If you have a sensitive stomach or a weak immune system, it is better to opt out for bottled water that is widely available across the islands in local supermarkets, restaurants, cafes and convenience stores.
Bottled water is as safe as the tap water; however, during the hurricane season the water might get contaminated with all the storms particles, dirt and dust. If you are vacationing in St. Kiss & Nevis anytime from June to November and are staying at a guesthouse or a small inn located further away from the main tourist area, confirm with the management or the rental supervisor there, as to the quality of the water and if it is safe to drink from the tap.
Electricity in St. Kitts and Nevis
Electrical sockets in St. Kitts & Nevis supply electricity at 220-240 volts (specifically 230 volts in most areas) and at 60 cycles per second.
Travellers coming from North American countries must make sure that their appliances are compatible with the islands' voltage and power sockets by bringing voltage converters, transformers and plug adaptors as needed. Europe's voltage is the same as St. Kitts & Nevis, so these guests will only need to pack chargers and possibly a plug adaptor.