Saint Kitts and Nevis Travel Guide
A colonial possession of the English in previous centuries, Saint Kitts and Nevis has been an independent country in the Eastern Caribbean since 1983.
From the UNESCO protected fort that helped to hold this island paradise for the British Empire, to the highest peak in the Eastern Caribbean, you will find plenty to do in Saint Kitts and Nevis when you aren’t relaxing on the beach.
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollars
What To Do
Make Brimstone Hill Fortress your first stop on Saint Kitts and Nevis. Recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site, this fortress proved to be one of England’s greatest assets in the Caribbean during the colonial period.
While it did fall to the French during an extended siege in 1783, it returned to British hands after the Treaty of Paris was signed a few months after.
Despite being attacked on multiple occasions in the years that followed, it never fell again, as its superior positioning on a steep promontory made it exceedingly difficult for enemy forces to breach its defenses. As a result, Brimstone Hill earned the nickname ‘Gibraltar of the Caribbean’ due to its perceived impregnability.
Before becoming a tourist destination in the modern era, Saint Kitts and Nevis had a long history of being a centre of sugar cultivation.
Sadly, while many of these plantations made use of slave labour to bring in the harvest every year, the Clay Villa Plantation House stood alone by being the only farm that used free workers. Owned and operated by Carib Indians from the very beginning, it is still owned by the same family today.
Sitting on ten acres of land, its gardens are extensive, containing a wide variety of flora is native to the Eastern Caribbean. In the main plantation house, there is also a small museum containing a variety of local artifacts.
Romney Manor is another plantation house that you might want to check out while on Saint Kitts. Dating back to the 17th century, this estate once belonged to President Thomas Jefferson’s great-great-great grandfather.
While the gardens are the main attraction here, be sure to also check out the batik store on-site, which crafts fabrics in the famed Indonesian style. Situated a half a world away from its origin, it is a unique art form to check out if you have not seen it before.
If you want to take in the natural scenery of this island without breaking a sweat, then riding the Saint Kitts Scenic Railway is the way to go. Stretching almost 30 kilometers around half the island, it is the only remaining railway in the West Indies.
Originally built to transport the sugar crop from the fields to the ports on the coast, it reopened in 2003 to ferry tourists around the island. From cloud-topped mountains of the interior to stunning ocean views, there are plenty of views that make this ride an unforgettable experience.
Rising over 3,800 feet above the lowlands of Saint Kitts, Mount Liamuiga is the highest point of this small island nation. Covered with tropical rainforest and topped with a cloud forest above 3,000 feet, hikers that scramble up this dormant volcano will find a crater lake at the summit.
Like any Caribbean island, there are many spectacular beaches that can be found on Saint Kitts and Nevis. However, be sure to make a day trip to Pinney’s Beach before the end of your trip. Named for the family that once owned the land that borders it, it is easy to find a party here if you are looking for one.
If you aren’t, a simple walk down its lengthy sands will take you to a secluded spot away from overly extroverted tourists. Lined with abundant palms, it is a great place to live out your Caribbean beach fantasies.
What to Eat
A popular snack food found throughout Saint Kitts and Nevis, Conkies are a pastry that is steamed between banana leaves. Made from cornmeal, and stuffed with coconut, sweet potato and pumpkin, this sweet treat that is perfect for those looking for a local dessert.
Though it may not sound particularly appetizing, Goat Water Stew is a favorite dinner dish among locals in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Considered unofficially to be the national dish of Saint Kitts, it is made by simmering goat meat, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, various vegetables and various spices and herbs together for hours on end.
It is rumored that homesick Irish immigrants created this dish, substituting goat meat in place of beef to create a dish that closely resembled Irish stew.
Pelau is another local favorite, as it takes rice, chicken, garlic, pigeon peas, carrots, coconut milk, and a variety of flavouring agents to create a meal in a pot that is universally loved throughout Saint Kitts and Nevis.