The Mother Colony of the West Indies
A new day, and with it, a new port of call after Saint Vincent two days before. This is the turn for another country, Saint Kitts and Nevis, docking at its capital city Basseterre. This is now making the already serious number of country 95 visited so far up to date. Yet again, the count can easily go up here in the Caribbean especially if on a cruise. The only real way for enjoying the islands to be honest at a decent overall cost than if going on your own planning yourself the trip. Inter islands flights are quite expensive not to mention the hotels. Yes I agree is nice to stay longer at some of these pieces of paradise, but for now, getting an idea of the region seeing the most we can is the best option.
Basseterre, meaning low land as it’s located in the lowest height in a rather flat area of the island was founded in 1627 by the French. Then made the capital of the island of Saint Kitts in 1727 following the French expulsion full British control, and remained ever since the capital of the country counting the second island of Nevis as part of its territory after its political independence on 19th of September 1983.
Although small, it has lots to offer, especially that is completely surrounded by lush green hills and mountains, hence beautiful scenery and nature. It’s also home to spectacular Georgian manor houses once home to wealthy sugar plantation owners. It was the main economy back in the colonial days, production of sugar, like in all of the other former colonial islands. The remains of factories are scattered in both Saint Kitts and Nevis islands, while manors and houses have been turned into museums and luxurious hotels.
One of the main legacies in Saint Kitts about this sugar past is the railway. Originally built to transport the sugar cane to the factories, it has been now adapted as a major tourist attraction where it departs Basseterre and heads towards the north along the east coast and around the Mount Liamuiga passing scenic landscapes, rain forest, bridges and canyons overlooking the sea in the distance; and a last section of 12 miles on the return to Basseterre are done via bus along the west coast, hence providing a complete circle route of the entire island.
The rest, is self explained and straightforward when in the island, and since generally this is a port of call of any Caribbean cruise, it means you have a limited time window from the morning until the evening departure, yet well enough to enjoy most of the sights.
For more information check Wikipedia site. Saint Kitts and Nevis currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Scenic Railway Originally built by the British to transport sugar cane to the main factory, it is nowadays a great way to visit the island enjoying the landscapes without any hassle.
- Mount Liamuiga The highest point in the island, is this stratovolcano. The views at the top are without any doubt, the best you will get of the entire island and beyond into the Caribbean.
- Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built by the British in the 17th and 18th centuries, and referred as the Gibraltar of the West Indies. Along the west coast, near Sandy Point Town.
- Wingfield Estate Sugar Factory Ruins Along the west coast, in Old Road Town. One of many, however the best preserved ruins of a sugar factory in the country.
- Romney Manor Adjacent to the Wingfield factory. Dating from the 17th century.
- Fairview Great House For a glimpse of what used to be a wealthy plantation owner back in the 18th century. The most impressive of any in the country, in Georgian style. Located not far west of Basseterre.
- Basseterre The small capital city of the country. Very colourful with beautiful and fine examples of French and British colonial structures well worth to visit.
-Cruise Terminal At the south side of the city, with the iconic Terminal Building marking the archway entrance into the city.
-Old Treasury Built in the 19th century in black volcanic stone. Along Bay Road, you can cross through its arch into The Circus. It’s home to the National Museum.
-The Circus Behind the Treasury, with the landmark iconic green Berkeley Clock in the middle.
-Independence Square The largest in the city, a block east from the Circus. It was back in the day the slave market.
-Courthouse By the southeast corner of the square.
-Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral While this was the site of the primitive French church built in the 16th century, the current building dates from 1928.
-Saint George’s Anglican Church Farther behind the Independence Square. Originally built by the French in 1706, then rebuilt in 1710 by the British. Destroyed in an earthquake and hurricane in 1843, with the current building dating from 1859.
- Nevis The second island of the country, linked via a ferry. Charlestown is the capital, however not much to see here.
Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport offers direct flights to Canada, USA and the Caribbean states, however it will be rare for a tourist reaching the country by airplane anyway. Tourist mostly come here as part of a cruise, where Basseterre is one of the major ports in the Caribbean. The cruise terminal is within meters away walking distance of the city centre and every sight.
Within the island, the best is to get a car or negotiate one of the multiple and easy to find van/taxi drivers to be with you for the entire duration of your day going to the major sights or wherever you have planned to visit. As an idea of what cost to expect, set aside around $US 25 per person if you are 2 people, and around $US 20 per person or even a bit less if your negotiation skills are good if you are 4 people.
Since this was a cruise holidays and we slept always on-board, there is little I can say about accommodation here in Saint Kitts and Nevis other than the usual, checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers. Nevertheless you are in a paradise country with grand and luxurious hotels and resorts, however, it will not come cheap like anywhere else in the Caribbean.