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Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Kitts and Nevis are a pair of tropical islands in the Caribbean, about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago. It is called "The Mother Colony of the West Indies".

Understand

As if it were the custom in the Caribbean, St-Kitts and Nevis changed hands many times between English and French, which has left it a heritage of cities with names from both countries. Contrariwise, the architecture there is very Anglo-Saxon (Style Victorian) with driving on left and especially in downtown Basseterre: Circus Place the reproduction of the 'Berkeley Memorial Clock'.

The islands became an associated state of the United Kingdom with full internal autonomy in 1967. The island of Anguilla rebelled and was allowed to secede in 1971. Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983. In 1998, a vote in Nevis on a referendum to separate from Saint Kitts fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.

There are also several ancient British fortifications which have been restored with minutiae and reproducing the tiniest details of original construction. St-Kitts and Nevis will be called to be developed in the near future, in fact many projects are in progress or completion, notably vast dockings to accommodate the largest liners and cruisers with terminals, loading docks, etc.

What is really remarkable on St-Kitts and Nevis is the natural aspect. Many tropical birds which one rarely finds elsewhere are present in great concentration in the nature and there are also the famous monkeys which, it is said, were introduced by the pirates. An all-new road permits going to the southeast end of St-Kitts (Turtle Beach) where one feels that a certain febrility in the air will make of this part of the island an appreciated place. Indeed, one has only to take a little adventure in the underwoods with some fruit in hand to see oneself quite soon surrounded by monkeys coming gently to meet one to get fed. For the inhabitants of the islands, on the other hand, the monkeys are not perceived as big a joy, for these pretty little hairy beings plunder the harvest and nose around everywhere they can go.

Climate

Tropical tempered by constant sea breezes; little seasonal temperature variation; rainy season (May to November).

Landscape

With coastlines in the shape of a baseball bat and ball, the two volcanic islands are separated by a three-km-wide channel called The Narrows; on the southern tip of long, baseball bat-shaped Saint Kitts lies the Great Salt Pond; Nevis Peak sits in the center of its almost circular namesake island and its ball shape complements that of its sister island. The highest point is Mount Liamuiga (St Kitts) at 1,156 meters.

Regions

Cities

  • Basseterre
  • Cayon
  • Charlestown
  • Dieppe Bay Town
  • Gingerland
  • Newcastle
  • Old Road Town
  • Sandy Point Town

Other destinations

Get in

Citizens of Commonwealth countries, Organization of American States (except the Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the following countries do not require visas: Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, South Korea, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Kingdom of the Netherlands*, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, UK and the United Arab Emirates.

Visa applications must be mailed to the Embassy in Washington, D.C. Included in your submission should be the original completed application form (you cannot copy the form and send it), your passport (valid for at least 6 months after visiting Saint Kitts and Nevis, 2 passport-size photographs and the visa fee ($50). You must also include the mailing fee. The normal fee is $5, but if you want express overnight postage, the fee is $15.75.

By plane

  • Daily flights are available from San Juan, PR on American Eagle, as well as through British Virgin Islands/Tortola. American Airlines flies three times a week from Miami (more flights during the tourist season), twice a week to New York. Delta Airlines has non stop service to St. Kitts from Atlanta.
  • From Britain, British Airways has non-stop flights from London Gatwick. These flights are once a week, on Saturdays.
  • From Canada, there is a non-stop charter flight from Toronto to St. Kitts beginning December 19th until April with Skyservice.
  • Leeward Islands Air Transport (Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Thomas, San Juan, Tortola) DHC8-100, 300

By boat

There is a cruise ship terminal as well as a marina for yachts in Basseterre.

Take a catamaran/snorkel excursion with Blue Water Safaris or Leeward Island Charters.

You can also charter a boat with No Problem Boat Charters.

For the ferry from St Kitts (Majors Bay) to Nevis (Cades Bay) you can take the Sea Bridge which runs from 8AM till 7PM (sailing times).

Get around

By train

There is a scenic railway tour that goes through portions of the narrow gauge railroad formerly used for the sugar mill. If more than one large cruise ship visits the island, organized train tours can fill the train.

By car

Taxis and buses outnumber those needing them in St. Kitts. Be sure to negotiate upfront the costs of the trip, pay special attention if the fare is in US or EC dollars.

Temporary drivers licenses are available, as well as several car rentals agencies.

There are many popular tour guides in St. Kitts that will give you a tour of the island. One such tour guide is Thenford Grey's Island Tours or Grey's Island Excursions [1].

By bus

Micro buses form the public transportation system on the island. These are much cheaper than taxis and can be flagged down while in route. If they are full the driver will flash their lights and proceed on. Service does not generally extend to Frigate Bay or the Southern Peninsula. That is the domain of taxis. Taxis and Buses use the same format of Micro buses, the difference is that taxis have a yellow license plate and start with the letter T and buses have a green one which starts with the letter H. Bus fare varies but in 2005 was EC$1.25-5.00 depending on length of trip.

Talk

The language of Saint Kitts and Nevis is English. However if you have never visited the Caribbean before you may have difficulty understanding the patois, or more correctly the Creole language, spoken by the locals which is based on the English language but to the untrained ear sounds nothing like it. For example "a-come" means coming "a-knock" means knocking. Most notable is the simplification of use of pronouns as in "I and I" which replaces all other pronouns like she/he, we/my, yours, hers/his and ours. The Caribbean patois has its roots not only in African languages (west, central and Nigerian), standard English, Scottish and Spanish but also Perso-Arabic and Sanskrit. Unusually the end result is not just a language but also a philosophical statement which emphasises the group relationship rather than the personal.

See

Of course, with an area no larger than 261 km2, Saint Kitts and Nevis has a somewhat limited (but not absent!) array of typical sights. It's hardly a set back for visitors to these two small islands though, as they have all the enchanting natural beauty of the Caribbean.

Its strategic location made Saint Kitts a colonial hotspot and a focus point of European nations in their struggle for power over the West Indies islands. The colonial settlers rapidly expanded sugar plantations and imported African slaves, thus laying the foundations for the islands' colourful culture. Festivities, crafts and other displays of that culture are among the islands' main tourist attractions now, as are the ruins of the many plantations. The Scenic Railway, travelling on the tracks of the old sugar train railway, is a great way to see the best of them. However, nothing makes the islands' history as tangible as the impressive and well preserved remains of the Brimstone Hill Fortress. It's both a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and provides some stunning views over the surrounding area and even some nearby islands. Only a few ruins and some cannons remain of Fort Charles on Nevis, the fortifications of Charlestown.

Basseterre is a pleasant place and has a view sights, including St. George's Anglican Church and Indepence Square, once the site of the slave market. The impressive 1894 Old Treasury building, built as the gateway to Basseterre, is an important historic sight but also houses the National Museum with expositions on the history, identity and independence of the island.

The islands' countryside is lovely, with panoramic views of green hills covered in rain forest as well as beaches and of course the bright blue sea. The main road circling the island will take you to most points of interests, some great beaches and several villages. The hike up Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano on St. Kitts and the highest peak of the islands, is particularly popular and worthwhile for the great views from the top.

Diving

Diving sites are ample and gorgeous, serving both beginning and experienced divers. Of course there's a broad and colourful range of reefs and sea life to see, but also ship wrecks and caves. For beginners, the Monkey Shoals and Friars Bay Reef are good and easily reachable sites. Sandy Point is a National Marine Park for its beautiful coral heads and magnificent sea life. The Wreck of River Taw, M.V. Talata Wreck and the more recently sunk Wreck of the Corinthian are popular sites. Turtle Bar is of course famous for the many turtles that roam the site, but you'll also commonly spot them at Frigate Bay Reef. For more experienced divers, the strong currents at Nags Head are a nice challenge, and the broad range of fish at Aquarium is a good spot.

Do

Buy

Money

The currency of the country is the East Caribbean dollar, denoted by the symbol: "$" or "EC$" (ISO currency code: XCD), which is also used by seven other island nations in the Caribbean. The EC dollar is subdivided into 100 cents. It is pegged to the United States dollar at an exchange rate of US$1 = EC$2.70.

Coins circulate in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 25 cents and 1 dollar. Banknotes circulate in denominations of 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars.

Shopping

  • Just in the Sun Boutique, Marriott Resort, Frigate Bay, St. Kitts
  • Splash Boutique, TDC Mall, Basseterre, St. Kitts.
  • Caribelle Batik.
  • Island Living, e-mail: www.islandliving@sisterisles.kn. 35 steps from the anchor on the pier, Charlestown.

See also discussion of this topic under BasseTerre.

Costs

Contrary to the myth that all Caribbean countries are expensive, prices on Nevis are pretty reasonable. Fuel is expensive as it has to be imported but as the island is small you won't be using that much anyway. Many everyday products can be bought at a reasonable price and depending where you go eating out is affordable for most. Fresh food although limited in choice by American and British standards is also reasonably priced.

Eat

There are many dining options in St. Kitts. Some of the popular restaurants are:

  • Sprat Net - Old Road
  • 1 Chevy's Beach Bar & Grill, Pinneys Beach, Nevis, ? +1 869 469-0055.

You'll find lots of beach bars located in the Frigate Bay and South East Peninsula.

Drink

  • Ziggy's Beach Bar.
  • Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack.
  • Lion's Beach Bar, Cockleshell Beach.
  • Sunshine's Beach Bar and Grill. Pinney's Beach on Nevis.
  • Reggae Beach Bar and Restaurant, Cockleshell Bay.
  • Yachtsman Grill, Nelson Springs Nevis (between Four Seasons and airport), ? +1 869 469-1382. noon to 10. Idyllically located on the beach facing St. Kitts with Mt. Nevis in the background. Enveloped by lush gardens. Beach lounge chairs. $10-$40usd.

Sleep

  • The St. Kitts Marriott Resort and The Royal Beach Casino, ? +1 869 466-1200. In the Frigate Bay area of the island. Just a 10-minute drive from the airport and capital city Basseterre. The resort offers 573 rooms and suites. North Frigate Bay Beach, a championship golf course and the largest Vegas-style casino in the Caribbean help provide an excellent vacation experience. The resort also features a revitalizing spa, meeting facilities, the Pirates of St. Kitts Kids Club program, eight restaurants and two lounges.
  • Ottley's Plantation Inn. Located on and old plantation estate about 7 miles from Basseterre, on the Atlantic side of the island. Offering rooms in the Great House and several cottages around the grounds - some of which come with their own plunge pools. The Royal Palm is the restaurant on the property, built on top of the ruins of the old sugar refinery. They also offer destination wedding packages.
  • Ocean Terrace Inn. Is in the Fortlands area of Basseterre, overlooking the main harbor (Port Zante) as well as the Deep Water Port across the bay in Bird Rock. There are several restaurants run by OTI, including the Pool Bar and Grill, Waterfalls, and Fisherman's Wharf across the street (down on the waterfront).
  • Reggae Beach Bar and Restaurant, Cockleshell Bay.

Work

Stay safe

The Mount Liamuiga hiking excursion offered by many cruise ship lines involves some climbing, at times necessitating the scaling of rocks by hand. To reach the last lookout, you have to grab onto a rope and hoist yourself onto a rock ledge and climbing over large fallen trees.

The trails are not marked, and consist of little more than a space between two trees, or two rocks and can be muddy, there is little shelter from the rain, and no toilets.

Stay healthy

Respect

It is important when in the city and other public places (airport, downtown, stores) to be sure to wear shoes and a shirt. It is a sign of disrespect to be wearing beach attire in the city. Loud public swearing is also looked down upon and you can be fined for it.

Connect

Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime, robbery, and assault occur. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Check with local authorities to find out which beaches are safe and patrolled and avoid unpatrolled beaches after dark.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the left. Road conditions are good. Roadside assistance is not widely available.

You may obtain information on roads and traffic safety from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Environment at 869-647-8970.

Public transportation

Buses and minivans are inexpensive, but service is irregular since there is no fixed schedule. Bus services are more sporadic on Nevis. Taxis are plentiful on both islands. A ferry operates regularly between the two islands.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Tourists can obtain travel safety tips, directions, and information on accommodation from the Saint Kitts and Nevis Tourism Authority at:

Saint Kitts and Nevis Tourism Authority
311 - 133 Richmond Street West
Toronto, Ontario  M5H 2L3
Tel.: 416-368-6707 (toll free: 1-888-395-4887)
Fax: 416-368-3934
Email: canada@stkittstourism.kn

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Caribbean, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Caribbean. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Caribbean, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in the Caribbean, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is limited. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Serious cases may have to be referred to Guadeloupe. There is no computed tomogram (CAT) scan equipment on the island and, as such, all cases requiring CAT scans need medical air evacuations to other locations, normally Antigua or Miami.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect large fines or imprisonment.

Laws

It is an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in army or camouflage clothing or carry items made of camouflage material.

Customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of various items.

You need a local driving permit to drive in Saint Kitts and Nevis. You can obtain one for a fee from the fire station in Basseterre (Saint Kitts) or from any police station in Nevis, upon presentation of a valid Canadian driver's licence.

If you are interested in purchasing property or making other investments, seek legal advice from appropriate professionals in Canada and in St. Kitts and Nevis before making commitments. Disputes arising from such activities could be prolonged and costly to resolve.

Money

The currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD). U.S. currency, traveller’s cheques, and major credit cards are accepted.

Climate

The hurricane season extends from June to the end of November. The National Hurricane Center provides additional information on weather conditions. Stay informed of regional weather forecasts, and follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.

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