St Kitts and Nevis travel guide
What a wonderful worn charming mess Basseterre is. Your eyes are constantly catching sight of something interesting. An old building, a rasta with long dreadlocks, men drinking beers in the shade, big lady selling vegetables - everywhere something. The sounds are equal loud and messy. Raggea and church music are blasting out everywhere, often at the some time. On weekdays the streets are packed with friendly and very easy going people, but on Sundays the town is deserted - unless a cruise ship is in port. For some street food and beers with the locals, head down to the small bars at the Nevis ferry terminal.
The only UNESCO Heritage Site St Kitts and Nevis have is Brimstone Hill Fortress. But what a splendid site, not just historical but also scenic. The fortress perches dramatically atop a 240 meter high extinct volcano. It was built by the British (well, by their slaves) during the 17th- and 18th-century as a defense complex against the French. Eventually, it was overrun by the French in 1782. Just a year later, the British got the island back as part of a the Versailles peace treaty. The last fortification was done in 1794 and the fortress was finally abandoned in the mid 19th-century. Today the fortress has been restored neatly, but they must have had a surplus of cannons for they have been put into use as reinforcement in walls and guard rails along the road leading up there. The site is huge and there are plenty of hidden corners. However, one of the best thing is the panoramic views over the south part of St Kitts, Caribbean Sea, and the jungle covered slopes of Mt Liamuiga (1,156 m).
Charmingly Charlestown is a smaller, nicer, quieter, and more orderly version of Basseterre, but that’s exactly how Nevis is compared to St Kitts. There are plenty of fine colonial house along with modern colourful Caribbean buildings. Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise, but there are also a high number of bars with a few beer drinking rastas standing outside, which just add to Charlestown's character. However, there are no particularly main sights in town, so the Nevis Sports museum might be tempting.
Compared to other Caribbean islands, tourism isn't very developed on St Kitts and Nevis, particularly not Nevis. It's mostly smaller luxury resorts and villas which dot the coast. But since all beaches on St Kitts and Nevis are public, you are always welcome to enjoy Mother Nature's own luxury for free, like at Hamilton Beach.
Though St Kitts and Nevis are not blessed with beaches like neighbouring Antigua, they do have a handful on each island. Some are natural, which might sound appealing, but that often means dense vegetation all the way down to the water edge. So for a postcard perfect beach, go for a groomed one. One of the prettiest on Nevis is Nisbet Beach. In front of the resort Nisbet Plantation Inn the beach is clean with soft grey sand and tall coconuts palms. Elsewhere, it's overgrown with rocky patches. The outer reef makes sure the waves never get too crazy.
Frigate Bay is actually an isthmus with the rough Atlantic Ocean to the north and the calmer Caribbean Sea to the south. It's here at South Frigate Bay you find the most popular beach on St Kitts. It’s a narrow slice of grey sand backed by bars and food shacks, known as The Strip. During daytime the beach is crowded with sun lovers, but at night time The Strip turns into St Kitts’ rowdiest party scene - which, to be honest, isn’t that crazy. But the happy drinking scene is drawing in tourists and locals in equal numbers.
St. Thomas Anglican Church must be a candidate as the church with the best view. It's positioned on top of a hill with panoramic views over the strait to St Kitts and inland to Mt. Nevis. The original church was built in 1643, making it the oldest active Protestant church in the Caribbean, but it has been reconstructed several times after since. The graveyard spreads down the unkept hillside and holds graves of every important person through Nevis' history.
A trip along the north coast will reveal scruffy looking villages, black sand beaches, sugar canes fields, and leftovers of old sugar windmills. The train rails that runs along the road is today used for the touristic "scenic railway", but you can easily do the trip with your own set of wheels or by public minibus.