Things to Do in St Kitts
St. Kitt’s capital city Basseterre lies on the southern coast of the island in a small protected harbor and is one of the Eastern Caribbean’s oldest towns. After centuries of French and British colonial rule, the city has taken on a delightful mix of European architecture and culture and laidback island lifestyle.
Soaring to 3,792 feet (1,155 meters), Mt. Liamuiga is the highest point in Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the entire British Leeward Islands. Climbing past farmlands and tropical cloud forests to the summit offers an invigorating adventure and an unparalleled vantage point for taking in the stunning expanses of the Eastern Caribbean.
Set atop a steep volcanic hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Brimstone Hill Fortress is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site and feat of engineering. Designed by the British and built by African slaves, the fortress was finished in 1790 after 100 years of construction. Though fitted with powerful cannons, the fortress fell after a month-long siege by the French.
In the middle of the Circus—a roundabout named after London’s Piccadilly Circus—in the center of Basseterre, the Berkeley Memorial is an ornate green tower built in 1883 in honor of Thomas Berkeley, a legislator and owner of several estates on St. Kitts. It has a drinking fountain at the bottom, and on the top is a clock with four faces.
Once a slave-holding sugar plantation, the 17th-century Romney Manor has been given new life as one of the island’s most beloved local crafts boutiques, Caribelle Batik. While here, make time to explore the grounds featuring gorgeous tropical botanical gardens and a host of ancient Carib petroglyphs on lava rocks.
Originally built to transport sugar cane, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is a unique way to explore a Caribbean island. The train winds along the island’s coastline, past cane fields and abandoned plantations, providing visitors with panoramic views along the way.
Located about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) from Basseterre, Frigate Bay along the Atlantic Ocean is one of the most popular beaches on St. Kitts. During the day, activity buzzes with water sports (windsurfing, kayaking, and jet skiing), and beach volleyball. After nightfall beach bars showcase live music, dancing, and bonfires. Every year in June, the bay hosts the St. Kitts Music Festival.
Caribelle Batik is a shop located within Romney Manor, a stately estate once owned by the great-great-great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. Most of the eye-catching fabrics and apparel for sale are made on the premises, which means you can walk away with a beautiful souvenir or gift while seeing how they create their signature take on the ancient dyeing process.
Constructed in the late 1700s for slave auctions and colonial council meetings, Basseterre’s main public square was rechristened Independence Square in 1983 to commemorate the liberation of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis from Great Britain. A large fountain at its center, excellent examples of British Colonial architecture, painted in white and pastels, line the perimeters.
Bloody Point along the western coast of St. Kitts is named after a tragic historical event there in 1626, when French and British colonies were being developed on the island, each claiming land as their own. As they expanded, the original native Carib Indians, led by Chief Tegremare, attacked the colonizers. But since the two nations had learned of his plan beforehand, they banded together, killing over 2,000 natives.
More Things to Do in St Kitts
For a gorgeous view of St. Kitts and neighboring island of Nevis, head up to the top of Timothy Hill, a popular lookout spot where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea at the island’s southeast peninsula. See Friar’s Bay and Frigate Bay below, alongside green gently sloping hills falling into the water below.
Clay Villa Plantation House and Gardens is a 10-acre (7.5-hectare) property in Basseterre. Built in 1763, and owned by a family of Carib Indians whose 7th-generation descendants are the current owners, the estate is famous for being the only property of its type that stayed a free working plantation as others around it were profiting from the slave trade.
In the foothills of St. Kitts’ central mountain range, Wingfield Estate is a 17th-century sugar plantation originally owned by Sam Jefferson, the great-great-great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. It was the first working estate on the island for tobacco, sugar and rum, and while here, you may inspect the ruins and visit the rum distillery to learn how sugar was converted into rum back in the day.
One of the lesser developed beaches of St. Kitt’s southeast peninsula, tranquil Turtle Beach is a lovely little stretch of sand, boasting opportunities to spot monkeys playing in the trees and swim with a view of the green mountains of Nevis. Snorkelers come here to observe the protected coral reef teaming with fish.
Founded on the west coast of St. Kitts, Old Road Town was settled in 1624 by a small group of settlers interested in trying their hand at tobacco farming. Old Road Town was the first settlement in the Caribbean established by the British. Highlights include a thriving farming industry, a historic Wingfield Estate, and a number of ancient Carib petroglyphs.
Located on the southeastern tip of St. Kitts, Great Salt Pond is a tranquil spot to hike paths and birdwatch. Bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the pond has bright white sand beaches within walking distance. Body surfing is popular in the rougher waters of the Atlantic side, while snorkeling and swimming are the names of the games on the calm Caribbean side.
Situated towards the southern tip of St. Kitts in the Leeward Islands, Port Zante is home to a modern terminal replete with restaurants, stores, and other amenities. It’s also within easy walking distance of central Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts and Nevis, and well-served by shore excursions, catamaran tours, and more.