The islands of St Kitts and Nevis are located in the northern part of the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, 19 degrees north of the equator, separated by a channel two miles wide. St Kitts is 23 miles long, encompassing an area of 68 square miles. The island of St. Kitts was first inhabited by Arawak and Carib Indians migrating through the Caribbean islands from South America 5000 to 7000 years ago. The natives established themselves in small communities and came to call the island Liamuiga, or "fertile land". This name most likely arose from the lush tropical vegetation and crops that must have grown around the central mountain in the island's rich volcanic soil.
In 1493, the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus arrived to substantially occupied native communities and staked a European claim. It was believed that Columbus gave St. Kitts and Nevis their European names, calling St. Kitts the island of St. Christopher after the patron saint of travelers.
A mountain range, including the dormant volcano, Mount Liamuiga, covers the central part of the island. Dense, tropical forests near the summit contrast with the cultivated, fertile valley below, on the seaboard of which lies the capital, Basseterre. The beaches fringing the southeast peninsula known as Frigate Bay and Salt Pond reach out toward Nevis with golden, sandy shores. Nevis, the smaller island, covers a 36 square mile area consisting of long stretches of golden, sandy, palm-lined beaches, particularly on the west and north coasts. The total population for both islands is approximately 44,000, of which 35,000 reside on St Kitts and 9000 on Nevis, primarily in Basseterre and Charlestown.
The climate of St Kitts and Nevis is pleasant and healthy with an average temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity is low, and constant north-east trade winds keep the islands cool. Although there's no rainy season, annual rainfall averages 55 inches.
St. Kitts' newly expanded Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw Airport [code SKB], on the outskirts of Basseterre, is modern and spacious. American Airlines fly there daily via San Juan, Puerto Rico, Miami, New York and Charlotte! Flights from Toronto, Canada can be booked through Signature Vacations. Some of the other airlines travelling to St. Kitts include US Air, Delta Airlines and British Airways. LIAT and WinAir operate within the Caribbean area, allowing easy island hopping, as desired. Thrifty, Hertz and AVIS can all rent cars on both Saint Kitts and Nevis right from here, right now.
On Hiking and Nature
The hiking tours into St. Kitts' rain forest and the volcano are as good as they get in the Caribbean. You can get there via horseback or jeep tours as well. The rain forests provide a habitat for wild orchids, candlewoods, tree ferns and exotic vines. The brilliant red blossoms of the Poinciana, or flamboyant tree, are the national flower of St Kitts and Nevis. Fruits and flowers, both wild and cultivated, are in abundance, particularly in the gorgeous gardens of Nevis. Flowering plumeria, hibiscus and chains of love are common along roadsides and in garden landscaping. St Kitts' uninhabited southeast peninsula has a sparse, desertlike cover of dryland grasses dotted with cacti, yucca and century plants. Trees include several varieties of the stately royal palm, the spiny-trunked sandbox tree, silk cotton, and the turpentine or gum tree. St Kitts is a small island, yet it has a wide variety of habitats, with rainforest, dry woodland, wetland, grassland and salt ponds.
On Water Sports
St. Kitts is a best kept secret in the Caribbean for snorkeling and diving. And there are kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and horseback riding excursions as well. A short, 10 minute walk from our Atlantic beach to the Caribbean side will bring you to Coconut Beach where a variety of water sports items can be rented. Email us for a detailed list we have gathered over the years!
A highlight of almost every visit is the catamaran day trip. The "cats of St. Kitts" are legendary for their speed, their grace and their hospitality. Come aboard, have a "boat special" or two, indulge in some spectacular snorkeling off the Southeast Peninsula, enjoy a beach barbecue on Nevis and then literally "fly" back home to St. Kitts on one of the most stable yet exciting sailing machines ever built.
St. Kitts has it all: excellent pizza in a friendly beach bar atmosphere, great Italian food, Sunset Cafˇ's special rum punch while you watch the sun go down... The Gardens, at Frigate Bay Beach Hotel, is a must for their happy hour. Your visit would not be complete without dining at the elegant Marshall's where you can sit around the pool and look out over the beach. And that's just in Frigate Bay! In downtown Basseterre, one finds a wide variety of dining choices, from the casual charm of the Ballahoo to the Circus Grill overlooking St. Kitts' own Picadilly Square. Down at the water's edge, you'll find Fisherman's Wharf, or head up the hill toward Fort Thomas to the Ocean Terrace Inn where you can "hear some pan" played by the national steel band under the stars each Friday evening. There's a wonderful pub called Stonewalls in town as well, just in case you'd fancy a game of darts. If you enjoy karaoke, why not stop at Bobsie's Bar and Grill where you can take your turn on the microphone. There are also a number of elegant plantation houses around the island that serve the finest in continental cuisine. Your friendly cab driver will take you there and then return at just the right time to bring you home.
On Getting Around
St. Kitts has a number of car rental firms with excellent vehicles at fair prices. And finding a cab is never a problem. The friendly, knowledgeable drivers can take you on an entertaining island tour, to dinner for the evening or to Turtle Beach for the day and return for you at a prearranged time, or to the supermarket where they'll patiently wait while you grocery shop. St. Kitts cabdrivers are the friendliest you'll find anywhere, a reflection of the friendliness you'll find throughout St. Kitts. (We will be happy to arrange for one of our favorite regular cab drivers to meet you at the airport and bring you to your beach house at Sealofts.)
St. Kitts is up to date, business-wise.
When you need to exchange money or make other transactions, St. Kitts has branches of major North American banks. Its telephone, fax and digital communications capabilities are state-of-the-art. If you need to conduct business occasionally while on vacation, you won't be out of touch on St. Kitts (unless you want to be). We have even set up free wireless internet access throughout our SeaLoft area!
email now to reserve your dream island vacation!