The Sugar Train, Canopy Tours and the Gibraltar of the Caribbean – What to See and Do in St. Kitts and Nevis

The Sugar Train, Canopy Tours and the Gibraltar of the Caribbean – What to See and Do in St. Kitts and Nevis

Southeast Peninsula of Saint Kitts, looking southeast towards Nevis Island Photo by: Nesnad at the English language Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0
St. Kitts Scenic Railway- Sugar Train

With easy accessibility to sights, activities and beaches as well as luxury resorts and a thriving restaurant scene, St. Kitts and Nevis is the perfect destination for couples or families.

So what are some of the most popular sights and experiences that await the visitor to these beautiful islands? The small size of this two-island nation offers the possibility of seeing and doing it all. And, as a result, really getting to know the wonderful people and culture.

St. Kitts

Built between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane, the double-decker Sugar Train offers a scenic three hour long ride past former sugar plantations, villages, churches and outstanding scenery. During your ride, you will enjoy traditional music, local sugar cakes and unlimited drinks.

Cannon battery at the Brimstone Hill Fortress on St. Kitts Photo by: Fred Hsu on en.wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0
Green Vervet Monkey…waiting Photo by: Peterrichman from York, Yorkshire CC BY 2.0

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the ‘Gibraltar of the Caribbean’, the fortress is located close to the sea on a steep hill on St. Kitts and is one of the best preserved fortresses in the Americas. An excellent example of British military engineering, construction of the fortress complex commenced in 1690 and took  100 years to complete, using slave labor. Explore the ruins, barracks, cemetery, museum and walls and expect to encounter the Green Vervet Monkeys who roam around the area. There are tours available as well as a canteen offering food and beverages. The fort offers amazing views of the surrounding area and sea and is one of the most popular attractions for both adults and children of all ages.

Basseterre is the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis. Destroyed in large part, many times over, by fire, hurricanes, earthquakes and colonial battles, it is one of the oldest cities in the Eastern Caribbean and many of the older structures have been restored.

Downtown Basseterre Image taken by Clark Anderson/Aquaimages CC BY-SA 2.5

Independence Square lies at the city’s center. Formerly known as Pall Mall Square, this beautiful space was renamed in 1983, the year the islands gained independence. This historical area is highlighted by striking 18th century architecture. The Old Treasury building houses the National Museum, which features three galleries containing exhibits that display the heritage of St. Kitts and Nevis. The indigenous inhabitants of the islands, slave, sugar and rum trades are the central themes of this wonderful museum. Spend some time admiring the impressive architecture of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Co-Cathedral and don’t miss the Berkeley Memorial Clock at the center of the Circus, a circular juncture of four roads, whose design was inspired by London’s Piccadilly Circus.

Mt. Liamuiga

Twenty five percent of St. Kitts is covered by rainforest. Some of the best hiking can be found in the rainforest surrounding Mt. Liamuiga, an ancient volcano, and the highest point on the island. The four hour guided hike will take you through the cloud forest, past waterfalls and to the crater known as the ‘Giant’s Salad Bowl’. The area’s wildlife includes monkeys, exotic bird life, lizards and mongooses.

Beach at Marriott Resort, St. Kitts

The many beautiful beaches on St. Kitts include Frigate Bay, a great destination for fresh seafood and vibrant nightlife, Cockleshell Bay, with its beach bars, water sports and views of Nevis, the black sand beach at Dieppe Bay which is protected by a reef, making it ideal for snorkeling and the calm-watered and family friendly South Friars Bay. For a fun diversion, head to the Dolphin Swim Adventure to interact with dolphins in their natural environment.




Saman Tree in the Romney Manor Gardens, St. Kitts Photo by: Michael Au CC BY 2.0

Romney Manor is a 17th Century estate once owned by Thomas Jefferson’s great, great grandfather. The manor is a part of the Wingfield Estate which features an old rum distillery and old Carib petroglyphs. Admire the gardens and visit Caribelle Batik, a house on the grounds where Batik artwork and clothing are made and sold.

Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden is a French Colonial Mansion with  period decor dating from 1701.

There are various zip lines for the adventurous, including dual lines for racing. Sky Safari Tours offers 5 cable lines over the rainforest and Wingfield Estate, the longest reaching 1,350 ft. long.

 

Nevis

Nevis

The island of Nevis is smaller and somewhat quieter than St. Kitts, but its beauty and abundant attractions make a visit a rewarding and memorable experience.

Charlestown, Nevis, West Indies Photo by ClatieK CC BY-ND 2.0

The capital of the island is Charlestown. Although it is small, with a population of under 2,000, there are plenty of things to see. The Museum of Nevis History is located on the first floor of the Alexander Hamilton Birthplace. One of the founding fathers of the USA, Hamilton was born in or near this historical stone building. Built in 1680, the house was rebuilt in 1840 after being destroyed by an earthquake. Restored in 1983, the building’s museum details the life and career of Hamilton, who lived on Nevis until he was nine years old.

The Nevis Botanical Garden features 5 acres of tropical plants from around the world, including 100 species of palms. Dolphin fountains, a water lily pool, orchid terraces, a tropical vine garden and the ruins of a lost temple in the Rainforest Conservatory are just a few of the things you will encounter during your visit.

Nevis Botanical Garden Photo by: Peter Long CC BY 2.0

Pinney’s Beach is one of the most popular of the island’s many beaches. Beach bars, volleyball, souvenirs and watersports make for a lively vibe at this sheltered, family friendly beach on the central west coast. A bit quieter, Oualie Beach has shallow waters and excellent sunset views.

There is a wide selection of tours available on St. Kitts and Nevis. The Scenic Drive and Sightseeing Tour, Rainforest Tour, Volcanic Hike Tour, Sky Safari and Cruise and Snorkel Tours are excellent ways to explore the islands and their surrounding waters. Also don’t miss the food, chocolate and rum tours!

It should be clear that this small island nation offers an astounding variety of sights and experiences, all which are easily accessible, allowing for a fun but relaxing experience in a beautiful and historical tropical setting.

Caribbean dawn, St. Kitts Photo credit: Isabelle Acatauassu Alves Almeida CC BY 2.0

 

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