St. Kitts & Nevis Vacations
St Kitts is as hopping as Nevis is sleepy, but relaxation and a rum punch are requisites on both islands. The dual island nation may officially separate soon, but visitors can still enjoy a menu of plantation-cum-boutique hotels, palm tree-lined beaches and adventurous hikes.
Featured St. Kitts & Nevis Hotel
What To See
Botanical Gardens of Nevis
Near Montpelier Plantation Inn, these glorious gardens are a perfumed symphony of trees, vines, orchids, roses and other flora. The centerpiece is the Rainforest Conservatory, which shelters huge tropical plants and Mayan-type sculpture.
Brimstone Hill Fortress
St Kitts’ historical highlight was made a Unesco World Heritage site in 1999 for being an exceptionally well-preserved example of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture. Far larger than you’d think, this vast old military stronghold was built by the British with slave labor and offers insight into the violent and tumultuous past of the former Caribbean colonies.
Nicknamed the ‘Gibraltar of the West Indies,’ Brimstone Hill perches atop an 800ft volcanic cone and is one of the largest forts in the Caribbean. As a major British garrison, it played a key role in battles with the French, who seized the fort in 1782 after the 1000 British soldiers inside were besieged for 30 days by 8000 French troops. The British regained it through the Treaty of Paris the following year. By the 1850s the fort was abandoned.
After a fire swept through Basseterre in 1867, some of the fort structures were partially dismantled and the stones used to rebuild the capital. In the 1960s major restoration was undertaken, and much of the fortress has been returned to its earlier grandeur. Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated it as a national park during her visit to St Kitts in October 1985.The main hilltop compound, the Citadel, is lined with 24 cannons and provides excellent views of Saba and Sandy Point Town. Inside the Citadel’s old barracks are displays on colonial history that do a fine job of documenting life back in the day. Additional displays are scattered throughout the complex.
Also worthwhile is the short stroll above the cookhouse to the top of Monkey Hill, which provides excellent coastal views.
Reef-protected Pinney’s Beach is a 4-mile-long lovely stretch of tan sand within walking distance of Charlestown. Backed by spiky coconut palms, it has lovely views of St Kitts across the channel. There’s decent snorkeling right offshore. Despite several beach bars and the splashy Four Seasons Resort, private patches of sand abound.
On St Kitts, the biggest event is the week-long Carnival, held from December 24 to January 2. It's celebrated with calypso competitions, costumed street dances and steel band music. In the last week in June, the four-day St Kitts Music Festival brings together top-name soca, salsa and jazz performers from throughout the Caribbean. Nevis has a week-long Culturama from late July to early August featuring music, crafts, parades and cultural events.