Are you planning a trip to the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Kitts? If so, here are 20 things you need to know about this paradise island.
1. Name: St. Kitts is also more formally known as Saint Christopher Island. St. Kitts and the neighbouring island of Nevis constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. And residents of St. Kitts call themselves Kittitians.
2. Location: St. Kitts is an island in the West Indies. The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. St. Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow two mile channel known as “The Narrows”. St. Kitts is 1300 miles southeast of Miami, Florida.
3. Size: St. Kitts is super easy to explore as it’s small, 69 square miles in fact. 18 miles in length and approximately five miles wide.
4. Population: The population of St. Kitts is also small at approximately 46,000.
5. Capital: The capital of this two island nation is Basseterre which can be found on St. Kitts.
6. Topography: St. Kitts is volanic, it has three distinct groups of volcanic peaks: The North West or Mount Misery Range, the Middle or Verchilds Range and the South East or Olives Range. The highest point is Mount Liamuiga, formally Mount Misery, which is a dormant volcano 3,792 feet high. As well as the lush mountains there are the gorgeous coastal plains. Perfect for hikers and beach lovers!
7. History: There’s loads of history on this tiny island having been fought over by the British, the French and the Spanish. It was the first Caribbean island to be colonised by England in 1624 and it was also the first to grow sugar cane, the industry which was to dominate the Caribbean for centuries. St. Kitts and Nevis were handed over entirely to the British at the Treaty of Paris in 1783. They gained full independence on 19th September 1983, becoming the smallest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere.
8. Language: The primary language is English, with a literacy rate of approximately 98%.
9. Etiquette: You will find Kittitians of all ages are super friendly and polite and so of course they expect the same back.
10. Money (Currency & Tipping): The official currency of St. Kitts is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar. The US Dollar is also accepted in most places but is not dispensed from ATMs. Euros, Canadian Dollars and UK Sterling can be changed for EC Dollars at banks. My advice would be always check which Dollars locals are talking about! Credit cards are accepted in major hotels, bigger restaurants and stores. Hotels and restaurants add a 12% tax and a 10% services charge. When a restaurants does not add a services charge a 10% tip is appropriate.
11. Dress Code: Given it’s the Caribbean, the dress code is casual. However, be respectful and don’t walk around towns and villages in your swimwear and topless sunbathing is a no no.
12. Climate: St. Kitts is tropical. Winter days average at temperatures of 27°C while summer is 30°C. The annual rainfall averages 55 inches and is fairly consistent throughout the year. The driest months are February to June and the hurricane (and rainy season) is from July to November. The average water temperature is 27°C so it really is like stepping into a bubble bath!
13. When To Visit: High-season rates start from around mid-December to mid-April. The best time to visit, price and weather-wise is November and early December.
14. Getting There: There are a number of international and regional flights to St.Kitts. International carriers are Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. There are also a number of regional island hopping airlines including Liat. There is no longer a departure tax.
15. Getting Around: Rental cars are available and taxis are always on hand at hotels. If you chose to drive you will notice there are no traffic lights on the island and they drive on the left hand side. There is a frequent ferry service between St. Kitts and Nevis.
16. Entry Requirements (Visas & Passports): A visa is not required for citizens of the EU, USA and Commonwealth for stays of up to three months and cruise ship passengers staying in St. Kitts/Nevis for less than 24 hours do not need a visa. Visitors from most countries need only a passport to enter St. Kitts as well as a round-trip or onward ticket.
17. Safety: There is crime on St. Kitts but tell me a place where there isn’t and it is generally between locals. I felt very safe there and what I really liked about St.Kitts is that the locals look out for you and give you friendly warnings not to wander down certain streets, remind you to keep your bag closed or your camera not hanging off the back of your chair. As with anywhere, I recommend using your common sense when walking around particularly at night and don’t have all your valuables on show.
18. Water: Water from St. Kitts tastes good, it’s so good that in 1970 Baron de Rothschild’s chemist selected St. Kitts as their only site in the Caribbean to distill and produce CSR (Cane Sugar Rothschild), a pure sugar-cane liqueur. So bring a water bottle and fill up, rather than buy bottles of water you can save your pennies for the rum punch! (Some sources I’ve read say not to drink the tap water but I personally had no problem with it.)
19. Electricity: In St. Kitts the standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. The plugs/sockets are the standard US ones, flat two pins.
20. Time: St. Kitts are on Atlantic Standard Time all year round.
I hope this helps you if you are planning a trip to St. Kitts. If there is anything else you would like to know, please get in touch.