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St. Kitts

St. Kitts Cruise Port Profile

St. Kitts cruise port mall. © 2018 Scott Bateman
The St. Kitts cruise port is climbing in popularity because of new and improved docks and several noteworthy attractions.

The island is showing up more often as a destination on eastern Caribbean cruises that might include St. Maarten, San Juan and Grand Turk. The most popular months to visit St. Kitts are January and March.

Visitors will disembark at the capital city of Basseterre on the southern coast of the island. They will find the mostly oval-shaped island is easy to tour because of its small size -- 69 square miles.

Quick Tips


  • The St. Kitts Scenic Railway is the best known attraction on the island.
  • Getting to the best beaches requires a taxi, rental car or excursion bus.
  • The new cruise terminal is massive and offers plenty of shopping.

Attractions


Unlike many islands, St. Kitts doesn’t just have a cruise terminal that consists of a single building. It has an entire cruise mall.

Port Zante is a duty-free shopping district with more than 60 shops selling the usual variety of goods in Caribbean cruise ports. Visitors can spend a couple of hours doing nothing but shopping and dining at outdoor restaurants.

On some days, colorful performers entertain visitors with dance and music. The district also is the starting point for various shore excursions.

People who walk a few hundred yards through the Port Zante district will find the city of Basseterre, beginning with The Circus. It is an octagonal plaza that resembles a small version of London’s famous Piccadilly Circus. Visitors often photograph the Berkeley Memorial Drinking Fountain and Clock. Erected in 1891, it commemorates a 19th-century politician and estate owner.

Every Caribbean destination has beaches, shopping and nightlife, but practically none of them have a train except St. Kitts.

The St. Kitts Scenic Railway is a narrow gauge train that takes visitors on a three-hour, 30-mile circular tour of the island. The tour consists of 18 miles on the train and 12 miles on tour buses.

The train had been used to transport sugarcane from the island plantations to Basseterre from 1912 to 1949. $$


Other popular attractions include climbing the 3,800-foot Mount Liamuiga and a 45-minute ferry ride to nearby Nevis at about $8 a ticket.

Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano that is 3,792 feet high, dominates the western half of the island and acts as one of the major attractions.

Adventurous souls can hike to the top of it for expansive views of the island and the sister island of Nevis.

Nevis is known for hiking and other nature-based land activities. It is a quiet island that is known more for its natural attractions.

One major road along the coast circles the island and the volcano, which allows visitors to reach various attractions quickly and easily. Because of the volcano, a large part of the island is not easy to visit except for the most fit and adventurous cruise visitors.

The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a well-preserved fort dating back to 1690, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Brimstone is one of the best preserved forts in the Caribbean. It is 30 minutes northwest of the cruise docks and available as a shore excursion.

Beaches Near the Cruise Port


St Kitts photo
Brimstone Hill Fortress; ©Roger Brisbane, Brisbane
Productions
St. Kitts Tourism Authority. Stop there for any questions about things to see and do on the island.

Also nearby are the National Museum and the Circus, an octagonal plaza that is similar to a miniature version of London’s famous Piccadilly Circus.

In the center of the Circus is the Berkeley Memorial Drinking Fountain and Clock, erected in 1891. Around the edge is more duty-free shops, banks and restaurants.

Getting Around / Transportation


The St. Kitts cruise port is a walking destination. The mall area is massive, and it’s right next to Basseterre. So a few hours of walking to shop, dine and view local attractions is a given.

Taxi rates are posted rather than metered. Each location on the island has a specific fare.

A car rental is a good idea for any cruise visitors with enough time to spare because St. Kitts has a number of decent attractions around the island.

Like other destinations, most of the car rental agencies cluster around Basseterre and next to the nearby airport.

Most of the agencies are locally owned. At least two international companies have a presence -- Avis and Thrifty.

However, drivers need a permit that costs $24. Cruise visitors who plan to visit more than one attractions around the county may find that renting a car is less expensive than taking two separate tour buses.

St. Kitts Weather


St. Kitts lies close to Antigua and St. Maarten and shares common weather patterns.

Average monthly high temperatures range between the low 80s Fahrenheit in the winter to the upper 80s in the summer. They make the island a warm destination year round.

Rain is moderate except for a brief rainy season in May and a spike in rainfall in September through November during the annual Caribbean hurricane season.

As such, eastern Caribbean cruises that include St. Kitts hit a high point from December through March during the dry season. They reach a low point in the fall during the a time of heavier rains.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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October 05, 2018

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