St. Kitts has been a busy place over the last 350 years. As any Kittitian will tell you, it was the site of the first European colony in the Lesser Antilles back in 1624. Immense upheaval occurred at that moment of contact and many of the places of interest you will visit in St. Kitts are steeped in history.
|Basseterre is the capital of St. Kitts and a good place to begin. Basseterre is known affectionately as “Beautiful Basseterre” and is an excellent example of period architecture in the Caribbean. There are several churches of note, in particular St. George’s Anglican Church (shown right).This impressive piece of architecture and took 3 years to build. It houses a congregation of 1,500 and the church has been in constant use since its completion in 1869, though the site has seen various churches on it since the 1670′s.For a fascinating overview of St. Kitts The St. Christopher Heritage Society located on Bank Street, Basseterre, provides photographic displays of culture, customs, and local marine life. There are books for sale and extended sources of documentation. They are also online – where you can learn more about St. Kitts and The St. Christopher Heritage Society.
If you enjoy shopping and like to get some duty free item whilst you’re on holiday, Basseterre is just the ticket.
|There are several small shopping arcades and stores located in and around The Circus selling everything from local arts & crafts, clothing, batik wear, books and music plus the very finest in watches, jewellery, china, crystal, cameras, fine pens and quality leather goods.Basseterre has preserved much of its colonial-style architecture which makes the town charming rather than imposing and it’s worth spending half a day there if you have time just to soak it in.|
Old Road Town
Travelling west out of Basseterre up the coast you approach the area first colonised by the Europeans. Sir Thomas Warner settled down at Old Road Town in 1624. Nearby are the remnants of previous colonists to St. Kitts – the Carib Indians. Their petroglyphs are plain to see and are a reminder that two worlds met here with disastrous results 350 years ago. Romney Manor is also located in this area – no trip to St. Kitts is complete without a visit to the home of Caribelle Batik – a batik clothing factory set in 8 acres of of formal gardens and grounds – a 350 year old Saman tree stands at the front and the gardens contain both common and rare tropical flowers and plants – bougainvillea, hibiscus, and orchids among them.
Further up the coast lies Middle Island – representing the point at which St. Kitts was informally divided between the French and English in the 1600′s. Further up the coast lies Brimstone Hill Fort – a massive fortification covering 38 acres built by the British initially in 1690.
|Brimstone Hill Fortress (shown right) is one of the best preserved fortifications in the Caribbean. It is built on top of the 800 ft (267m) Brimstone Hill – so named due to the smelly, sulphurous vents in and around it. From the fortress the view is superb. To the northwest you can see the island of St. Eustatius and, behind that, Saba. It is not hard to see why a fort was built here. Any ship approaching St. Kitts from the West could be spotted from a considerable distance and conquering this steep, isolated hillock was always going to be very hard.|
The fortress was abandoned in the 1850′s and fell into ruins. It was carefully restored and now features a museum, visitors’ centre, gift shop and canteen. It is now known as Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park and is an imposing physical reminder of the considerable fighting that went on in this region 200 years ago.
On the East Coast comes the village of Belle Vue. Nearby lies Black Rocks – an ebony cliff made up of dark volcanic rock. A testament to St. Kitts’ violent creation, it makes for a good photo opportunity. To geologists it is heady stuff.
North Frigate Bay
If you like golf, no problem. St. Kitts has an excellent course near North Frigate Bay – part of the Royal St. Kitts Hotel and Casino. If you like to try your hand at gambling, the last sentence will give you a clue as to where you might find it.
Old Sugar Cane Railway
To those of you familiar with sugar cane farming in the Caribbean, St. Kitts still has in operation a system that no other island in the Leeward Islands has – an old sugar cane railway system and you will often see the curiously narrow track gauge as it winds its way through the fields, across gullies and ghuts to what was the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corporation’s sugar factory. The St. Kitts Scenic Railway Ltd. now offers it as part of an island tour with and the only one of its kind in this part of the Caribbean.
Warner Park Cricket Stadium, Basseterre
Aside from all the watersports that St. Kitts has, many of the hotels provide tennis and health facilties. Another sport you will see, and possibly not understand, is cricket. Cricket is as close to a religion as anything outside a church in this region. Matches will be well attended and games are played at small grounds throughout the islands. The main ground is at the The Warner Park Cricket Stadium which hosted several 2007 world cup matches. This makes St. Kitts the smallest nation on earth to ever host a world cup event! You will always know when an international cricket match is on by the number of small radios blaring (and televisions too). Just a quick question from you about the score will immediately break the ice in any situation!