Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis are downright drop dead gorgeous. If you’ve ever considered a tropical climate beach destination that’s completely off-the-beaten-path, this is it. Here are some of the most interesting facts about the country!
1. In terms of both population and land area, St. Kitts and Nevis is the smallest country in the Caribbean (and indeed in the whole of the Americas).
2. Both St. Kitts and Nevis are volcanic islands. Because of this they have very dramatic central mountains and have had rather unpredictable geologic history with lush tropical vegetation.
3. The Island of St Kitts and Nevis was founded by Christopher Columbus in 1493 although it was already inhabited. He subsequently gave the names San Martínto the island, now known as Nevis and San Cristóbal to Saint Kitts.
4. The English began to settle the islands in 1623 and St. Kitts was the first English colony in the Caribbean. Over the next several years, the English and the French would fight over the island. Eventually the English took full control.
5. The islands are known for ‘goat water,’ a stew usually made from the neck bones and meat of goats.
6. Like many of its neighbours, St. Kitts was formed by volcanoes, all of which are now dormant. The tallest is the 3,792ft Mount Liamuiga, which is thought to have last erupted some 200 years ago. Energetic visitors can hike through pristine tropical forest to its summit, a mile-wide volcanic crater known as the “Giant’s Salad Bowl”.
7. While they are part of the same country, residents of St. Kitts are called Kittitians while the people who live on Nevis are called Nevisians.
8. Nevis is the birthplace and early childhood home of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States. Born on Nevis around 1755, Hamilton spent a significant part of his childhood on Nevis. His father was a trader from Scotland, his mother was from Nevis.
How to reach?
Robert L. Bradshaw Airport located in St. Kitts is the main international airport in the country. The two islands are separated by a 2-mile channel. If you arrive in St Kitts, you can take a short taxi journey from the airport to the ferry port and take the 45-minute scenic ferry ride to Nevis. There are a number of connecting flights from India to St. Kitts and Nevis.
Ride the St Kitts Scenic Railway: The St Kitts Scenic Railways offers visitors a glimpse of the real St Kitts as the route is 18 miles by rail and an additional 12 miles by bus which makes a complete 30-mile circle of the island. This near 3-hour tour allows visitors to get a glimpse of many of the island’s villages plus famous and historic sites including Brimstone Hill Fortress. Hop aboard and try this amazing tour while in St. Kitts.
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park: Head to the hills and enjoy breath-taking panoramic vistas from this imposing military fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing 17th-18th-century military architecture. Standing 240m above sea level, it is a breath-taking complex, constructed in about 1690 by African slave labour. It now houses a museum that gives a good insight into what life would have been like for the soldiers living in the dramatic surroundings.
Mt. Liamuiga: Not for the faint-hearted or the unfit, the steep hike to the crater of dormant volcano Mount Liamuiga rewards walkers with great views of neighbouring islands from St Kitts’ highest point, at 1155m. Climbing the mountain is a bit difficult as there are huge rocks and boulders and also the poorly marked path can deviate from the original one but the hustle is totally worth it once you reach the top.
Explore the beaches: Set aside some time to spend a day or two at the turquoise blue beaches of this island country. South Frigate Bay, South Friars Bay and Cockleshell Bay are popular options filled with laid-back beach bars and shacks and ample beach chairs to relax on the beach and revel in the laid-back Caribbean. Don’t miss snorkelling at Dieppe Bay Beach as well.