Ports Bahamas and Caribbean St. Kitts Ultimate Guide: Unforgettable Things to Do (2019)

St. Kitts Ultimate Guide: Unforgettable Things to Do (2019)

Rainforests, beaches, volcanic landscape, railways, and rich history in a tropical climate... St. Kitts has it all, so let's get out and explore!

cruise ships at st kitts
Basseterre, St. Kitts – ID 122170947 © Cathy Locklear | Dreamstime.com

If you’re going to St. Kitts on a cruise you have chosen a fantastic itinerary.  This is a beautiful and just plain fun island to explore.

So, what are you going to do once you get there?  Looking for the best things to do in St Kitts so you can enjoy every hour of your time in port?  Well, you’re on the right page.

In this article we will look at all of the very best things to do in St Kitts and Nevis while giving you a feel for what it’s like to be in paradise.  By the end of the page you will be well on your way to being prepared for your cruise to St Kitts.

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A Little About St. Kitts

St. Kitts is a stunningly gorgeous island that has a UNESCO World Heritage site, charming historical architecture, old churches, sandy beaches, and colonial estates. It is approximately 1,200 miles from Miami, covers 69 square miles, and has a population of approximately 40,000 locals. It is the smallest sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere in both area and population. The capital is Basseterre and the primary language is English.

St. Kitts has large, fertile tracts of land, a cooperative climate, and a steady pattern of rainfall which historically made it ideal for growing sugar cane. In 2005, the government-owned sugar plantations shut down and tourism became the primary industry. Since then, tourism has grown at a dramatic rate.

Once considered the gateway to the Caribbean, St. Kitts celebrates a rich history that has shaped the island’s development. Whether you have a day or a week to spend in St. Kitts, you won’t have far to travel to enjoy all that St. Kitts has to offer.

RELATED: Reasons to Take a Cruise Out of Puerto Rico

So What is There to Do in St. Kitts?

Let’s get this to-do list started!

1.  Explore Port Zante (Cruise Port)

what to do in st kitts on cruise

The cruise port in St. Kitts has two berths and can handle some large cruise ships.  As soon as you walk off your ship you will be greeted by this welcoming port.

Start your day exploring Port Zante, where you can wander through the beautiful promenades that are surrounded by elegant shops. There are more than 60 shops right at the port for the shopaholic in you. You can also enjoy restaurants and cafes and check out some of the tours which are detailed below.

Stop by the St. Kitts Tourism Authority office right at the port.  You can ask all your questions about the island and even book a last-minute excursion.

2.  St. Kitts Beaches

beach st kitts
Cockleshell Beach
ID 142107664 © Irishka777 | Dreamstime.com

Discover some of the best beaches in the world, each with their own personality.

  • Majors Bay is near the Sea Bridge ferry to Nevis. Off the beaten path, Majors Bay is calm with golden sand and warm, blue water.
  • South Friars is popular with the locals. Located on the Caribbean near Frigate Bay, its golden sand is complemented by a wide range of beach bars and restaurants.
  • Frigate Bay South has long been the most popular beach for the locals. It is also home to major tourist hotels and a string of beachfront bars known as “the Strip.”
  • Cockleshell is a popular destination for cruise ship tourists and the beach can be very lively.
  • Frigate Bay North, Sand Bank Bay, and Turtle Beach are also popular beach destinations.
  • On the other side of the island, Dieppe Bay Beach is a small, palm-lined, black sand beach that is protected by a major reef. It is ideal for swimming and home to a variety of marine life.

Want to see all the highlights of St. Kitts and then cap it off with a beach day?   This combo tour package is just for you.  End the tour at Frigate Bay at the end of a fantastic day exploring St. Kitts.  Check it out here.

 

3.  Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park

No visit to St. Kitts would be complete without a visit to Brimstone Hill Fortress, commonly referred to as the Gibraltar of the West Indies. Brimstone Hill Fortress has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999.

You can enjoy breathtaking views of mountains, fields, and neighboring islands from the Fortress. Its cultural, historical, and architectural significance is a testament to British Military engineers who designed the Fortress and also to the skill of the enslaved Africans who built it. Visit the Orientation Center and museum to learn about the historical significance of the Fortress and stop in the Gift Shop for souvenirs and local crafts.

Check out more on this tour of Brimstone Hill Fortress.

4.  Wingfield Estate/Romney Manor

The Wingfield Estate was established in 1625. Its first owner was Samuel Jefferson, the great-, great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States. In the late 1600s, Mr. Jefferson sold part of the estate to the Earl of Romney who then renamed the Great House, Romney Manor. The estate produced tobacco, cotton, and indigo, then later switched to sugar and rum production. Romney Manor is currently home to botanical gardens and Caribelle Batik, a local batik-making facility.

5.  Rainforest Nature Tour

Travel to the Central Forest Reserve Natural Park for a hike through the rainforest. Your guide will meet you at Port Zante and instruct you about the flora and fauna of the forest. The guide will also indicate where you may see flowers, monkeys, and birds. You will hike on a trail free from sun and mosquitos under a canopy of trees as you explore a waterfall and enjoy the sounds of nature.

Check out more on this rainforest tour here.

 

6.  ATV Tour

Journey through the island’s rugged interior on an ATV and discover St. Kitts as you’ve never imagined. You will ride past awe-inspiring landscapes, volcanic peaks, sugar cane fields, and green, verdant terrain. Experience outdoor adventure  with the skilled guides who will provide safety training and ensure that your trip through the wilderness is action-packed and full of fun!

 

7.  Zipline Canopy Tour

Experience a thrilling sky safari through the rainforest and over the Wingfield River at the Wingfield Estate. Full- and half-day tours are available. Experience the sensation of flight as you fly from ten to 250 feet over the valley floor. Zipliners can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour). Eco-friendly, this system is currently the most technologically advanced zipline in the world.

 

8.  Birdwatching

St. Kitts has a complex ecosystem of thick rainforests, freshwater ponds, and an unspoiled coastline which attract a large variety of wildlife, especially birds. There are at least 203 different bird species which have already been recorded. Unfortunately, there are very few local birders, so there is a high probability for birders to sight previously unrecorded species. Some of the species you are likely to see are the Pied-billed Grebe, Brown Booby, Brown Pelican, Magnificent Frigate bird, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, and the Great Blue Heron.

 

9.  Carib Petroglyphs

Carib Petroglyphs (rock drawings) can be found in two locations on St. Kitts. Several dozen petroglyphs can be found at Bloody Point. The most well-known glyphs can be found on a rock on the side of the road leading to the Wingfield Estate. The most popular explanation of the petroglyphs is that they depict a male and a female, but nobody is certain as the petroglyphs are not translatable.

 

10.  Scenic Railway Tour

st kitts train scenic
The scenic railway on the island of St Kitts with the island of Nevis in the distance.
ID 69619490 © Sue Martin | Dreamstime.com

One of the most beautiful train rides in the world can be found on St. Kitts. The railway was originally built in 1912 to deliver sugarcane from the fields to the mill. The tracks hug the Northeastern coastline where you can experience amazing views of the ocean, surf, and cliffs. The train travels across tall steel bridges over deep canyons and through small villages and farms. The guide will reveal abandoned sugar estates and visitors can see the whole island in a relatively short period of time.

See more on this scenic train excursion here.

11.  Full Island Tour

For a complete St Kitts experience, you can meet your guide in Port Zante for a tour of:

  • The Berkeley Memorial
  • Independence Square – the former slave market
  • The Catholic Cathedral
  • The Anglican Church
  • The War Memorial
  • The Birds Nest
  • Bloody Point
  • Carving of De Rocks
  • Wingfield Estate/Romney Manor – home to the botanical gardens and Caribelle Batik
  • Brimstone Hill Fortress – a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Black Rocks an example of a volcanic lava eruption which made its way to the Atlantic Ocean and formed black rocks as the lava cooled.
  • Timothy Hill – the most photographed site of the island where you stand on land between the Atlantic Ocean on your left and the Caribbean Sea on your right.

Check out a full island tour of St Kitts here.

12.  Rainforest Horseback Riding Tour

Experience the lush wilderness of St. Kitts while exploring sugarcane fields and diverse wildlife on a horseback riding tour. Follow your guide to explore tropical plants and amazing views in this eco-paradise. Your ride will take place on gentle, sloping trails, and you are very likely to see the national flower – called the Flamboyant though commonly known as the Poinciana. You can conveniently join the tour from Port Zante.

13.  Dune Buggy

Delight in the breath-taking views of the St. Kitts countryside while driving your very own Dune Buggy! You will meet the tour in Port Zante and be escorted to the ATV base. The knowledgeable guides will provide operating instructions and review rules and regulations. After receiving your gear, you will ride off into the jungle and sugar cane fields. There will be frequent stops for pictures of Mount Liamigua, Brimstone Hill Fortress, and the Old Sugar Estate. Enjoy the exciting adventure of driving one of these Dune Buggies on St. Kitts, and you won’t forget it!

 

14.  Bike Tour

Enjoy one of the island’s newest adventure tours and discover the trails of St. Kitts. Guides lead you along the trails and beach roads on eco-friendly Electric Fat Tire Mountain Bikes. This is a tour for physically fit participants which will delight you. If you are an avid cyclist, you may prefer traveling to Nevis where there are more traditional bike tours available.

 

15.  Food and Walking Tour

Taste the local cuisine during a two-hour, small group, food tasting tour around Basseterre. Follow your guide around town and taste local dishes and drinks, fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and more! A vegetarian option is available and please advise beforehand if you have any dietary restrictions. Your guide will share the history and culture of the island and its food. Transportation to Basseterre is complimentary from Port Zante.

 

15.  Tour Nisbet Plantation (on Nevis)

Nevis island next to st kitts
Nevis Peak, ID 94602113 © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

The sister island to St. Kitts, Nevis was known in colonial days as the Queen of the Caribbean.  You will notice the volcanic peak that formed the island right away.  This is known as Nevis Peak.  It’s just a short boat-ride away from the cruise port at St. Kitts, and a catamaran will actually pick you up right at the port to whisk you away to this stunning island.

A stop at the Nisbet Plantation on Nevis is the highlight of this tour.  This was the home of Fanny Nisbet, who, in 1778 married Admiral Horatio Nelson in Nevis.   This little island is loaded with history, as you will also stop at the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton.  You can also see the oldest church in the Caribbean on Nevis, St. Thomas Lowland Church, built in 1643.

After seeing quaint villages and enjoying fantastic sandy beaches your catamaran will take you back to the cruise port, even though you will probably want to stay on Nevis.

Check out more on this tour here.

16.  Hiking Mount Liamuiga Volcano

Explore the 3,792-foot (1,156 meter) Mount Liamuiga Volcano, one of the tallest peaks in the eastern Caribbean archipelago, over the course of a six-hour guided hike. You will meet the tour at Port Zante and travel to the village of St. Pauls in an open-top safari truck before hiking into the tropical forest. The mountainside is covered in farmland and small villages up to the 1,500-foot mark. The trail then traverses lush tropical rainforests until the cloud forest takes over at 3,000 feet. Experience stunning views of St. Kitts and neighboring islands like St. Barths, St. Martin, Nevis, Saba, and Statia. You will need comfortable clothing and hiking shoes.

See more info on a Volcano hike at St Kitts.

17.  Snorkeling

Water sports are abundant on the island and there are a variety of ways to experience a snorkeling adventure on St. Kitts.

You can book a snorkeling tour on a:

  • Half-day deluxe catamaran
  • Full-day catamaran to Nevis
  • Mini-speedboat
  • Kayak

You can also snorkel from many beaches and experience a very unique power snorkeling tour with H2 Aquajets to Nevis.

All tours include a snorkeling lesson from experienced dive masters before you jump into the water and explore secluded coves, schools of colorful fish, vibrant coral, and all the secrets of the sea. Snorkel tours meet at Port Zante or Frigate Bay and all provide snorkel equipment.

Check out a snorkeling shore excursion on St Kitts here.

18.  Parasailing

Experience flying up to 600 feet in the sky and relish the one-of-a-kind views of St. Kitts and Nevis. This ninety-minute tour departs from Carambola Beach Club, just 15 minutes from Port Zante. No flight experience is necessary. You can fly in groups of two or three people, so enjoy this exhilarating ride with friends or family.

Your flight takes off and lands right on the boat! The tour provides a life vest and a safety lesson. A special harness attaches to the parasail and allows you to enjoy an eight to ten-minute flight – and a dip in the sea if you agree. After your flight, relax and enjoy one of St. Kitts most beautiful beaches at the Carambola Beach Club.

 

19.  Paddle Board

Paddle the crystal-clear waters off the Southeast peninsula in White House Bay. Transfers are available from the cruise ship port for a three-hour tour. You will receive an orientation and have a chance to practice and get comfortable on your stand-up paddle board before the tour starts. The paddle boards are wide, stable, and comfortable – great for beginners. Embrace the natural scenic views as you glide over the marine life beneath you. You may see turtles, stingrays, star fish, and more

 

20.  Flyboarding

Soar above the beach or swim in the water like a dolphin with the newest and most exhilarating water sport out there. This thirty-minute tour experience happens at Cockleshell Bay. The flyboard is easy for everyone to learn and enjoy. All participants learn how to operate the flyboard with individual instruction before launching up to 30 feet in the air! You can lounge on the beach and watch your friends’ flyboarding fun while you wait for your turn.

 

21.  Kayaking

Explore marine life on an aquatic adventure in the sparkling, turquoise waters off St. Kitts. See exotic fish and sea turtles as you paddle past imposing cliffs and secluded coves in this eco-paradise. The tour departs from the Frigate Bay Hotel in Basseterre and travels to the unspoiled Southeastern peninsula. Your guide will provide a safety introduction and outfit you with your life jacket and kayak. You will then paddle out for a 45-minute trip to view the steep cliffs and remote bays. You may even see some wildlife – greenback turtles, frigate birds, vervet monkeys, and pelicans – which live near this remote part of the island.

 

22.  Boat charter

Cruise around St. Kitts in a variety of options:

  • Private charter boat
  • Full day catamaran tour to Nevis
  • Private, power catamaran

Whichever you choose, you will be delighted by the spectacular coastline views, enchanting marine life, and sparkling waters of St. Kitts. Many tours depart from Port Zante and include options such as snorkeling, sailing, dining, and an open bar. You will thoroughly enjoy your panoramic views of the island and everything it has to offer.

 

23.  Trip to Nevis

Nevis is an enchanting island which has orchid-filled botanical gardens and challenging hiking trails up Nevis Peak. There are many tours to choose from in Nevis as well as a number of tours which depart St. Kitts for Nevis daily. You will have to travel approximately two-miles across The Narrows – the strip of waterway that separates the two islands. There are two ferries from St. Kitts to Nevis. The first leaves from Basseterre and travels to Charlestown. The second leaves Major’s Bay and travels to Cades Bay. There is also a water taxi which departs from Cockleshell Bay and taxis to Oualie Beach.

 

24.  Palms Court Gardens

Palms Court Gardens and Restaurant offers a day pass with full access to the luxurious pool, lush gardens, and Jacuzzi, along with the stunning coastal scenery and magnificent ocean views. You can take a 12 to 15-minute walk from the cruise port, or a three-minute cab ride – and spend the day relaxing and soaking up the sun on the luxury deck chairs, nearby pool bar, and restaurant. Cool down with their refreshing, signature tropical juices prepared daily from tropical seasonal fruits.

 

25.  Spend the Day at a Posh Resort

The raw beauty of St. Kitts is stunning, but if you just want to soak in some sun and enjoy a bit of luxury a day at the resort might be for you.  In this excursion you will spend the day at a resort on Frigate Bay Beach.  You will have access to 3 pools, cabanas, food and drink services, and even an onsite spa (Emerald Mist Spa).

This is a family-friendly resort with plenty of water sports to keep the kids happy, but don’t worry, it’s also away from the hustle and bustle of some of the more touristy areas on the island.  Transportation is provided to and from the resort.

Get more information on this St. Kitts shore excursion here.

26.  Dolphin Royal Swim

No shore excursion list is complete without a dolphin encounter of some kind, and St. Kitts has you covered.  This is a fully immersive dolphin experience that let’s the whole family join in.  After 30 minutes of getting acquainted with the dolphins you will get to swim in the gorgeous Caribbean waters and see the playful side of these amazing creatures.  Besides seeing the dolphins show off their tricks you will get to experience the thrill of the dolphin foot push as they lift you out of the water.  There is also the dorsal tow where 2 dolphins will pull you across the water as you hold on to their dorsal fins.

Check out more of this dolphin excursion in St. Kitts here.

Didn’t see what you’re looking for in this list?  Check out more fun things to do on this incredible island here.

Note on Shopping

While shopping in St. Kitts, the Eastern Caribbean Dollar and U.S. bills are accepted by most stores and change is given in East Caribbean currency. U.S. coins are not accepted. All other currencies can be converted in one of the local banks.

Some History of St. Kitts

The island of St. Kitts had Amerindian populations when first sighted by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493. He named the island after his patron saint, Saint Christopher. It was colonized by the English and the French in the years 1623 and 1624. Sugar was grown on plantations which were worked by enslaved Africans. St. Kitts was finally formally ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783. St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, and the British Virgin Islands were administered as a single colony from 1816 through 1871, when it became part of the Leeward Islands Federation. After obtaining independence from Britain in 1983, the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis has internal self-government though still governed by Queen Elizabeth II.

Learn some local lingo

Blend in with the locals with this quick guide to phrases you are likely to hear on St. Kitts:

  • Kittitians: (pronounced Kittishin) The name islanders call themselves.
  • Limin: The word for hanging out, chilling, or having a good time.
  • Me Aarmm: Oh my! Really?
  • Wuk up: Gyrating dance specifically to soca music.
  • Donkey ears: A long time.
  • M’ain know: I don’t know.
  • Picki Nyehga: (pronounced Pickee Nayga) a child.

St. Kitts is truly a tropical paradise and a must-see island experience. For a relatively small island, it packs a lot of fun, activities, and relaxation onto its 69 square miles. Enjoy the island, the locals, and the hospitality while in port. Take the limin attitude of St. Kitts back to your hometown.

Have you been to St. Kitts before?  What do you like to do there?  Let us know so we can pass it along to our readers!
St. Kitts Ultimate Guide: Unforgettable Things to Do (2019)

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Ports Bahamas and Caribbean St. Kitts Ultimate Guide: Unforgettable Things to Do (2019)

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