The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, located south of the star-studded hideaway of St. Barths and just west of St. John’s, are two of the Leeward Islands with the Atlantic Ocean to their east coasts and the Caribbean Sea at their west. As one of the first colonies established in the Caribbean, this dual destination is as awash in history as it is in dreamy beaches and lush scenery.
Here are some of the most incredible things to do in St. Kitts and Nevis.
1: Admire the Islands from the Sea
Seeing the beauty of the coast of St. Kitts and Nevis is believing. To appreciate the allure of both islands, a catamaran sail from the harbor in the capital of Basseterre is an excellent choice.
A full-day sail is one of the best things to do in St. Kitts. Enjoy all the delights of being on the water along with a beachfront BBQ lunch and at least one stop in a secluded cove for a swim, snorkel, or just a leisurely float before the sails again catch the wind.
Bring a camera, swimsuit, and sun protection, and prepare for a day of wind, sun, sand, sea, salt, and tasty food to refuel from all the excitement.
2: Have a Beach Day at Cockleshell Bay
At the very southern edge of St. Kitts sits Cockleshell Bay, one of the best beaches in the Caribbean with the added bonus of a stunning view across the water to the island of Nevis. The narrow passage between the two islands, called The Narrows, is regularly crossed by local boats and ferries, which make for a pleasant boat-watching experience while you tan.
The bay is also home to shacks where locals barbecue the day’s fresh catch, accompanied by bottles of Carib beer.
3: Taste Local Food with a Side of History
This former plantation and home of a French military commander from the 1700s has been completely restored and given a new life as a welcome and education center for colonial history on St. Kitts.
There is truly something for everyone here, but those interested in gastronomic delights will be particularly happy. A historian cooks local dishes like stewed saltfish, plantains, and coconut dumplings while telling the story of the house and of the island itself.
Learn about how cultures from Africa, India, and Europe influenced the food and identity of St. Kitts and Nevis before touring the great house, decorated as if it is still the 18th century. Don’t miss the panoramic view of the southeast peninsula and the glittering Caribbean Sea from the large window in the master bedroom upstairs. Afterward, step outside to wander the beautifully landscaped botanical garden that highlights indigenous flora.
4: Follow in the Footsteps of Alexander Hamilton
This historic Nisbet Plantation estate on Nevis, once owned by Fanny Nisbet, who married Admiral Horatio Nelson in the late 1700s, has become an all-in-one destination for experiencing a sample of the best of Nevis when you’re short on time. In addition to 30 acres of tropical, green grounds and a preserved spread of more than 30 guest cottages, the property is also home to a fantastic beach and full-service spa.
Nisbet was a contemporary of Alexander Hamilton, who was born on Nevis in either 1755 or 1757. Though he lived rough on Nevis and was only on the island for a short period of his youth, the island today claims him as a son and celebrates the success of the Broadway musical that tells his life story. The building where he was born is now called Hamilton House and is currently used as a museum and gathering site for meetings of the Nevis House of Assembly.
5: Relax with a Rum Tasting
While buying bottles of rum in the Caribbean is as easy as stocking up on water, settling in for a hosted tasting means coming to understand the history and particular varieties of the preferred beverage so that you leave with both an education and a bottle that truly suits your tastebuds.
There are many options around the island for a rum tasting. Wingfield Estate has been distilling rum since the 1600s, thereby potentially making it one of the earliest in the region to do so. However, for an experience that combines sipping and strolling, the historic grounds of Fairview Great House offer a rum tasting room and more.
6: Learn Kittian History at Brimstone Hill National Fortress
This UNESCO World Heritage Site, constructed in the 17th century, is widely regarded as one of the best surviving examples of colonial fortification architecture in the Americas. As a British fort in the 17th and 18th centuries, its chief threat was French forces also in the Caribbean, whom the island fell to for a single year, from 1782-1783.
Typical of a fort, Brimstone Hill sits at one of the highest points on the island, with the most impressive vantage points and breathtaking views all around. The entire site is 38 acres, so even when you have finished touring the fortifications, there is still plenty of open green space for setting up the perfect shot, or just relaxing with a view of the Caribbean Sea.
7: Snorkel a Secluded Cove Near Frigate Bay
One of the best things to do in St. Kitts is to see the beauty that lies below the waves. The energetic beach of Frigate Bay may draw crowds with its popular beach bar shacks and cool, blue waters, but taking a boat just a little bit out beyond the surf means having a quiet, calm cove to yourself and sealife to welcome you.
Look for vibrant corals and the fish who call them home, plus the pointy antennae of lobsters hiding out among the rocks at the bottom. After a snorkeling adventure, nearby beach shacks offer menus of BBQ favorites and the freshest catch of the day.
8: Golf a Round at Half Moon Bay
Visitors to Half Moon Bay, which sits on the Atlantic side of the island, arrive on the sand with one main goal in mind: to have a simple, but simply spectacular day at the beach. Luxury villas and resorts line the road from here on south, so a great cocktail and a filling, tasty lunch are never too far away from the sunshine on the sand.
A beach day here is easily combined with dining and shopping in Basseterre or a round of golf at the Royal St. Kitts Golf Course, whose greens lead right down to the Half Moon Bay water’s edge.
9: Take a Stunning Selfie atop Timothy Hill
The snaking main road that leads from Basseterre and towns in the north of St. Kitts down to the southern tip at Christophe Harbour, winds through hills that owe their beauty and curves to the island’s volcanic origins.
The most scenic is Timothy Hill, and cars taking the road south pull off at its peak for a spectacular photo opportunity. On a clear day, the view includes more than just Nevis—squint your eyes to the southeast to see the silhouette of St. John’s in the distance.
10: Hike to the Summit of Mount Liamuiga
The beautiful, rolling hills and sulfur bedrock of St. Kitts is owed to its volcanic origins, and Mount Liamuiga is an important, surviving piece of that tumultuous history. Although it is dormant, the volcano is home to a crater lake and all kinds of life that call its lush forest covering home.
Liamuiga, which means “fertile land,” is a prime destination for avid hikers who will find the trails lined with local flora, tangled vines, rare tropical flowers, and plenty of wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you catch vervet monkeys peering down at you from the tree canopy—this is their home.
Reaching the summit at 3,000 feet takes about three hours of ascent, so pack plenty of water and snacks, wear sturdy shoes and sun protection, and plan to spend at least half a day earning the experience of seeing the island (and nearby Saba and St. Eustatius) from its highest point. Mount Liamuiga is also the tallest peak in the British Leeward Islands.
11: Climb Aboard the St. Kitts Scenic Railway
A hot day under the blazing Caribbean sun calls for setting aside time for leisurely exploration, and the St. Kitts Scenic Railway absolutely fits the bill. Climb aboard the double-decker historic railway, which was once crucial to transporting the crops, especially sugarcane, that made St. Kitts a desired colonial outpost.
It is a perfect activity to pair with something more active, such as snorkeling or shopping in town for some of the day, then allowing yourself to relax in the shade of the train while admiring the views of the island.
12: Shop the Nevis Artisan Village
If your time on smaller Nevis is less than a full day, then one of the easiest ways to sample the specialties of this unique destination is with a visit to the local vendors in the Nevis Artisan Village, just down the street from Pinneys Beach and up the street from the center of Charlestown, the island’s capital.
The market is composed of brightly painted cottages, each hosting an artisan and their handmade wares, which range from intricate jewelry to woven home goods. Other vendors offer local spice mixes, the day’s catch for lunch, and freshly pressed juices.
13: Sip a Sundowner ‘Ting ‘n Sting’ Cocktail
With the entire western Caribbean side of the island having a prime view of the sunset, you can be sure that beach bars are set up to optimize the experience. One of the best is Salt Plage, a wooden dock that juts out into the water and is lined with dining tables perfectly arranged so that everyone has the best seat in the house. The entire bar is completely open-air and somewhat hidden towards the south of the island near the Great Salt Pond and Christophe Harbour.
Order fried conch fritters and tuna tartare to snack on, along with a “Ting ‘n Sting” cocktail to toast when the sun finally does slip below the horizon. A “Ting ‘n Sting” is a quintessential St. Kitts drink, made of a locally distilled rhum agricole mixed with Ting, the refreshing grapefruit soda that is ubiquitous in the Southern Caribbean.
14. Learn How to Make Batik at Romney Manor
Artisans create uniquely patterned fabrics using dyes and wax at Caribelle Batik at the historic Romney Manor, and you’re welcome to learn all about the process before shopping the variety of goods the fabrics are made into. It’s one of the best things to do in St. Kitts, especially for art enthusiasts.
Romney Manor is also home to a sprawling, lush garden with stone stairways and romantic trellises. Wandering through it may find you encountering a lawn of color as the batik fabric is hung up on lines to dry outside in the tropical breezes.
15: Celebrate at the St. Kitts Musical Festival
Time your travel right, and you can dance and sing along with people from around the Caribbean and, indeed, the world, during the annual St. Kitts Musical Festival.
Around 30,000 people flock to the island for the parties and concerts, which showcase both local and international artists from a range of genres, including R&B, jazz, hip-hop, reggae, calypso, gospel, and soca music, which is Trinidad’s own version of calypso. In past years, headlining musicians have included everyone from John Legend and Wyclef Jean to Toni Braxton and Lionel Richie.
A luxury cruise to St. Kitts and Nevis will have you enjoying some of the best cuisine, music, history, and adventure activities that this lush, double-island paradise has to offer. Dreamy beaches, incredible vistas, world-class golf, excellent eats, and historic sites are all available in this diverse destination.
If you’re ready to fulfill your island cravings with all that St. Kitts and Nevis has to offer, browse Caribbean cruise itineraries on our website and book your getaway today.