Before this island nation officially became known as St. Kitts and Nevis, it went by the name of Liamuiga, which means "fertile island." And fertile it is -- in every sense of the word. From the verdant sugarcane fields to the lush tropical forests to the tranquil seaside lagoons, there's an atmosphere of abundance in this Caribbean paradise. For those seeking a luxurious vacation spot with all the beauty and the fun things to do but without the crowds, you've found your playground.
If you're on St. Kitts for the beaches, you have a lot to choose from and they come in all different colors. The sands vary from the black to gray to golden to white. South Friars Bay is one of the most popular beaches on the island -- for water sports like swimming and snorkeling by day and for its bars and music venues after dark. White House Bay has some of the best snorkeling. Pump Bay is a black sand beach with some decent surf. Charming Dieppe Bay is protected by a reef and good for a leisurely swim. Or park yourself in the sand at Banana Bay, which is a bit quieter than many other beaches. And they're just a few of the many sunbathing, windsurfing and diving locations here. But you shouldn't limit your vacation to beaches alone. There are plenty of other attractions to take in. Be sure to check out historic landmark Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the lush plantations that dot the island. Notable among these are the Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden (gorgeous views) and Shadwell Great House, set amid sugarcane fields.
The cuisine of the islands is called Kittitian and is distinguished by odd-sounding but delicious dishes like "cookup," "goat water," "souse" and conch chowder. The Strip on Frigate Bay is a good place to start your explorations. It's the gastronomic hub of St. Kitts and has restaurants of all sorts. This is also the center of nightlife in the area, with its bars and pubs that give you the chance to dance and drink after a day of sun and sand. There are also good eats at North Frigate Bay, South Friars and Cockleshell Beach. And you'll find plenty of fine dining and buffet-style restaurants around downtown Basseterre.
The Pelican Mall and TDC Mall in Basseterre offer a wide variety of merchandise, from unique local goods to the sort of stuff you'll find in any mall on the planet. Some stores at Pelican Mall sell a wide variety of jewelry -- check out Fox's Hole and Ashbury's. Port Zante is another vibrant shopping spot full of trendy boutiques and galleries. If you want to take home batik-print clothing to remind you of your trip, check out Island Hopper. For local crafts made from coconut shells, seashells, fabric, wood and metal stones, go to the Craft House, also in Port Zante.
PO BOX 406 FRIGATE BAY