Last Updated on January 22, 2023
The two islands making up the tiny nation of St. Kitts and Nevis are often referred to as sisters. Both have lush mountain rain forests, uncrowded beaches, historic ruins, towering long-dormant volcanoes, and a cultural heritage from its 18th-century sugar plantation days. St. Kitts, the big sister, is by far the most visited; however, it’s still possible to find untamed scenery in its trio of mountain ranges. Little sister Nevis is a sleepy getaway for total relaxation and unplugging. The best things to do in St. Kitts and Nevis mostly involve the out of doors, not surprisingly.
Here are some of the best things to do on your visit to St. Kitts and Nevis to make your vacation unforgettable.
- Hike to the Mount Liamuiga Summit
- Visit the Black Rocks
- Enjoy the Beach at Cockleshell Bay
- Snorkel in a Secluded Cove
- Try More Water Activities
- Zip Line in Paradise
- Visit Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
- Climb Aboard the St. Kitts Scenic Railway
- Check out the Local Monkeys
- Learn How to Make Batik
- Get an Island Rum Punch
- Get to an Island Festival
- Sail Aboard a Catamaran
- Where to Stay in St. Kitts and Nevis
Hike to the Mount Liamuiga Summit
This dormant volcano standing at 1166 meters/3792 feet-high towers over the island. A rigorous half-day guided trek through the jungle of St. Kitts traversing over roots and rocks is not for the faint of heart.
It’s a steep climb to the top of this volcano to view the crater. Along the way, your guide will regale you with stories of the history of St. Kitts and point out the medicinal plants that have been used on the island for centuries. Arriving at the top offers the real prize: incredible awe-inspiring views.
Visit the Black Rocks
On the way to Mount Liamuiga, hikers can stop for a scenic view of the Black Rocks. Located where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, these impressive rocks created by lava flow, wind and waves showcase the history of St. Kitts’ now dormant volcano and are a must see St. Kitts attraction.
Tourmaline ocean waves crashing against the volcanic rock make for a stunning contrast.
Enjoy the Beach at Cockleshell Bay
This picturesque bay at the very southern edge of St. Kitts sports one of the best beaches in the Caribbean with the added bonus of stunning views 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, making for a pleasant boat-watching experience while you chill under your beach umbrella on the sand.
Cockleshell Bay is also home to the beach shacks where locals barbecue their day’s fresh catches accompanied by some refreshing Carib beer. The scent of fresh seafood wafting through the air is intoxicating.
Snorkel in a Secluded Cove
Beauty abounds above and below the waves in these Caribbean islands. St. Kitt’s Frigate Bay attracts crowds with its popular beach bar shacks and lovely warm crystalline waters, but taking a boat out beyond the surf means you’ll find a calm, quiet cove for snorkeling.
Vibrant coral reefs are teeming with fish, and it’s not unusual to see lobsters hiding out among the rocks at the bottom. Diving and snorkeling on the islands is spectacular, and Frigate Bay is only one of the many idyllic spots.
Try More Water Activities
The great part about visiting St. Kitts and Nevis is that the year-round water temperatures rarely fall below 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Even during the winter, the average temperature is around 76 to 77 degrees. That makes it ideal for year-round water activities.
Thankfully, the two islands offer a plethora of water sports including jet-skiing, kayaking and paddle-boarding. High-adrenaline sports are available on many beaches of the islands, including flyboarding, parasailing, kiteboarding and even surfing. So, if you want to pick up your adrenaline levels, you’ll find many places to do just that.
A bonus is that all the water activities are relatively affordable and each activity center provides expert guidance prior to the activity so its guests feel completely at ease.
Zip Line in Paradise
The Caribbean islands are known for their many zip lines and St Kitts and Nevis is no exception. These islands sport some of the tallest zip lines at 1,000 feet and the longest, reaching up to 1,350 feet in length.
If you care to look while flying mid-air, you’ll see some of the most stunning views of the island imaginable.
Visit Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
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, its chief threat was French forces also in the Caribbean.
Typical of many forts, Brimstone Hill sits at one of the highest points on the island with the most impressive vantage points and breathtaking views all around. Unfortunately, it has a dark past because the fortress grew to become one of the largest forts in the Caribbean because of using slave labor. But today, if you do make it to the top, the setting is utterly spectacular.
Climb Aboard the St. Kitts Scenic Railway
A warm day under the blazing Caribbean sun calls for some leisurely exploration, and the St. Kitts Scenic Railway fits the bill.
The three-hour tour makes a 30-mile circle around the beautiful Eastern Caribbean Isle of St. Kitts with 18 miles by narrow gauge train and 12 miles on sightseeing buses. Built between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane from the island’s sugar plantations to the sugar factory in the capital city of Basseterre, today the “Last Railway in the West Indies” provides visitors an unsurpassed opportunity to experience the scenery and culture of this unspoiled country.
Check out the Local Monkeys
St. Kitts and Nevis is home to a specific type of monkey called the Vervet. Native to Africa and brought to these islands, these mostly herbivorous monkeys have black faces and grey body hair color and are quite friendly.
They have actually become an inseparable part of the local life and can be seen almost everywhere, from the jungles and roadside trees to crop fields, and everywhere in between.
Learn How to Make Batik
The exclusive sea cotton of the Caribbean is used to make the island’s famous traditional dye fabric known as batik. A visit to Romney Manor dating back to the 1600s is a delight. Visitors can stroll through its beautiful gardens and see how Caribelle batik textiles are made and then browse its boutique for its finished products.
Interestingly enough, Romney Manor was originally owned by Captain Samuel Jefferson, the great-great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson.
Get an Island Rum Punch
Rum is a preferred alcohol of the Caribbean, along with St. Kitts and Nevis as well. You cannot leave the island without having at least one rum punch in one of the many restaurants and bars. Each has its own recipe, but we can assure you it will be great no matter where you choose to taste it, because the rum is amazing on these islands.
Get to an Island Festival
There’s no better way to understand the food and culture of a place than attending one of the island’s many festivals. St. Kitts and Nevis hosts many celebrations throughout the year, but the St. Kitts Music Festival held in June is one of the best and most popular.
Every type of music, including jazz, reggae, salsa soul and Afro-Caribbean soca is included in the festival’s program and famous stars from all over the world visit the islands and perform live for their audiences.
Sail Aboard a Catamaran
Spending a day out on the beautiful Caribbean Sea is one incredible experience. Though there are many tours available for fishing or snorkeling adventures, there’s nothing like hiring your own personal catamaran and captain and explore the aquamarine waters surrounding the islands, including a memorable trip to Nevis.
If you’re still on the water at sunset, you’ll have the great pleasure of seeing the sun disappearing behind the impressive mountains, lighting the sky in a rainbow of color.
Where to Stay in St. Kitts and Nevis
Hotel accommodations in Basseterre are limited and, as a result, precious. Our favorite is Marriott’s St. Kitts Beach Club resort. Use the map below to find something else if that’s not to your liking.
These two idyllic islands are absolutely among the most beautiful in the Caribbean. St. Kitts offers a surprisingly diverse vacation experience while retaining its essential Caribbean flavor. Nevis is determined to stay even more unspoiled. As a matter of fact, there are still no traffic lights on the island.
The good news is that you don’t have to choose between the two, they’re only two miles apart at their closest point!