St Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean - Stein Travel
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St Kitts and Nevis

The twin-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis, situated in the Leeward Islands of the eastern Caribbean, is shaped rather like a tennis racquet and ball - the larger St Kitts is separated from its ball-shaped southern counterpart, Nevis, by a two-mile (3km) channel called The Narrows. At first glance, the small, sleepy islands appear to be forgotten in time, a pair of quiet, lush and natural islands that convey nothing of their former prosperity and turbulent history. From their wealthy position as the most illustrious sugar colony in the Caribbean in the early 18th century they became the centre of conflict as European powers fought for control of the islands, and the surrounding waters were an irresistible attraction for pirates who lay in wait for the riches transported on the merchant ships. Today the population consists mainly of descendants from the slaves who were shipped from Africa to work the sugar plantations, and vestiges of splendid estates from their heyday as a playground for the elite are all that remain as a reminder of the infamously profligate way of life of the rich and famous of days gone by. These islands have become the tourist pearls of the Caribbean, valued today more as a tropical paradise than a major sugar producer, with clear and inviting waters, sandy beaches and a natural splendour to stun even the most avid city slicker. Together with a diverse range of activities, historical sites, and the charm of their two capital harbour towns, the volcanic islands are a seductive blend of colour, sunshine and luxurious relaxation.

Information & Facts


Business in St. Kitts and Nevis is conducted in a relatively informal manner, but a fairly formal dress is expected despite the heat. Handshakes for both men and women are the common form of greeting, and business cards should be exchanged immediately after being introduced. Business hours are generally 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken at lunch.


The climate is tropical, but sea breezes keep the islands relatively cool. There are no definite seasons; the yearly average temperature is 79°F (26°C). Although rain is possible throughout the year, the average is higher between July and November, which coincides with the hurricane season.


The international dialling code for St Kitts and Nevis is +1 869. The outgoing code is 1 for the Caribbean, USA and Canada, and 011 for all other international destinations followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 01127 for South Africa). City/area codes are not in use. Internet services are widely available at hotels and Internet cafes. Cable and Wireless Caribbean Cellular (St Kitts) Ltd (GSM 850/1900) and Wireless Ventures Ltd (GSM 900/1800) provide cellular phone service.


Nudity is not allowed on beaches and beachwear should not be worn in the towns or villages. It is an offence to wear camouflage clothing. Homosexuality is illegal.

Duty Free

Travellers over the age of 18 may import 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 225g tobacco, and 1.136 litres of wine or spirits without paying customs duty.


Electrical current is 230 volts, 60 Hz, but a 117-volt supply is available in most hotels. Round three-pin plugs and three-pin rectangular blade plugs (as in the UK) are in use.

Getting Around

Basseterre and Charlestown are small and easy enough to explore by foot. Ferries are the most convenient way to travel between the islands, taking about 45 minutes, but flights are also available (10 minutes). Colourful minivan buses traverse the islands daily except Sundays and can be flagged down anywhere as they go past. Cars and taxis are available for hire in the main towns.


No vaccinations are required for travel to the islands, but a yellow fever certificate is required from visitors travelling from a yellow fever infected country. Dengue fever is on the increase, and precautions against mosquito bites should be taken. There is a high incidence of HIV/AIDS. Medical facilities are adequate, but limited, and health insurance is essential, which should include emergency air evacuation. Most doctors and hospitals expect cash payment.


English is the official language.


The official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which is divided into 100 cents. It is tied to the US dollar at a rate of US$1=EC$2.70. Most businesses accept US Dollar notes as payment, but change is given in EC$. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted, and major currencies can be exchanged at banks, with US Dollars the cheapest to exchange. Most banks are closed on weekends, but provide 24-hour ATM services.

Passport Visa

Visitors are recommended to hold confirmed return or onward tickets, all documents needed for next destination and sufficient funds to cover their stay. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.


Although most visits to the islands are trouble-free, visitors should still guard against robbery and other crimes of opportunity. Valuables should be left in hotel safes where possible and remote places, particularly beaches, should be avoided, especially after dark. Hurricane season normally runs from June to November.


Local time is GMT -4.


A 10% service charge is usually included in hotel and restaurant bills, otherwise it is customary to leave 10-15% of the bill depending on the service. Taxi drivers receive 10-15% of the fare.

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