Saint Kitts & Nevis – Family holiday guide

St. Kitts is a Lesser Antilles Island in the Southern Caribbean. It’s one of the few places in the world where rainforest is expanding, and over a quarter of the land is protected national park. Even a short walk here can turn into an adventure, the wildlife’s amazing and everything from tree canopy zip-lining to snorkelling and swimming with dolphins, puts conservation first. There are no traffic lights, life’s lived on easy-going island time and, if you want to escape completely, the little island of Nevis is just a ferry away.


Why go on holiday in Saint Kitts & Nevis

  • Under 10 hours flying time from UK to St. Kitts

    British Airways fly from Gatwick to St. Kitts, with a short stop in Antigua.

  • A tropical Caribbean climate

    Average temperatures of 30˚ year round, lowest rainfall from January to April.

  • Luxury resorts and family villas

    St. Kitts’ southern peninsula has a good selection of places to stay from beachfront resorts and holiday villages to Airbnb rentals and charming colonial guesthouses.

  • A traditional Caribbean Christmas Carnival island

    St. Kitts Christmas Carnival is famous for stilt walking Moko-Jumbies, spectacular kids’ parades, circus performers and incredible music.

  • The Valley of the Giants

    A forest of immense and ancient trees known as the Valley of the Giants is just one of the accessible wonders to explore in St. Kitts’ extensive National Park.

  • UNESCO World Heritage St. Kitts

    The Caribbean is well fortified, but Brimstone Hill Fortress on the west coast of St. Kitts is the one to beat. Built in 1690 and added to down the centuries, it became the island’s first World Heritage site in 1999.

  • The Mother Colony of the West Indies

    English is St. Kitts’ first language. It was also the earliest Southern Caribbean island permanently settled by the British, hence the long history, and historic nickname.



Where to go

 

Basseterre

The capital of St. Kitts shouldn’t be defined by its busy Port Zante cruise terminal. Despite the duty-free shops and troupes of tourists, Basseterre still holds on to its island soul. Easy going beach bars and cute cafés jostle with street stalls along the waterfront. The old town’s pleasantly higgledy-piggledy and fun to wander around with kids.

  • Independence Square is the historic heart of Basseterre, once the site of St. Kitts’ slave auctions, and now a spot for Limin’: the Caribbean tradition of hanging out, having a drink and shooting the breeze.
  • St. Kitts’ airport is just north of Basseterre. Frigate Bay and Christophe Harbour are a short drive south.

Frigate Bay

The heartland of beach bars, restaurants and resorts in the south of St. Kitts, Frigate Bay’s about 20 minutes south Basseterre. Sheltered shores here are washed by the Caribbean and safe for swimming.

  • Area for family resort hotels and Dolphin Discovery St. Kitts.
  • Frigate Bay’s ‘Strip’ is one of the best places on the island for cool beach bars.

Kittian Village

Kittian Village grew up round the St. Kitts Marriot Resort, just east of Frigate Bay. This is one of the best locations on the island for holiday villas and apartments. The beaches are Atlantic-side, lovely and better for surf than Frigate Bay.

  • Kittian Village is one of the top places in St. Kitts for Airbnb rentals.
  • Royal St. Kitts, the island’s only golf course, overlooks the sea in Kittian Village.

Christophe Harbour

The wildly beautiful far south of St. Kitts is where to find Christophe Harbour. It’s the first development in this area and its low-impact design reflects the spirit of the rest of the island. Luxurious villas and apartments surround the marina, and the Caribbean’s first Park Hyatt resort opened here in 2017.

Nevis

The little island of Nevis is just off the southern tip of St. Kitts. Known for deserted beaches and a lush, forested interior, it’s also home to mist-shrouded Mount Nevis and a vast population of hummingbirds.

  • Regular ferries run between St. Kitts and Nevis and it’s an easy day out with kids.
  • Four Seasons Resort Nevis overlooks Pinney’s Beach on the west coast.
  • Historic Charlestown has some beautifully restored colonial homes, and iconic Bath Hotel is the oldest in the Caribbean.
  • Take a guided tour of Eden Brown Estate and Hamilton Estate. Both romantically ruined 18th century sugar plantations and filled with tall and haunting tales.
  • Don’t miss: Horatio Nelson Museum; Oualie Beach; Nevis Heritage Trail; Botanical Gardens of Nevis; St. John’s Fig Tree Church; the Jewish Cemetery.

What to do

  • Brimstone Hill Fortress
    St. Kitts most famous fortress and only UNESCO World Heritage Site, sits on the island’s west coast.
  • Dolphin Discovery, Frigate Bay
    As close to a waterpark as it gets on Saint Kitts, Dolphin Discovery focuses as much on learning about cetacean as swimming with them.
  • Sailing Safaris, St. Kitts & Nevis
    With the Atlantic and Caribbean, plus two different islands to play with, you have to sail at least once on a family holiday.
  • Water Sports, St. Kitts
    From flyboarding to guided snorkelling safaris, hoverboarding, kayaking, SUP and kiteboarding, if it can be done on water, it’s done here.
  • St. Kitts Scenic Railway
    The Last Railway in the Caribbean takes you round the island’s coast on a vintage sugar plantation train.
  • Sky Safari, Wingfield Estate
    Wingfield Estate’s rainforest ziplines and tree canopy aerial adventures have won just about every travel award imaginable, with good reason
  • Clay Villa Plantation House & Gardens, St. Kitts
    Visit Clay Villa and learn about the island’s early history, its sugar industry and more enlightened times. Craft demos and family events are fun too.
  • St. Kitts Turtles
    Green, Leatherback and Hawksbill Turtles all nest on St. Kitts. The local conservancy team welcomes families to help with tagging and site monitoring.
  • Days out on Nevis
    Six different ferries sail from St. Kitts to Nevis in high season, the journey only takes 45 minutes, so it’s an easy day out with kids.
  • Beach ‘n’ Trail Horse Riding, Nevis
    Complete beginners from age six can trot along Nevis’ peaceful beaches, visit island villages and explore the countryside on Beach ‘n’ Trail family tours.


Educational value for kids

  • Alexander Hamilton, first US Secretary of the Treasury, was born on the island of Nevis in 1757. His family home is now the Museum of Nevis History. The house has been beautifully restored and sits overlooking historic Charlestown Harbour.
  • Over a quarter of St. Kitts is covered in rainforest. The protected environment’s home to a huge variety of birds and mammals including the island’s famously charming Green Vervet Monkeys. Explore on a guided jeep tour, try the all-out thrill of tree-canopy ziplining or hire mountain bikes and ride the well-marked trails.
  • St. Kitts Christmas Carnival is an unforgettable experience and kids love the traditional stilt dancing Moko-Jumbies, outrageous clowns, acrobats and spectacular Mas parades.
  • St. Kitts was the wealthiest and most coveted English colony in the Caribbean during the 18th century, thanks to sugar cane. By 1775, a total of 68 plantations flourished on the island. Several of the grand estates are now heritage sites and welcome visitors.
  • Night hikes are a St. Kitt’s tradition and great fun with older kids. One of the most rewarding for stargazing and nocturnal views of Basseterre is the after-dark ascent of Souffa Stone. There are several good guided tours, so you don’t miss any of the sights, sounds or local legends.
  • Scaly-breasted Thrasher and Black-whiskered Vireo, are just two of the hundreds of oddly named and incredible birds indigenous to St. Kitts. Birders of St. Kitts and Nevis have info packs for kids and fun report sheets to record sightings.
  • St. Kitts and Nevis Restaurant Week in late July is when to discover rising stars and food legends, try traditional and not so traditional Caribbean cooking, and eat your way round the islands like locals.

 

Getting around with kids in Saint Kitts & Nevis

It takes less than an hour to drive from one end of St. Kitts to the other. Car hire isn’t essential but there are no local transport services, apart from mini-buses and taxis. The island doesn’t have a single traffic light and the roads are quiet, so cycling’s a good option with older kids. There are regular ferry crossings to Nevis, no shortage of guided tours and many resorts have water taxis or shuttle services.



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