If you’re looking for the authentic Caribbean experience, I can recommend a visit to St Kitts, one half of the island federation of St Kitts and Nevis. The fields that once grew sugar cane are lush and undeveloped while the island capital of Basseterre has a laid back and slightly scruffy charm.
Yet if you know where to look there are plenty of things to do in St Kitts that will delight the stylish traveller. If you enjoy great design, delicious local food and places that are stylish without being stuffy, read on my recommendations on St Kitts.
This article may contain affiliate links that provide commission on purchases you make at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
1. Romney Manor and Caribelle Batik
I enjoyed visiting Romney Manor, the site of the plantation owner’s house for the nearby Wingfield Estate, which is also worth a look around to see the ruins of the old sugar plantation and rum distillery. Up on the hill above the estate are the lush gardens surrounding the manor with a majestic 400 year old Saman tree spreading its wide branches over the lawn.
Inside the manor house is Caribelle Batik, where I watched the ladies demonstrating how the batik is made, in a painstaking process of painting the wax design and dying the cloth many time in different colours. Outside the batik cloths were left to dry in the breeze in what must be the most photogenic washing line in the Caribbean.
After taking a look in the shop, I relaxed with a fruit punch on the terrace looking down on the plantation just as the overseer would have done, to keep check on the activities of the sugar mill. More info: Caribelle Batik Website
Read more about the Caribbean: 20 fabulous things to do in St Lucia
2. Brimstone Fortress – canons and views
Our minibus wound up the narrow road through stone gateways just wide enough for one car, finally reaching the fortress at the top of Brimstone Hill. The fort is a UNESCO world heritage site which dates back to the 18th century when the English and French were fighting to control the sugar-rich islands of the Caribbean.
There are plenty of different parts of the fort to see, but the best bit was climbing up to the stone citadel, where cannons pointed in all directions, guarding the coastline with stunning views across the island. More info: Brimstone Fortress Website
Looking for a hotel in St Kitts? Check these St Kitts hotel options and best prices.
3. Fairview Great House – a historic plantation house
This is an easy stop when you’re visiting the historic attractions of St Kitts. This 18th century plantation house is on the same road as Romney Manor and Brimstone Fortress as you drive out of Basseterre.
Here you can see the dining room table set with antique silver. View the bedroom with the four poster bed where Prince Charles stayed when the house was a hotel.
There are lovely botanic gardens too, surrounding the house with flowering plants and shady trees. They sometimes host rum tastings as part of a guided tour.
4. Relax in style at Palm Court Gardens
If you need a place to unwind and relax for the day, try Palm Court Gardens which is a favourite for cruise guests in Basseterre. The gardens are beautifully kept, there’s an infinity pool with views over the bay and you can swing in a hammock and buy lunch and snacks in the small cafe.
To add to the charms there’s a vintage Rolls Royce parked in the drive, a children’s playground if you have little ones and a workshop where they make beautiful shell jewellery and ornaments that are sold in the shop.
5. Walking in the rainforest in St Kitts
Over a third of St Kitts. is covered with rainforest, especially on the slopes of Mount Liamuiga, which you can climb for an adventurous day trek. For something a bit gentler I went for a forest walk from the Wingfield Estate.
I was led by expert guide O’Neil Mulraine who learned about the plants and wildlife from his grandfather. We took the easy forest trail alongside a trickling stream as O’Neil pointed out the different trees of the forest.
I saw the African tulip with vibrant orange flowers that was often used for shade on plantations. A tree trunk with needle sharp spines that the monkeys will climb, but only if they are desperate!
Overhead we could hear both the cries of the vervet monkeys and the shrieks of the people as they whizzed by on the zipline above our heads.
You may also enjoy: Waterfalls, volcanoes and hiking in St Lucia
Zoom through the rain forest canopy on a zipline experience tour
Places to eat in St Kitts for the stylish traveller
6. Ital Creations – for organic veggie food and juices
For an organic vegetarian lunch and fresh pressed juices stop at Ital Creations on By Pass Road road near the airport. The food trailer is open throughout the day.
Buy a bottle of juice and sit in the shade eating a baked veggie wrap with salad and hummus. While your thick green Moringa smoothie is being prepared, wander around the small organic farm.
Its run by Judah Fari and his wife Yayah where they grow papaya and pineapple, salad plants and the medicinal herbs used to make bush teas and flavour their dishes.
Explore the top 10 St Kitts food and restaurant experiences
7. The Kitchen at Belle Mont Farm
For an elegant lunch of small dishes call in at at Belle Mont Farm. This luxurious hotel was built on the slopes of Mount Liamuiga in the northern part of St Kitts.
Parking the car, you’ll be taken up in the electric buggy that winds a narrow path through the forest. Arrive at The Kitchen where lunch is eaten in the open sided dining room with views down to the sea.
Looking for a hotel in St Kitts? Check these St Kitts hotel options and best prices
The menu is made up of small plates, each designed to be a taster of local produce from the 400 acre organic farm and from the sea.
I tried the lobster salad, almost too pretty to eat with artfully strewn herbs and dots of passionfruit and sorrel sauce, and the tasty ginger, pumpkin and spinach soup. You may not leave full to bursting but your taste buds will be tingling.
8. Arthur’s on the beach at Belle Mont Farm
For drinks and bites on the black volcanic beach stop at Arthur’s that is also part of the Belle Mont Farm development. It’s a stylish beach bar that was only just open when I stopped by.
The setting was lovely, on a black volcanic beach where the fishermen pull up their boats. Their menu is based on traditional beach bar dishes such as conch fritters, grilled lobster and Mahi Mahi rillettes. It’s an elegant but casual place to dine at lunchtime and in the evening.
Discover 15 amazing things to do in Nevis
9. Salt Plage in St Kitts
For cocktails at sunset to a cool Reggae beat you can’t beat Salt Plage for a drink as the sun goes down. This trendy beach bar is part of the Christophe Harbour development.
Check out the deck beside the water and a jetty that also has comfortable seating to snuggle up for a romantic evening a deux. They serve drinks and cocktails every evening as well as small plates of favourite dishes.
Be sure to try the coconut shrimp, chicken wings and market fish with garlic butter and island herbs. There’s often a DJ or live reggae music. This really adds to the atmosphere as the sun sets and the coloured lights on the jetty reflect in the water lapping below.
Update: when we visited again in October 2022 Salt Plage was closed, so check before visiting.
Read more about St Kitts: 10 views of St Kitts that would make the perfect postcard
10. Reggae Beach Bar in St Kitts
For lobster and a beer on the beach try Reggae Beach Bar on Cockleshell Beach which serves drinks and food all day and into the evening. It’s a great place to base yourself for a day on the beach.
They have plenty of sun loungers for hire, although they may get crowded when there are a few cruise ships in port. The watersports hire is right next door.
This is a local’s favourite, where you can try all the typical seafood dishes such as conch chowder and grilled lobster, with the sand between your toes. Book this beach break to Cockleshell Beach tour.
11. Boozie’s on the beach
For a beach bar to relax with friends try Boozie’s on the beach at St Frigate Bay strip. This part of “The Strip” is a favourite area for locals and visitors in the evening.
All that bars along the beach are open for live music, food and drinks. The menu features well cooked hearty Caribbean favourites and there’s a sports bar atmosphere.
Check out the flags and number plates that happy customers have sent from around the world. This is the place to crack open a bottle of Carib beer or order a ‘Ting with a sting’ and relax with friends.
Looking for a hotel in St Kitts? Check these St Kitts hotel options and best prices.
12. Delicious street food on St Kitts
As you wander around Basseterre you’ll find plenty of street food vendors, especially at lunchtime when they cater to office workers. On a Friday and Saturday the locals like to buy jerk chicken and pork or grilled fish to take home for dinner.
It’s not always obvious what’s on offer but be adventurous and ask the vendor to show you what’s cooking under the metal covers. You may find the traditional St Kitts favourites like salt fish and Johnny cakes.
There might be goat water, which sounds disgusting but is actually a tasty stew. Or, try traditional food, homemade treats and cold drinks on this Basseterre food and drink tour.
Stylish places to stay on St Kitts
Park Hyatt St Kitts – Luxury on the beach
The Park Hyatt Hotel that is on the south-east peninsula on one of the most beautiful beaches overlooking the sister island of Nevis. This hotel would be perfect for the stylish traveller looking for a luxurious hotel right on the beach in St Kitts.
While St Kitts has been an unspoiled corner of the Caribbean, there are plenty of new developments that are putting it on the map for the stylish traveller. The Christophe Harbour marina, the Park Hyatt Hotel and Bellemont Farm at Kittitian Hill will soon provide even more to enjoy for the stylish traveller. Perhaps it’s time to start planning your relaxed but stylish holiday in St Kitts?
Visitor Information for St Kitts
Need a guide book for St Kitts? We recommend the DK Eyewitness Caribbean Travel Guide
British Airways flies to St Kitts from London Gatwick twice a week on Saturdays and Wednesdays with the flight going on to nearby Antigua. There are regular ferries every day to Nevis, with a journey time of 45 minutes from Basseterre. This makes it easy to plan a combined stay on both islands.
Planning a visit to St Kitts? We recommend the Footprint Guide to St Kitts, Nevis, Antigua and Monserrat
For a full range of private tours available check out these St Kitts tour options.
If you’re looking for a guide book for use on a Caribbean cruise, we recommend the DK Eyewitness Caribbean Travel Guide which covers all your likely ports of call. For something more in depth try the Footprint Guide to St Kitts, Nevis, Antigua and Montserrat.
While on St Kitts, Heather stayed at the boutique Rockhaven bed and breakfast. Check out the best prices and book hotels on St Kitts.
Feel free to download this photo for your Zoom Background
Thanks to St Kitts Tourism for hosting* Heather’s visit to St Kitts.
* More info on my policies page
This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com