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KST Travel





Report Summary

Basseterre, St Kitts
Philipsburg, St Maarten
St Maarten, St Martin/St Maarten

Basseterre, St Kitts, St Kitts & Nevis



The British picked Basseterre as the colonial capital in 1727, and, despite hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and fires, the city has prospered. Today, the island's largest and only true city is a pleasant mishmash of things past and present. Although you'll see some fine examples of West Indian architecture—arched doors and balconies detailed in lattice—you'll encounter crumbling concrete-block structures, too. An eclectic assortment of upscale shops aimed at tourists abuts dusty stores selling home appliances to islanders. At lunchtime, the narrow sidewalks fill up with islanders in business attire and visitors dressed in shorts and T-shirts. The result is an unpretentious charm that's often missing in Caribbean towns that have been sanitized solely for benefit of tourists.

About 7 mi/11 km north of Basseterre, on the main road that circles St. Kitts, you'll come to Old Road Town, where the first colonists landed in 1623, led by Sir Thomas Warner, who later became the first British governor in the West Indies. (Warner is buried in the graveyard of St. Thomas' Church, in the village of Middle Island. His epitaph, in his own words, boasts of his position in the colonies: General of My Caribee.) A historical marker notes the landing, but there is little else to see in Old Road Town. Just a bit farther on down the main road, there's a turnoff that leads to an area where you can view Carib rock drawings.

Farther along the coastal road, near the village of Bell Vue, Black Rocks is a gnarled outcropping of rocks that juts out of the Atlantic along the island's northeast coast. A volcanic eruption that sent lava spewing into the sea created the unusual rock formations, which are definitely worth a look and a few snapshots.

See & Do


Historic Sites

Berkeley Memorial
The Berkeley Memorial is a drinking fountain and clock that marks the center of Basseterre. It was erected in 1883 in honor of a local planter. It sits in the center of a roundabout named The Circus, erected by Lord Combermere in honor of Thomas B.H. Berkeley, a legislator of St. Kitts. The landmark is surrounded by shops, restaurants and banks. The Circus, Basseterre.


International House Museum and Edgar Challenger Library
Zach Nisbett, the Doctor of Culture, as he is affectionately known, is the curator of a unique museum that operates from the home of Edgar Challenger, the first president of the Labour Trade Union in 1939. If you have time to explore, International House Museum will occupy you for hours. The museum has a large archive of documents, books, artifacts and photos of historic events that affected the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. There is also a mini-animal sanctuary on the premises that provides a home for vervet monkeys, iguanas, mongoose, turtles and ginny birds, to name a few. Open daily 9 am-9 pm. EC$5 adults, EC$2 children. Church Street (at Central Street West), Basseterre. Phone 869-664-9016.

National Museum
St. Kitts National Museum is located in the Old Treasury Building, a historic site in its own right. Not only was it the main entrance to Basseterre upon arrival by water, but it was once used as a lighthouse to guide incoming vessels safely to shore. The National Museum shares with the visitor a pictorial view of Kittian and Nevisian history, society, music, landscape, crafts, customs and traditions. Also make sure to visit the St. Christopher Heritage Society, which is housed in the same building and is the guardian of a huge collection of documents, books, photos and artifacts that tell about the history, heritage, culture and environment of St. Kitts and Nevis. Bay Road (at Fort Street), Basseterre. Phone 869-465-5584.

Religious Sites

Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception
The Catholic Church of Immaculate Conception was built in 1856. It was demolished in 1927, and a modern structure with two steeples was designed and built on the same site a year later by architect Father Claeys. East Independence Square Street, Basseterre. Phone 869-465-2451.

St. George's Anglican Church
The first Anglican church was constructed in 1630 by Capuchin Friars. St. George's Anglican has a long history of being demolished and rebuilt many times during the late 17th century and most of the 18th century as it fell victim to the "Great Fire" of Basseterre in 1763 and the "Great Earthquake" of 1843 and other structural changes. A visit to this well-attended chapel will be a real treat if you appreciate Gothic architecture. Cayon Street, Basseterre. Phone 869-465-6691.

Wineries, Breweries & Distilleries

Carib Breweries
Carib Breweries makes the local brew, Carib, and several other beers. Tours are available. 10A Cayon St. East, Basseterre. Phone 869-465-2309.


Boating & Sailing

Blue Water Safaris
Blue Water Safaris offers fishing, sunset and moonlight cruises, party cruises, Nevis day tours and snorkeling. US$45-$85. Located on Princess Street, Basseterre. Phone 869-466-4933.

Leeward Island Charters
The operation offers catamaran cruises on three boats, including the 70-ft/21-m Spirit of St. Kitts. The Spirit's 9:30 am-4:30 pm cruise features unlimited refreshments, a beach barbecue and open bar, and a snorkel stop. Shorter sails are also available, depending on the season. US$80 adults. Fort Street, Basseterre. Phone 869-465-7474.

Scuba & Snorkeling

Kenneth's Dive Centre
This outfit offers instruction and equipment, and also offers services for handicapped people. Bay Road, Basseterre. Phone 869-465-7043 for the dive shop or 869-465-2670 for the dive center.


Bars, Taverns & Pubs

Island Rhythms
It has slot machines on the main floor, and a bar and stage on the third floor with an outside balcony for lounging. Dancing, karaoke and special events are scheduled throughout the week. Open daily. Fort Street, Basseterre. Phone 869-465-6802.


Specialty Stores

Philatelic Bureau
You can purchase St. Kitts and Nevis stamps there, said to be among the most beautiful in the world. Bay Road (east of Fort Street; next to the post office), Basseterre. Phone 869-465-2521.


Local Tours

Tropical Tours
Choose from a rain-forest hike, volcano hike, horseback riding, kayaking, snorkeling, deep-sea fishing or scuba diving. Or take a cruise on the catamarans Irie Lime or Spirit of St. Kitts to take in a sunset. Cayon Street, Basseterre. Phone 869-465-4167 or 869-465-4039.


Hotel Listings

Phone: (1) 869-465-8914
Fax: (1) 869-465-1675
Toll Free: (1) 877-244-6285

Bird Rock Beach Hotel
South Pelican Dr Po Box 227
46 Guest Rooms • 2 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: Bird Rock
Nearby Points of Interest: Botantical Gardens of Romney Manor (Gardens & Batiks) • Brimstone Hill Fortress (Historic Fortress) • Mt Liamuiga Volcano (Volcano Tours)

Phone: (1) 869-465-2754
Fax: (1) 869-465-1057
Toll Free: (1) 800-524-0512

Ocean Terrace Inn
Wigley Ave, Fortlands PO Box 65
69 Guest Rooms • 1 Meeting Room • Restaurant[s]
Location: 2 mi from airport; .5 mile from financial district
Nearby Points of Interest: Brimstone Hill • Turtle Beach

Phone: (1) 869-465-7234
Fax: (1) 869-465-4760
Toll Free: (1) 800-772-3039

Ottley's Plantation Inn
Ottley's Estate Po Box 345
23 Guest Rooms • 3 Meeting Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: 15 min from St Kitts airport
Nearby Points of Interest:

Phone: (1) 869-466-4557
Fax: (1)
Toll Free: (1)

Turtle Beach Bungalows
Christophe Harbour
4 Guest Rooms • Restaurant[s]
Location: At what used to be called Mosquito Bay; 20 minutes from town
Nearby Points of Interest:

Philipsburg, St Maarten, St Martin/St Maarten



Located on a narrow strip of land on the southern coast between the Caribbean Sea and the Great Salt Pond, Philipsburg, St. Maarten, wraps around Great Bay, a lovely natural harbor that's too shallow for large ships. The town itself is only three blocks wide, its main streets running parallel to the water. The main shopping street is called Front Street while the parallel street, favored by locals, is called Back Street.

Wathey Square is always packed with people, tourists and residents alike. Across from the square is the green-and-white wooden courthouse. Built in 1793, it was originally the home of Cmdr. John Philips, the founder of Philipsburg. The structure has since housed the fire station, the jail, the town hall and the post office (but never a church, which it resembles).

Recently renovated with new and upgraded rooms, The Pasanggrahan Hotel at the eastern end of Front Street is St. Maarten's oldest inn and was frequented by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. It is still the lodging of choice for visiting dignitaries from the Netherlands. The lobby bar is a spirited happy-hour locale when the sun sets, and the hotel's restaurant is recommended for breakfast, lunch or a fine dinner (phone 542-3588). A few blocks away is the St. Maarten Museum.

Fort Amsterdam, the first Dutch fort built in the Caribbean, sits atop the peninsula that separates Great Bay from Little Bay. To get there, follow the trail from the west end of Front Street up and over the hill to Little Bay. Only a cannon or two and a few walls remain, but historically this was Philipsburg's most important bastion. It was built in 1631 but captured by the Spaniards two years later. Although the fort's military importance has definitely waned, the views over Great Bay remain spectacular.

Fort Willem, which also guarded Philipsburg from enemy attack, is near the western end of town (look for the television transmission tower). Even though little of the fort still exists, the view of Philipsburg and beyond to the neighboring islands makes it worth the half-hour trek up the dirt road opposite the entrance to the Great Bay Hotel. Be aware that the drive to the top is treacherous—it's better to walk if you have the time, energy and a good pair of sneakers.

The most spectacular views on the Dutch side, especially at sunset, are from the observation platform on Cole Bay Hill, northwest of Philipsburg. If you drive up, you'll find a small parking lot. Across the water in one direction are the islands of Saba, St. Eustatius, Nevis and St. Barts. Simpson Bay is in the other direction, dotted with sailboats and megayachts.


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