Last updated: December 5, 2023
This island nation, spanning two separate islands, is more than just stunning beaches and tourism. While those are important components of St. Kitts & Nevis, this country is filled with rich history, volcanic rock, and an interesting history. Before you decide to visit – or even move to – this small Caribbean country, we’ll break down everything you need to know about it. Once you step foot in the country, you’ll feel as if you’ve known it your whole life!
On his second voyage in 1493, Christopher Columbus happened upon Saint Kitts, naming it “Saint Christopher” after himself, which was later shortened to “Saint Kitts.” Between 1623 and 1627, settlers from both England and France had inhabited the island, claiming portions of it as colonies of their respective countries. Over the next century, the two countries fought for control of this island, but ultimately, in 1783, the Peace of Paris treaty granted Britain the final ownership.
Nevis, found by Columbus on the same voyage, was given the name meaning “las nieves” or “the snow” because of the clouds floating above Nevis Peak when it was first sighted. It was officially settled by the English in 1628. These two islands, along with Anguilla, became a united nation that was overseen by the United Kingdom. Finally, in 1983, St. Kitts & Nevis became an independent country.
Until 2005, St. Kitts & Nevis was a global producer of sugar cane. Unfortunately for the island country, the global demand plummeted, forcing a turn to tourism as a way to bring in money. Today, small amounts of exports are still processed, such as material and textiles, but tourism is the main economic driver for St. Kitts & Nevis.
St. Kitts & Nevis offers a range of natural landscapes to enjoy; visitors can find vast volcanic sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, and tall mountains to climb. It is a nature-lovers paradise, offering a plethora of outdoor activities for a range of interests. Surprising to most, 42% of St. Kitts & Nevis is covered in rainforests. These lush forests are filled with animals, interesting produce, and hidden gems to explore.
Situated in a tropical hurricane area, St. Kitts & Nevis has moderate weather with warm summers and cooler winters, though the temperature range is fairly small. Rainy season is from May to November, with the nation getting an average of 55 inches per rain annually.
The capital, Basseterre, is home to much of the country’s urban population. With 30% of citizens residing in the city and a large majority, 70%, of citizens living in small villages, Basseterre is the economic and industrial hub of the country.
The culture of St. Kitts & Nevis is vibrant, welcoming to outsiders, and full of celebrations. Visitors to either island can experience a range of holiday festivities, dances, masquerades, and more. There’s also a deep influence from the country’s indigenous traditions; ceramics, leather products, and wood products are abundant, keeping alive African practices.
Whether you plan on visiting St. Kitts & Nevis or settling down to make it a home, you can try your hand at a number of water sports, fishing, or surfing. Since the water is warm and the beaches are breathtaking, it would be a shame to not take advantage of the beach offerings. You can also scuba dive if you’re looking for more adventure or simply bask in the sun on a yacht to relax.
If the beach is not your favorite activity, you can pass hours exploring the rainforest or climbing a mountain. If the outdoors, in general, miss the mark, enjoy some time in the city center or spend your days eating traditional dishes.
Fairly easy to get to by plane, the country has two large airports that can be reached by the US, United Kingdom, Canada, India, and much of Europe. Without a flight, you can hop on a cruise and take the long way to St. Kitts & Nevis, enjoying every sight along the way. Once you have arrived, you will notice that most transportation is via buses, taxis, cars, scooters, and bicycles. For more information, please check our article about traveling to Saint Kitts & Nevis.
Every visitor’s favorite part about this wonderful island nation is that being able to call it home is not far out of reach. St. Kitts & Nevis has one of the oldest and most efficient investment programs for foreigners to obtain Saint Kitts & Nevis citizenship by investment. You can choose to purchase real estate or submit a donation in order to become citizens of the country. When citizenship is granted, you can visit as often as you would like, relocate to the island, and experience some of the many perks of holding a St. Kitts & Nevis passport.
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