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Saint Kitts And Nevis
If the widely popular holiday destination that is the Caribbean still had hidden tropical gems, the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis would be those gems. Saint Kitts' verdant forests and laid-back local life and Nevis' luxury resorts and spas practically compel tourists into prolonging their holidays. Driving to Brimstone Hill Fortress, which is both a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a great way to appreciate the history of the islands.
Driving Tips for Saint Kitts and Nevis
The two islands have a good network of well-maintained roads. However, the roads are not particularly well-lit, so driving at night is not advised. Also, many sections follow winding routes so caution needs to be taken when driving here.
Driving licences: a local driving licence is required for driving on both islands. The licence can be purchased on the presentation of a valid foreign driving licence and payment of a fee.
Which side does Saint Kitts and Nevis drive on: the left.
Rural areas: 40mph (64kph)
Built-up areas: 25mph (40kph)
Alcohol limits: 0.08 per cent, the same as in the UK.
Driving age: 16 years; 21 years to hire a car.
Seatbelts: mandatory for drivers and all passengers.
Mobile phones and GPS: the use of a mobile phone while driving isn’t banned. GPS and travel maps are available.
Cost of fuel in Saint Kitts and Nevis: cheaper here than in the UK.
Car hire and fuel payment: major credit cards are accepted by large petrol stations and can be used to pay for car rental. Most petrol stations are small and may only be able to accept cash.
Insurance: coverage varies from one rental company to another so careful examination of the insurance details is advised. Consider add-ons like collision damage waiver to cover any mishaps that aren’t covered by basic insurance.
Traffic and parking: parking is mostly free and secure at hotels and resorts. Traffic congestion is rarely a problem.
The narrow gauge railway which begins and ends in Basseterre, the capital of the federation, circles the island of Saint Kitts. It used to transport sugar cane to the sugar factory in the capital but has now been developed into a tourist attraction. Saint Kitts Scenic Railway travels east from Sandy Point to Basseterre, with fares of around £80.
Taxis are readily available on both islands. The main taxi stand of Saint Kitts is on The Circus in Basseterre, while on Nevis, it is at D R Walwyn Plaza in Charlestown. Rates are fixed for popular destinations. If no fixed rate is available, it is recommended that a price be agreed upon with the driver, with fares rarely exceeding £12. A 50 per cent surcharge is added onto the taxi fare at night.
Buses on both islands are run by private companies with licences from the government. They can be hailed anywhere along their route, not necessarily just at designated bus stops. Passengers can also get off these buses anywhere along their routes. The main bus terminal of Saint Kitts is at Basseterre while in Nevis, it is in Charlestown. Fares are rarely above £0.25 for short trips.
Ferry services run between the islands, with a few sailings every day. The ferries are run by MV Caribe Queen, MV Sea Hustler and the Carib Breeze. A relatively new company runs the Sea Bridge ferry, which can take not only passengers, but vehicles too. The boat ride from Basseterre to Charlestown takes 45 minutes.
There are weekly direct flights to the main airport of Robert L Bradshaw International Airport on St Kitts from the UK’s London-Gatwick. The nation’s primary air hub is situated just outside of Basseterre, the capital. The tiny airport at St Nevis receives small planes from regional locations as well as from St Kitts.
Exploring Saint Kitts and Nevis
The best place to begin exploring the history of Saint Kitts and Nevis is the well-preserved British fortification of Brimstone Hill Fortress, a national park as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The commanding views of the coast from the fortress are a must-see here.
More of the federation's historic sites can be found in the capital of Saint Kitts, Basseterre. One of these sites is Independence Square, which used to be called Pall Mall Square and was once the site of a slave market.
Adventure seekers on holiday in the federation will want to hike up Saint Kitts' highest point, Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano which offers spectacular views of the island from its summit.
Diving is yet another popular adventure activity on the islands as some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean can be found here. Divers will see coral reefs, shipwrecks and underwater cave systems. Sandy Point, Wreck of River Taw and Turtle Bar are popular dive sites.
A drive along the coastal roads is a particularly popular activity. Along the way, visitors will see a number of scenic viewpoints, small villages and what are among the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean.
The climate of the two neighbouring islands is largely tropical, tempered by trade winds which blow for most of the year. The dry season is from January to April and is the best time to visit, with temperatures averaging 23˚C to 28°C. The rainy season, meanwhile, happens from May to November. Those travelling during this time of the year will want to keep abreast of weather updates as Saint Kitts and Nevis lies on the Caribbean's hurricane track.