The two islands that make up the miniature Saint Kitts and Nevis were called by their Native American people “The Lush Island” and “The Island of Beautiful Water”. Just as the names suggest, Saint Kitts and Nevis are among the Caribbean’s most scenic islands. You come here to explore rainforest-clad mountains, old sugar plantations and beautiful salt lakes – and of course to just enjoy with sand between your toes, solar heat on your nose and a glass of locally made rum in hand.
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Geography and climate in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis is an island nation in the Caribbean that consists of the almost circular island of Nevis and the elongated Saint Kitts. Or as the Americans see it – a baseball and a baseball bat. The small island kingdom is located in the Lesser Antilles south of Guadeloupe and the Greater Antilles, west of Antigua and Barbuda and northwest of Montserrat. The landscape on both islands is mountainous and the volcanoes in the central parts are covered by tropical rainforest. The climate is tropical, but the heat is still pleasant thanks to cool winds from the sea. According to bridgat, the temperature varies very little during the year, and stays steady around about 27-30 degrees. It rains between May and November, and the dry season falls between December and April. Between July and October, a hurricane can create quite a stir in the small island kingdom.
History of Saint Kitts and Nevis
The 40,000 inhabitants of Saint Kitts and Nevis are mainly of African descent. However, they are joined by a minority of British, Portuguese and Lebanese origin. Columbus stopped at Saint Kitts during his second voyage to America in 1493 – however, he was not the first to arrive on the island. The first Indians arrived from Florida 5,000 BC. and thereafter different Native American populations replaced each other for thousands of years, until the Europeans arrived. In the years following Columbus’ visit, a small number of Spaniards and French settled on the two islands, but colonization in the true sense of the word did not begin until British settlers landed on Saint Kitts in 1623. The Caribbean, unlike the Indians on many of the neighboring islands, no resistance and allowed the newcomers to establish their colonies without battle. The British showed their gratitude to the Indians by exterminating them all in one place, later renamed Bloody Point. Although the Indians no longer posed a threat, the British still did not have Saint Kitts to themselves. They found themselves sharing the island with French colonial masters, and both groups used the island as a starting point for their colonization of the rest of the Caribbean. Nevis was not interested in the French, so a group of Britons from Saint Kitts crossed the three-kilometer-wide canal that separates the islands. Here a small colony was founded which was governed without any major connection to the neighboring island. By 1713, the British had also taken full control of Saint Kitts, and the French had a beautiful trip to Martinique and Guadeloupe. After 360 years as a colony, the country became independent from Great Britain in 1983.
Natural sites in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Although the beaches are neither as beautiful nor famous as in many other places in the Caribbean, there is no reason to leave your swimwear at home. Both islands have good beaches, and you can choose between the classic white sand and the more unusual gray-black sand that is often found on volcanic islands. There is also every reason to dive or snorkel as the small country has several beautiful coral reefs with both tropical fish in bright colors and larger sea animals such as sharks, barracudas and sea turtles. The nature on land can be experienced through a walk along Saint Kitts’ mountain slopes among the rainforest’s meter-high trees and hummingbirds flocking around each bush. Only the smallest trails are properly marked and it is recommended that you join a guided tour. It also provides a good opportunity to learn more about the animals and plants you meet along the way.
Cultural attractions in Saint Kitts and Nevis
Tranquility and relaxation are high on the agenda during a holiday in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The party spirit can, however, get its fill at Saint Kitts’ annual carnival at the end of December. Then the streets are filled with samba music, costumed dancers and hopeful participants in the prestigious calypso competition. Despite the country’s small size, it can still boast a landmark that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List; Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a piece of ancient colonial architecture that unites three continents. Designed by British colonial masters and built by African slaves on a Caribbean island, the fort is an impressive and well-preserved witness to the expansion of the European empires, the African slave trade and the establishment of new communities on the North American continent. The national park is very exciting and contains a lot of history. The fort,
Anyone interested in the islands’ indigenous peoples should head west to the capital Basseterre in Saint Kitts. You first arrive at Bloody Point, where more than 2,000 Indians were slaughtered in 1626 after a Native American woman in love had gossiped to her lover about the Indians’ plans to attack the English. For three days after the crime took place, it is said that Bloody Point was in blood. The only physical memory is a rickety sign telling of the bloody event. If you continue the journey west, you will come to Old Road Town, where the first Englishmen landed. Just outside the city stands a huge black stone in which the Indians several hundred years ago carved the image of two human-like figures. It is believed that the stone was used for religious purposes.
A trip to Saint Kitts must of course also include a visit to the small scenic island of Nevis. Here, if possible, the pace is even slower than at Saint Kitts. Most of the island is reached during a day trip but offers many experiences. You can see the sugar plantations of the old colonial masters, dilapidated stone churches, palm-fringed beaches and the center of the island Nevis Peak, whose fabulous, mist-covered tip made Columbus believe that the tropical mountain peak was covered with snow.