Caribbean Tourism

Before Travelling

Climate

The weather is pleasant all year round but the best time to visit is during the dry months from Nov-May. The temperature varies between 17°C and 33°C, tempered by sea winds and with an average annual rainfall of 55 ins on St Kitts and 48 ins on Nevis. St Kitts received severe damage from the flooding associated with Hurricane Lenny in November 1999. Coastal roads were cut, buildings damaged and the Fort Zante tourist project was so badly hit that its future was in the balance.


Documents

US and Canadian visitors do not require passports but need only produce proof of citizenship to stay up to six months. Other nationalities need passports and a return ticket but for up to six months visas are not required for Commonwealth and EU countries, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, San Marino, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and nationals of other member countries of the OAS, with the exception of the Dominican Republic and Haiti who do require visas. Visas can be extended for US$20 per month for the first three months and then US$30 for the following three months up to a maximum of six months.

Safety

Note that the penalties for possession of narcotics are very severe and no mercy is shown towards tourists. Theft has increased, do not leave your things unattended in a car or on the beach.

Health

Mains water is chlorinated, but bottled water is available if preferred for drinking, particularly outside the main towns. Dairy produce, meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe. A yellow fever or cholera vaccination certificate is required if you are arriving from an infected area.

Official Time

Atlantic Standard Time, four hours behind GMT, one ahead of EST.

Voltage

230 volts AC/60 cycles (some hotels have 110V).

Money

  • Currency: East Caribbean dollar: EC2.70=US$1. US dollars accepted. When prices are quoted in both currencies, for example for departure tax, taxi fares, a notional rate of EC$2.50 = US$1 is used. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that can be imported or exported, but the amount of local currency exported is limited to the amount you imported and declared. Visa is the most widely used, Access/Mastercard and Diners Club are not so popular.
  • Departure Tax: There is an airport departure tax of US$17 per person, not payable for stays of less than 24 hours (or when you leave on the same flight number as you arrived the previous day, that is slightly more than 24 hours), and an environmental levy of US$1.50.

Banks

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is based in Basseterre, and is responsible for the issue of currency in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines. There is a local bank on St Kitts: St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank (5 branches: on the corner of Central Street and West Independence Square Street; Pelican Mall; Sandy Point, T465-2204/6331/2701 open 0830-1500 except Thur 0830-1200, Sat 0830-1100, a branch at Saddlers Village, T4657362, opens 0830-1300 except Thur 0830-1200 and Sat 0830-1100) and on Nevis, West Square St, Charlestown, T4695244, same hours.

In addition, on Nevis, there is the Nevis Co-operative Banking Co Ltd and the Bank of Nevis. Foreign banks on St Kitts: Barclays Bank Plc (on the Circus, Basseterre, T4652519, open Mon-Thur 0800-1500, Fri 0800-1700, the other at Frigate Bay, open Mon-Thur 0800-1300, Fri 0800-1300, 1500-1700, T465-2264/2510), Royal Bank of Canada (on the Circus, Basseterre, T4652519, open Mon-Thur 0800-1500, Fri 0800-1700, T465-2259/2389), Bank of Nova Scotia (Fort Street, open Mon-Thur 0800-1500, Fri 0800-1700, T4654141); on Nevis, Barclays (T469-5467/5309) and Bank of Nova Scotia (T4695411). Open 0800-1500 Mon-Thur, Fri until 1700. Avoid lunchtimes (1200-1300) and after 1500 on Fri as banks are busy with local workers. If you are in a hurry, choose a foreign bank as their queues are often shorter. Visa and MasterCard accepted by all 3. ATMs are available at all banks but dispense local currency only.

Laundry

Warners, Bird Rock Road, Basseterre, T4658630, including dry cleaning (allow a week). Others include Dr Cleaners, T4668075/6; the People’s Store, T4652056; Elite Laundry Enterprise, T4656508. In Nevis, Clean Wash Laundrette, T469-0681/1188.

Public Holidays

  • New Year’s Day (1 Jan)
  • Carnival Day/Las’ Lap (2 Jan)
  • Good Friday, Easter Monday
  • May Day (1st Mon in May)
  • Whit Monday (end of May)
  • The Queen’s birthday (June)
  • Aug Mon/Emancipation Day (beginning of the month)
  • National Heroes Day (16 Sep)
  • Independence Day (19 Sep)
  • Christmas Day (25 Dec)
  • Boxing Day (26 Dec)

More . . .

Basseterre

The small port of Basseterre is the capital and largest town. By West Indian standards, it is quite big and as such has a quite different...

Excursions - St. Kitts

A clockwise route around the island will enable you to see most of the historical sites. A cheap way of touring the island is to take a...

Getting There

Air From Europe: JMC Airways offers a weekly charter flight directly into St Kitts from London and is the most convenient way to get there...

Getting Around

Air Airlines: LIAT, TDC Airline Services, PO Box 142, Basseterre, T465-2511/2286, and Evelyn’s Travel, on Main Street, Charlestown, general...

Communication

Telephone Services The telephone company, Cable & Wireless, has digital telecommunications systems for the two islands and...

Tourist Information

Embassies and Consulates There is a Venezuelan Embassy on St Kitts and an Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan. There are also...

Charlestown

The main town is Charlestown, one of the best preserved old towns in the Caribbean. Situated on Gallows Bay and guarded by Fort Charles to...