If your cruise ship stops at St Kitts, your family is in for quite a treat!
St Kitts is a beautiful island with stunning beaches and lush rainforests, and unique historical and cultural attractions. It’s also very safe and easy to navigate, making it a perfect destination for families with young children.
So, wondering what to do in St Kitts on a cruise? There are plenty of things for families to do on the island, including shopping, dining, and sightseeing. Plus, St Kitts is home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Keep reading for our recommendations on what to do in St Kitts from a cruise ship.
The St Kitts Cruise Port
St Kitts is one of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean, and for good reason. The island has something for everyone.
The capital city of St Kitts, Basseterre, lies in the center of the island’s south coast and is home to the Port Zante cruise terminal. You can find many activities to keep you busy close to the port itself, including a duty-free shopping center and various cafes and restaurants.
The cruise terminal is within walking distance of a number of places to shop, eat and explore. You should look for The Circus (named after London’s Picadilly Circus). The Circus is the hub of Basseterre and a popular meeting place. At the center, you’ll find a large fountain and a striking clock on a raised platform surrounded by ample seating.
If you want to venture out further, but don’t want to book an official shore excursion, you will find plenty of local taxi drivers who are happy to provide a tour, or take you to any of the attractions listed below.
St. Kitts is a must-visit destination for any cruise ship passenger. With its beautiful beaches, rich history, and tasty food, there’s something for everyone on this charming island. Let’s dive in!
What To Do In St Kitts On A Cruise: The Best Beaches
Arguably, the biggest highlight of St Kitts is its unspoiled, white-sand beaches. Here are some of St Kitts’ best beaches:
- Turtle Beach,
- Banana Bay,
- Sand Bank Bay,
- South Friars,
- Major’s Bay.
Arguably the most popular beach along the southeast peninsula for residents and tourists alike, Cockleshell is known for its powdery white sand and diverse swimming spots. It’s about a 20-minute taxi ride from the cruise port.
Cockleshell Bay is on the South East edge of St. Kitts. It’s one of the few relatively quiet beaches on St. Kitts and Nevis. While Cockleshell Bay may be a little bit out of the way, it offers unparalleled relaxation opportunities. Chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, and you’ll find several food venues as well.
2. Turtle Beach
In contrast to Cockleshell, Turtle Beach is a quieter, laid-back beach along the southeast peninsula. Along with some excellent swimming spots, Turtle Beach is one of the best snorkeling locations in St Kitts since the surrounding coral reef houses numerous aquatic life and protects them from the vicious Atlantic waves.
Tranquillity reigns most of the time at Turtle beach, a lovely stretch of sand on the south-east peninsula, located at the end of a sometimes tricky dirt road just off the branch of the highway that leads to Cockleshell and Banana Bay. The bathing is excellent, and a bonus for snorkelers is a smorgasbord of dazzling fish swimming around the coral reef that protects Turtle beach from the Atlantic waves. It’s worth noting that a small fence makes the beach look as though it might be private property. It’s not: like all beaches in St Kitts and Nevis it’s public, and can be accessed by a gate in the fence.
3. Banana Bay
Another southeast peninsula beach, Banana Bay, embodies the spirit of St Kitts and the moniker of being “the way the Caribbean is meant to be.”
While this means that banana bay does not have the party atmosphere of Cockleshell or the snorkeling attractions of Turtle Beach, it is unmatched as the most tranquil beach on the island.
4. Sand Bank Bay
Flanked by cliff faces overlooking white sands, Sand Bank Bay is a southeast peninsula beach with moderate-sized Atlantic waves that provide enough swell to be fun but not dangerous. Thus making it a fun, safe beach for the whole family to enjoy!
5. South Friars
A favorite destination for the locals, South Friars is a golden sand beach located off the highway of the southeast peninsula. Along with some fantastic bathing, spots are some equally charming local bars and restaurants, all of which are known for their Caribbean flair and friendly service.
6. Major’s Bay
Sometimes simplicity is best, and nothing embodies that spirit more than the southeast peninsula beach of Major’s Bay. Essentially just a narrow stretch of golden sand and crystal blue calm waters, Major’s Bay is perfect for a quiet escape from the cruise ship.
Where Are The Best Attractions At St Kitts?
Outside of St Kitt’s world-class beaches, here are nine other activities for the whole family to enjoy:
- Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden,
- St. Kitts Scenic Railway,
- Romney Manor,
- Ocean’s Beach Bar and Aqua Park,
- St Kitts Rainforest Tour,
- St Kitts Chocolate Factory,
- Pelican Plaza,
- Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park.
1. Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden
Built in 1701, Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden is colonial wooden architecture at its grandest, including a sprawling Caribbean botanical garden for the whole family to enjoy during a warm summer’s day.
Other highlights of Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden include:
- Guided tours,
- Rum tasting tours,
- Cooking expedition tours.
2. St. Kitts Scenic Railway
Opened in 1912 and revamped for the tourist industry in 2003, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is the best way to experience and travel St Kitts in style across its 18-mile-long track.
Further to the train trip, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway also includes a 12-mile bus tour as part of a combined three-hour scenic, historical, and cultural tour of the island.
The St. Kitts Scenic Railway takes passengers on a 3-hour tour that makes a 30-mile circle around the beautiful Eastern Caribbean island of St. Kitts, with 18 miles by narrow gauge train and 12 miles on sightseeing buses. Built between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane from the island’s sugar plantations to the sugar factory in the capital city of Basseterre, today the “Last Railway in the West Indies” provides visitors an unsurpassed opportunity to experience the scenery and culture of this unspoiled country.
3. Romney Manor
Set across eight acres of manicured gardens and unspoiled Caribbean vegetation, Romney Manor has a rich history that dates back to pre-colonial times as the site of Chief Tegreman’s village in the 1600s.
Along with manmade history, Romney Manor is also home to Saman tree. The longest living organism at St Kitts at over 400 years old and 24 feet in circumference! It covers one-half an acre at the property.
This old plantation estate houses the Caribelle Batik works. You can watch colorful tie-dye clothes being made.
Romney Manor is adjacent to the Wingfield Estate which sits at the edge of the Central Reserve Rainforest.
4. Zipline/Canopy Tour
If you are in the area of Romney Manor, you should also check out the zipline tours offered at Wingfield Estate through Sky Safari. This is not a short joy ride, but an actual extended tour that runs about two hours. After an initial orientation on a training line, the main tour consists of four different zip lines.
The three main traversing lines run up to 1,400 feet long, while the final line is a dual zip line where guests can race each other. It crosses over a river. The three primary lines rise up to over 250 ft above ground level.
5. Ocean’s Beach Bar and Aqua Park
While St Kitts is a world-class destination for history buffs, it’s also fun to just let loose with the family. Fortunately, Ocean’s Beach Bar and Aqua Park at Frigate Bay have various water activities for children and adults alike to enjoy.
While a fun beach-oriented destination, don’t be misled by the name. It is not actually a water park. Rather, it is a large floating bouncy-style obstacle course set out in the middle of the ocean.
The popular restaurant/lounge offers authentic Caribbean dishes cooked fresh daily.
6. St Kitts Central Reserve Rainforest
The lush Central Forest Reserve Natural Park , the St Kitts Rainforest Tour blends historical manmade sights and natural Caribbean vegetation in a unique blend between nature and humanity.
The rainforest is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, which makes it an excellent place for nature enthusiasts of all ages. The rainforest has a number of hiking trails that are perfect for exploring, and there are also a number of scenic spots where visitors can take in the natural beauty of the area. Many fun photo opportunities for shots of monkeys, birds, exotic flowers, and a waterfall.
Depending on how you plan your day, you can also have the opportunity for a leisurely scenic hike. The paths are shaded by tree canopies and the temperature remains comfortable for the hike. The trails themselves are smooth but there is an incline as they wind up the mountainside. Keep your eyes open for rare birds, butterflies, and the elusive green velvet monkeys.
7. St Kitts Chocolate Factory
The St Kitts Chocolate Factory is the perfect destination for all sweet tooth lovers and is a symbol of St Kitts’ drive to take ownership and control of the processing of their locally farmed raw materials. Plus, it’s within walking distance of the cruise port!
St. Kitts, is affectionately known as Sugar City because of the numerous sugar plantations that once inhabited the island. St. Kitts is one of the Caribbean’s most popular tourist destinations. We are proud to be the island’s first and only producers of fine chocolate products.
St Kitts Chocolate Factory features a guided tour and an opportunity to make your own handcrafted chocolates with the assistance of their expert chocolatiers!
8. Pelican Plaza
Situated near Port Zante (and within walking distance), Pelican Plaza is a vintage-style, two-story shopping complex that has a host of locally made goods, souvenirs, beachwear, and duty-free items.
Furthermore, it is home to the St Kitts Tourist Office and near the National Museum of St Kitts, making it a great destination to start your family’s shore expedition!
9. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s considered one of the best-preserved historical fortifications in the Americas. Brimstone Hill rises nearly 800 feet high above sea level with very steep slopes. The walls of the fort were constructed primarily from the hard volcanic rock which makes up the hill. It’s the second-largest citadel fortress in the Caribbean (after the UNESCO Site in Haiti). The Fortress provides views of panoramic vistas of forested mountains, cultivated fields, and neighboring islands. Brimstone Hill Fortress is an excellent spot for a family outing. Kids will love exploring the fortress, and there are plenty of photo opportunities for the whole family. Be sure to add Brimstone Hill Fortress to your list of must-see attractions when visiting St. Kitts!
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s considered one of the best-preserved historical fortifications in the Americas.
Brimstone Hill rises nearly 800 feet high above sea level with very steep slopes. The walls of the fort were constructed primarily from the hard volcanic rock of which makes up the hill. It’s the second-largest citadel fortress in the Caribbean (after the UNESCO Site in Haiti). The Fortress provides views of panoramic vistas of forested mountains, cultivated fields, and neighboring islands.
Guided tours explore the entirety of this 18th-century fort, including but not limited to:
- The Fort George Citadel,
- The Fort George Museum,
- The Western Place of Arms,
- The Eastern Place of Arms,
- The Magazine Battalion,
- The Royal Engineers’ Quarters,
- The Artillery Officers’ Quarters,
- The Infantry Officers’ Quarters,
- The Orillon Bastion.
If you’re looking for what to do in St. Kitts during a cruise ship stop, you have plenty of activities to keep you busy. From exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park to hiking through the rainforest, relaxing on a pristine beach, or haggling in the market, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island. So start planning your visit today!