Escape the well-beaten tourist trail for a relaxing honeymoon or romantic getaway on St Kitts, an appealing island famous for its rich maritime history, lush and unspoiled natural scenery, pristine beaches and friendly, old-fashioned West Indian charm.
Add a choice of luxurious restored plantation inns and fine dining restaurants and St Kitts becomes the perfect island for a Caribbean honeymoon.
St Kitts is famous as the first English settlement in the West Indies – founded in 1624. The French followed a year later, dividing the island between the two powers. Both nations then used the island as a base to settle neighbouring islands.
Following the expulsion of the French in 1727, St Kitts and Nevis became a British overseas territory, remaining so until independence in 1983, when the islands formed a two-island nation – the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
During the 18th century, St Kitts became one of the richest sugar-cane economies of the plantation era.
Head to the southeast coast of St Kitts for the best white-sand beaches on the island, which nestle beneath grass-covered hills on either side of the picture-perfect peninsula. Paths provide scenic views and easy access to all the beaches.
St Kitts beaches are all public and hotels are required to provide access, although most hotels will charge a small fee for beachside facilities, such as umbrellas and sun loungers.
The best beaches in St Kitts, include…
Unwind on the soft golden sand of this 6km-long palm-fringed beach that sits between bush-covered sand dunes and the occasionally choppy Atlantic waters of the scenic bay.
The beach stretches north from beneath the majestic steep promontory of Sir Timothy’s Hill to Muddy Point.
Visit for a day or stay longer at the 5-star St Kitts Marriott Resort, where you can be pampered with a range of creature comforts. Relax in a sun lounger in front of the Marriot or find your own secluded spot to sunbathe and swim just a short stroll away on a less-manicured section of the beach.
A restaurant and bar sits on the northern section while the south end is pristine, wild and uncrowded – perfect for beachcombing and horseback riding.
Frigate Bay is less than 5km from Basseterre.
Should the Atlantic side of Frigate Bay be too choppy for swimming, just take a 15-minute stroll across the narrow hilly peninsula to South Frigate Bay, where soft white sand shelves into the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Flanked by verdant green hills, this 500m-long beach is dotted with a good choice of lively bars and cafés where you can hire umbrellas and sun loungers.
Come for a day or stay longer at the family friendly Timothy Beach Resort. Swim anywhere along the beach or snorkel beneath the rocky headlands at the eastern end.
Frigate Bay is less than 5km from Basseterre.
Unwind on this 600m-long golden-sand beach that shelves into Atlantic waves and lies nestled beneath a picturesque grassy hillside.
There are no facilities on this secluded beach, which offers good swimming and bodysurfing, and excellent wind and kite surfing when the breeze picks up.
Dip your toes into the soft white sand of this 900m-long beach that shelves into the calm waters of the Caribbean and offers perfect swimming conditions.
Nestled beneath grassy hills and only a short walk from North Friar's Bay, this south coast beach offers a choice of lively beachside bars and cafes, where you also arrange umbrellas and sun loungers.
Friar's Bay is roughly 1.5km south of Frigate Bay.
Savour this wild and pristine crescent of white sand that edges a sheltered cove framed by steep grassy hills.
There are no facilities on this 600m-long beach so you may want to take your own food and drinks.
Swim and snorkel in the calm water and follow hillside trails for panoramic views over the peninsula.
This pretty beach lies south of North Friar's Bay Beach, around 16km from Basseterre, and is easily accessed along the Simmonds Highway.
Sunbathe on this unspoiled golden-sand beach that stretches for 3km around the southern end of the island.
Swim in the calm waters, unwind at one of the lively beach bars and climb hillside trails for scenic vistas.
Cockleshell Bay is easily reached by driving to the end of the Simmonds Highway.
Although this beach is scattered with rocks, there is excellent snorkelling over the offshore coral gardens and around two wrecks, including the remains of an 18th century British troop ship.
Take a sun umbrella, food and drinks, as there are no facilities. The beach faces the Caribbean, around 3km south of Friar's Bay, and is easily accessed by a dirt road that comes off the Simmonds Highway.
Apart from relaxing on the beach, beside the pool or in a hammock slung between two palm trees, St Kitts offers a good range of outdoor activities for active couples.
Scuba diving and snorkelling – Scuba dive the clear waters around Nag’s Head at the southern tip of St Kitts, or Booby Shoals off Cockleshell Bay, to see rich coral gardens teeming with marine life that includes colourful fairy basslet, angelfish, nurse sharks and stingrays, among other species.
Various dive centres provide excursions to a variety of dive sites, equipment and instruction for PADI open-water certification.
Hiking – Choose from several hiking trails that wind through tropical rainforest, cloud forest, bush-covered hillsides and alongside riverbanks.
Hike the challenging slopes of Mt Liamuiga for rewarding vistas, trek the Old Military Trail that bisects the island or follow a well-marked scenic trail along Wingfield's River. Tour guides are happy to provide additional information about local flora and fauna.
St Kitts Scenic Railway – To discover the best of St Kitts’ verdant landscape, take a 3.5-hour circular tour of the island in the air-conditioned railcars of the St Kitts Scenic Railway, a narrow-gauge train that follows the old sugar-cane rail tracks and provides panoramic vistas of lush forest-clad mountains and views over the Caribbean Sea.
The spacious open-air observation deck of the upper level offers the best views during the 58km-long trip that travels from Sandy Point to Basseterre, travelling east. A bar on the train provides cold drinks.
Scenic Tour – Hire a car and explore the scenic Dr Kennedy Simmonds Highway, a 10km-long road that winds along the beautiful south-east peninsula and provides access to several of the island’s best beaches.
Or follow winding trails through lush rainforest and long deep ravines to the 788m-high caldera of Mount Liamuiga (or Mount Misery), St Kitts’ highest point at 1156m above sea level.
Be rewarded with fabulous panoramas overlooking the entire island and several neighbouring Caribbean islands.
The 5-hour round trip hike also offers the opportunity to descend 120m into the crater floor, home to various flora and a tiny lake.
Basseterre – In the capital, Basseterre, stroll the colonial-era streets lined with French and English colonial-era architecture buildings that flow outwards from The Circus and tree-fringed Independence Square, site of the former slave market.
Visit the colourful public market then picnic in the grounds of Brimstone Hill Fortress, savouring views across to the islands of Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, Statia, St Martin and St Barts – one of the best vistas in the Caribbean.
Brimstone Hill Fortress – Explore this remarkable fortress that was built by the British in 1690 in the middle of a national park atop a 243m-high promontory, commanding one of the most dramatic views in the Caribbean.
Once known as ‘The Gibraltar of the West Indies’, Brimstone was the scene of several Franco–British battles during the 18th century. Today you can tour this restored monument, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Site.
Explore ruins and various sections of the restored fortress including the Citadel of Fort George, the hospital, ammunition stores and officers’ quarters.
Then wander nature trails looking out for green vervet monkeys and hummingbirds. Brimstone Hill is around 14km west of Basseterre.
Golf – Tee-off from the 18-hole Royal St Kitts Golf Course, a championship course located in the grounds of the Marriot Resort and offering challenging fairways with scenic views of both the Atlantic and Caribbean.
Island hopping to Nevis – Hop on the local ferry and explore neighbouring Nevis, St Kitts' sister island. Discover pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, lush unspoiled natural scenery and a choice of luxurious restored plantation inns and fine dining restaurants.
More about Nevis …
For honeymoon couples, St Kitts offers a range of charmingly restored plantation-era inns, including the stylish Ottley’s Plantation Inn, a large and graceful 17th century plantation house set in landscaped grounds just 10km north of the airport.
Or try the elegant Golden Lemon Inn and Villas, which nestles within a palm grove overlooking a black volcanic-sand beach on the northwest coast.
The best time to visit St Kitts is from early-December to mid-April – the coolest period of the year, and also outside the hurricane season. Temperatures average 26°C (78°F).
St Kitts has a hot and humid tropical climate year-round, with a relatively cool, dry season from January to mid-April and a hot, humid and rainy season from mid-June to mid-November.
You can expect rainfall throughout the year, with the heaviest rainfall in the inland mountainous region from July to November. February to June are drier and sunnier months.
Temperatures remain warm all year round with little seasonal variation. The coastal regions are usually a couple of degrees warmer than the mountains, with the west coast having an increase in sunshine. Hurricanes are possible anytime from June to November.
For more climate info: St Kitts Weather Guide…
Saint Kitts, also known more formally as Saint Christopher Island, lies in the northern part of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean (known as the West Indies), around 80km (50mi) west of Antigua and 350km (217mi) southeast of Puerto Rico.
The most convenient route to Saint Kitts is by air to Robert L. Bradshaw Airport (SKB), formerly known as Golden Rock Airport, located just northeast of Basseterre, on the island of Saint Kitts.
Robert L. Bradshaw Airport (SKB) offers nonstop flights from Atlanta, Miami, New York and Toronto.
Find out how to get to St Kitts…
Saint Kitts and the neighbouring island of Nevis constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The capital city of Basseterre sits on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller island of Nevis lies approximately 3km (2mi) southeast of Saint Kitts across a shallow channel called 'The Narrows'.
By sea, from Basseterre on St Kitts to Charlestown on Nevis takes around 20 minutes by ferry, with several companies servicing this route. Cruise ships often dock at Basseterre.
Hiring a car offers the best way of exploring St Kitts. Taxis are also available as are micro buses, which offer an inexpensive and fun way to travel around.
Don't miss riding the scenic narrow gauge railroad formerly used for the sugar mill. The narrow-gauge St Kitts Scenic Railway circles the island.
More about how to get around St Kitts and Nevis…
Latest update: St Kitts Honeymoon Guide: 8 July, 2022