St. Kitt's and Nevis, while small islands, are packed with fantastic views, lovely, quiet beaches, lush landscapes and rich history.
On St. Kitts:
Because of its location St. Kitts has historical significance as a strategic entry point into the sugar-plantation-rich Caribbean islands. Journey along the western coastal road to Brimstone Hill Fortress (St. Kitts Map E-2), one of the island's most significant strongholds from the past, nicknamed "Gibraltar of the West Indies" for its impressive size. Here you will have spectacular views of Montserrat, Nevis, Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts. The fort has been restored and became a national park in 1985. It's constructed of 7-foot-thick brimstone walls and displays definitive defensive architecture.
A bit further south on Bloody Point, visit the site of Stone Fort (St. Kitts Map G-5), where there was an uprising of the native population and thousands of the original Caribs were massacred in 1626 by French and English forces.
Onward to Basseterre, capital of St. Kitts, and one of the most beautiful towns in the Caribbean. The past can be seen in the colonial architecture surrounding Independence Square (Basseterre Map C-6), originally built for slave auctions and renamed in 1983 to honor political independence. On the east side of the square is the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Another imposing edifice is St. George's Anglican Church, originally named Notre Dame by the French. Its graveyard has stones dating back to the early 18th century. For a more lively experience, stop by the colorful market (Basseterre Map D-4) in town, busiest on Saturdays, where you can buy juicy local fruits and vegetables.
The Circus (Basseterre Map D-6), fashioned after London's Picadilly Circus, is considered the heart of town. In its center stands the Berkeley Memorial Clock, an ornate green bronze structure. The Circus is ringed with colonial buildings now housing shops and restaurants. South of The Circus is the domed Treasury Building, a reminder of the riches found in these islands in the heyday of the sugar plantation. Shops in Basseterre worth a visit include the Spencer Cameron Art Gallery (Basseterre Map C-6), which has a fine collection of prints and original Caribbean art. If you'd like to pick up unusual, locally made souvenirs, stop by Glass Island (Basseterre Map C-5), which produces glass items ranging from earrings and pendants to picture frames and platters. The southern end of St. Kitts affords fabulous white sand beaches for swimming, while on the eastern shore and in the north there are striking black volcanic beaches. The Atlantic tradewinds make both St. Kitts and Nevis ideal to windsurf and sail. There are dozens of unexplored wrecks for the diving devotee as well as gamefish for the fishing enthusiast. Ask at your hotel for information on charters and dive shops.
You will find more stunning natural beauty on the quieter sister island, Nevis. While St. Kitts has an extinct volcano, of Mount Liamuiga, quite worthy of a climb, Nevis offers Nevis Peak at its center. Rain forests abound as well as the interesting fauna and often medicinal flora. Inquire at your hotel for eco-tour information.
Among several fantastic beaches on Nevis is Pinneys Beach (Nevis Map C-1), renowned for its silky white sugar sand and calm waters. Oualie Beach (Nevis Map B-2), located in a cove, is perfect for diving and snorkeling.
The center of Nevis is Charlestown, also steeped in history. While in town visit the Museum of Nevis History at the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton (Charlestown Map B-2). This interesting museum houses exhibits which explain the geological formation of the island, its history and prehistory. Stop in and browse afterwards at the little gift shop here. Also worth a look is the Horatio Nelson Museum (Charlestown Map E-3), which commemorates the life of Admiral Nelson. The well-kept Jewish Cemetery (Charlestown Map D-3) affords a quiet respite with the residents of Nevis who have rested there as far back as 1679.
At the Nevis Handicraft Cooperative (Charlestown Map C-2) you might buy the folks back home homemade jellies and preserves, chutneys and hot sauces. For more local artifacts visit Newcastle Pottery (Nevis Map A-3), where you can watch potters mold, then fire red clay cook pots (called "yaba" by Rastafarians) over burning coconut shells.
Don't miss the St. Kitts and Nevis Philatelic Bureaux (Basseterre Map D-7, Charlestown Map C-1), which issue colorful postage stamps depicting island flora and fauna, considered by collectors to be among the best in the Caribbean.