Separated by only about 3.2km (2 miles) of ocean from its other half, Nevis (p. 63 ), St. Kitts or St. Christopher, a name hardly anyone uses is by far the more populous of the two islands. St. Kitts is almost ridiculously lush and fertile, dotted with rainforests and waterfalls and boasting some lovely beaches; it’s also extremely poor, its economy still dependent on sugar cane. Cruise ships put in at modern Port Zante in Basseterre, a pleasant if low-key capital full of colonial architecture.
TOP DRAW Panoramic views abound at the 17th-century Brimstone Hill Fortress (www.brimstonehillfortress.org ), up the west coast from Basseterre, one of the largest and best- preserved forts in the Caribbean. Today, it’s the centerpiece of a national park crisscrossed by nature trails, with a population of green vervet monkeys to keep things lively. smell the roses Tropical gardens bedeck the ruins of the Romney Manor sugar estate, now home to the popular Caribelle Batik shop and workshop (www.caribellebatikstkitts.com ).
TOP BEACH Like a finger pointing toward Nevis, the narrow southeast peninsula contains the island’s finest white-sand beaches. At the far end you’ll find laidback Cockleshell Bay beach, which has watersports and a couple of fun beach cafes under the water Secluded Shitten Bay is a great spot for snorkeling among diverse reef fish and coral formations. You’ll need a boat (or a tour operator with a boat) to get here.