St. Kitts Island of St. Kitts & Nevis ( KN ) - Travel Guide

The stunning beaches, pristine waters and abundant wildlife of St. Kitts lure travelers to the island‘s calm shores, but those venturing into the laid–back city of Basseterre discover a fascinating history and Caribbean charm that makes Basseterre an unforgettable destination.

While the British began colonizing St. Kitts in 1623, the French established Basseterre in 1627, now the capital of St. Kitts and Nevis. Located on the southern shores of St. Kitts, Basseterre once boasted one of the busiest shipping ports for the booming sugarcane industry throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, Port Zante in Basseterre ferries cruise passengers and sugar–still the island‘s biggest export–to and from St. Kitts.

The heart of Basseterre lies in two focal points of the city. First, the circus, a thoroughfare built to resemble Piccadilly Circus in London, featuring a memorial to Thomas Berkeley, a politician who served in St. Kitts in the 1880‘s. Second, Independence Square, a lush and bustling park surrounded by historic buildings and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, built in 1928. Surrounding Port Zante and on Bay Road leading up to the circus, duty–free shops greet excited shoppers, including the Pelican Mall. Here you can find treasures from all over the Caribbean including jewelry, perfumes and crystal. A local market just off Bay Road selling handmade crafts, such as baskets and leather goods made from goatskin, presents another great shopping experience in Basseterre. The capital city sells batik, a unique type of clothing dyed with wax to create beautiful patterns. Shoppers eager to bring Batik home should head to the historic Romney Manor, a restored home in Basseterre that the great, great, great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson once owned.

Visitors to Basseterre should take a moment to marvel at St. George‘s Cathedral, now the forth church erected on this spot; a fire, an earthquake and a hurricane destroyed the previous churches, with the first church on this site dating back to 1670.

Whether you want to dive into the island‘s history, or hunt for handmade goods in the markets, Basseterre‘s intriguing mix of Caribbean culture and history offers something for everyone.

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