Port Spotlight: Basseterre, St. Kitts
| March 16, 2015
Photo shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

Photo shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

Originally called the “fertile isle” by the Carib Indians, St. Kitts (officially named St. Christopher) still fits the description. A mountainous island of volcanic origin its slopes rise up to almost 4000 feet, providing an ideal climate for abundant vegetation and one of the Caribbean’s largest rain forests. St. Kitts also has the distinction of being one of the only islands the French and British ever shared. This lasted only long enough to ward off the Caribs and the Spanish before they turned on each other. Possession of the island changed several times between the two before the British took final sovereignty with the Treaty of Versailles.

The Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

The Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. Shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

The British also used St. Kitts as a mother colony of sorts, sending parties out to other nearby islands to begin colonization. In many ways, St. Kitts has changed little since those days. It has never developed into a tourist mecca as some of its neighbours have, and sugar is still its primary source of income just as it was in the 17th century. St. Kitts gained independence in 1967 with its sister island of Nevis, just 2 miles off the southern coast; and has since been striving for controlled development in an effort to maintain its original attributes. Today the island still remains quiet in comparison to other Caribbean nations, but St. Kitts and Nevis are beginning to gain recognition for exactly that reason. They are very much alive with their own unique characteristics, serene atmosphere, beautiful unspoiled scenery and palm-lined beaches.

Views from St. Kitts. Shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

Views from St. Kitts. Shared on Instagram by @cpt_ross.

Star Clippers’ “Essential St. Kitts Tour” could very well be the Caribbean’s most memorable island tour. It includes Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, Romney Gardens, Caribelle Batik Studio and an interesting drive through Basseterre. Brimstone Hill Fortress is perched on a 40 acre hilltop, 780 ft above sea level. For three hundred years it has borne witness to innumerable sea battles between the British and the French, more than at any other place in the two nation’s naval history. The first cannons were mounted on Brimstone Hill in 1690 as the English and French fought for control of the island. The next 200 years saw the intermittent construction of an amazing work of architectural and engineering genius.

This magnificent structure is the second largest of its type in the entire western hemisphere and one of the best preserved. Its spectacular panoramic views include coastline, country side and five neighbouring islands. The Brimstone Hill Fortress, also known as The Gibraltar of the West Indies, is of world heritage value and is a recommended must-see for all visitors to St. Kitts. No visit to St. Kitts is complete without a visit to Romney Gardens and Caribelle Batik Studios. This 10-acre garden setting is quite simply stunning. It is at this glorious location that local artists produce the fabric and apparel for which Caribelle Batik has become widely acclaimed. The garden setting and picturesque experience is a photographer’s dream and will be remembered by visitors for years to come. You will also get to drive through beautiful Basseterre. This historic Capital City is a perfect example of an original Caribbean town. Observe the traditional French architecture and Victorian structures. Old churches, West Indian cottages and a former slave market are also included in this interesting driving tour of Basseterre.

Visit St. Kitts on Royal Clipper’s Windward Islands and Star Clipper’s Treasure Islands itineraries!

Have you sailed to St. Kitts? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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