BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS & NEVIS
Mountainous beauty and colorful batik
A MSC Southern Caribbean cruise to St. Kitts and Nevis will introduce you to the sister volcanic islands of the Caribbean, which for more than 200 years have been a premier destination for elite tourists and in the 19th and 20th centuries served as a haven for European nobility.
Basseterre, founded by the French in 1625, became the capital of St. Kitts in 1727, when the English took over the island. It remained under British rule until the islands declared their independence in 1983. Throughout the city’s long history, natural disasters and conflicts have afflicted Basseterre; most buildings date from the latter part of the 1800s. A visit to the city’s two cathedrals, St. George’s Anglican Church and the Catholic Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, appeal to those with a love of history and architecture. On South Square Street, visit the Georgian House, one of the better-preserved examples of local 18th-century architecture.
Leaving Basseterre, take a panoramic drive on an MSC excursion to the southeast peninsula en route to a kayaking adventure. Stop at Timothy Hill for a 360-degree view and a stunning glimpse of the Atlantic and Caribbean nearly side by side, each body of water with a distinct appearance separated by a spit of land.
If adrenaline quenches your thirst, go off-road on an excursion into the interior of St. Kitts in a specially modified 4x4 Land Rover to explore the lush rainforest and spot shy, green monkeys and other exotic tropical flora and fauna. At a private mountaintop property, 1,000 feet above sea level, enjoy amazing vistas of the rainforest, the coastline, Basseterre, and the neighboring island of Nevis. Continue the journey through the mountains to the opposite side of the island to see quaint villages and country life.
Learn about wearable art at Romney Manor, home of the world-famous Caribelle Batik. Visit the demonstration room, where the acclaimed artists illustrate the wax and dye process of batik making. The Romney Manor Estate encompasses eight acres of historical ruins and includes ancient Carib Indian rock drawings and a beautiful botanical garden.
For a tour unlike any other, book a land-and-sea tour combining train and catamaran. In the first leg, take in the scenery of St. Kitts on a narrow-gauge train, followed by a catamaran cruise. The St. Kitts Scenic Railway has been showing visitors the island since 2003, but for nearly 100 years prior transported sugar cane from the fields to the sugar mill in Basseterre. At the end of the train journey, board a catamaran to sail the storied western coast of the island and take in its gorgeous views.
Fly through forest 25 stories above the ground in a spectacular 5-line zip line journey based at the historic Wingfield Estate. Enjoy fantastic panoramic views of Brimstone Hill National Fortress (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Old Road Village, former sugar estates, the Caribbean Sea and Mount Liamuiga, with its volcano crater ridge marking the highest point in St. Kitts.