If you’ve never visited St Kitts before, you may find some of the following useful.
Location (Proximity) – 20 Minute flight Northwest of Antigua
Area – 68 sq. miles
Population – 35,000
Capital – Basseterre
Language – English but with a distinct accent and West Indian idioms.
Currency – Eastern Caribbean Dollar and US dollar —> $1 US = $2.70 EC. When buying or selling currency, go to fx-foreignexchange.com for the best deals.
Topography – Volcanic in origin
Highest Peak – Mt Liamigua, 3792 feet
Time – As there is no Daylight Savings Time here, we are on Atlantic Standard Time in the winter and Eastern Standard Time in the summer.
Dress Code – Casual everywhere but not beach attire. Must wear a shirt/wrap in town. You will be more comfortable in some of the fine dining restaurants a little more elegantly dressed but formal attire is not required.
Taxes – Hotels, restaurants and other service industries charge a 9% Government tax. No sales taxes at stores and shops.
Tipping – Most hotels and restaurants automatically add a 10% service charge. You may give additional tips if service warrants it.
ATMs – All four banks in St. Kitts have ATMs in Basseterre. The National Bank has a number of others at various places around the island, but I am unsure if your card will work in them. Your best bet is to go one of the three banks on the Circus in town or the Scotiabank in Birdrock. The Marriott Casino ATM gives US currency but only works with Visa, M/C and debit cards on Cirrus network. All other ATMs will give funds in EC dollars.
Credit Cards – Most hotels, restaurants and businesses take the major credit cards although some will not accept American Express. Do not assume you can pay by credit card.
Entry Requirements – All visitors will require a passport. It is also very important to have a return ticket to somewhere, most preferably your country of origin, regardless of the length of your stay.
Water – Local water is very drinkable and bottled water is readily available everywhere. As all of the water is sourced from the rainfall, please keep conservation in mind.
Electricity – Power is 220V but most all hotels have 110V plugs instead or as well. If you have a 220 to 110 adapter, it would not hurt to throw it in your bag, just in case.
Telephones – It’s no problem calling anywhere in the world directly, however, the costs are somewhat staggering compared to North American charges. Most 800 numbers in North America won’t work, and even if they do, there will still be a charge on this end. Cell phones probably won’t work but the cell service is being upgraded constantly and a phone that works here will work fine on many Caribbean islands, again, with roaming charges being substantial. There are numerous payphones all over the island and phone cards are readily available at many locations.
Television – Most hotels have cable and you can have access to many of the premium channels like CNN, kids stations, movie stations, US network stations, etc.
Driving – Rental vehicles are readily available (cars, vans, 4x4s, scooters). Driving is on the left hand side. You will be required to purchase a temporary license for $25US. Drive slowly and be aware of the ditches built across the road in the country as they can be devastating if you do not slow down first.
Gasoline – Gas prices are about $3.89US a gallon but you will be hard pressed to burn a tank of gas even if you drive continuously all week as the island is so small. Stations are located in Birdrock, just out of town by the hospital and a little further out the same way towards Ross University there is a 24 hour station. There is also a station just past Brimstone Hill Fortress and one in Cayon.
Taxis & Buses – Taxis are omnipresent in the Circus and at most of the hotels. The Taxis all have a yellow license plate with a ‘T’ or a ‘TA’ in the front of the number. The buses that run around the island all day are passenger vans and they have an ‘H’ on the green license plate. They have designated routes (pretty much the main road around the island) and the rates are fixed by the Government.
Bank Hours – Daily Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 2:00pm, except Friday when they are open till 4:00pm
Medical Facilities – The main hospital is in Basseterre, a couple of other smaller ones in the country and numerous health centers around the island. Recompression chambers are available by air ambulance in nearby Saba. There are at least three drug stores with full pharmaceutical services in town.
Emergency Numbers – They have 911 service here. Police – 465-2241, Hospital – 465-2551, Fire – 465-2515
How to get to St. Kitts – St. Kitts, Antigua or St. Martin are convenient entry points, from the USA usually via Puerto Rico. From Canada, direct flights to these islands both scheduled and charter. From the UK and Europe, also scheduled and charter flights to these islands.
Immigration – A 6 month valid passport is required for all non-nationals. Most EC countries, as well as the USA do not require visas. A cash departure tax of US $20 or EC $53 is payable per person upon departure.