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St. Kitts Dec 14

St. Kitts has been an independent country for about 25 years. Four years ago they decided to switch from an agriculture-based economy to tourism. They are a small island, only half a mile wide at the narrowest, and roughly 30 miles the longest dimension. They couldn’t produce enough to compete even with the other Caribbean islands, much less the big producers like South America and the US. The change has made for a dramatic improvement in the standard of living, and the populace has embraced tourism with a vengeance. Their advertising is definitely edgier than what you’ll see elsewhere. One of their milder T-shirt mottos shows a cartoon person passed out, and the text, “If found, return to St. Kitts.”

Most of the islands in the Caribbean have a tourist area that serves as a barrier between the cruise ships and the interior of the island. St. Kitts has a small one, new and under construction, and their capital (Basseterre, French for base land) is immediately on the other side of that area, and it’s as tourist-friendly as any port area. The original old buildings give a good old-world atmosphere, and you get close-in shopping and an easy walking tour of the original town.

The island changed hands several times over the last couple centuries, and traces remain of those influences, mainly French and English. If you don’t want to ride around the whole island (definitely doable), take the “half-island tour” that takes you to a British fort that has been almost completely restored atop a dormant volcano core appropriately called “Brimstone Hill.”

Lime kiln on the way to Brimstone Hill. Unless you're alert, you'll miss it.

Lime kiln on the road up Brimstone Hill. Unless you're alert, you'll miss it.

The view and camera opportunities are phenomenal. Do you have any good photos of St. Kitts? Share in the comments.