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St Kitts Cruise Port Guide – Spending a Day in St Kitts

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

Spend the perfect day in paradise with this St Kitts cruise port guide.

Although I’ve travelled aboard nearly 10 Caribbean cruises in the past, this was my first time visiting the beautiful island of St. Kitts and Nevis. When you only have about eight hours in port, you have to make the most of your time there. Naturally, only one day in a country is not nearly enough time to become absorbed or familiar with it, but it’s better than nothing.

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I’m a firm believer that cruises are fantastic for a few reasons. First of all, it’s an easy way to travel. You get to leave your luggage in one place, dining choices are easy and plentiful, and many aspects of the holiday are completely included in the cost of the trip. Second, you get to travel to a whole bunch of places without experiencing the pains of travelling. There are no stressful airport visits between countries, no hectic train stations to navigate, and you don’t need to figure out how to get from point A to point B. Last, while you might only get a taste of each place, you’ll discover your favourites. These are the places that you’ll want to visit again for a more in depth trip.

Needless to say, St. Kitts and Nevis is one of those places I’m itching to return to again. Just one day in St Kitts is only scraping the surface, but I’m so grateful to have experienced this gorgeous island, if only for a day. With this St Kitts cruise port guide, you’ll be able to easily enjoy your day on the island by visiting the port itself and venturing out to a beautiful beach.

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts


Our ship, the MSC Divina, arrived early in the morning. With only two cruise ships in port, it wasn’t very busy. As Justin and I had planned an afternoon shore excursion, I woke up bright and early to explore while Justin caught a couple more hours of sleep.

Walking down the dock, I was immediately greeted by a bright, yellow building with flags and signs. One of them stated, “Welcome to St. Kitts – Home of the Brimstone Hill Fortress, the Gibraltar of the West Indies – A UNESCO World Heritage Site.” If visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites is up your alley (I enjoy it myself!), you’ll want to check out Brimstone Hill Fortress. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the chance, but it’s one thing I’d like to return to see.

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts


For those interested in buying some souvenirs or indulging in some retail therapy, check out the shopping malls around Port Zante, Basseterre’s cruise port and shopping centre.

In Port Zante, there are more than 60 duty-free shops offering jewelry, watches, souvenirs, t-shirts, and other wares. I also spotted a small coffee shop, as well as a unique store with silkscreen handmade goods.

I stumbled upon a small crafts market with booths featuring trinkets, handmade jewelry, and other inexpensive souvenirs.

The pastel buildings lining the gated streets in Port Zante are quite picturesque for a shopping centre.

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts


St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

The Treasury Building, built in 1894, is now home to the National Museum of St. Kitts. It highlights the culture and heritage of St. Kitts and Nevis. While I only admired this beautiful building from outside, be sure to explore this museum if you find yourself with enough time in port.

If you continue walking through the archway of the Treasury Building, you’ll leave the port area into downtown Basseterre.


St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

The Circus is an octagonal roundabout, modelled after London’s Piccadilly Circus. The Berkeley Memorial is the focal point in the centre of the plaza, featuring a clock and a drinking fountain. Each of the four clock faces points towards one of the streets that lead to the Circus. If you’re into local landmarks, make a quick pit stop at the Circus to snap a few photos.


St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

From the Circus, roam around town a little bit and eventually, I am sure you will find Independence Square. This square was originally the site of the slave market as slaves were transported from Africa. It was renamed as Independence Square (from Pall Mall Square) when St. Kitts and Nevis achieved independence in 1983.

The central focal point of Independence Square is a stone fountain to commemorate the introduction of pipe borne water into Basseterre in the 19th century.

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts


St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

One of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen in the world is Cockleshell Beach in St. Kitts. We took an excursion with the cruise ship to visit Cockleshell Beach. It’s possible to go there without an organized tour. In the port, it will be easy to find a taxi driver to take you there. It’s approximately $28-30 for up to four people, one way.

On the way to Cockleshell Beach, you’ll be able to admire the beauty of the island from the vehicle. There’s a scenic outlook on the way where you can view the Caribbean Sea on one side of the road, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other from up high on a mountain.

Our excursion included transportation and lounger chairs to use, and you can also rent umbrellas. We preferred to soak up the sunshine!

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

St Kitts Cruise Port Guide - Spending a Day in St Kitts

If you’re looking for another gorgeous beach that’s closer to the port, check out South Friars Beach. It’s about $4 per person to take a taxi there. It is a little bit more convenient to visit and also quite beautiful. However, due to its proximity to the port, it will likely be more crowded and I feel as though the view at Cockleshell Beach is more spectacular.


While I really enjoyed walking around the St Kitts cruise port and downtown Basseterre, definitely get out there and take a tour or excursion if you can. See as much of the island as you can. We thoroughly enjoyed our relaxing day in the sunshine at Cockleshell Beach. Next time we’re in St. Kitts, we’d like to explore one of the following other options:

  • Brimstone Hill Fortress:  Because I’m a sucker for UNESCO World Heritage Sites. See all the main sites on a taxi tour.
  • St Kitts Scenic Railway Tour: It’s a three hour trip on the first scenic railway tour in the Caribbean.
  • Catamaran Cruise to Nevis: A day trip on a boat to the neighbouring island of Nevis? Yes, please!
  • Rainforest Tour in St. Kitts: Spend the day in nature to see natural springs, tall trees, and maybe even a monkey or two.

Check out more photos from our day in St. Kitts! All of our photos are available for purchase from our travel photo album – prints, housewares, and more!

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Have you ever been to St. Kitts and Nevis? What did you do there?

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Saturday 19th of January 2019

I agree with you that voyaging on water is much easier compared to flights and trains. But is it cheaper also? St Kitts looks so, so gorgeous, and I know a day wouldn't be enough to explore it completely.

Mike from TravelAndDestinations

Friday 20th of April 2018

St Kitts looks like a beautiful place to visit, especially around the Cockleshell Beach. I also love the architecture along Port Zante. It looks so picturesque.

Carl Pearson

Friday 20th of April 2018

Great post! Thanks for sharing.


Thursday 19th of April 2018

We spent 2 weeks on St. Kitts a few years ago, in a condo with a rental car for one week. Brimstone Fortress is a must for anyone into history, architecture, forts, or UNESCO site bucket lists. We spent 5 hours exploring on our own, much to the surprise of the very laid back staff. It is quite amazing. I also highly recommend the St Kitts sugarcane train. You take a bus one way and the train the other, getting great commentary and seeing the island from the second level above the height of the sugar cane that is still grown there. The views of the island and Caribbean are spectacular - and the included rum punch and local singers add to the fun. The scuba diving is different than other Caribbean locations, with much fewer tourists and lots of nurse sharks and lobsters along with the usual fish, coral and sponges. There is a batik factory to have a tour and shop with very reasonable prices for handmade clothes and fabrics, and enjoy the spectacular jungle views. You can also find the usual ATV tours, ziplining the jungle, and shopping. The drive to the ferry to the sister island of Nevis is an eco shock in itself, with the lovely beaches and greenery giving way to desert-like salt marshes. Then the ferry was its own adventure, with a WWII landing craft-style boat, cars parked so tight that you have to decide whether to get out before they park the next one, and park benches tied onto the deck railings for seating! St Kitts and Nevis are transitioning out of being the last source of commercial sugar cane in the Caribbean, to building a tourist industry so it has a quaintness to it not seen on other islands. I highly recommend a longer visit than a cruise stop! But if that is all you have, my vote would be the Scenic Railroad and Brimstone Fortress - and if you can sneak in a stop to the batik factory it is worth it.

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