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St. Kitts and Nevis are some of the quieter Caribbean islands, offering an unspoilt volcanic island with a rich history and laidback atmosphere.
There are 14 administrative parishes that form St. Kitts and Nevis. 9 are on St. Kitts and 5 are on Nevis.
Saint George Basseterre
The country's capital, Basseterre, is a small, lovely town of palm trees, neat streets and Georgian houses surrounded by hills and mountains. Basseterre has two main harbours: Deep Water Harbour, a docking port for cargo and cruise ships, and Port Zante, exclusively for large cruise ships.
White sand beaches dot the coastline stretching from Basseterre to the South East Peninsula. The beaches become darker the farther north they are from Basseterre, their sands going from grey to volcanic black. At the heart of Basseterre is Independence Square, with old buildings built in the Georgian and Creole-West Indian architectural styles, now a popular parade and festival ground. There's also The Circus, a small roundabout lined with shops and other buildings.
Basseterre's historic district also includes the Cenotaph, St. George's Anglican Church, the National Museum, and the St Kitts Sugar Factory. Outside Basseterre there's the Great Salt Pond, soon to be the mega yacht marina of the luxury development, Christophe Harbour. A championship golf course and residential properties are also being built, and a dolphin park.
The South East Peninsula beaches have unique attractions. Shipwrecks dating back to the Battle of St Kitts in 1782 lie in the depths of White House Bay. They have become popular snorkelling sites. Yachts and cabin cruisers usually take anchor at this bay. The brisk waves of North Friar's Bay, a popular nesting site for sea turtles, are a challenge for experienced swimmers and bodysurfers.
Saint Peter Basseterre
The parish’s land is rugged and covered in lush rainforests and mountains. Olivees Mountain reaches nearly 3,000ft (910m) and Monkey Hill rises over 1,000ft (300m) above sea level. The coastline is an uninterrupted 6-mile strip of sand with offshore reef formations. The most popular beaches in the area are Barker's Point and Conaree Beach.
Saint Mary Cayon
Saint Mary Cayon's north has steep cliffs and black sand beaches. The south is tamer - long stretches of sandy beaches, with sands lightening in hue as one descends further southward. Some beaches are important nesting sites for Leatherback turtles.
Saint Mary Cayon's capital, Cayon, has beautiful sandy beaches, picturesque hills and mountains, historic sites, and one of the best festivals in St Kitts, the Green Valley Festival. From May to June the best of local and regional musicians get together and perform Caribbean rhythms and other music genres-from reggae and calypso to soul, rock and gospel.
Spooner's Estate has a special place in the country's history. The estate was one of the island's most productive sugar mills. Sold around 1900, it changed to cotton, and is now being developed into a Cotton Museum.
Christ Church Nichola Town
Situated on the east coast of St. Kitts, Christ Church Nichola Town is the fifth largest capital on St. Kitts. The parish capital is Nichola Town, however the largest town in the parish is Molineux/ Molyneux/Molinex, named after the French sugar plantation Moulineux Estate.
Saint John Capesterre
A 5-mile coastline of black sand beaches and calm waters, with large offshore reef formations surrounds the safest natural harbour in St Kitts, Dieppe Bay. It has excellent fishing grounds and popular snorkelling sites.
Dieppe Bay Town, the parish capital, is the oldest town in the Eastern Caribbean, dating from 1583. The town has picturesque black sand beaches, great windsurfing, and excellent snorkelling. The cliffs of Black Rocks and the slopes of Mt Liamuiga in the background also lend beauty to the area. Nearby Mt Liamuiga's volcanic slopes are fertile and grow avocado, banana, breadfruit, cashew, mango, papaya, carambola, sugar apple, and golden apple.
Dieppe Bay Beach looks out to the Atlantic Ocean on the right, and the Caribbean Sea on the left. A large reef formation offshore protects it from strong winds and currents, making the waters safe for swimming.
Saint Paul Capesterre
With a striking backdrop of steep cliffs, Saint Paul Capesterre is affectionately known as “St. Pauls” to locals and lies on the turbulent Atlantic Coast, all its villages are set back to protect against waves pounding the shoreline.
The village was a major source of labour for the St. Kitts sugar industry. A popular attraction is Rawlin's Plantation Inn, made famous by British artist, carver, sculptor and weaver Kate Spencer. Reconstructed from the foundations of a 17th century sugar plantation, it offers snorkelling and scuba diving, sailing, golf, cricket, and open air concerts and carnivals. Its West Indian buffet is one of the best on the island.
Saint Anne Sandy Point
Saint Anne Sandy Point is the smallest parish on St. Kitts, at just 5sq.m. The parish is triangular in shape and boasts over 4 miles of coastline with black sandy beaches dominating the southern coast and sheer cliffs to the northern end.
The main town is Sandy Point Town, located in a valley in the north west of the island. The town is formed of several communities near the coast.
The region has interesting sites including 18th century churches and abandoned tobacco and sugar plantations. One of the best dive sites in the eastern Caribbean is the Sandy Point National Marine Park.
Saint Thomas Middle Island
Saint Thomas Middle Island has a coastline of black sand beaches and cliffs. The parish's many historical sites make tourism its primary industry. A famous landmark is the UNESCO World Heritage Site Brimstone Hill Fortress, the largest British fort in the Eastern Caribbean.
Old Town Road is the oldest English town in the Caribbean, and the first English capital of St Kitts. The Manhattan House, once used as a warehouse, is now the site of the Manhattan Gardens Restaurant, a well-known fine dining establishment.
Trinity Palmetto Point
Trinity Palmetto Point has many affluent communities, particularly in its capital Palmetto Point and in Mattingley, Hummingbird, and West Farm, due to proximity to the capital, Basseterre, and the two leading universities in West Farm, with their growing student population.
The coast is lined with a dramatic backdrop of sheer cliffs that span the entire coast of the parish. Two of the largest forts can also be found along the coast – Bloody Point and Palmetto Point.
Due to its close location to the island’s capital, yet away from the bustle, the parish has become a popular choice for the island’s wealthy to reside. Popular communities such as Mattingley Heights' enjoy spectacular views of Nevis, the Caribbean Sea, the Basseterre region, or the South East Peninsula.
There is a high demand for property from professors and students within the parish, as it is home to three universities – the Robert Ross Nursing University, the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Medicine and Health Sciences (St. Kitts.).
With tourism also driving people to the region, there is a high demand for quality property within the parish.
Saint James Windward
The largest parish, but the least populated, with small villages separated by dry scrub. Attractions include: Newcastle Beach/Bay, a popular snorkelling spot at the northern-most tip of Nevis, with a soft white sand beach.
Some of the best beaches are located to the northern and western shores of Nevis, and the Saint James Windward parish hosts, ‘Lovers Beach’ which is hidden from the road and has a castaway appeal with no facilities.
Nisbet Plantation Beach is the only plantation inn on a white sand beach, with a beautifully restored 18th century Great House, and thirty-six charming cottages. Nisbet Plantation Beach Club was named the Best Luxury Hotel in the Caribbean and Latin America in the 2008 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Saint George Gingerland
The Saint George Gingerland Parish is commonly referred to as “Gingerland” named after the valuable ginger crop that formally grew there. With fertile soil and good rainfall, the parish supplies most of Nevis with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Tourism is also important to the region, with the island’s well attended racetrack hosting monthly horse races and old plantation buildings transformed into quirky guest accommodation.
Saint John Figtree
Located to the south west of Nevis, the Saint John Figtree Parish is most well-known for the parish church, in which the registration of the marriage between young Nevisian plantation family widow Frances Nisbet and Horatio Nelson was carried out in 1787, when Nelson was a young sea captain. Originally built in the 1680’s, the churchyard has many gravestones dating back to the 17th Century.
Most of the coastline of this parish comprises cliffs and small beaches, however many of them are not easily accessible.
Saint Paul Charlestown
Saint Paul Charlestown is Nevis' smallest parish, but it holds Charlestown, the seat of the island's government, as well as hosting Charlestown - the capital of the island. This parish is the most important on Nevis and most of the island's main businesses are located here.
The city was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, the famous statesman who framed the U.S. Constitution. His residence now houses the Museum of Nevis History and the Nevis Island Administration Assembly Room.
Pinney's Beach close to Charlestown is Nevis' longest beach, stretching for three and a half miles along the coast. Tall coconut palms tower over the golden sand that meets calm blue waters. The Narrows and St Kitts are wonderfully viewed across it.
Another popular attraction within the region is Golden Rock Estate. A restored sugar plantation at the foot of the rainforest, the estate covers 100 acres of lush tropical gardens as well as a luxury hotel. The Golden Rock Estate now contains intimate cottages surrounding a garden courtyard filled with orchids and bougainvillea and apparently has the best rum punch in the Caribbean.
Saint Thomas Lowland
Nestled next to Saint Paul Charlestown is the Saint Thomas Lowland parish, which boasts palm-tree lined sandy beaches as well as the continuation of the 3-mile long Pinney’s Beach – which is often considered the best on the islands. Beyond the sandy coastline there are several small lagoons to be explored, including the freshwater lagoon of Nelson’s Spring.
Saint Thomas Lowland parish boasts some of the islands most important hotel developments, including the Four Seasons Resort, Nevis. The region is largely driven by tourism, which is vital to the federation’s economy.
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