The Circus Plaza
The Circus Plaza which forms the hub of the town of Basseterre, was intended to be a miniature version of London's famous Piccadilly Circus. At the center of the plaza, is the Berkeley Memorial Clock and Drinking Fountain, neither of which was in working order at the time of our visit. Surrounding the circle are several shops which appeal to tourists and locals alike. If you stand in the middle of the street to take a picture you may get run over, as I almost did.
St. Kitts Welcome Center
If you arrive in Basseterre by ship, you can't miss the welcome center. In fact, to get from the ship to the town you will have to pass through it. Here you will find friendly helpful people, an information desk, restrooms, taxis, tour buses, and brochures telling about the island's attractions, history, etc.
St. Kitts Scenic Railway
The St. Kitts Scenic Railway, also known as the Sugar Train, runs on a narrow-gage line which was first built more than a century ago for carrying sugar cane from St. Kitts plantations. Today it has been rebuilt especially for touring the island, and I cannot imagine a more enjoyable way of doing so. On our recent 8 day/6 island cruise, Karen and I agree that our four-hour tour on the Sugar Train was our most memorable experience.
Both the scenery and the service are unbeatable. The double-deck, restroom-equipped rail cars provide air conditioned comfort on the lower level and continuous spectacular 360 views from the open-air top level. The accompanying pictures tell more about our trip. I will share more about some of the things we saw from the Railway on our St. Kitts & Nevis page.
Basseterre: Classical Caribbean
Basseterre, St. Kitts, is a classical Caribbean port, with quaint colorful streets, colonial architecture, and friendly people. It is a small town, but the the largest on this island of only 40,700 people.
Located at the juncture of the Windward and Leeward islands, St. Kitts is still well off the beaten path for most visitors to the West Indies. However, just within the past 3 or 4 years the local political leadership has decided to begin developing a tourism industry to replace the production of sugarcane, which has been the mainstay of the island's economy for three centuries but is no longer profitable.
Karen and I recently made a stop at St. Kitts aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Empress of the Seas. Of about two dozen Caribbean islands I have visited over the years, this is definitely one of my favorites. It has a richer history, friendlier people, and more magnificent scenery than many of the better known islands. Locals call St. Kitts "The Real Caribbean," and I agree with them. I just hope they are successful in their stated goal to keep it that way, while changing from an agricultural economy to one based on tourism.
But with a new dock, new airport, and a new resolve on the part of the island's inhabitants to begin promoting tourism, the face of this idyllic spot is destined to change forever. If you ever plan to visit Basseterre and St. Kitts, I recommend you do so as soon as possible, before the crowds arrive.