Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Basseterre, St. Kitts

Basseterre, St. Kitts

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Basseterre seen from the deck
Basseterre seen from the
deck
by Jennifer Marx

This peaceful little paradise in the Caribbean’s chain of Leeward Islands is a respite from some of the more frenetic islands. The island is dominated by the 3792-foot-tall Mount Liamuiga (say “Lee-a-mweega”), a dormant volcano carpeted by dense tropical forests.

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AMBIENCE IN BASSETERRE

St. Kitts volcanic origins gives the island its distinctive geography and abundant vegetation. The jungle-covered central peaks of the island are mostly uninhabited, with most people living in the flatter areas near the coasts. Fascinating features include lava formations, tropical forests, and numerous lagoons. It’s sister island, Nevis, is a single peak just over two miles away. Nevis is the Spanish word for snow, named so because of the crown of white clouds that often covers its peak. The old sugar plantation homes are now more often to be grand hotels, and quaint Colonial architecture is evident throughout the towns.

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ST. KITTS HISTORY

Christopher Columbus first spotted St. Kitts in 1493 on his second voyage. There’s been speculation that he even named the island after himself (St. Kitts is a shortened form of St. Christopher, Columbus’ patron saint). The British arrived in 1623 to establish its first colony in the West Indies among its lush forests and fertile soil. The island’s strategic location and vigorous sugar trade played a large role in the formation of the new world, and St. Kitts became known as “Mother Colony” of the Caribbean. At one time, 68 sugar plantations operated on St. Kitts alone. In 1983, St. Kitts and Nevis gained independence from the United Kingdom and they are now collectively an independent country. Hurricane Georges tore through the islands in 1998, but they’ve rebounded well and damages have been repaired.

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ST. KITTS FACTS

Size: 18 miles (29 km.) long by 5 miles (8 km.) wide 
Climate: Subtropical Temperatures: 79°F (26°C) to 87°F (30°C)
Population: 39,000 Busy Season: November to May
Language: English Money: E. Carib. Dollar (1 = $0.37 U.S.)
Time Zone: Atlantic (no DST) Transportation: Walking, taxis, cars
Phones: Dial 1- from U.S.; dial 911 for emergencies
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Top Photo Slice: (℗ 53351) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx



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