Basseterre, St Kitts cruises

Tucked away on a small island, in the crystal blue seas of the Caribbean, lies St. Kitts’ capital, Basseterre. A veritable feast for the senses, Basseterre captures the heart of all who cruise there with its picturesque colonial houses, stunning beaches, vibrant social scene, and breathtaking scenery.

Basseterre port guide

Step into a town rich in French, British, and Caribbean heritage. From luxurious beach clubs to the towering UNESCO Brimstone Hill Fortress, a cruise to Basseterre has something for everyone to enjoy.

Verdant sugar cane plantations. Quaint villages. Sugar-white sands. Drink in the postcard-perfect landscapes, peppered with volcanic slopes. As you gently cruise into the island’s Port Zante, you’ll be met with the charming delights of Basseterre, complete with its bustling, Georgian-inspired centerpiece named the Circus, modeled after London’s own Piccadilly.

Venture across the island to fascinating historical sites and points of natural splendor. Treat your tastebuds to an eclectic range of cuisine, or why not try a rum-based cocktail (or two) at a beachside bar? You could also indulge in some retail therapy with more than 60 duty-free shops dotted around the pastel-facade streets.

Top landmarks and sights in Basseterre


St. Kitts’ colonial roots

St. Kitts island has a fascinating past, with its French and British colonial roots still apparent across the island’s architecture and historical sites.

Brimstone Hill Fortress

Visit the Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best-preserved historical fortifications in the Americas. The magnificent fortress pays homage to the skill and ingenuity of the British military engineers responsible for its construction in the 17th century. Known as “The Gibraltar of the Caribbean” due to its impregnable nature, today the fortress presents its rich history. As an added bonus, you’ll also be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of the island here.

Romney Manor

Stroll through the manicured gardens of Romney Manor, once a great house on a plantation owned by the great-great-grandfather of US president Thomas Jefferson. Among the many highlights here is the majestic 400-year-old saman tree, which sits within an array of tropical trees and plants in the botanical gardens. The house itself is now home to skilled artisans, crafting beautiful hand-dyed batik fabrics and apparel.

Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral Catholic Church

The ornate facade of the Immaculate Conception Co-Cathedral Catholic Church lies at the edge of Independence Square. Another significant marker of St. Kitts’ history, the co-cathedral signifies the endurance of those of the Catholic faith after the religion was outlawed here in 1829. The intricate stonework and expertly crafted rose windows are a sight to behold.

Basseterre’s architecture

In the center of Basseterre, you’ll find numerous architectural delights that highlight the history of the island. The colorful fountain. The replica Union Jack paths that stretch across Independence Square. The Berkley Memorial clock tower, standing at the heart of the Circus. You may well notice that the Berkley clock faces were designed to replicate those of Big Ben.

Things to do in Basseterre


St. Kitts Scenic Railway

One of St. Kitts’ most unique attractions, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is an ideal way to take in the picturesque sites of the northern coast of the island. Not your average rail journey, the railway transports you 18 miles along a narrow-gauge line once used to transport sugar cane. Be enthralled by a guided commentary, delicious sugar cakes, and the enchanting music of a traditional Kittitian choir. Plus, leaving from Needsmust Train Station, it’s only a short 10-minute drive from Basseterre’s main waterfront and Port Zante.

Beaches in St. Kitts

If you’re looking to spend an afternoon lounging on a sun-kissed beach, dipping your toes into the warm azure waters of the Caribbean, you’ll find no shortage of soft, sandy beaches to choose from. Considered one of the best beaches in St. Kitts, Cockleshell Beach is a short drive from the cruise port. Enjoy a leisurely swim or try your hand at snorkeling before heading to one of the bars dotted along the beachfront. South Friars Beach is a great alternative for those not looking to travel too far from Basseterre. This too is perfect for enjoying golden sands and calm, turquoise waters.

Neighboring Island of Nevis

You could check even more of the Caribbean off your ‘must-see’ list, and travel to the neighboring island of Nevis. It’s just a short boat ride away from Basseterre’s ferry port, which is located right next to Port Zante. Nevis is a remote and less populated island than St. Kitts, offering equally stunning views. Here you’ll find the opportunity to tour the island at your own pace, or maybe you’d prefer to relax and enjoy a new beach?

Eating and drinking near Basseterre

Like much of the Caribbean, eating and drinking is one of the joys of Basseterre. Many cuisine options are plentiful and well within reach of the port.

At the heart of Port Zante, you’ll find a food court offering all kinds of tantalizing dishes including Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, and Italian. Sample a local Carib beer, or why not satisfy your sweet tooth at the gelato shop or ice cream factory?

For a true taste of local Kittitian fare, you’ll find a range of traditional restaurants dotted throughout Basseterre. Offering a range of local dishes, from fungi (known elsewhere as CouCou) – a cooked and balled-up corn dish, fresh creole fish and conch – to hearty mutton and oxtail served with rice and peas or plantain and yams.

Shopping in Basseterre

Shopping in Basseterre is varied and plentiful. You’ll find a number of local and high-end boutiques to choose from, along with expertly crafted jewelry stores and hand-made clothing. Duty-free goods are available from several outlets across the island.

For a unique memento of St. Kitts, head to Caribelle Batik, either at the main store in Romney Manor or at their portside shop. Here you can pick up all kinds of vibrant and expertly hand-dyed cloth products, all created using ancient Indonesian methods.

Getting around, Basseterre transport

Port Zante is just a short stroll from downtown Basseterre. Taxis in St. Kitts tend to come in the form of minivans that can seat up to 12 passengers, with rates fixed for up to 4 passengers.

Taxis are available to hire for specific journeys and set tours, or you can negotiate with a driver to tailor a trip to your own needs. Make sure you decide on a fare with your driver before your journey commences. To avoid any worry or doubt, you may prefer to opt for a Cunard Shore Experience instead.

Public buses are also available, with two bus stations in Basseterre serving the east and west sides of the island. It’s advisable to remember that you’ll only find designated bus stops in the town – elsewhere buses will stop on demand.

Water taxis are available to transport you to nearby Nevis.

Basseterre port facilities

The cruise port at Basseterre is a vibrant and modern hub, consisting of a large pier, welcome center, and duty-free shopping area, as well as a number of cafes and restaurants.

Basseterre quick tips



The local currency in St. Kitts is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, although U.S. dollars are also widely accepted.

Credit cards are accepted at most larger stores, restaurants, hotels, cafes, and bars, but smaller, independent stores or establishments may require cash. Taxis and buses also only accept cash. You’ll find ATMs dotted throughout Basseterre.


Tipping across St. Kitts is discretionary, but some eateries or hotels may add a 10% service charge to your bill.


St. Kitts enjoys a warm, tropical climate all year round. The most popular time to visit St. Kitts is between February and May. These are the driest months when temperatures are warm and manageable.

July to November is the wettest time of year in St. Kitts, but don’t worry if that’s when you’re due to visit – showers tend to be brief. June to November is the official hurricane season on the island; however, the majority of storms tend to arrive between September and October.