Saint Kitts and Nevis is bordered to the west by the Caribbean Sea and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. To the north is the island of Anguilla, to the south that of Montserrat and to the east that of Antigua. The two Antillean islands that make up the country are separated by the Narrows Strait, less than 3 km long. They have a total area of 261 km² (San Cristóbal 167.7 km² and Nevis 93.3 km²), and their coasts measure 135 km.
The capital of Saint Kitts and Nevis is Basseterre, the official language is English, the form of government is a parliamentary monarchy, whose head of state is the monarch of the United Kingdom, since it is part of the Commonwealth. The currency is the East Caribbean dollar and is in the UTC-4 time zone.
Both islands are of volcanic origin, with a very steep inland relief. It is located on the edge of the Caribbean and South American plates. San Cristóbal has a series of volcanic cones, which form a north-south axis and end in the southern peninsula. In San Cristóbal, to the north, is the highest peak, Mount Liaumiga (formerly Misery) with 1,156 m. Nevis, on the other hand, is a single cone volcano, making it a round island 991 meters high. The rivers are anecdotal, but in the southern peninsula there is a lake: the Salt Lake.
According to Bridgat, the climate of the islands is tropical humid with an average of 26.7 ºC throughout the year. It is about the monsoon climate and the trade winds on the coast, which in this case, and thanks to its abrupt relief, enhances the monsoon effect, so that rainfall is much higher than average, above 1,500 mm. Saint Kitts and Nevis are affected by the hurricanes that are generated in the Atlantic.
Flora and fauna
The flora and fauna are those of the biogeographic empire and the neotropical ecozone, with some endemisms, typical of the islands.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a relatively rich country, with a per capita income of over US $ 15,100. Its economy is sustained thanks to tourism and international finance, due to its character as a “tax haven”. However, agriculture has a significant weight. It was the last place to practice sugar monoculture in the Lesser Antilles. But due to the difficulties of international trade in the sugar industry, a diversification program was promoted for the sector. In addition, tourism was promoted, which by 1987 had surpassed sugar as a source of foreign exchange income. There is also a small agri-food industry. Currently agriculture contributes 5% of GDP, industry and construction 22% and services 73%.
In Saint Kitts and Nevis there is the Central Bank of the Eastern Caribbean, which issues the East Caribbean dollar, which is a currency common to all the countries that are part of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.
Foreign trade is important to the country. It exports food, electronics, beverages and tobacco to countries such as the United States (42%), Caricom countries (17%) and the United Kingdom (12%). On the contrary, it imports all consumer products and oil. Its balance of payments is clearly negative.
The agriculture is the main economic activity, although tourism is increasing. The sugar and molasses are the main products; coconuts, fruits and vegetables are also grown. Exports depend mainly on sugar production. In 2006, gross domestic product (GDP) was $ 477 million, resulting in per capita income of $ 9,865.20 (World Bank figures). The unit of currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (2.70 Eastern Caribbean dollars was equal to 1 US dollar in 2006).
The island’s population is quite religious. There are several Anglican churches in Nieves, and most of the temples are of other Christian religions. However, there are more and more influences from Rastafarians and Bahá’í followers.
The island offers tourists a wide variety of restaurants specializing in local food. The local cuisine is based on seafood and goat meat, while the desserts are made from the exotic fruits that grow on the island and sugar. Rum is the island’s best-known drink, with a wide variety of types, and home-made rum is often sold on the beaches.
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
The National Park Brimstone Hill Fortress is a place which was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The old fort was designed by the British and is in excellent condition. The fort began to be built in 1690 by the British, and for a century the French armed forces tried to conquer the fort, finally succeeding in 1782, although the British recovered it years later. After its abandonment during the mid- 19th century, the fort was gradually destroyed until the British Crown decided to restore it in 1973.
Places of interest
Other places of interest are the Citadel and the Western and Eastern Place of Arms. There are also several museums, including the Fort George Museum, and ruins of old military structures from the 18th century.