Introducing St Kitts And Nevis

Lake Gunn, South Island © Jocelyn Kinghorn

The twin-island nation of St Kitts and Nevis, situated in the Leeward Islands of the eastern Caribbean, is shaped rather like a tennis racquet and ball - the larger St Kitts is separated from its ball-shaped southern counterpart, Nevis, by a two-mile (3km) channel called The Narrows. St Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, both by area and population, but despite this the islands pack a big touristic punch.

At first glance, the sleepy islands appear to be forgotten in time: a pair of quiet, lush islands that convey nothing of their former prosperity and turbulent history. From a wealthy position as the most illustrious sugar colony in the Caribbean in the early 18th century, the islands became the centre of conflict, as European powers fought for control of the territory, and the rich waters became an irresistible stalking ground for pirates who lay in wait for the merchant ships.

Today the population of St Kitts and Nevis consists mainly of descendants of the slaves who were shipped from Africa to work the sugar plantations. Vestiges of splendid estates are all that remain as a reminder of the infamously profligate way of life of the rich and famous of days gone by, but the beautiful island nation now attracts jet-setting tourists.

St Kitts and Nevis have become the tourist pearls of the Caribbean, valued today more as a tropical paradise than anything else, with clear and inviting waters, sandy beaches and a natural splendour to stun even the most avid city-slicker. Together with a diverse range of activities, historical sites, and the charm of their two capital harbour towns, the volcanic islands are a seductive blend of colour, sunshine and luxurious relaxation.

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