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St Kitts beach holidays, secluded beaches or beach bars, the choice is yours
If you’re craving a sunny beach getaway, St. Kitts offers the perfect dose of relaxation and entertainment. Located in the West Indies, its eastern coast faces the Atlantic, while the island’s west side borders the Caribbean Sea. Stretches of soft, golden sands call to visitors, as if asking them to throw off those shoes, and allow nature to take all cares away.
No matter what your soul is searching for, whether its solitude and tranquility, lots of fun activities, or a little of both, you’ll find it right here on the breathtaking, peaceful island of St Kitts.
The best beaches
The best beaches on St. Kitts can be found along its south-eastern peninsula. Incredibly clear waters, powdery white sands and a laid-back atmosphere characterise these beaches, like Cockleshell Bay Beach, which looks especially striking against the contrasting turquoise waters of the sea.
Many visitors and locals alike, consider Cockleshell to be St. Kitts top beach, with the secluded, mile-long curve of sands offering gorgeous views and shallow warm waters that are family-friendly. Although it has quite the lively scene on weekends and holidays, go during the quiet summer season or on a weekday, and you can enjoy it practically all to yourself. Bars and eateries set at both ends of the beach offer dining and socialising – Lion Rock is fun, funky and tends to draw a local crowd, and right next door is the more upscale Spice Mill. For fresh-caught fish and lobster, head to Reggae Beach Bar and Grill just a short jaunt down the sand. Beach bars also offer loungers, umbrellas and watersports gear like kayaks, jet skis and snorkelling equipment.
If you visit during the busy season and want to avoid beach crowds, head to Frigate Bay North, a lesser-known gem on the Atlantic Side of the island which features long expanses of sand that see few tourists, even on public holidays, despite being dominated by the St. Kitts Marriott Resort. Because of the long reef here, the typically choppy, hazardous waters are remarkably calm and safe, providing fabulous swimming opportunities, as long as you don’t venture outside of the protected areas.
If you decide you want more action, you won’t be far from the happening area known as “The Strip.” Edging South Frigate Bay Beach, this area is all about having a great time, with a host of nightlife hotspots and waterholes popular for fresh local fare, music and partying until the sun comes up. This is where the internationally renowned Mr. X’s Shiggidy Shack can be found. Long considered to be one of the best beach bars in the entire Caribbean, it hosts special events like live bands, DJ tunes and karaoke, as well as roaring bonfires, fire-eating shows, and plenty of tasty Kittitian fare. For mingling with a good mix of both locals and travellers, head to Chinchilla’s, which offers dancing and excellent Mexican food. Other bars recommended on The Strip include Boozies, Cathy's, Vibes Beach Bar and Buddies.
Majors Bay is a beach that’s rarely busy, located just a few yards from the tip of the south-east peninsula highway. The narrow, long stretch of golden sands is bordered by warm cerulean waters that are nearly always calm – wonderful for a casual swim or snorkelling, though you’ll need to bring your own equipment as there are no facilities here. Nearby Sandy Bank Bay Beach is another beach that’s more off-the-beaten track. The quiet, windswept sands on the south-east peninsula are frequented by leatherback turtles that nest here between March and July. The Pavilion Beach Club sits on the eastern end of the beach and features an elegant restaurant open to the public for dinner – reservations are a must.
Turtle Beach, not to be mistaken for Turtle Bay on the island’s north coast, is also on the south-east peninsula. Found at the end of a dirt road that can be bit challenging to manage sometimes, it tends to keep the crowds away. This beach is all about tranquility, and you’ll find excellent snorkelling with an array of colourful fish that swim around the coral reef which also serves to protect it from pounding Atlantic waves. Overlooking the Atlantic, many consider it to be St. Kitts top romantic spot for fine dining.
Top spots for watersports
St. Kitts is a great place for active pursuits like snorkelling, diving and sea kayaking. The waters that surround the island are home to tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays and vibrant coral. While many of the dive sites can be reached within just a mile of the shoreline by scheduling a trip with one of multiple tour operators, you can snorkel right from the beach too. Though it has a pebble beach that’s not great for lounging on, White House Bay is outstanding for snorkelling with its calm, sheltered waters and rocks that guarantee plenty of fish and coral viewing.
Other good snorkelling spots include Dieppe Bay, North and South Frigate Bay, and Turtle Beach, where there are frequently loads of fish, rays, and lobster found in the warm, crystal clear waters. You can join a snorkelling excursion to get farther out to sea, or hire a private boat charter where you can decide exactly where you want to go and what to do, such as snorkelling, fishing, a beach picnic, a sunset cruise or even beach bar hopping.
If you’d prefer to stay atop the water, try a glass-bottom kayak excursion. St. Kitts Water Sports offers a Glass Bottom Kayak Tour with the glass bottoms allowing paddlers to see right into the clear waters as if they’re looking through a snorkelling mask. Heading out on your own is possible too as Reggae Beach Watersports offers kayaks for rent in the southeastern part of the island at Saint George Basseterre Parish.
Where to stay
There is no shortage of options when it comes to accommodations on St. Kitts, with everything from sprawling luxury hotels to more intimate, cosy inns offering an especially warm welcome, like Ottley’s Plantation Inn. This small hotel is set among 35 acres of gardens and rainforest on a 17th-century sugar plantation on the eastern coast of the island. Located a 20-minute drive from the airport, a complimentary daily shuttle brings guests to Basseterre and the central beaches.
Overnights are in the main house, or charming cottages on the grounds. Amenities include a spring-fed swimming pool set right within the old sugar factor walls, as well as a spa offering facials, massage and Caribbean wraps.
The Ocean Terrace Inn is incredibly private and peaceful. It sits among brilliant gardens on a beautifully landscaped hillside overlooking the town of Basseterre and the harbour. A small, intimate property, it’s within walking distance to some of the island’s most popular historical and cultural sites, as well as the best shopping. There are three freshwater pools to swim in, including the very alluring natural fantasy pool which boasts a Jacuzzi, waterfalls, exotic flowers and trees. The natural rock design, with flora and fauna growing to the water's edge, makes it feel as if you’re swimming in a natural lagoon.
A complimentary shuttle is available to bring guests to the beaches of nearby Frigate Bay. There are two onsite restaurants, including one of the island’s most famous, the oceanfront Fisherman’s Wharf, featuring local seafood and meats grilled over the coals while you watch.