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Saint Kitts and Nevis Driving Guide

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-08-02 · 9mins.

Saint Kitts and Nevis, officially named the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis, comprises two tropical islands in the West Indies. As part of the Leeward Islands chain, this small nation lures tourists with its stunning beaches and picturesque landscapes. Whether you want to experience a relaxing resort vibe or a history-filled adventure, a visit to Saint Kitts and Nevis ensures a memorable vacation.

These twin islands in the Caribbean are home to around 53,000 individuals, making them the least populated sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere. Most inhabitants (92.5%) in Saint Kitts and Nevis are of African descent. The country’s official language is English, so language differences will not be much of an issue if you decide to visit the country.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Before visiting a foreign country, one must learn about basic facts and essential travel information to prevent serious mishaps. This guide includes all the things you need to know about Saint Kitts and Nevis. From general country information to the top tourist attractions, this guide will keep you informed for a safe and pleasant travel experience. This article also contains driving rules and etiquette you need to follow and car rental information in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

General Information

Saint Kitts and Nevis is a volcanic island nation located in Central America. It is the smallest country in the Western Hemisphere, both in area and population. Saint Kitts is the larger of the two islands where the capital Basseterre and most tourist spots are situated. Meanwhile, the smaller island of Nevis boasts a secluded vibe and untouched natural beauty.

Geographic Location

Saint Kitts and Nevis is part of the Leeward Islands chain in the Caribbean. It lies approximately 400 km east of Puerto Rico. Saint Kitts’ geography is distinct, with a mountainous volcanic ridge at the center and a plain in the southeast. The highest point in the country, Mount Liamuiga, is situated on Saint Kitts. This larger island also has fertile and well-watered soil, making it an agriculturally productive land.

Meanwhile, the island of Nevis, located 2 miles southeast of Saint Kitts, comprises almost entirely of a mountain and two hills. Nevis Peak is the highest point on Nevis at 965 meters. The land is not as fertile as Saint Kitts, with most being weathered soil. Both Saint Kitts and Nevis offer a tropical climate in which there is little daily or seasonal variation. They lack the distinct rainy season characteristic of other Caribbean islands.

Languages Spoken

English is the sole official language in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Therefore, tourists will find it easy to socialize with locals and explore the islands’ breathtaking sceneries.

Saint Kitts Creole, a Caribbean Creole based in English, is another widely spoken language in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Around 40,000 individuals know how to speak it, but it’s not officially regarded in the country. The Creole’s history dates back to the 17th century when West African slaves were transported to the islands to work in sugar plantations.

Land Area

Saint Kitts and Nevis has a combined land area of 269 square kilometers, making it the smallest country in the Western Hemisphere. The larger island of Saint Kitts has a land area of 176 square kilometers, which is about the same size as Washington, D.C. Nevis, the smaller of the islands, comprises only 93 square kilometers of land area.

History

The island of Saint Kitts, then inhabited by Carib people, was first discovered by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage in 1493. Initially called Saint Christopher, the island’s name was shortened to Saint Kitts by settlers from England. These settlers successfully set up the first English colony in the West Indies. However, their success was cut short when the French established another settlement in 1627.

Throughout the 17th century, Saint Kitts suffered from warring French and English colonists. Until finally, the island was given to Great Britain through the Peace of Paris treaty signed in 1783. A federal act united the islands of Saint Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla, and they became an independent “associated state” of the United Kingdom in 1882. Saint Kitts and Nevis gained full sovereignty in 1983, while Anguilla remains a British overseas territory.

Government

As an independent member of the Commonwealth realm, Saint Kitts and Nevis recognizes the British monarch as head of state. There is also an appointed governor-general who represents the monarch and certifies all legislation on her/his behalf. The prime minister, who is the majority party leader in the National Assembly, heads the government together with other ministers in the cabinet. The country has universal adult suffrage.

The constitution of Saint Kitts and Nevis grants the smaller island of Nevis a considerable amount of autonomy. Nevis has its own premier and legislature. It can also withdraw from the federal structure if certain procedures are followed.

Tourism

Saint Kitts and Nevis has experienced a steady increase in travel and tourism consumption for a decade. It is now the most important economic sector in the country, replacing the once nationalized sugarcane farming industry. In 2019, Saint Kitts and Nevis’ tourism sector generated over $456 million, which comprises 10.8% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Once regarded as the gateway to the Caribbean, Saint Kitts and Nevis attracts tourists around the world. These twin islands offer crystalline waters, secluded beaches, rolling landscapes, and lush rainforests to make your Caribbean vacation a trip to remember.

IDP FAQs in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis is one of the best ways to explore this charming Caribbean country. But before driving, you must bring all the necessary travel documents for a hassle-free trip. These include an international driver’s permit, which translates your local driver’s license and allows you to rent a car in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Below are a few things you should know about an IDP in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Saint Kitts and Nevis?

To drive in Saint Kitts and Nevis, tourists must present their native government-issued driver’s license and IDP. You must also obtain a temporary St. Kitts and Nevis driving license from the Traffic Department or car hire companies before taking your vehicle on the road.

Although an IDP includes your name and driver information, it should not replace your native driving license. It merely acts as a translation of your native driving license. Therefore, you can’t use your IDP for transactions in Saint Kitts and Nevis. If you drive without a valid license, you can be penalized for unlicensed driving.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis?

Tourists can drive in Saint Kitts and Nevis as long as they submit the necessary documents required. These include your native driver’s license and a temporary St. Kitts and Nevis driving license, which is available in the Traffic Department and car rental agencies. It is valid for a period of either three months or one year.

When driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis, an IDP is not necessarily required from tourists in English-speaking countries. However, you must still obtain an IDP if you’re planning to rent a vehicle in the country since most car hire companies need it. You should also get an IDP if your native driving license is not in the English language. You need this document to get through law officers and borders when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

An IDP is not a valid replacement for your native driver’s license. It merely translates your name and driver information to 12 UN-recognized languages so that it can be understood in over 150 countries worldwide, including Saint Kitts and Nevis. Therefore, you can’t use an IDP alone when driving in the country. Always remember to carry your native driver’s license with you to avoid trouble with the authorities.

When I Visit Another Foreign Country After Saint Kitts and Nevis, Is My IDP Still Valid?

You can use your IDP in other countries after driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis as long as it’s still valid and not yet expired. Remember to check the validity of the document first before driving in another country. An IDP issued by the International Driver’s Association is valid in more than 150 countries worldwide.

Renting A Car in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis gives you the freedom to roam the islands and explore what the cities offer. However, renting a car in a foreign country can be stressful, especially for first-time tourists. You must consider several factors before renting a vehicle. Below is all the essential information you need to know when renting a car in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Car Rental Companies

International car companies, such as Avis Rent A Car, Hertz, and Thrifty Cars, offer rental vehicles in Saint Kitts and Nevis. It’s recommended to book your rental car online before arriving in the country. It is more convenient and more comfortable for first-time travelers. If you opt for a walk-in booking, there are also several local rental companies in the country. Notable establishments include ABC Car Hire, Bullseye Auto Rental, and Ken's Trucking And Car Rental.

These car rental agencies offer a wide range of vehicles that suit your travel purpose and budget. They also provide extras like GPS navigation and child seats. Moreover, they can facilitate the process of getting a temporary St. Kitts and Nevis driving license, which is required when driving around the country.

Documents Required

You must present requirements before driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. These include your valid native driver’s license and any government-issued identification card like your passport. If your local driving license is not in English, you must also submit an international driver’s permit. Visit our Checkout page to start with your IDP application.

Vehicle Types

Car rental agencies offer different kinds of vehicles suitable for driving the roads in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Whether you’re looking for compact, midsize, or full-size automobiles, you can easily rent these vehicles in the country. If you want to get around the whole island, you can lease a utility car like the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Ranger pickup. For touring the city in style, you can even rent a luxury vehicle. The most frequently booked cars, however, are economy class.

Car Rental Cost

A rental car in Saint Kitts and Nevis starts at $32 a day. The rental cost will depend on the kind of vehicle you rent, the car’s size, and insurance included. Optional products and services, such as GPS navigation, child seats, and WiFi, also contribute to the total rental fee. Below are the estimated rental prices for each type of car in Saint Kitts and Nevis:

  1. Economy: $37/day
  2. Standard: $54/day
  3. Compact SUV: $54/day
  4. Intermediate SUV: $62/day
  5. Full-size SUV: $87/day
  6. Passenger Van: $92/day

Age Requirements

Most car rental companies in Saint Kitts and Nevis only accept drivers at least 25 years old. However, some agencies accept younger drivers. However, those between 21 and 24 might pay for additional local fees and are only allowed to book certain vehicles.

Car Insurance Cost

Driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis may seem challenging at first due to the unfamiliar roads and topography. With car insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that it reimburses any costs if your vehicle is damaged or stolen. Most car rental companies in Saint Kitts and Nevis include insurance in the rental package.

But if you lease a car from a company that does not offer insurance, it’s best to get one from a third-party provider before driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The difference it makes is worth the extra cost since it provides a sense of security as you navigate foreign roads.

Car Insurance Policy

Car rental agencies in Saint Kitts and Nevis offer insurance policies such as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Additional Liability insurance (ALI), Emergency Sickness Plan, and Extended Roadside Assistance. If the vehicle is damaged or stolen during your trip, the LDW dispenses you of financial responsibility. On the other hand, the PAI covers medical bills if you and your passengers get involved in an accident. You can add another insurance if you think the included one is not enough to protect you.

The Road Rules in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Before driving the roads in Saint Kitts and Nevis, you must know the essential driving rules enforced in the country. Following these road regulations can help prevent accidents and unwanted situations with authorities. Read on to learn the important road rules before driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis today.

Important Regulations

Most driving regulations in Saint Kitts and Nevis are familiar to you since they adapted most of their laws from the British. Some road rules may be new to you, but it’s easy to adapt to them. If you don’t follow these regulations, you can be penalized by authorities, or worse, get into a serious accident. Below are the important regulations you must follow when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis now.

Avoid Drunk Driving

Saint Kitts and Nevis strictly prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol. The country imposes a blood alcohol level of 0.08% for all drivers, whether you’re a tourist, novice, or professional. Drunk driving has been a leading problem worldwide as more drivers disregard this rule, resulting in road accidents. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to drive as focus and reaction times reduce when alcohol blood level increases.

Anyone who is caught drunk driving in the country must pay a large fine and can be put to jail for one year, depending on the severity of the violation. Therefore, you must avoid drunk driving to prevent accidents and get through random police checkpoints and borders when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Do Not Text and Drive

There is a national driving law on the use of mobile phones when driving a car in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The country prohibits texting while driving as it can lead to road accidents, or worse, death. However, the law allows the use of hands-free mobile phones to an extent. In general, keep your eyes on the road ahead to prevent accidents.

Use Turning Signals

Most roads in Saint Kitts and Nevis, especially outside the capital city, are narrow and winding. It’s common practice to use turning signals to let other drivers know your intent or warn them of possible road obstructions ahead. In general, give a proper turn signal at least 100 feet before turning or changing lanes.

However, it’s also essential to know that most local drivers don’t use turning signals. Instead, they use their hands to gesture to other drivers. Below are the common hand signals for road safety. Note that these are different signals because you drive on the left side in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

  • Finger pointing down - It signifies that a driver intends to stop or slow down.
  • Extended right arm with palm facing the front - It means that a driver aims to turn right.
  • Elbow bent and finger pointing to the sky - It expresses that a driver wants to turn left or pull in

Ensure Your Vehicle is in Good Condition

Before driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis, address any problems with your vehicle. Check if it’s in good condition by assessing the mirrors, windows, brakes, and tires. If you’re renting a car in Saint Kitts and Nevis, ask the company for the vehicle’s permit and registration papers. You can get fined for driving an unregistered vehicle. You must also report any bumps or damage to the car rental agency prior to using the vehicle.

Similar to other countries, driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis requires you to bring your passport, local driver’s license, IDP, and insurance documents at all times. You can get fined for unlicensed driving if you fail to present a valid driver’s license. Finally, get enough rest and avoid fatigue before getting around the islands.

Park at Designated Areas

You are not allowed to park anywhere in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Before parking your vehicle, always make sure that you’re in a designated parking area. Avoid parking on or within nine meters on a junction, pedestrian crossing, or school entrance. Also, do not park on a narrow street or a road with double white centerlines.

At night, you are only allowed to park on the right side of the road since locals in Saint Kitts and Nevis drive on the left. Before leaving the vehicle, switch off the engine and engage the handbrake. You should also check if there are pedestrians or cyclists that might get hit once you open the door. It’s recommended to get out of the vehicle on the left-hand side next to the curb or road edge as it’s safer.

Get a Special Driving License

To be allowed driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis today, you must obtain a special driving permit, aside from your international driver’s license. You can avail of a St. Kitts and Nevis driving license from the Traffic Department or facilitated through a car rental company. Simply present your valid native driver’s license and IDP and pay the respective fees. The permit costs 62.50 Eastern Caribbean dollars (XCD) for three months or 125 XCD for one year.

General Standards of Driving

You must familiarize yourself with the driving standards in Saint Kitts and Nevis to know what the locals commonly use and do when driving around the country. Kittitians and Nevisians drive either manual or automatic cars, depending on their preference. They also use left-driving cars to get around the country in some instances. But if you’re not confident driving such a vehicle type, you can always opt for a right-hand drive car.

Speed Limits

Overspeeding is a common road concern in Saint Kitts and Nevis. When driving in the country, make sure to follow the speed limits since slopes and sharp bends are frequently found outside the capital city. Driving below the speed limit gives you enough time to react and avoid possible collision with other vehicles or passersby. It also prevents issues with the police.

Saint Kitts and Nevis’ authorities enforce a speed limit of 20 mph (32 kph) in towns and other settled areas. Meanwhile, the speed limit in rural areas is 40 mph (64 kph). Adhere to these speed limits when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis to prevent accidents and overspeeding fines.

Seatbelt Laws

It is mandatory to use seat belts while driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The driver and front-seat passenger must always wear a seat belt to ensure safety when getting around the country. Rear seat occupants are not required to wear a seat belt, but it’s highly recommended to buckle up.

Unlike other countries, Saint Kitts and Nevis do not currently impose a child-restraint law. Car seats for toddlers and children are not requirements when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. However, if you're traveling with children less than 135 centimeters in height, it’s best to have car seats to reduce the risk of injury on sudden stops.

Driving Directions

When approaching a junction in Saint Kitts and Nevis, remember to slow down and be ready to stop. Before crossing or turning, look right and left for oncoming traffic. Do not drive ahead until you are certain that it is safe. Follow the signals given by a police officer or the traffic lights. Never go forward if the red or orange light is showing.

You may also encounter roundabouts when getting around Saint Kitts and Nevis. You must know what rules to follow when entering one to prevent traffic build-up. Fortunately, the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force shared instructional videos when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis’ roundabouts. You must yield to the cars already on the roundabout. Slow down and approach from the right, unless directed otherwise by signs and road markings.

Traffic Road Signs

Most road signs in Saint Kitts and Nevis are similar to those in other countries, with a few unique road signs. Therefore, you’ll notice that driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis doesn’t make a difference if you’re familiar with road signs and markings. But for those unfamiliar with traffic signs, there are four types you need to follow: regulatory, warning, information, and guide signs. It’s essential to observe these signs to ensure everyone’s safety on the road.

Regulatory signs in Saint Kitts and Nevis give orders to drivers. They tell you what you should or should not do when driving on the road ahead. Regulatory signs are usually circular and include the following:

  • Stop sign
  • Give Way sign
  • No Entry sign
  • No U-Turn sign
  • No Overtaking sign
  • One Way sign
  • Keep Left and Keep Right signs
  • Turn Left and Turn Right signs
  • No Waiting sign
  • No Stopping sign
  • Roundabout sign
  • Speed Limit sign
  • Mass Limit sign
  • Axle Load Limit sign
  • Parking Sign
  • Pass Either Side sign
  • Give Priority to Other Vehicles sign
  • Stop, Police Ahead sign

Warning signs in Saint Kitts and Nevis alert drivers about the potential danger ahead. These signs are usually distinguishable with red borders and triangular shape. Warning signs include:

  • Merging Traffic sign
  • Staggered Junction sign
  • Bend sign
  • Series of Bends sign
  • Road Narrows on One Side sign
  • Road Narrows on Both Side sign
  • Road Works sign
  • Children-related signs
  • Crossroad warning sign
  • Speed Bump signs
  • Low Flying Aircraft sign
  • Other Danger sign

Information signs in Saint Kitts and Nevis, as its name suggests, inform drivers of the road situation ahead. These signs are usually green. Finally, guidance signs help drivers find their way to their destination in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Like the information signs, guidance signs are also green in color.

Right of Way

When driving in a foreign country, it’s important to know the right of way rules to avoid arguments with other local drivers. In Saint Kitts and Nevis, any car inside the roundabout has the right of way. You must stop and let the other vehicles pass first before entering the roundabout. At a junction with a Give Way sign, you should allow cars on the other road to pass first. If there are no road markings or signs, give way to vehicles coming from the right.

Similar to most countries in the world, the legal driving age in Saint Kitts and Nevis is 18 years old. However, most car rental companies don’t allow drivers under 25 years of age to rent a car. Some rental agencies also impose an underage surcharge fee for drivers between 21 and 24 years old. They even prohibit younger drivers to rent certain vehicles.

Laws on Overtaking

Overtaking can be especially dangerous in Saint Kitts and Nevis, where there are usually only two lanes on the road. Overtaking is done on the right side in Saint Kitts and Nevis as you drive on the left side of the road. Although it’s permitted, overtaking must be done as quickly as possible to leave the road clear for other drivers. Here are other important rules to follow when overtaking.

  • Before overtaking, look behind you and signal to the cars behind you.
  • Do not overtake when coming to a junction, pedestrian crossing, or a corner.
  • You should also avoid overtaking where the road narrows and when you have to cross double unbroken white lines or double white lines with an unbroken line.
  • When you see a “No Overtaking” sign, follow it.
  • Do not accelerate when you are being overtaken. Instead, slow down, if necessary, and let the overtaking vehicle pass.
  • If in doubt, do not overtake.

Driving Side

You might ask yourself, “Is there a difference when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis?” The answer will depend on your origin country. As a former British Empire colony, Saint Kitts and Nevis adopted several driving laws from the UK. Therefore, you will be driving on the left side of the road in Saint Kitts and Nevis. For tourists coming from the UK and other left-hand driving countries, you won’t have a hard time adjusting to the road rules in this Caribbean nation.

However, if you’re from the US and other right-hand driving countries, you might find it challenging to navigate Saint Kitts and Nevis’ roads in the beginning. Nonetheless, as you spend more time going around the country, you’ll get used to driving on the left side in no time. Always remember this rule as driving on the wrong side can cause traffic, or worse, accidents.

The Driving Etiquette in Saint Kitts and Nevis

When driving in a foreign country, you can’t prevent unfortunate circumstances from happening. From a minor misunderstanding with a local driver to a major car accident, anything can occur on the road. It’s essential to know what to do in any situation to avoid these mishaps during your trip to Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Car Breakdown

Car breakdowns can happen anytime, especially to vehicles that are not well-maintained. Although established rental companies regularly check their vehicles, you can’t tell when a car breakdown will occur. If your car breaks down, get your vehicle off the road to prevent obstruction. If this is not possible, try to move the car close to the road’s right-hand edge, away from intersections, bridges, and bends.

Inform other drivers of the car breakdown by using your hazard warning lights. You can also place a reflective warning triangle not less than 30 meters behind the vehicle and another warning triangle in front of the car. You should call a breakdown and towing service company to get your vehicle off the road. Then wait for help at a safe place on the road to prevent being hit by oncoming vehicles.

Police Stops

While uncommon, the police can stop you when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Address them respectfully and patiently, especially if they only stop you to check your documents. If that is the case, present your valid driver’s license, special St. Kitts and Nevis driving license, IDP, and passport to them. You may also be asked to provide car insurance, traffic triangles, first aid kit, and spare tires. Most car rental companies already include these requirements when you lease their vehicles.

If the police stop you for a traffic violation, they may arrest you without a warrant. However, you can avoid this by giving your name, driver’s license, and complete address with zip code when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. If an officer insists, don’t get annoyed and politely assert your right. You can also call the car rental agency to solve the issue with the authorities. Avoid getting into an argument with the police for a stress-free visit in the country.

Asking Directions

You can still get lost, even if you have a map, when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. Roads outside the capital city can be unmarked and unpaved, which leaves foreign drivers confused.

Fortunately, Kittitians and Nevisians are friendly and polite individuals who are willing to give you assistance if you need it. Most of them can speak English, so it’s easy to ask for driving directions. With that said, you must always use a friendly tone to avoid offending the person.

Checkpoints

Police checkpoints in Saint Kitts and Nevis usually involve random breath testing or checking of driver’s documents to ensure that all drivers are obeying the country’s driving rules. Slow down and roll your windows a bit when approaching a checkpoint. You must follow the police officer’s commands and present any documents they may require.

Other Tips

Aside from the driving situations mentioned, you must also know what to do in case of accidents. It can be stressful and terrifying to think about it, but preparing yourself can help you cope if you experience an accident. Read on to learn more about other driving tips in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

What to Do If I Got Involved in a Car Crash?

If you got involved in a car crash with total damages exceeding $1000, you must notify the police within 24 hours. You must report the cause of the accident, the name and address of the vehicle’s owner, the vehicle’s registration number, and the insurance company. For undrivable vehicles, you can contact a towing service company to take them to the nearest police station.

Besides the police, you must also contact your insurance company in Saint Kitts and Nevis soon after the accident. Inform them that you may expect repairs or reimbursements, as included on the insurance policy that both parties agreed on. You can also request for them to cover towing charges within reason.

Driving Conditions in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Before driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis today, you need to familiarize yourself with the country’s driving situations and conditions. It can help you get ready for possible issues you can come across the road. Below are the street conditions and statistics about driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis that you must know.

Accident Statistics

According to the Traffic Department’s latest road statistics, driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis is relatively safe. In 2020 reports, there have been only five incidents in the country; one major accident on the island of Nevis and four minor accidents in St. Kitts. For a population of 50,000, that only comprises 0.01%.

Despite this seemingly small number, the police are concerned with the increase of the traffic accidents compared to four incidents in 2019. In line with this, they will enforce the traffic laws more strictly and educate the public about safe driving, including following road rules, avoiding distractions, and keeping the vehicle properly maintained. Therefore, you should always be cautious behind the wheel despite the unremarkable driving facts in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Common Vehicles

In 2010, around 22,000 cars were registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The standard cars in the country are sedans and other four-wheeled light vehicles, which comprise about 18,000 of the total registered vehicles. You can also see motorized 2- and 3-wheelers and trucks traveling around the country.

Toll Roads

There are no toll roads on map when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis. You can easily get around most of the country by following the main coastal road in Saint Kitts. If you want to reach the island of Nevis, you need to take your car by ferry from the capital city Basseterre. In Nevis, you can explore the region by driving along the coastal road.

Road Situations

The roads in Saint Kitts and Nevis are paved and in good condition. There are helpful road signs, clear lane markings, and working traffic lights in the capital city and populous towns. There is rarely traffic, and if you do encounter congestion, this will clear up within a few minutes. Thanks to the tropical weather, driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis is also a pleasant experience. Rainfall and wet roads won’t be much of an issue, unlike in other Caribbean countries.

However, as you drive through small towns, you may notice that the quality of roads deteriorate. Potholes, drainage groovers, and speed bumps are common outside the capital city. You also need to be alert for other obstructions, such as animals and pedestrians, on the road. Due to these extra hazards, nighttime driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis, even in good weather, can be dangerous. Avoid driving at night, unless necessary.

Driving Culture

According to numerous tourist reviews and videos, driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis is generally laid back. Local drivers are polite and follow road rules, although most prefer to use hand signals instead of turning signals. It’s important to know the basic hand signals so you’ll know what to do and expect when the locals use them. You should also know that some drivers use their horns as a greeting, instead of a warning. Always drive defensively to prevent accidents

Other Tips

Besides these driving conditions, you must also know other aspects of driving in the country like the speed limit signs and night driving. Here are other tips to be aware of when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Do They Use KpH or MpH to Display Speed Limits?

Unlike most countries, Saint Kitts and Nevis uses miles per hour to measure speed. If you come from nations that use kilometers per hour, the MpH measurement can be confusing. It might take some time to get used to it. Only 9% of the world uses the MpH measurement, including the US, UK, and its dependencies.

Your rented car’s speedometer will help remind you that the measurement is in MpH to prevent overspeeding. When driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis, always remember that the numbers on road signs are smaller than what you’re used to in your country. If you only see a speed limit sign with only the number displayed, it automatically refers to a MpH speed limit.

Is Driving at Night Allowed in Saint Kitts and Nevis?

Do not drive at night in Saint Kitts and Nevis unless necessary. There aren’t enough streetlights in rural areas, which could hinder you from seeing obstructions ahead. Also, stray animals usually roam freely on the roads. Moreover, local drivers usually turn off their cars’ headlights, which prove to be hazards.

But if you must drive at night, always use your headlights on all roads, especially on streets with inadequate lighting. The general rule is to turn on the headlamp to see clearly for more than 100 meters ahead. Dip your headlights in built-up areas and when meeting other vehicles on the road to avoid blinding other drivers. You must also drive slowly to have enough reaction time to stop the car in case of hindrances ahead.

Things to Do in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Thanks to the improved road condition in recent years, driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis is now fun and exciting. However, if you decided to drive for an extended period in the country, you must learn essential things before finalizing your decision. You need to consider the residency requirements and employment facts when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis as a professional. You must also know if there are job vacancies in the country.

Drive as a Tourist

Tourists are allowed to drive in Saint Kitts and Nevis as long as you have the necessary requirements with you. These include your native driver’s license, passport, IDP, and temporary St. Kitts and Nevis driving license. It’s essential to obtain an IDP if you’re planning to rent a car on the island or have a driver’s license that is not written in the Roman alphabet. It will help avoid delays in your trip in case the authorities need to check your documents.

You can secure an IDP here at the International Driver’s Association. Simply fill up our application form and provide your email address to receive your IDP within 2 hours. You can also include your complete address with zip code for driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis with your IDP.

Work as a Driver

The most common driving job you can apply for in Saint Kitts and Nevis is a courier and delivery driver. The average salary for this position is 1,320 XCD per month. To work as a driver in the country, you must have a valid St. Kitts and Nevis driving license and work permit. However, obtaining a work permit can take from 3 to 6 months. It’s also mandatory that you already have a job when applying for the permit. You must fill up an application form and submit the following requirements.

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Passport-style photograph
  • Police certificate
  • HIV test results
  • Employment offer
  • Proof of financial status/funds

When applying for a work permit with the intent of being a driver, it’s recommended to hire a local lawyer to expedite the process. This is because Saint Kitts and Nevis prioritizes citizens as employees. You and your employer must prove that no locals could fill the position. Remember that your work permit is only valid for a single job. So if you decided to switch career paths, you have to go through the process again. You can renew your work permit annually.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you’re confident that you know Saint Kitts and Nevis as a local, you can also apply as a travel guide in the country. However, job openings for this position are few, with most employers hiring locals to do the job. Nonetheless, you can find travel guide positions in the capital city of Basseterre.

Just like applying for driving jobs in Saint Kitts and Nevis, you need to obtain a work permit before working as a travel guide in the country. You must also submit necessary documents including your passport, native driver’s license, IDP (if your license is not written in Roman characters), and a St. Kitts and Nevis driving license.

Apply for Residency

Foreigners can permanently reside in Saint Kitts and Nevis if they apply for citizenship. The government only offers a single way for individuals interested in residency. Established in 1984, the Citizenship by Investment program allows you to obtain a St. Kitts and Nevis passport and enjoy permanent residency once you have invested at least $150,000 in the country. These can either be made through the Sustainable Growth Fund or through real estate.

In order to apply for a St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship, applicants must be over 18 years old and willing to undergo a criminal background check. You must also prove an outstanding character through bank statements and employer references. Lastly, you need to invest in the country, either through a financial donation to the Sustainable Growth Foundation (at least $150,000) or purchasing a government-approved real estate property with a value of $200,000 and above.

You can apply for the citizenship remotely since interviews, language, or residency requirements are not necessary. Just select an authorized agent to proceed with your application. Complete all the required application forms, and submit it to the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) in Saint Kitts and Nevis. The ICU will review and approve your application within 3 to 4 months.

Other Things to Do

There are plenty of activities to do in Saint Kitts and Nevis if you’re planning a long-term stay in the country. Saint Kitts and Nevis might be smaller and less progressive than other countries, but its allure and secludedness can persuade you into living in the islands.

Can I Invest in the Real Estate Industry?

The government encourages foreigners to invest in the real estate industry of Saint Kitts and Nevis. You can choose from over 40 government-approved real estate projects to qualify for citizenship, but each development implements its own set of rules. You can purchase luxury condos, villas, or apartments as long as you meet the minimum investment amount of $200,000.

Real estate can be very expensive, but it is a recoverable investment. As of April 2018, the law requires a minimum real estate investment of $200,000 (resalable after 7 years) or $400,000 (resalable after 5 years) for each main applicant. Once you sell the property, the next buyer can also qualify for St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship.

Top Destinations in Saint Kitts and Nevis

Situated in the West Indies, the twin tropical islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis is one of the most captivating destinations in the Caribbean region. The country features crystalline blue waters, fascinating white sandy beaches, verdant rolling landscapes, and pleasant weather that allure tourists around the world. Below are the following spots you should visit in Saint Kitts and Nevis!

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park

This national park is probably the first thing you’ll notice on the map when driving in Saint Kitts and Nevis and for good reasons. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a well-preserved representation of 18th-century military architecture in the Caribbean, rightfully earning its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It is also an outstanding testimony to European colonial expansion and African slave trade.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, head northeast.
  2. Turn left.
  3. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit.
  4. At another roundabout, take the 2nd exit and continue ahead.
  5. At the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Canyon St.
  6. Continue straight ahead for approximately 8.2 miles (13.2 kilometers).
  7. Turn right and continue ahead for 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers) until you reach the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. It takes approximately 30 minutes to arrive at your destination.

Things to Do

There are several activities to enjoy in Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. Below are several things you can do to maximize your visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  1. Climb to the top slopes
    Regarded as the “Gibraltar” of the West Indies, the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park offers sweeping views of the Caribbean and nearby islands. Climb up the highest point at 800 feet high and take advantage of the uninterrupted sights in front of you. The aquamarine waters and verdant islands will definitely leave you in awe during good weather.
  2. Stroll the grounds
    If you want to learn more about the history of Saint Kitts and Nevis, devote at least two hours to walk the grounds of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. You’ll be impressed at how well-maintained the national park is and how much it offers a glimpse of the past. Of course, feel free to stay longer and roam the entire site so you can understand why it took 100 years to complete.
  3. Take photos of the site and the Caribbean
    The Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is the perfect place to take photographs for a memorable vacation in the Caribbean. You can snap images of the nearby town, the fortress itself, and the vast views beyond the sea. Capturing images during your trip is one of the best ways to fully enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  4. Visit the museum and art gallery at Fort George Citadel
    Fort George Citadel is one of the areas you can tour in Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. The citadel includes a museum and art gallery. Inside, you can see the remarkable displays of the history of Saint Kitts and Nevis, from the colonial period to the present. You’ll surely learn a thing or two about the country if you decided to drop by.

St. Kitts Scenic Railway

Originally constructed in the early 1900s to transport sugar cane, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is now a popular tourist attraction in the country. Dubbed as the “Last Railway in the West Indies”, this winding railway takes you on a scenic and informative three-hour journey around the island of St. Kitts. It’s one of the best ways to explore the country and learn more about its history as a sugar exporter in the Caribbean.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, head northeast to Kim Collins Hwy.
  2. Turn left at the first cross street.
  3. Turn left.
  4. Turn left.
  5. Turn right.
  6. Turn left until you reach St. Kitts Scenic Railway. It takes around 6 minutes to arrive at your destination.

Things to Do

There are a few activities to do aboard the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. Make sure to try the following things for an unforgettable experience.

  1. Take photos of the landscape
    The St. Kitts Scenic Railway traverses through miles of mountains, giving you the opportunity to take in the beauty of the island. You’ll be riding on double-decker railway cars with an open-air deck that offers 360-degree views of the countryside, cliffs, and the sea. Enjoy the impressive panoramas and capture pictures while aboard the train.
  2. Learn about the history of the sugarcane industry
    Besides the breathtaking views, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway also offers a fascinating lesson about the past. Along the way, you can learn about the old sugar cane estates in the island. You’ll also get an insight on how the locals used the train to transport sugar cane from the plantations to the sugar factory in the capital city of Basseterre.
  3. Listen to a capella choir
    When you ride the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, you can expect a pleasant experience throughout the trip. There’s a three-voice a capella group singing on board to make the three-hour ride as enjoyable as possible. You can even join in a few songs if you prefer. It’s one of the best ways to get to know the locals and learn about the kind of music they listen to.
  4. Relax with complimentary drinks
    On top of all these perks, you can enjoy refreshing drinks on board the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. Beverages such as soda, daiquiris, rum punch, and water are available in the service bar. You’ll surely enjoy drinking as you pass through the island’s most notable sights.

Romney Manor

According to the locals, no visit to the island would be complete without touring Romney Manor. Located near Old Town in St. Kitts, Romney Manor is a 17th-century estate that was once a sugar plantation. Today, it is one of the most important historical buildings in the country. It also features a botanical garden, where you can find six acres of tropical flowers and various fauna. History buffs and nature lovers would definitely enjoy Romney Manor.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, head west.
  2. Turn left.
  3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit.
  4. At another roundabout, take the 2nd exit.
  5. At the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Cayon St.
  6. Continue straight ahead for 4.9 miles (7.9 kilometers).
  7. Turn right until you reach Romney Manor. It takes around 18 minutes to arrive at your destination.

Things to Do

Romney Manor offers different kinds of activities for every kind of traveler. Make sure to read the list of things you can do below.

  1. Explore the Wingfield Estate
    The Wingfield Estate in Romney Manor once served as a slave-holding sugar plantation in the 17th century. Here, you’ll learn about the rich history of the estate and how the locals utilized the area’s natural resources, including the Wingfield watershed. Also hidden within the Wingfield Estate are 17th-century Amerindian petroglyphs. These are considered as one of the finest examples of rock carvings in the Lesser Antilles region.
  2. Be one with nature
    Outside the building, you can find the enchanting botanical gardens that cover more than six acres of land. It is the home of indigenous tropical plants and animal species, making it the perfect place to relax and be one with nature. At the site, you can also see the oldest and largest living organism on the island. This 400-year-old Saman tree is one of the highlights when you visit Romney Manor.
  3. Shop at Caribelle Batik
    Besides the historical and natural attractions, Romney Manor is also the home to one of the country’s best craft shops. Established in 1976, Caribelle Batik offers exquisite batik products made of quality fabrics. Feel free to shop their selection of garments and stand out when wearing them. You can even see how the local women use a traditional Indonesian method to create eye-catching patterns.
  4. Relax at the Rainforest Bar
    Cap off your tour in Romney Manor with drinks from the Rainforest Bar! Order the signature drink, rum punch, which is made using fresh juices and the local amber rum. And true to the bar’s name, it offers excellent views of the nearby tropical rainforest. You’ll surely feel refreshed after a visit to the Rainforest Bar.

Frigate Bay

Frigate Bay is one of the most popular beach destinations in Saint Kitts and Nevis. It boasts the best views, crystalline waters, and quality sand. It also thrums with activity both day and night, perfect for tourists who want to experience everything the island has to offer. Plus, it’s near some of the best hotels in the country. You definitely shouldn’t miss this dynamic tourist spot!

Driving Directions:

  1. From Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, head northeast to Kim Collins Hwy.
  2. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Kim Collins Hwy.
  3. At the next roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Pond Rd.
  4. Continue straight ahead for approximately 1.2 miles (2 kilometers).
  5. Turn left.
  6. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit.
  7. Turn right until you reach Frigate Bay. It takes around 10 minutes to arrive at your destination.

Things to Do

Frigate Bay offers unique activities if you want something other than countryside and wildlife adventures. Individuals who love beaches will surely enjoy their stay in Frigate Bay. Here’s a list of the things you can do in this popular tourist spot.

  1. Swim at the two different beaches
    Frigate Bay comprises two different beaches, situated along the skinny strip near central St. Kitts. At North Frigate Bay, you can enjoy the sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean. South Frigate Bay, on the other hand, faces the Caribbean Sea. Both beaches are good spots for swimming and water sports. But it can get crowded when the cruise ships are docked at the port.
  2. Watch cruise ships
    Speaking of cruise ships, it’s certain that you can see more than one when staying at Frigate Bay. Feel free to watch the cruise ships sail across the water and wave at the passengers aboard. You can even encounter several yachts traveling to the sea. Better yet, hop on one for the quintessential Caribbean adventure.
  3. Enjoy the nightlife scene
    Frigate Bay is a popular nightlife destination in the island of Saint Kitts. Here, locals, international students, and foreigners all gather to enjoy a good party. You can find cocktails and all kinds of drinks served at the beachside bars. Loud music and dancing is also welcome, which livens up the area at night. Feel free to party all night long, but remember to never drink and drive.
  4. Eat delicious seafood
    Aside from its party scene, Frigate Bay is also known for being a foodie hub. Popular restaurants surround the area, giving you plenty of choices. Most of these establishments serve fresh seafood and Caribbean cuisine. Don’t forget to dine in one of these restaurants to get a taste of Kittitian dishes.

Charlestown

A trip to the island of Nevis isn’t complete without visiting its capital, Charlestown. Although it’s small, the town features a rich history and cultural heritage. It also offers charming beaches, lush greenery, and magnificent views of the Nevis Peak. The shopping malls and commercial areas further contribute to the allure of Charlestown.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Vance W. Amory International Airport, head west.
  2. Turn right and continue straight ahead for 5.5 miles (8.9 kilometers).
  3. Turn left and continue straight for 1.1 miles (1.9 kilometers).
  4. Turn right onto Government Rd until you reach Charlestown. It takes around 18 minutes to arrive at your destination.

Things to Do

Charlestown is packed with different kinds of activities, from cultural sights to relaxing spots. Here’s a list of things you can do while in the area.

  1. Visit the Museum of Nevis History
    The Museum of Nevis History features several exhibits like the history of Nevis, Jewish connections on the island, and the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Unbeknownst to many, Hamilton was born in Nevis and spent the first few years of life in Charlestown. The museum tells Hamilton’s humble beginnings in the country. This is a must-visit tourist spot if you’re interested in history.
  2. Shop at the Nevis Artisan Village
    Situated on the outskirts of Charlestown, the Nevis Artisan Village is probably the first destination you’ll encounter when driving on the island from the airport. Here, you can find several colorful houses that sell various items such as handmade jewelry, clothing, leather goods, painted artwork, and more. Support the locals by purchasing these handicrafts and souvenirs.
  3. Enjoy the thermal therapeutic hot springs
    Take advantage of the abundant geothermal energy in Nevis by visiting the hot springs at the Bath Village. There’s no entrance fee and you are allowed to take a bath here. Feel free to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the springs. If you have time, you can also check the nearby Bath Hotel, the first luxury hotel in the West Indies constructed in 1778. Although the hotel is now closed, you can still take pictures of its facade.

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