Basseterre (pronounced ‘bass-tear’) was founded more than 380 years ago as the first French town in the Caribbean. The name combines the French words ‘basse’ and ‘terre,’ which roughly translates as lowlands. Leaving behind the cruise-ship terminal at Port Zante plunges you headlong into a vibrant mix of local commerce, history and culture. Nothing in the capital has been overly gussied up, which means that surprises abound. Take time to pick out the surviving colonial buildings with their wide porches and nod to folks lounging on their stoops, Carib in hand.