Bargaining

Haggling is not customary in stores, although you might be able to score a small discount from market and souvenir vendors.

Dangers & Annoyances

St Kitts, and especially Nevis, are by and large safe and welcoming and most visits are trouble-free.

  • Theft is a possibility, so safeguard your valuable.
  • Violent crimes are rare and almost never directed toward tourists. Still, be as vigilant here as you would be at home and don't put yourself in potentially dangerous situations, such as hiking or going to deserted beaches on your own.
  • Perhaps the greatest danger lurks on the road, especially when driving at night: kids, dogs, goats and potholes can appear out of nowhere. And be aware that drinking behind the wheel is not illegal.

Natural Dangers & Annoyances

  • St Kitts and Nevis do present a risk of transmission with the Zika and Chikungunya viruses, so protect yourself with a good insect repellent containing at least 25% DEET at all times.
  • The hurricane season runs from June to November.

Electricity

220V, 60 cycles; North American–style two-pin sockets.

Embassies & Consulates

Consular affairs for US citizens are handled by the US embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Emergency & Important Numbers

To call a phone number in St Kitts and Nevis, dial your international access code, the country code (869) and then the local number.

St Kitts & Nevis' country code869
Ambulance911
Fire333
Police911

Entry & Exit Formalities

Customs Regulations

Aside from personal effects, visitors 18 years or older are permitted to bring 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco plus 1.5L of wine or spirits into St Kitts and Nevis without paying duty.

Note that the importation and wearing of camouflage clothing is prohibited on both islands.

Passports

Visitors must have a passport valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry into St Kitts and Nevis as well as a return ticket to their home country (although this is rarely checked). On arrival, you’ll be given an immigration and customs form to complete. Keep the stub handed back to you until you leave the country.

Visas

Generally not required by citizens of the US, Commonwealth countries and most EU countries for tourist visits under 90 days.

Etiquette

  • Greetings Greet people when entering a shop or business – if not, expect slow service or being ignored.
  • Enquiries Rushing into a request is considered rude. A little small talk breaks down barriers.
  • Swimwear Should be restricted to the beach and pool areas of resorts. Topless tanning on public beaches is a no-no, although it may be allowed in some resorts. Ask first.
  • Photographs Don't take photographs of people without asking their permission first.

LGBT Travellers

There is no real gay and lesbian scene on St Kitts and Nevis and, though rare, discrimination does occur. So better be safe and don't engage in public displays of affection, especially outside the resorts and in villages. Officially, homosexual ‘acts’ between men (though not women) are on the books as being punishable with up to 10 years' imprisonment. However, the law is not enforced.

Internet Access

Hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars and even many businesses provide free wi-fi for their guests, although you may need to request a password for access.

Maps

Commercially sponsored free maps are available at the airports, the tourist offices and in hotels.

Media

  • Newspapers & Magazines Key publications are the daily St Kitts Nevis Observer and the weekly St Kitts-Nevis Democrat.
  • Radio For Caribbean sounds, turn to Sugar City 90.3FM, ZIZ 96FM and Winn 98.9FM.

Money

ATMs at the airports and in Basseterre and Charlestown. Credit cards widely accepted.

ATMs

There are several banks with ATMs on or near the Circus in Basseterre. In Charlestown, banks line Main St and there's also an ATM at the airport. All dispense EC dollars.

Cash

St Kitts and Nevis use the East Caribbean dollar (EC$), but US dollars are widely accepted. However, unless rates are posted in US dollars, as is the norm with accommodations, some restaurants and dive shops, it usually works out better to use EC dollars. If you pay in US dollars, you will likely get change in EC dollars.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted at hotels, restaurants and shops, although the smaller a business, the less likely it will take plastic.

Exchange Rates

AustraliaA$1EC$1.93
CanadaC$1EC$1.98
Europe€1EC$2.81
Japan¥100EC$2.30
New ZealandNZ$1EC$1.86
UKUK£EC$3.29
USUS$EC$2.68

Tipping

  • Hotels US$0.50 to US$1 per bag is standard; gratuity for cleaning staff is at your discretion.
  • Restaurants If the service charge is not automatically added to the bill, tip 10% to 15%; if it is, it's up to you to leave a little extra.
  • Taxi Tip 10% to 15% of the fare.

Opening Hours

Local businesses, including many restaurants and bars, are closed on Sundays. Note that the following hours are basic guidelines only. In practice, hours are quite erratic and may vary depending on the day, the season, the mood of the proprietor, or a combination thereof.

Banks 8am–2pm Monday to Thursday, to 4pm Friday

Bars noon–11pm or midnight

Businesses 8am–5pm Monday to Friday, to 2pm Saturday

Restaurants breakfast 7:30–10am, lunch noon–2:30pm, dinner 6–9:30pm

Shops 9am–5pm Monday to Saturday, later and on Sunday for touristy places and supermarkets

Post

When mailing a letter to the islands, follow the addressee’s name with the town and ‘St Kitts, West Indies’ or ‘Nevis, West Indies.’

Main Post Office Basseterre

Main Post Office Charlestown

Public Holidays

New Year's Day January 1

Good Friday/Easter Monday March/April

Labor Day First Monday in May

Pentecost/Whit Monday Forty days after Easter

Emancipation Day First Monday in August

Culturama Day August 8

National Hero’s Day September 16

Independence Day September 19

Christmas/Boxing Day December 25/26

Smoking

  • Smoking St Kitts and Nevis do not have any anti smoking legislation, but tobacco use is not common among locals and most hotels and resorts ban smoking indoors.

Taxes & Refunds

Hotels and restaurants charge 12% value-added tax (VAT) and a 10% service fee, although this is not always included in quoted rates.

VAT on goods and services is 17% but food, medicine and funeral expenses are exempt.

Visitors are not eligible to reclaim VAT paid during their trip.

Telephone

  • The country code for St Kitts and Nevis is 869.
  • To call from North America, dial 011 + 869 + local number.
  • From elsewhere, dial your country’s international access code + 869 + local number.
  • To call abroad from St Kitts and Nevis, dial 011 + country code + area code + local number.
  • If making a call within or between the islands, you only need to dial the seven-digit local number.
  • For directory assistance, dial 411.
  • In hotels, local calls are often free but international calls are charged at exorbitant rates.

Mobile Phones

GSM cell phones are compatible with local SIM cards

Ubiquitous wi-fi makes it easy to make calls via VoIP providers like Skype, WhatsApp or Facetime.

Time

Clocks in St Kitts and Nevis are set to Atlantic Time, which is four hours behind GMT. The islands do not observe daylight-saving time, but since other countries do, the following times are indicative only:

Auckland

Noon in St Kitts and Nevis

5am + 1 day

Frankfurt/Milan

Noon in St Kitts and Nevis

5pm

London

Noon in St Kitts and Nevis

4pm

Los Angeles

Noon in St Kitts and Nevis

8am

New York

Noon in St Kitts and Nevis

11am

Sydney

Noon in St Kitts and Nevis

3am +1 day

Toilets

Toilets are Western-style sit-down affairs. Public toilets are rare but where they exist, they are free.

Tourist Information

Travel with Children

Children receive a warm welcome on St Kitts and Nevis. Many restaurants have kids' menus or are happy to cook up simple dishes. Larger resorts provide organized children’s activities, kids' clubs and day-care or babysitting.

Most beaches are safe for children to play on and many of the southern and western beaches are calm enough for younger swimmers. Older kids enjoy water sports, zip-lining, historic fortresses, guided hikes and bike trips.

Accessible Travel

International resorts generally have good accommodations for people with disabilities. Otherwise, both of the islands are something of a challenge. Fortunately, almost everything of interest can be reached directly by car. The must-see Brimstone Hill Fortress has both accessible and inaccessible areas.

Accessible Travel Online Resources

Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel Guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.

Volunteering

Care Nevis Animal Society (www.carenevis.org) Needs volunteers to walk the sheltered dogs and socialize the pups and traumatized canines.

Nevis Turtle Group (www.nevisturtlegroup.org) Needs volunteers to collect information about turtles nesting on beaches from June to October.

Weights & Measures

  • Weights & Measures The imperial system is used.

Work

In order to obtain a work permit for St Kitts and Nevis, you need to have a job lined up before filling out the application form and submitting ancillary materials, including a police certificate and HIV test results. For details, contact the nearest consulate or see www.stkittsnevis.org/visainfo.html.