of St. Kitts & Nevis
The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis offer a surprisingly diverse range of cultural and recreational activities.
Perfect sandy beaches and warm clear waters surround a treasure trove of historic sites, exhilarating music, colours and food. More adventurous visitors can continue on into rich tropical forests and up cloud-topped volcanic peaks.
Like other Caribbean nations, St. Kitts & Nevis celebrates with a colourful and lively Carnival each year. The ten-day party officially opens on December 24th followed with traditional Caribbean celebrations into the New Year including Calypso King and Queen competitions, the Miss St. Kitts beauty and talent pageant, the regional Caribbean Queen Show, as well as various nights of youth talent and calypso contests.
But, this is only the beginning. Year-round happenings include fishing tournaments, the Caribbean Cup multi-island bicycle race -- the St. Kitts leg is called the Cane Road Classic -- sailing regattas, music festivals, the Nevis Culturama and much, much more.
The First St. Kitts Music Festival was a smashing success last year, marking its debut in Carnival Village to a packed house and the strains of Chinese traditional folk melodies. The celebration continued with salsa, soul, soca, samba, reggae and jazz and concluded five days later with a joyous open-air gospel revival. The 1997 festival is scheduled for June 26-29.
In July, the Nevis Culturama offers a parade of costumed troupes, arts and crafts, talent shows, beauty pageants, calypso competitions and a local food-fair in Charlestown.
If history is more your interest, take a walk around Brimstone Hill. This massive fortress, dubbed the Gibraltar of the West Indies, covers 38 acres and rises almost 800 feet above the sea. Roam the carefully restored and preserved fortifications or just gaze seaward. While you're dreaming of pirates and tall ships, you can often catch a glimpse of Montserrat, Nevis, Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.
For shopping buffs, island artisans are noted for wood carvings, coral, coconut-shell and seashell crafts, woven goods and sea island cottons. Not to be missed are the colourful batiks of Romney Manor or the bold visions of Caribbean painters.
Island dishes are generally spicy and offer an unusual combination of flavours. Banana, coconut, mango and passion fruit are used with spices and freshly picked herbs to create marvellous sauces for beef, chicken, pork and fish. Goatwater, a soup of stewed mutton or goat, and souse, another piquant stew made of assorted parts of the pig, are local favourites.
Public holidays are:
* Her Majesty's Birthday Is Celebrated On A Date To Be Officially Determined