English is the official language of Saint Kitts and Nevis, though most locals also speak Saint Kitts Creole, or the very similar Nevis Creole. This English-based creole is heavily influenced by the languages of the Garifuna and West Africans, brought to the Caribbean by the slave trade.
Food & Drink
Influenced by the many cultures to pass through Saint Kitts and Nevis, the islands offer a variety of fare, despite their size. Fresh seafood is available on both islands with kingfish and snapper popular. The spiny lobster is a particular delicacy. The national dish is stewed salt fish, served with spicy plantains and coconut dumplings. Jamaican inspired jerk chicken and rotis are great street stall snacks. Pelau, or "cook up" is a Kittitian version of paella, with rice cooked together with fish, meat and vegetables.
On Saint Kitts, Basseterre has numerous restaurants, cafés and bakeries, whilst Frigate Bay is lined with ice cream stalls and relaxed beach bars. Nevis has a smattering of restaurants and beach bars along its coast whilst Charlestown offers an international mix of seafood, Chinese and Jamaican eateries. Food markets are a local favorite with cafeterias selling freshly fried seafood and fish patties.
Cane Spirit Rothschild, nicknamed CSR, is a clear, sugar cane liquor made on the island. It's usually served neat or mixed with the refreshing local grapefruit drink called Ting. The local beer is called Carib, and locally blended Brinley Gold rum comes in a dazzling array of flavors including vanilla, coffee, coconut and mango.
We recommend you drink bottled water rather than from the tap, although superior standard restaurants and hotels do provide purified water that is generally fine to drink.
Tipping in Saint Kitts and Nevis is discretionary and should reflect the service you have received, though a service charge of 10% is typically added to your bill in hotels and restaurants.
Suggested clothing and other items
You are in the tropics, so cool casual cotton clothing is recommended, and if you're planning on dining in some of the more formal restaurants, men should pack a shirt, tie and jacket and women a smart dress. Please note that it is against the law to wear camouflage clothing in Saint Kitts and Nevis (including children) and to carry items made out of camouflage material. These will be confiscated and not returned. Swimwear is acceptable but best restricted to beach and pool areas.
If you are traveling on regional flights within the Caribbean with local airlines we recommend packing a few essentials in your hand luggage as occasionally passengers find that their luggage is delayed.
The Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$ or XCD) is the official currency, and is pegged to the US dollar at EC$2.70 to US$1. Notes are in denominations of EC$100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of EC$1, and 25, 10 and 5 cents. US dollars are widely accepted on the island, though you'll usually be given change in EC dollars, and at a less favorable exchange rate. If you're discussing cost, clarify if you're being quoted EC$ or US$ as vendors tend to assume most visitors are American and won't have EC$. Saint Kitts and Nevis both have banks and 24-hour ATMs, which dispense EC dollars. Major credit cards are accepted at most hotels and the larger restaurants.
There are 12 public holidays in St Kitts and Nevis. Emancipation day is followed by Culturama day — the country's biggest festival celebrating the emancipation of slaves — usually occurring in August, these dates change each year. National Heroes day honors individuals who have made significant contributions to society.
- January 1 - New Year's Day
- January 2 - Carnival Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- May 3 - Labour Day
- Whit Monday
- August 7 - Emancipation Day
- August 8 - Culturama Day
- September 16 - National Heroes' Day
- September 19 - Independence Day
- December 25 - Christmas Day
Our certified country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the State Department website.
When to go to Saint Kitts and Nevis
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Saint Kitts and Nevis.