BASSETERRE

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Basseterre on the west coast of the island of Saint Kitts is the capital city of the two-island nation, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.Geographically, the Basseterre port is located at 17°18′N 62°44′W, on the south western coast of Saint Kitts Island, and it is one of the chief commercial depots of the Leeward Islands.

Info Basseterre

introduction

Basseterre on the west coast of the island of Saint Kitts is the capital city of the two-island nation, the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Geographically, the Basseterre port is located at 17°18′N 62°44′W, on the south western coast of Saint Kitts Island, and it is one of the chief commercial depots of the Leeward Islands. The city lies within the parish of Saint George Basseterre and the southern part of the parish of Saint Peter Basseterre.

Basseterre is one of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean.

info
POPULATION : City: 13,000
FOUNDED :  1627
TIME ZONE : UTC-4 (UTC-4)
LANGUAGE : English
RELIGION : Anglican, other Protestant, Roman Catholic
AREA : 6.1 km2 (2.5 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 15 m (50 ft)
COORDINATES : 17°18′N 62°44′W
SEX RATIO : Male: 
 Female: 
ETHNIC : predominantly black; some British, Portuguese, and Lebanese
AREA CODE :
POSTAL CODE :
DIALING CODE : +1869
WEBSITE :

Tourism

Landmarks and points of interest

  • Independence Square (formerly Pall Mall Square)
  • The Circus
  • St. George's Anglican Church
  • Basseterre Co-Cathedral of Immaculate Conception
  • The Cenotaph
  • St. Kitts Heritage Society
  • National Museum
  • Amina Craft Market
  • Public Market
  • St. Kitts Sugar Factory Museum (under construction using the grounds of the sugar factory which ceased production in 2005)
  • Warner Park Sporting Complex
  • Pelican Shopping Mall
  • Queen Victoria Statue Roundabout
  • Basseterre National Park (under construction)
  • Fort Thomas
  • Springfield Cemetery and Chapel

History

Basseterre was founded in 1627 by the French, under Sieur Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc. It served as capital of the French colony of Saint-Christophe, which consisted of the northern and southern extremities of the island of St. Kitts (the centre was yielded to Britain). When Phillipe de Longviliers de Poincy was made the French governor of St. Kitts in 1639, the town turned into a large, successful port, commanding Eastern Caribbean trade and colonisation.

De Poincy then quickly made Basseterre capital of the entire French West Indies colony, which included the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and remained so until his death in 1660. The city was made capital of the entire island of St. Kitts in 1727, following French expulsion from the island and full British control.

The city of Basseterre has one of the most tragic histories of any Caribbean capital, destroyed many times by colonial wars, fire, earthquakes, floods, riots, and hurricanes. Despite all of this, a considerable number of well-restored buildings still exist in downtown Basseterre.

Climate

Basseterre features a tropical rainforest climate. As is the characteristic of cities with this climate, temperatures remain constant throughout the course of the year, with temperatures averaging 27 °C (81 °F) year-round.

asseterre has no dry season; all 12 months on average see more than 60 mm of precipitation. On average, 1700 mm of rain falls on the city annually.

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Avg high °C (°F)27 (80.6)27 (80.6)28 (82.4)28 (82.4)29 (84.2)31 (87.8)31 (87.8)31 (87.8)32 (89.6)31 (87.8)29 (84.2)28 (82.4)29 (84.2)
Avg low temperature °C (°F)24 (75.2)24 (75.2)24 (75.2)24 (75.2)26 (78.8)26 (78.8)26 (78.8)26 (78.8)26 (78.8)26 (78.8)25 (77)24 (75.2)25 (77)
Avg sunlight (hours)7778878878777
Rainfall in. (mm)4.8 (122)4.4 (112)4.4 (112)3.5 (89)3.8 (97)4.4 (112)6.1 (155)7.2 (183)7.7 (196)7.7 (196)7.1 (180)5.5 (140)66.6 (1692)
Source: BBC Weather

Geography

The city of Basseterre skirts a 2-mile (3.2 km) bay on the southwestern shore of St. Kitts, Basseterre Bay. The city lies within the large Basseterre Valley, almost completely surrounded by lush green hills and mountains. It is primarily low-lying, which is one explanation for the name which the French gave unto it, as Basseterre translates to "low land" in English. However, the name Basseterre is also due to the fact that the island is on the lee of winds of the island, and is thus a safe anchorage.

The name Capesterre, given to the region to the North, was dubbed so as it was facing the wind. Basseterre is surrounded by the Olivees Mountains to the north and the Conaree-Morne peaks to the east. The city is drained by the College River and the Westbourne River, which are locally known as "ghauts" and are dry most of the year. They even form streets in downtown Basseterre. This engineering folly has proven quite disastrous though, as College River has been the scene of many disastrous floods in Basseterre history. Port Zante, located in the centre of the bay, lies on 15 acres (61,000 m2) of land reclaimed from the sea in 1995.

Economy

The city of Basseterre has established itself as a financial centre in the Eastern Caribbean. It is home to the headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, as well as the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange, which lists securities for companies and corporations in the region. The city is also headquarters for the St Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, the largest bank in the Eastern Caribbean, in terms of assets.

The city is also a major Eastern Caribbean industrial centre; its main exports being bass, electronics, beverages, apparel, and salt. The once dominating sugar industry closed in 2005. This was due to overwhelming debts and further predicted hardships from major price cuts planned by the EU. There are specified industrial estates which carry out sub-sonic technology, food processing, light engineering, bass (instrument) engineering, and rum distilling.

Subdivisions

Basseterre is a very small town which is laid out in a grid pattern. It has four main streets running west to east, and they are listed here in sequence from south to north: Bay Road, Liverpool Row, Central Street, and Cayon Street. The main street running north to south is Fort Street/Bank Street, which is home to the bulk of the island's main shops and banks. The city has 2 centres, at The Circus, which is geared towards tourism, and the Independence Square, which contains the cathedral, courthouse, and most of the older buildings.

Prices in Basseterre

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter$2.60
Tomatoes1 kg$3.50
Cheese0.5 kg$6.00
Apples1 kg$
Oranges1 kg$
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.50
Bottle of Wine1 bottle$10.50
Coca-Cola2 liters$
Bread1 piece$
Water1.5 l$1.70

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2$20.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2$
Dinner (High-range)for 2$90.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal$6.00
Water0.33 l$1.20
Cappuccino1 cup$4.00
Beer (Imported)0.33 l$2.60
Beer (domestic)0.5 l$1.90
Coca-Cola0.33 l$1.65
Coctail drink1 drink$

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets$
Gym1 month$
Men’s Haircut1 haircut$
Theatar2 tickets$
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.$0.30
Pack of Marlboro1 pack$2.70

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack$
Tampons32 pieces$
Deodorant50 ml.$
Shampoo400 ml.$
Toilet paper4 rolls$
Toothpaste1 tube$

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1$55.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1$37.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1$80.00
Leather shoes1$75.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter$
TaxiStart$
Taxi1 km$
Local Transport1 ticket$

Transportation - Get In


By air

Robert L Bradshaw International (IATA:SKB) is the only airport on St. Kitts.


By cruise ship

As depicted in the photo on the right, a large pier supports visiting cruise ships. Their passengers can walk directly through the "duty free" shopping area (noted in "Buy" below), and onward to the central downtown area.


By ferry

It is very easy to get to Basseterre from Charlestown, the capital of Nevis, which is the sister island of St. Kitts. A number of different ferry boat make the scenic round trip between the two islands several times a day, especially in the early mornings and late afternoons.


By bus

Local buses all ultimately terminate (and start) in Basseterre and they are a very good, fast, inexpensive way to get around the island. A bus will drop you off or pick you up anywhere at all on the main road. Buses have a green license plate that starts with the letter "H" or "HA".


By taxi

Taxis have a yellow license plate which starts with the letter "T" or TA". Taxis are not inexpensive, but they are reliable, and being vans they can carry a whole family or a group of people plus a lot of luggage. There is a taxi stand at the Bradshaw airport; any taxi driver will be happy to take you into Basseterre, which is only a short distance away.


Transportation - Get Around

There are many ways to get around Basseterre

  • Bus

Public Buses have green license plates with the registration identifier starting with the letter H. The 5 main bus routes on St. Kitts Are:

  • Basseterre to Sandy Point travelling West, starting at the Ferry Terminal
  • Basseterre to Capesterre travelling West, starting at the Ferry Terminal
  • Basseterre to St. Peter's travelling North, starting at College Street Ghaut
  • Basseterre to Molyneux travelling East, starting at Baker's Corner
  • Basseterre to Saddler's travelling East, starting at Baker's Corner

When a cruise ship visits, dozens of taxis and cars-for-hire can be seen flanking the duty-free mall near the cruise terminals...many with "brokers" in the mall ready to greet you and negotiate costs. Others serve the airport and key resorts, or can be called by phone.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

The city has a decent selection of small stores on its several primary streets. They offer restaurants, souvenirs, jewelers and local crafts, plus nearly everything needed for daily life by its citizens and visitors.

Among other crafts, the island produces and offers very high-quality batik, in the form of cloth, clothing, and numerous kinds of home decorations and accessories. The batik is made at Caribelle Batik, which is about 11 miles outside Basseterre, situated in a historical sugar plantation, Romney Manor, which has a lovely tropical garden around it.

In the past several years, the waterfront in Basseterre has been filled in to create a sizeable, duty-free, open-air shopping mall catering primarily to visitors. As of Fall 2009, most of the many storefronts were occupied by a good range of merchants, with more being built, but not rapidly. Many prices seen (Spring 2011) were competitive with many other island cruise ports. Virtually all merchants accept U.S. currency. Before giving you duty-free rates, merchants often ask for something that shows you are not a resident, such as a cruise card, foreign driver's license, or a passport.

Sights & Landmarks

Worthwhile places to see in Basseterre include:

  • Independence Square
  • The Circus
  • St. George's Anglican Church
  • Basseterre Co-Cathedral of Immaculate Conception
  • The Cenotaph
  • St. Kitts Heritage Society
  • National Museum
  • Amina Craft Market
  • Public Market
  • Queen Victoria Statue Roundabout
  • Fort Thomas

Safety in Basseterre

Stay Safe

The Mount Liamuiga hiking excursion offered by many cruise ship lines involves some climbing, at times necessitating the scaling of rocks by hand. To reach the last lookout, you have to grab onto a rope and hoist yourself onto a rock ledge and climbing over large fallen trees.

The trails are not marked, and consist of little more than a space between two trees, or two rocks and can be muddy, there is little shelter from the rain, and no toilets.

Saint Kitts and Nevis - Travel guide

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