Did you know there are between 1,500 to 7,000 individual islands in the Caribbean? The numbers differ (which I find very confusing) but altogether they form only 28 island nations. If you say ”Caribbean islands” you might think the islands must look all very similar. But the truth is far away from this.
Every single island has its own characteristics and I did not believe it until I was invited to St. Kitts and Nevis. Differences between St. Kitts and Nevis islands are ridiculously huge. I would never say that two islands just 2.5 miles away from each other (the shortest distance) could be SO different.
”Education is the key” say signs scattered through both islands and just confirm the obligatory education on the islands.
Every few minutes of St. Kitts the island tour we run into a medical or nursery school, a health centre or a hospital where all these students work after finishing their studies. I saw the same sign on Nevis island too but there are not that many medical schools like on St. Kitts.
During the island tour around the St. Kitts island we saw a few Cattle Egrets- white birds all around us or sitting on top of a tree where the rats cannot get their eggs. These birds got to St. Kitts when trying to run away from a hurricane years ago and they must have fallen in love as much as we have as they stayed on the island. I did not see that many of them on Nevis island though.
Cattle Egrets birds on St. Kitts island
Not long time is needed to find out a couple of basic facts about St. Kitts and Nevis islands. The locals horn when they are overpassing you and also wave at other locals. The happiness and friendliness of the locals can be seen just a few minutes after you get to the island as they all wave at you while smiling from ear to ear. This is one of the things that these paradise islands have in common. As well, both islands are very green with wild nature all around you.
Sweet smell of flowers is characteristic, so are the goats (those with a short tail pointed upwards) and sheep (with a long tail pointed downwards – in case you could not distinguish them) eating somewhere close to the road. The biggest wildlife of both islands are nowadays green vervet monkeysoriginally from Africa brought here by the French as pets and navigators.
Even though the amount of the monkeys on St. Kitts is double that big as the population (around 95,000), they can camouflage themselves so sometimes in the rain forest you won’t see any during the day. But from time to time they run quickly through the road and make it impossible to take a shot. I was surprised to see more monkeys in the wilderness on Nevis than on St. Kitts. The only monkeys I spotted on St. Kitts where those walking around Timothy Beach resort when we were staying there.
green vervet monkeys on St. Kitts
On both Nevis and St. Kitts, every village has a church, if not more churches. If you’d like to experience different looking churches, all the designs you can imagine, then St. Kitts and Nevis is your place. Every single church varies from all the others on the islands not only in colour, but also in shape, size and century when it was built.
Some more differences between St. Kitts and Nevis
- close to the village Mansion on St. Kitts there is a place where they do official research on monkeys. Nothing like that can be found on Nevis.
- some locals try to use monkeys for business, make them pets and go around the touristy places earning money with each photo the tourists take with it. Seeing baby monkeys with pampers was not so funny though.
- sugar production ended in 2005 and it influenced the island economy a lot comparing to Nevis.
- houses of locals are very close to each other, with a very small garden, if any, look older and poorer than the huge villas on Nevis. All due to the long years of sugar production which turned in big loss for the island in the end.
smaller houses on St. Kitts
- more breeze and wind on St. Kitts so you don’t feel that warm. The sun is still burning so remember to use the sunscreen
- a number of hills are found on St. Kitts with 3,792 feet Mount Liamuiga being the highest one (the others are Olivee’s Mountain close to the airport, Verchilds Mountain or Philips where we did the rain forest hike)
- there’s a few fast food restaurants, such as KFC, Subway or Domino’s pizza.
- we were luckier with the wild monkeys on Nevis – saw plenty of them crossing the road in front of our eyes, especially in the morning hours.
green vervet monkeys crossing the roads on Nevis
- Nevis is proud of its oldest church in the Caribbean – St. Thomas church from 1643
- sugar production finished in 1960′s and then many Nevisians left abroad and were sending money back home to their families. They managed to build big residences with fields and a lot of green space around. As the island was not in debt and huge loss because of the not very prosperous sugar production for years, Nevis is wealthier than St. Kitts and the fastest way to prove it are the villas scattered around Nevis while St. Kitts is covered mostly with smaller colourful houses with almost no gardens.
a villa with a garden on Nevis
- Nevis is a bit warmer as it is windy mostly on the Atlantic sea on the North of the island so you cannot feel the breeze that much on Nevis like you do on St. Kitts.
- Nevis island has one predominant mountain – Nevis Peak of 3,232 ft.
- no fast food can be found on Nevis.
My trip to St. Kitts and Nevis islands was a press trip organized by the St. Kitts Tourist Board and Nevis Tourism in the collaboration with local agencies, restaurants and hotels. All the opinions in this article are my own as usual.