Facts About Basseterre
|Country||Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|State||Saint George Basseterre (Saint Kitts)|
|Lat Long Coordinates||17°18′N62°44′W|
|area code||+1 – 869|
|Major Religion||Christian (Roman Catholic)|
|Point of interest||Government House, St. George’s Anglican Church, Bloody Point, Independence Square, Mount Liamuiga, Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, Frigate Bay|
Basseterre is the capital of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis with a total population of 15,500. Although the British initially settled here in 1623, it was officially founded by the French in 1627. By 1639, the city was commanding the trade of the East Caribbean area. In 1727, the British captured the country and established Basseterre as the capital. A vibrant combination of culture, history, and modern industry, Basseterre also serves as the country’s financial capital.
It is not only the transportation hub of the country but also houses several administrative buildings. The languages English and French are widely spoken here.
Basseterre is located on the southwestern coast of the island, surrounded by the lush green mountains of Basseterre Valley. It is situated on Basseterre Bay, lying in the Caribbean Sea. The Olives Mountains lie to its north and the Conarre Morne peaks to its east. Laid out in a grid pattern, the city has four main streets, viz., Cayon Street, Bay Road, Liverpool Row and Central Street.
How to Reach (Transport)
The city is connected by the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport to cities like Miami, London, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and New York. Basseterre is also accessible by the sea as the Deep Water Harbor and Port Zante are easily reachable by various cruise ships from the United States, Canada, and several countries in Europe.
The St. Kitts Scenic Railway Train was originally used to transport sugar but is now used as a tourist train running from Basseterre to Sandy Point. It is also well connected to the rest of the island by road and several buses run between the city and Sandy Point, Capesterre, Saddler’s, etc.
Inside the city, the safest and most available mode of transport is the taxi. One can also hire a car or a scooter. There isn’t much traffic in and around Basseterre.
When to Visit
Featuring a typical tropical rainforest climate, the city has a high level of precipitation with a relatively uniform temperature. The best time to visit would be the months of February, March, and April when the weather is relatively dry.
Fairs and Festivals
Basseterre celebrates the following festivals:
- The Carnival, typical of every Caribbean city, is held in the month of December. Celebrations begin in mid-December and end after the New Year. Festivities include colorful costumes, music, and dance along with exotic floats and of course the traditional parade.
- St. Kitts Music Festival, held annually every June-July, used to take place in the Fort Thomas Hotel and now the venue has been shifted to Warner Park. The festival goes on for three days and nights and is celebrated by performances put up by both local and international artists.
- Newtown Fest, celebrated in September in East Basseterre is centered around the oldest community in the area, the Newtown community. Festivities include calypso shows, jam sessions and beauty pageants.
Other festivals include Village O’Rama, Independence Day, etc.
Points of Interest (Places to Visit)
Basseterre is full of historical heritage sites and beautiful beaches alike. One can go on treks over the rugged mountains or avail of the snorkeling and diving facilities offered by the picturesque beaches. Important points of interest are as listed below:
- Independence Square, originally called Pall Mall Square, was renamed when the country achieved its political independence in 1983. It is the center of administration and business of the city and has also served as the site for the slave market during the colonial period.
- The Berkeley Memorial was built in the 1880s in honor of former Legislative Council President, Thomas B.H. Berkeley. It is situated in the center of the Circus in Basseterre. It has fountains, and a wall clock with four faces, each facing one of the four streets.
- St. George’s Anglican Church was built in 1670 by French Jesuits and it was dedicated to Virgin Mary. However, in 1706, Notre Dame was burned to the ground by English soldiers which was rebuilt and named St. George’s in 1710.
Other places to visit in Basseterre include the Circus, Amina Craft Market, National Museum, St. Kitts Heritage Society, Pelican Shopping Mall, and the Cenotaph.
Basseterre offers a lot of options for both luxurious and humble accommodations alike. Popular choices include The Sea View Inn which is located in the center of the city and is a mid-range hotel with a distinct Caribbean flavor. Another affordable option is Sugar Bay Club which is located on Frigate Bay. Luxury hotels include Ocean Terrace Inn, Timothy Beach Resort, and Birdrock Beach Hotel.