St Kitts is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets. Despite pristine beaches, lush exotic landscapes and an abundance of natural attractions, it has stayed firmly under the tourist radar compared to the popularity of some of its neighbours.
But this is set to change with a serious injection of glamour — and cash. As British Airways introduces direct flights to the island, a new multimillion pound development, Christophe Harbour, will open this year and have a super-yacht marina, five-star hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental, and a Tom Fazio-designed golf course.
It will redefine the island’s southeastern peninsula and cover 13 miles of coastline. But to lessen the environmental impact, part of the bay will become a designated marine sanctuary and a new non-profit-making foundation will support local environmental and social projects.
But it’s not just about the new. The treasure trove of St Kitts’ historic attractions has received a welcome boost with the formation of the St Christopher National Trust. The Trust’s first task will be to manage four significant sites with the aim of opening them up for visitors. The projects include the preservation of the Amerindian petroglyphs at Stone Fort Ravine, a set of 115 ancient drawings on the walls of a deep ravine, which were created by the Caribs who first occupied the island 5,000 years ago.
Spooner’s Ginnery, where seeds were once separated from cotton, one of the major industries during slavery, is also on the list. And the Mansion Research Station and the Belmont Sugar Museum have also gained the Trust’s attention. These historic plantations date from the 1700s and sugar was produced at Belmont as late as 2005. While both developments are keen to preserve the sleepy charm of St Kitts, they will also make it one of the most sought-after destinations around.