Safety in Saint Kitts and Nevis: What You Need to Know

Visitors are generally safe in the dual-island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, but here are a few tips to avoid petty crime on your vacation.

Port Zante in Basseterre town, St. Kitts And Nevis Photo © Getty Images/mikolajn

Caribbean Island Paradise

One of the greatest dangers for first-time visitors to St. Kitts is being struck dumb by the sheer beauty of the place. This is a popular destination for cruise ships, which is no surprise, as it's a quintessential Caribbean paradise, with white sandy beaches and clear water to swim in. Plus, the country is tiny, at just 104mi² (269.4 km²), but packed with hiking trails, crater lakes, a volcano, rainforests, wildlife and of course beaches.

Get Used to Island Time

Some visitors complain of poor service on these two Caribbean islands. Much of this is due to the Caribbean concept of "Island time". You should expect that any request you make will take at least three times longer than you thought – that way you will have no issues with supposedly "poor service".

Wear a Helmet

A popular method of traversing the island is to hire a scooter, but the price will not include a helmet. Always pay the extra and wear a helmet – the roads are in poor condition and the other road users are not renowned for their driving abilities. 

Annoying Beach Vendors

Beach vendors can be a nuisance – be prepared to say no strongly if you do not want a massage or hair braiding.

Crime

A gang war in 2008 meant that St Kitts statistically became the murder capital of the world when 23 people were killed out of its tiny population of just 46,000.

Police cracked down on the gangs and hanged one of the offenders in 2009.

Since then the murder rate has dropped – but fears rose again when an elderly British couple were murdered on their vacation while in the Half Moon Courtyard area back in 2010.

Petty Crime and Theft

Petty street crime and burglary continue to occur in St. Kitts and Nevis. Visitors should take common-sense precautions. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and use hotel safety deposit facilities to safeguard valuables and travel documents. Do not leave valuables unattended on the beach or in cars. Walking alone at night is strongly discouraged.

LGBTQ+ Laws

LGBTQ+ travelers need to be aware of laws that apply to homosexuality. Same-sex relations between men is criminalized, however female sexual relationships are not illegal.

There are no laws in place to protect people from discrimination or harassment on the account of sexual orientation or gender identity, and there is no recognition of same-sex marriages or partnerships.

If you are traveling with your partner of the same sex, keep public displays of affection to a minimum and avoid being overt about your relationship status.

Hopefully in the near future these laws will change and there will be equality for all (both locals and visitors to St. Kitts and Nevis). But for now, it's best to be cautious and avoid unwanted attention.

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2 Comments

  • Dr. Billy Piscitelli said

    Back in 2001 I was nearly killed by murderous thugs (off-duty cops) who had one thing on their mind: looting, beating and raping, and stealing watermelons or selling watermelons for exorbitant prices. They nearly ruined the reputation of a good medical school founded by Dr. Frederic ("virtually no crime & wait 'til I gets outta me chair)! Food was ridiculously high in price! Eat the mangoes!

  • Calvin Hodge Lake said

    It's quite amazing we don't appreciate what our ancestors slaved for and left behind.

    If the current crime of affairs continue, 99% of Caribbean islands will collapsed and fall economic prey to the IMF debt parade. There will be no economic growth
    but back into slavery.


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