Monday, May 30, 2022

Travel the World - Saint Kitts & Nevis

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...

Saint Kitts & Nevis

Located in the Leeward Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis is a federal two-island country in the West Indies of the Caribbean.

To the east of St Kitts and Nevis is the chilled water of the Atlantic, and to the West sits the warm Caribbean Sea.

With a small population of 53,192 in 2020 and a total area of 100.8 square miles, St. Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas.

St. Kitts, the larger of the two islands, is roughly oval in shape except for a long, narrow peninsula to the southeast.

The circularly shaped Nevis is surrounded by coral reefs.

The islands of St Kitts and Nevis were formed almost exclusively from two volcanos. Mount Liamuiga on St Kitts and Nevis Peak on the island of Nevis. Fortunately for travelers, both islands volcanoes are now extinct with the last reported eruption over 1,800 years ago. 

The two islands are separated by a two-mile stretch of sea known as ‘the narrows’. To get between the two islands, you can hop on a five-minute water taxi. 

English is the official language of St. Kitts and Nevis, but there is a strong local dialect which can often be mistaken for a different language.

Green, black, red, yellow and white are the national colors of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The capital of Kitts and Nevis is Basseterre – pronounced ‘bass-tear’. It is one of the oldest towns in the Eastern Caribbean founded in 1627

The country’s capital city, Basseterre, means “low land” in French. The reference is to the city’s low-lying location within a valley and that it’s located on the leeward (downwind) side of the island and is, therefore, a sheltered anchorage.

When Christopher Columbus discovered the island, he named it after his patron saint, St. Christopher. Later it was shortened to St. Kitts, his nickname. It was considered the mother colony of the West Indies.

The country's highest peak is Mount Liamuiga, 3,792 feet above sea level.

Predominantly Christian in faith, there are over 200 churches in St. Kitts and Nevis. The people are very religious with most families attending church on a weekly basis.

People on St. Kitts are called Kittitians, and on Nevis they are called Nevisians.

Culturama is a public holiday in Saint Kitts and Nevis, observed on the Tuesday after the first Monday in August. It extends the Emancipation Day holidays by one day and is a festival that showcases the cultural heritage of the islands.

Another main event is the Saint Kitts & Nevis National Carnival. It takes place between Christmas and New Year’s and is also known as Sugar Mas. It is the biggest event in the year with many competitions and activities taking place over throughout the week, a fun Saint Kitts & Nevis fact. Preparations begin towards the end of November, where music and decorations will take over the country.

Once a year you can swim across the narrows (waterway between St Kitts and Nevis) in an event called the Cross Channel Swim. However, this 2.5 mile stretch isn’t just for athletes. Flippers, snorkels and even wetsuits can be used to help make the journey.

They have white beaches and black volcanic beaches depending on what side of the island you are on. One side of the island has black beaches while the other has white beaches.

One of the main things that attract people to Saint Kitts & Nevis is its amazing beaches. The country’s most famous beach is Cockleshell Beach. It is an isolated white sand beach on Saint Kitts and has a spectacular view of Nevis. Another popular beach on the Nevis island is Pinney Beach. Lined with long, beautiful palm trees, the long sandy beach is often packed with people and has many restaurants looking out onto the water.

With its lovely sunny, tropical climate, glorious sea and golden beaches, St. Kitts and Nevis is a popular holiday spot, despite being prone to hurricanes

"Limin” is the local phrase for hanging out, chilling on island time or having a good time.

St. Kitts and Nevis is a modern country, and has become quite developed in recent years as tourism grows and large cruise ships visit during the peak winter season.

With just 12,000 residents, the island of Nevis is a tranquil and untouched Caribbean destination, with no large cruise ship ports, no traffic lights, no fast food restaurants and no building taller than a coconut tree or built above 1000 feet elevation.

Education is compulsory for all children from the age of 5 to 16, provided by a countrywide system of free public schools as well as private church-affiliated schools. 

There are several hospitals and many health centers throughout the islands. 

St. Kitts is home to UMHS (the University of Medical and Health Sciences), one of the leading Caribbean medical schools.

Ross University of Veterinary Medicine is a well known school located on St Kitts and Nevis. The beautiful campus overlooks the Caribbean Sea and volcanic mountains of the island. 

One of the most famous landmarks in Saint Kitts and Nevis is the Wingfield Estate. Founded in 1625, the sugar plantation was operated until the 1920s. Today it’s a picturesque ruin with partly restored original buildings and structures.

St. Kitts and Nevis exports sugar, beer, lobster, margarine, tobacco and electronics.

The agricultural industry of the two islands centers on dairy, beef, mutton, pork, poultry, rum distilling (yum!) and the preservation and processing of fruit and vegetables – fishing is also a big industry, thanks to investment in larger boats and modern equipment.

The economy in St Kitts and Nevis is largely based upon sugar cultivation and tourism.

The St. Kitts Scenic Railway is popular with tourists. Open-air, double-decked rail cars provide panoramic views of lush island vistas, magnificent coastlines, and historic sugar plantations for the first 18 miles of the 30-mile trip. Travelers then jump on a sightseeing bus for 12 miles to complete the circle around the island. Sip on complimentary drinks while being serenaded by a trio of acapella musicians singing Caribbean folk songs.

When most people think of coming to St. Kitts and Nevis, their first thoughts are the sunshine, palm trees and a good rum cocktail, but they might not realize that many natural herbs and plants grow there that help cure and prevent many physical ailments.

Brimstone Hill National Park is a major tourist attraction in the country. It was established in 1987, protecting the famous Brimstone Hill Fortress. The design of the fortress was drawn by the British military while the actual building was done by slave labors from Africa. Built on a very steep hill, the fortress was built to protect the island from attacks coming in from the sea.

St. Kitts and Nevis were once two of the richest islands in the West Indies, having produced more than 20 percent of the British Empire's entire sugar yield. Ruins of sugar mills still dot the landscape, paying homage to the once-booming trade.

St. Kitts and Nevis are home to some of the world’s best tasting mangoes. Thanks to its uniquely balmy climate, its soil supports thousands of trees bearing the sweet fruit. Officially, the islands boast 44 different kinds of mango, but ask any local and they will tell you there are probably closer to 200 different varieties. Some of the more popular are amory polly, julie, and graham.

Rainforests cover 42% of St. Kitts and Nevis. Tourists explore untouched forests on safari; meet animals and taste exotic fruits and vegetables. For example, cassava, yams, breadfruit, golden apples, Spanish limes, and searngrapes.

In the forests of St. Kitts and Nevis, tropical birds and butterflies can be found. 

From June to October, the beaches of St. Kitts and Nevis come alive as sea turtles come ashore to nest. Three species of sea turtles nest on the shores of the islands: the hawksbill, the leatherback, and the green turtle. These majestic creatures journey hundreds of miles each nesting season to return to the same place where they were hatched and, under the glow of the moonlight, lay the next generation of sea turtles that will one day make the same journey.

The national bird of Saint Kitts and Nevis is the brown pelican.

St. Kitts green vervet monkeys are some of the most photographed faces on the islands. They’re not actually native to the islands either. French settlers brought them to the islands in the 17th century and kept them as exotic pets.

Monkeys are the largest mammals on the islands, not counting livestock.

The Broadway musical Hamilton is based on the life of US founding father Alexander Hamilton who was born on the island of Nevis in 1755.

As a result of the musical’s success, in 2016 Nevis island reported a boost in tourism as fans of the show visited. Some attractions received a 30% increase in visitors and some hotels are now offering Hamilton-themed packages as a result.

St. Kitts and Nevis have two airports, both with paved surfaces.

There are more than 238 miles of paved roads (0,0006% of all roads in the world).

The country has 31 miles of railway tracks.

The islanders' favorite sport is cricket. Other favorite pastimes of the locals include mountain biking, horse racing, golf, soccer, and triathlon.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Saint Kitts & Nevis... Tourists often enjoy exploring the islands on horseback, with trail rides that cater to both the novice and experienced riders.



Here's the inside:


Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Die Sets: Your Next Stamp Krash the Horse stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers and SU On the Horizon stamped with Lawn Fawn Celery Stick

Ink (for blending on fence): Lawn Fawn Doe

Paper: Accent Opaque 120# White and SU Chocolate Chip and Granny Apple Green CS

Dies: Pink Fresh Diagonal Stitched Rectangles and Spellbinders A2 Matting Basics

Embellishments: Paper Studio Mini Brad

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