What makes Saint Kitts and Nevis a unique country to travel to?
St. Kitts and Nevis is a developing Eastern Caribbean nation consisting of two islands. Tourist facilities are widely available.
The government is currently working to combat an influx of illegal weapons onto the islands. Violent crime—including murder, petty street crime, automobile break-ins and burglary—continue to occur. To combat these problems, St. Kitts has hired a new police chief to guide the police force and implement higher standards in crime fighting. Visitors and residents must exercise common-sense precautions such as traveling in groups, avoiding walking alone at night or carrying large amounts of cash, other valuables or travel documents. Hotel safety deposit facilities should be used to safeguard valuables and travel documents. Visitors should also avoid leaving bags, valuables and other belongings in rental vehicles or on beaches. Some American universities in St. Kitts and Nevis have instituted strict curfew hours for students, as many have recently been victims of crime in downtown Basseterre.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law too.
While you are traveling in another country, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. In some places, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. These criminal penalties will vary from country to country. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods or engage in child pornography. While you are overseas, U.S. laws don’t apply. If you do something illegal in your host country, your U.S. passport won’t help. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Persons violating St. Kitts and Nevis laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs or firearms in St. Kitts and Nevis are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. It is important to note that the prison on St. Kitts was built in the 1800s and is not on par with U.S. prisons. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Medical care is limited. The main hospitals are Joseph N. France General Hospital (telephone (869) 465-2551) on St. Kitts and Alexandria Hospital (telephone (869) 469-5473) on Nevis. St. Kitts has two additional hospitals and both islands have several health clinics. Neither island has a hyperbaric chamber. Divers suffering from decompression illness are transported to the island of Saba, in the Netherlands Antilles. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the U.S. can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. Generally, traffic in St. Kitts and Nevis moves on the left-hand side of the road. Roads are reasonably well paved but narrow and sometimes poorly marked. Drivers often stop on the side of or in the middle of the road to visit with other drivers, blocking traffic lanes. Honking one's horn is a common form of greeting, not a warning.
Travelers are required to obtain a visitor's driver’s license, which may be obtained from the Traffic Department or the Fire Station for a small fee on presentation of a valid home or international license. Public Transportation consists of mini-buses and taxis. Established, reasonable fares are available from airport dispatchers and local hotels. Complaints regarding taxi or minibus services may be lodged with The Department of Tourism or with your hotel.
More detailed information on roads and traffic safety can be obtained from the Ministry of National Security or Ministry of Tourism and International Transport located in Port Zante, Bay Road, Basseterre, St. Kitts, telephone (869) 465-4040. For specific information concerning St. Kitts and Nevis driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis or the St. Kitts and Nevis Tourism Board.