Information & Facts
Business in St. Kitts and Nevis is conducted in a relatively
informal manner, but a fairly formal dress is expected despite the
heat. Handshakes for both men and women are the common form of
greeting, and business cards should be exchanged immediately after
being introduced. Business hours are generally 8am to 4pm Monday to
Friday with an hour taken at lunch.
The climate is tropical, but sea breezes keep the islands
relatively cool. There are no definite seasons; the yearly average
temperature is 79°F (26°C). Although rain is possible throughout
the year, the average is higher between July and November, which
coincides with the hurricane season.
The international dialling code for St Kitts and Nevis is +1
869. The outgoing code is 1 for the Caribbean, USA and Canada, and
011 for all other international destinations followed by the
relevant country code (e.g. 01127 for South Africa). City/area
codes are not in use. Internet services are widely available at
hotels and Internet cafes. Cable and Wireless Caribbean Cellular
(St Kitts) Ltd (GSM 850/1900) and Wireless Ventures Ltd (GSM
900/1800) provide cellular phone service.
Nudity is not allowed on beaches and beachwear should not be
worn in the towns or villages. It is an offence to wear camouflage
clothing. Homosexuality is illegal.
Travellers over the age of 18 may import 200 cigarettes or 50
cigars or 225g tobacco, and 1.136 litres of wine or spirits without
paying customs duty.
Electrical current is 230 volts, 60 Hz, but a 117-volt
supply is available in most hotels. Round three-pin plugs and
three-pin rectangular blade plugs (as in the UK) are in
Basseterre and Charlestown are small and easy enough to explore
by foot. Ferries are the most convenient way to travel between the
islands, taking about 45 minutes, but flights are also available
(10 minutes). Colourful minivan buses traverse the islands daily
except Sundays and can be flagged down anywhere as they go past.
Cars and taxis are available for hire in the main towns.
No vaccinations are required for travel to the islands, but a
yellow fever certificate is required from visitors travelling from
a yellow fever infected country. Dengue fever is on the increase,
and precautions against mosquito bites should be taken. There is a
high incidence of HIV/AIDS. Medical facilities are adequate, but
limited, and health insurance is essential, which should include
emergency air evacuation. Most doctors and hospitals expect cash
English is the official language.
The official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which
is divided into 100 cents. It is tied to the US dollar at a rate of
US$1=EC$2.70. Most businesses accept US Dollar notes as payment,
but change is given in EC$. Travellers cheques and major credit
cards are widely accepted, and major currencies can be exchanged at
banks, with US Dollars the cheapest to exchange. Most banks are
closed on weekends, but provide 24-hour ATM services.
Visitors are recommended to hold confirmed return or onward
tickets, all documents needed for next destination and sufficient
funds to cover their stay. As part of the Western Hemisphere Travel
Initiative (WHTI), all travellers travelling between the United
States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are
required to present a passport or other valid travel document to
enter or re-enter the United States. If departing from the USA a
valid passport will be required by immigration authorities. It is
highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity
remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel
destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to
those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Although most visits to the islands are trouble-free, visitors
should still guard against robbery and other crimes of opportunity.
Valuables should be left in hotel safes where possible and remote
places, particularly beaches, should be avoided, especially after
dark. Hurricane season normally runs from June to November.
Local time is GMT -4.
A 10% service charge is usually included in hotel and restaurant
bills, otherwise it is customary to leave 10-15% of the bill
depending on the service. Taxi drivers receive 10-15% of the