St. Kitts and Nevis, like no other islands in the Caribbean, seem to embody a kind of lush tropical paradise usually associated with the South Pacific. The atmosphere here is palpably luxuriant, an intoxicating blend of sunlight, sea air and fantastically abundant vegetation. At the center of St. Kitts stands the spectacular, cloud-fringed peak of Mount Liamuiga (pronounced Lee-a-mweega), a dormant volcano covered by dense tropical forest. And on Nevis, too, the ground rises upward into a cloud forest filled with elusive green monkeys and brilliant tropical flowers.
Nature is only a small part of the wonder of these small, relatively undiscovered destinations. Long ago, St. Kitts and Nevis were the pearls of the British Caribbean, rich and enormously important islands that were celebrated throughout Europe. Nevis, the “Queen of the Caribbees,” possessed unimaginable wealth from its super-productive sugar industry, while on St. Kitts the impregnable fortress of Brimstone Hill stood as the Gibraltar of the West Indies. In this venerable history is plenty of romance as well, for it was on Nevis that the dashing young Horatio Nelson met, courted, and wedded Fanny Nisbet, all the while attending to the whirling social life of the island’s prosperous plantation estates.