Saint Kitts and Nevis

Official name: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Area: 261 square kilometers (101 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Misery (1,156 meters/3,793 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Western

Time zone: 8 A.M. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 37 kilometers (23 miles) from north to south; 8 kilometers (5 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: None

Coastline: 135 kilometers (84 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

Shaped like an exclamation mark, the popular tourist destinations of Saint Kitts and Nevis lie in the northern part of the Leeward Islands in the Eastern Caribbean, with Barbuda to the northeast and Antigua to the southwest. Covering an area of 261 square kilometers (101 square miles), Saint Kitts and Nevis is over one-and one-half times the size of Washington, D.C.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Saint Kitts and Nevis has no territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

The temperatures recorded on Saint Kitts and Nevis change very little during the year, due to their close proximity to the equator. Year-round temperatures average 26°C (79°F) and rarely exceed 32°C (89°F).

Rainfall is greater and more frequent in higher elevations. Most rain falls between May and November, with an average annual rainfall of 109 centimeters (43 inches). The summer months are especially humid; hurricanes are possible in the late summer and early fall months.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

Both Saint Kitts and Nevis are volcanic islands. The larger of the two, Saint Kitts, contains a dormant volcano, a salt lake, and tropical forests. The circular island of Nevis, also home to a dormant volcano, slopes to its highest peak, Nevis Peak, and is home to rich forests and sandy beaches. Both islands are known for their lush vegetation.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Saint Kitts and Nevis are located in the Caribbean Sea.

Seacoast and Undersea Features

While there are coral reefs throughout the Caribbean, none of the reefs near the islands are of significant size. The highest concentration of these reefs is near Nag's Head and the southwestern coast of Saint Kitts. The coral reefs on Saint Kitts, notably those near Sandy Point Bay, are rich in marine life.

Sea Inlets and Straits

A two-mile-wide channel, known as the Narrows, separates Saint Kitts from Nevis.

Islands and Archipelagos

Located in the channel separating the islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis is the small Booby Island.

Coastal Features

The coastlines of the islands are rather jagged and indented, with many bay and beach areas. Located on the southern tip of Saint Kitts are Majors Bay, Banana Bay, and Cockleshell Bay. Other bays line the coastline, including Half Moon Bay, Sandy Bay, Frigate and North Frigate Bays, and North and South Friar's Bays. There are two capes of interest: Belle Tete, on the northwestern shore of Saint Kitts, and Nag's Head, at the end of the Frigate Bay Peninsula. The beaches on both islands range from smooth with white sand to coarse with black sand. The northern end of Saint Kitts has numerous black volcanic sand beaches.

6 INLAND LAKES

The Great Salt Pond, located near the southeastern tip of Saint Kitts, is the only lake of significant size on the islands.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

Most of the rivers on Saint Kitts and Nevis no longer flow year-round. Those that remain are small and drain from the mountain ranges in the wet season, drying up partially or completely in the dry season. Two seasonal rivers of note are the Wingfield and Cayon Rivers, which during the wet seasons will flow almost to the Caribbean.

8 DESERTS

There are no deserts on Saint Kitts and Nevis.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

Plots of sugarcane cover the foothills of the central mountain range on Saint Kitts. The island's southern peninsula consists of many low hills and expansive reaches of flat terrain, which include large swamps and marshes of all kinds.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

The major mountain range on the island of Saint Kitts runs through the middle of the island from northeast to southwest. Rainforests surround the higher slopes. Mount Misery (also called Mount Liamuiga) is the highest summit on the island at 1,156 meters (3,793 feet). The highest peak on Nevis, called Nevis Peak, has an elevation of 985 meters (3,232 feet); it is often capped in white clouds.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

Coral grottoes located some 12 meters (40 feet) beneath Nevis's western coast are a popular dive site, providing underwater access to the island's coral reefs.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

There are no plateaus or significant monoliths on Saint Kitts and Nevis.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

Once known as "the Gibraltar of the West Indies," Brimstone Hill on the island of Saint Kitts is home to an eighteenth-century fortress that was restored in the 1960s.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Gordon, Joyce. Nevis: Queen of the Caribees . London: Macmillan Caribbean, 1990.

Merrill, Gordon Clark. The Historical Geography of St. Kitts and Nevis, the West Indies . Mexico: Instituto Panamericano de Geografia e Historia, 1958.

Richardson, Bonham C. Caribbean Migrants: Environment and Human Survival on Saint Kitts and Nevis . Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1983.

Web Sites

Lonely Planet: Destination St. Kitts and Nevis. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/caribbean/saint_kitts_and_nevis/attractions.htm (accessed March 13, 2003).

St. Kitts Tourism Authority. http://www.stkitts-tourism.com/index2.html (accessed March 13, 2003).

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