Set on the small island of Nevis, Charlestown is the capital city (if it can be called a city at all) that takes you back in time. The buildings, from the skirt-and-blouse houses to the traditional courthouse, keep the old-fashioned feel, and many of the town's attractions are in fact historical in nature. Most tourists visit this town on a day trip from neighboring St. Kitts while others stay for their whole trip. Either way, it is important to be aware of the local transportation options.
The most convenient and time saving option for travel to Charlestown is to fly, and because there is an international airport nearby, it doesn't take a ton of extra planning to get here. Sailing a private yacht either that you own or that you have chartered is a popular option as well, and the most time consuming travel choice is the cruise, which is more about the experience along the way than the time it takes to arrive.
Most people know right away how they want to get to Charlestown, but the choice of transportation while in town is the one that causes them the most strife. Renting a car will offer the most independence, but the cost can certainly add up. Taxis allow visitors to sit back and let someone knows the local roads to be in charge, but again, they can be pricey. Buses are certainly the least expensive option, but are also the least reliable. Then there is the inter-island ferry, which won't serve as your main source of transportation, but is important to know about as a method to get from St. Kitts to Nevis.
Most tourists; however, choose to fly internationally to the St. Kitts before transferring to an LIAT plane and making their final flight to Nevis. Flights between depart once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and cost about $130(USD) per person each way.(SKB) on
If you've got experience sailing, you may consider traveling this route to the island. This is an especially ideal set up because Charlestown is the official port of entry for the harbor, plus it has great facilities. In addition, you can purchase a Boat Pass and visit St. Kitts without having to clear in again. Everything you need to know about sailing to Charlestown can be read here.
Charlestown Harbour is not only where yachters come to dock their boats, but luxury cruise liners as well. Cruising is a great way to get to see Charlestown for a short period of time, which many people agree is all that you need to see the most important sites in town. Cruise lines like Cunard, Princess, Radisson 7 Seas, and Sea Dream Yacht Club are the lines known for sailing to Nevis on a regular basis during cruise season, so these are the lines you should look to first as you plan a cruise to Charlestown.
When you plan to rent a car in Charlestown, there are a few things to be aware of. First is that you'll have to include an extra $24(USD) in your budget to cover the cost of a driving permit. Another factor to consider is that there are no rental agencies by the ferry docks or at the airport, which means you'll need to arrange or transportation when you immediately arrive on the island.
Everything you need to know about renting a car in Charlestown is available here.
Perhaps because Charlestown is located on a small island with few other transportation options, but taxis here are known for their high prices. You'll pay anywhere from $7 to $25(USD) to get across the island. The upside to this expense is that the drivers are friendly and knowledgeable, and the vehicles are well-kept.
Read our Charlestown Taxis guide for all the inside information about the service.
Tourists staying in Charlestown have the advantage of using the inexpensive public bus system for most of their travels if they choose. The buses on the island originate in Charlestown and stick to two major routes: heading north to the southwest end of D.R. Walwyn Plaza and south to the north end of Memorial Square. It costs around $1(USD) per person per trip, though rates vary slightly depending on the distance, and you'll have to be prepared to pay in Eastern Caribbean Dollars.
The buses here are actually minibuses that have been vibrantly painted and named unique names like “Zion Train.” You shouldn't have trouble picking the bus out in a crowd, but if you have any doubt, just check for a yellow license plate with the letter “H” printed on it.
A large percentage of people who stay in Charlestown end up traveling here via ferry from Basseterre, St. Kitts either because they've already spent a portion of their vacation on St. Kitts, or because at around $20(USD) per person it is significantly less expensive to take the 45 minute ferry than to fly.
Your stay in Charlestown is certain to be the trip of a lifetime, and you'll want everything to go off without a hitch. That is why planning your transportation in advance is so important. Now that you have learned about each option available to you, you are ready to move forward, turning your dreams into plans.
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