smoother than that first margarita
Your cruise stops in Basseterre and you’re thinking “beach.” Well, we’re here to show you the six best beaches in St Kitts near cruise port. Whether you’re looking to snorkel, lounge, party or for the best St Kitts beaches to be alone, we have you covered below.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know when considering which of St Kitts beaches to visit, including:
◽ Map with distance to cruise port
◽ Taxi cost from port
◽ Beach photos
◽ Snorkel / Swim rating
◽ Cruiser reviews
◽ Recommended for
◽ Resort Day Pass options
To give you a lay of the land, here’s a super quick note on geography. St Kitts has a neighboring island called Nevis. Nevis is just south and slightly smaller than St Kitts. The two combined make up one country, known as “St Kitts and Nevis,” cleverly enough. The channel of water separating the two is two miles wide and known as “The Narrows.”
Your cruise port (Port Zante) is located in Basseterre, just north of most of St Kitts most popular beaches.
The geography of these islands make for stunning views. Both St Kitts and Nevis islands are formed from volcanic structures, jutting up from the islands center. Most of the islands’ interior area is uninhabitable due to the steep terrain.
One major road circles each of the islands, with smaller roads branching off allowing access to beaches and other attractions. To drive around the entire island would take just over an hour.
St Kitts length spans roughly 18 miles from east to west and about 5 miles north to south. While the island is very narrow, beaches on St Kitts northern shore are different than those on the south. The main difference is the water. Northern St Kitts beaches have exposure to the Ocean while the southern shore faces the Caribbean. Expect more waves at northern beaches and slightly cooler waters.
From cruise port to beaches area, the distance is only a few miles. Taxi costs will range from $12 to $25 (10 to 25 minutes) depending on the beach you choose.
At most of the beaches in St Kitts, you won’t find the white sand that you may be picturing. Instead, you’ll find a darker, coarser sand. This is due to the volcanic structure of the islands. Some people enjoy this very natural look, while others may head to the Marriott Resort for the picturesque white sands.
Now that you’ve gotten a good sense of this little island paradise, let’s look at the best beaches in St Kitts near cruise port.
Here’s a list of St Kitts best beaches. Feel free to click ahead to your favorite.
Sand Bank Beach is located on the northern side of the island. But unlike other northern St Kitts beaches, Sand Bank is relatively calm. You can see by the geography that this stretch of coastline is more protected. You’ll enjoy waves just large enough to frolic, but while still very safe and enjoyable for swimming.
Another characteristic making Sand Bank Beach unique is its lack of commercial activity. While every other beach offers access to water sports and beach bars, you won’t find those here. The beach was inaccessible just a few years ago.
Taxi from St Kitts Cruise Sand Bank Beach: A taxi from port will cost roughly $23 (for up to four people). It should take roughly 20 minutes to get there. Make sure to negotiate the rate before agreeing to ride.
Beach Quality: Sand Bank Beach was unaccessible not too long ago. As such, its natural beauty has been preserved. While fairly narrow, the beach should be far less visited than the other options, so you won’t be fighting for space.
Beach Bars: None. Sand Bank Beach offers no beach bars and you won’t find vendors selling refreshments or other.
Amenities: As mentioned, Sand Bank Beach offers less commercial activity. You won’t find public restrooms and the typical amenities found at other St Kitts Beaches. If vacationing with kids, this might not be the best option.
Snorkeling: Snorkeling is decent on Sand Bank Beach. The cove is relatively protected so waters are calmer. But, the underwater sea life is more sparse than with some southern beach options.
Best for: Nature lovers. This beach is popular for couples and low-maintenance travelers.
Frigate Bay is your closest option when choosing among the best beaches in St Kitts, located roughly 10 minutes from your cruise port.
This section of the island is very narrow (north to south), allowing you to actually walk across the island from South Frigate Bay to North Frigate Bay.
This southern stretch of beach is smaller (about 1/4 mile long) than its northern counterpart. It’s located on the Caribbean Coast so you’ll find calmer waters. South Frigate Bay Beach is known for its access to plenty of water sports options.
Here’s everything you need to know about South Frigate Bay Beach in St Kitts.
Taxi from St Kitts Cruise Port to South Frigate Bay Beach: A taxi from port will cost roughly $10 (for up to four people). It should take no more than 10 minutes to get there. Make sure to negotiate the rate before agreeing to ride.
Beach Quality: South Frigate Bay beach spans roughly 1/4 mile. The sand is lighter and better kept than other beaches on the island.
Beach Bars: There’s no shortage of beach bars on South Frigate Bay. One of the most popular is “Vibes Beach Bar” in the center of the beach. If you’re looking for a party “vibe,” this is your best bet on the island. If this isn’t your scene, there are plenty of other beach bar options a short walk up or down the beach. Cold beers will cost at most $4 (at Vibes) and $2 elsewhere.
Amenities: Beach chairs and umbrellas are readily available for rent. At Vibes, you’ll pay 2x what it’ll cost at neighboring options. Expect to pay around $30 for two chairs and an umbrella there and $15 at neighboring beach shacks.
Water Sports: South Frigate Bay has all of the water sporting activity that you could want. Expect to pay around $50 for 30 minutes on a jet ski.
Snorkeling: Many regard South Frigate Bay as the best snorkeling in St Kitts. You’ll encounter calm and clear waters and plenty of undersea life. It’s very likely you’ll spot a sea turtle here. Snorkeling gear is available for rent here for roughly $10 for the day.
Best for: South Frigate Bay Beach is best for water sports activity. You’ll find everything from kayaks to jet packs here. This beach also provides your best collection of beach bars in one area! Stay once the sun sets for the best night life on the island.
North Frigate Bay offers one of the longest, uninterrupted stretches of beaches on the island. On the very northern end of the bay, you’ll find the Marriott Resort. If you’re looking for the nicest beach on the island, you’ll find it there at the Marriott. We highly recommend the Resort Day Pass option for use of this beach and all of the other amenities offered by the Marriott.
Here’s everything you need to know about North Frigate Bay Beach in St Kitts.
Taxi from St Kitts Cruise Port to North Frigate Bay Beach: A taxi from port will cost roughly $10 (for up to four people). It should take no more than 10 minutes to get there. Make sure to negotiate the rate before agreeing to ride.
Beach Quality: North Frigate Bay beach is significantly longer than its southern counterpart. The stretch of beach is about one mile long. The best beach on the island is located at the Marriott on North Frigate Bay. Fortunately, they offer a Resort Day Pass to use their beach and amenities.
Beach Bars: You’ll find many more beach bar options on South Frigate Bay. Head there if looking for a drink.
Amenities: Amenities aren’t readily available on North Frigate Bay Beaches as on the south bay. The exception is the Marriott resort, with loads of amenities… even a full casino.
Snorkeling: You’ll find good snorkeling towards the northern end of North Bay Beach. Bring your own gear, however, because equipment won’t be as easily rented here vs on the southern beaches.
Best for: VIP option at the Marriott Resort. There, you’ll find the best beach on the island along with all of the amenities you’d need.
Of course we had to include a Nevis beach even though our list is technically, “best St Kitts beaches near cruise port.” The reason… it’s beautiful and has a great story.
It’ll take you a little extra time to get there, but the commute is beautiful. You’ll take a scenic drive through the mountain ranges all the way south to Majors Bay. From there, you’ll hop on a quick ferry for the two-mile float across the harbor to Nevis Island.
It’s more likely that you’ll run into Oprah than large cruise crowds. Celebrities like “O,” Beyonce, Jay Z and Keith Richards have been known to frequent the small island beach.
Here’s everything that you need to know about Pinney’s Beach.
Taxi from St Kitts Cruise Port to Pinney’s: Rather than a normal taxi, you’ll jump on a water taxi to get down to Nevis Island. Conveniently, it leaves from Port Zante where your cruise ship will be docked. A ticket will cost $9 each way. The ferry will take you to Charlestown, the capital of Nevis. From there, you can take a short cab ride or walk the half-mile to the southern-most point of Pinney’s Beach. Alternatively, you can opt for an organized excursion. We recommend the Nevis Beach Getaway. For a very reasonable price, you’ll be escorted to Penney’s Beach and treated to a welcome drink, beach chairs and umbrella.
Beach Quality: Penney’s Beach is gorgeous and huge. At roughly 4 miles in length, you won’t be fighting for a spot. Expect soft, white sand, swaying palm trees, and clear blue water. It’s often referred to as the best beach on Nevis Island. You won’t find crowds like with beaches in St Kitts.
Beach Bars: The most popular beach bar on Pinney’s Beach is called Sunshine’s. It’s infamous for its Killer Bee Rum Punch. There’s a great beach bar vibe and the drinks go down a little too easy here.
Amenities: You won’t find publicly available restrooms on this stretch of beach coastline. You have the option to use Sunshine’s facilities if grabbing a drink or a bite. There are three other beach bars surrounding Sunshines that are all great alternatives. You’ll find vendors providing water sports options, beach chairs and umbrellas. With the organized excursion mentioned above, these are included in your tour.
Snorkeling: Snorkeling is great on Pinney’s Beach. You’ll find a shallow reef just off shore, serving as home to all kinds of fish, barracuda, turtles, stingray, and more. Local vendors can provide gear if not bringing your own.
Best for: Cruisers looking for an exclusive getaway. The four miles of beach coastline offer plenty of seclusion.
Cockleshell Beach is one of the furthest from your cruise port. But, the views are worth the drive. Located at the southern end of St Kitts, you’ll be facing the island of Nevis and its stunning landscape.
You’ll also benefit from calm waters if looking to swim. The already surrounded bay has the added protection of Nevis Island, blocking any rough waters from the south.
There are two main restaurants / bars on Cockleshell Beach, one located at each end of the beach. You’ll also have vendors providing cheap beers and very reasonable chairs and umbrellas in between the two.
Below is everything you need to know about Cockleshell Beach in St Kitts.
Taxi from St Kitts Cruise Port to Cockleshell Beach: A taxi from port will cost roughly $25 (for up to four people). It should take roughly 20 minutes to get there. Make sure to negotiate the rate before agreeing to ride.
Beach Quality: Cockleshell is one of the longest beaches in St Kitts at roughly 3/4 mile. As the name implies, the sand contains shell pieces throughout. You’ll also find darker sand patches as with most beaches in St Kitts. The view is spectacular, looking directly at Nevis Island’s impressive landscape.
Beach Bars: On each end of Cockleshell Beach, you’ll find an option to eat and drink. On the west side of the bay is Salt Mill. The upscale restaurant will be a bit pricier and great if looking for more “fine dining.” On the opposite end of the beach is the renown Reggae Beach Bar Grille. There you’ll find a casual atmosphere and comfortable beach vibe.
Amenities: You’ll have all the amenities you need on Cockleshell Beach. Food, drink, water sports and massages are available from vendors. Bathrooms can be accessed from either of the restaurants mentioned above. You’ll have the option to rent beach chairs and umbrellas from either ($20), or from cheaper alternatives like Loxs-een Beach Hut ($10). Jet skis are very cheap here quoted as low as $25 for 30 minutes.
Snorkeling: Snorkeling is possible on Cockleshell Beach, but not the best option on the island. Vendors have available equipment for a very reasonable price ($10 daily). Your best bet is at either end of the bay, where you’ll likely find more fish, stingrays, and maybe even an octopus.
Best for: Great views and calm waters. Also good if trying to avoid large cruise crowds. It’s the furthest away from your cruise port and lesser visited by passengers.
VIP Resort Option: Treat yourself while in St Kitts with a Park Hyatt Resort Day Pass. The exclusive resort offers all of the amenities you’ll need including a two-course lunch and wifi!
Also on the Caribbean Side, South Friar’s Beach is just past South Frigate Bay when headed from the cruise port.
It’s the second-closest of our best beaches in St Kitts. The quarter-mile stretch of beach offers restaurants at each end, similar to Cockleshell Beach.
South Friar’s Beach is great for swimming and snorkeling. It’s warm and mild waters offer great conditions for those planning to get wet.
Taxi from St Kitts Cruise Port to South Friar’s Beach: A taxi from port will cost roughly $16 (for up to four people). It should take roughly 12 minutes to get there. Make sure to negotiate the rate before agreeing to ride.
Beach Quality: It’s smaller than other beaches in St Kitts at just 1/4 mile in length. But, don’t be turned off by the smaller size. South Friar’s Beach is one of the more popular in St Kitts due to its sand quality and views. Walking from one end to the other is a bit tougher than other beaches as there’s a significant slope due to elevation changes. Also expect a bit more crowds than if traveling further south.
Beach Bars: On each end of South Friar’s Beach, you’ll find an option to eat and drink. On the far west side of the bay is Carambola Beach Club. The upscale establishment offers fine dining both inside and out. Food and drink here will be significantly more expensive (rightfully) than on the opposite end of the beach at the Shipwreck Beach Bar.
Amenities: Both restaurants offer bathrooms, lounge chairs, umbrellas and other options for purchase. Vendors between the two restaurants provide additional options along with water sporting equipment. Expect to pay roughly $40 for two chairs and umbrellas at each end and about half of that in the middle of the bay. WiFi is available and free throughout South Friar’s Beach. As far as we know, this is the only free wifi at any St Kitts beaches.
Snorkeling: South Friar’s Beach has some of the best snorkeling in St Kitts. Head east towards the end of the beach by Shipwreck Bar. There, you can hop in to enjoy the protected cove and all it has to offer (sea turtles, rocks, urchins, corals, etc). The calm waters are enjoyed not only by snorkelers, but much of the surrounding sea creatures.
Best for: Snorkeling. The calm waters, abundance of sea life, and protected cove offer the best environment for snorkelers in St Kitts.
Tip: For a tour of St Kitts along with a two-hour stop at South Friar’s Beach, check out Magnificent Sightseeing and Beach Tour.
If you’d prefer to check out some of your other tour options, Gangwaze has 30 St Kitts Shore Excursions to choose from.
Cruising to Cozumel or Nassau? Make sure to visit these similar blog posts highlighting the best beaches in each of those cruise ports.
Please help us share this piece with your cruise community using the buttons below!