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St. Kitts

By John Sage

St. Kitts is a small island with many different things to see and do even for disabled visitors and their families. St. Kitts is a wonderful mix of exotic green vegetation, fascinating history and old stunning architecture – which all can be experienced within a day.

In St. Kitts, many initiatives have been taken to make the island more accessible for cruise passengers, including the flat and smooth port area and ramps in many places. Unfortunately, a lack of follow through means that in many places only parts of the venues are accessible. An example of this is the Brimstone fort where the main level is accessible with ramps but there is no elevator to the top of the Fort, which is the most impressive part.

Nevertheless, St. Kitts wheelchair access is definitely good enough that disabled cruise passengers can visit the island and have an enjoyable time here.

I gave St. Kitts a 3 Star Sage Accessibility Rating because it has accessible van transportation to get around the island, and several initiatives have been made to ensure greater accessibility at several venues, including ramps.

It did not get a higher rating because while ramps have been installed in most places, there is still a lack of accessibility features. No elevators and still several lips and stairs exist in many venues. Bassterre, the capital city, lacks curb cuts and ramps in many places as well, which means it is not ideal for a wheelchair accessible walking tour.


View St. Kitts Accessible Shore Excursions  coming soon


Best Aspects of St. Kitts Disabled Access

Wheelchair Accessible St. Kitts terminal and port exit: The cruise terminal in St.Kitts is among the best I’ve seen in the Caribbean when it comes to wheelchair accessibility. Not only is the dock area flat and smooth, the walking/rolling distance to the tour operators is also short, and a fully accessible restroom is available in the small welcome center. On the other side of the arrival hall, you will find a large flat area with ramps into most shops and bars.

Photo of the distance from cruise ship to the arrivals center shown in the photo on the left below. The accessible restroom in the terminal is shown in the photo on the right.


Tour meetup is right by the dock: Unlike other ports such as St. Lucia, there is no need to venture far when you exit the ship. The tour suppliers are able to get close to the arrivals hall and park their vehicles on a lot right next to the building. There is a ramp from the dock down to the parking lot.

Ramps have been installed in most of the attraction sites: In St. Kitts, you will find several historic sites including the popular Batik Factory at Romney Manor and the majestic Brimstone Fort. While these venues used to be completely inaccessible, several ramps have now been added to make them more wheelchair friendly. While parts of the Manor still is not completely accessible due to stairs, the fascinating Batik factory has been adapted with ramps in several places. Also, at Brimstone Fort, the lower level of the fort including the movie room, shop and visitor center all have ramp access.

The ramp to enter the Batik shop is a little steep. You may need someone from your group to help push your wheelchair to enter (see photo below on the left). At Brimstone Fort, the movie room and gift shop has ramped entrance as well (see photo below on the right).


Access to restrooms: In some Caribbean ports, finding an accessible restroom is close to impossible. In St. Kitts, that is not the case. While the restrooms may not have all the accessibility features found in other countries, finding a restroom with flat or ramped access is possible in many places. Addding grab bars is an ongoing process that has just recently begun. It is not a requirement on the island to have them.

See it all in a day! Only have one day to see St. Kitts? No problem. With a full day accessible driving tour, you can make your way through all the different old Parishes without having to worry about the hilly nature of the island. Enjoy all the venues spread out throughout the island, and stop at spectacular viewpoints, including Timothy Hill, where a flat access lot with gravel allows you to snap a photo with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean Ocean on the other.

Dock is in walking distance from downtown Basseterre: If you’re docking in Bassterre, a short stroll in Basseterre may be an option for you. As you exit the cruise area, you will enter straight into the downtown area, with the Independence Square only a few blocks away. However, be prepared that the sidewalks can be uneven and narrow.


Worst Aspects of St. Kitts Disabled Access

Everything is only partly accessible: Many venues have installed ramps and rails to accommodate disabled visitors, however, they haven’t followed through 100%. You may be able to use the ramp to enter but then won’t be able to get the full experience of the venue, because parts of it is inaccessible with stairs, uneven ground or steep inclines.

While the main level of the Brimstone Fort is accessible with ramps, the upper part, which is the most impressive, has a steep incline with steps to reach the top. No elevators are available (see photo on the left below). At the Palm Court Gardens, the main entrance is accessible and some of the route inside is as well, however, in order to navigate the entire venue one will need to pass several lips and narrow walking paths (see photo on the right).


Very hilly island: To see anything outside of Basseterre, disabled visitors will need an accessible vehicle. Winding roads and mountains is what makes the island extra beautiful but also more challenging for disabled visitors.

No beach wheelchairs: St. Kitts has several beautiful beaches, and many of the beach restaurants and bars have been adapted for use by wheelchair users, however, there are currently no beach wheelchair rentals available. This means that wheelchair users won’t be able to navigate the sand or get in the water, unless they are able to walk on their own.

There are several accessible beach options in St. Kitts including this private beach area at one of the Island’s international hotel chains. However, while ramped access is available and accessible restrooms, there are no beach wheelchairs available to help navigate the sand.

Few accessible vans: The island has very few accessible van options. We do not recommend just showing up at the cruise port and hoping for the best. To make sure you have a wonderful, hassle-free experience, pre-book your accessible ramped vehicle or accessible St. Kitts Shore Excursion.

Everything is spread out around the island: You can’t just stroll from one place to the other. The island is divided into Parishes and to see all the major highlights you will need to tour the entire island, driving through each of the Parishes. Luckily, this can be done in a single day.


View St. Kitts Accessible Shore Excursions  coming soon