All Aboard the St. Kitts Scenic Railway!

Ever heard of the St. Kitts Scenic Railway or even just railroads in the Caribbean?

In the present day, railways are scarcely functional in the islands. However, had you lived back in the early 1900s, cargo transporting trains would’ve traversed from farms to mills to ports. They’d carry sugar, tobacco and produce to waiting ships who’d take the valuable exports to Europe and the US.

Waiting to board

Waiting to board

In St. Kitts, the sugar era wasn’t so long ago.

Rich volcanic soil and a perfect climate made it the sweetest island in the Caribbean for centuries. As times changed, sugar production became more expensive, and ultimately the government decided to shut it down for good in 2005, focusing instead on tourism.

So what remains of the industry that ruled the island since 1643?

All aboard!

All aboard!

Aside from fields and fields of wild sugar cane and abandoned sugar mills, the most obvious reminder of King Sugar is the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, a sweet and simple 2-hour tour on the same tracks that once carried the cash crop from the plantation to the factory to Basseterre, the capital and port city.

The friendliest train conductor!

The friendliest train conductor!

What to Expect on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway

The Railway is made up of open-air, double-decker cars, so you can chug along through the fields of sugar cane, and island vegetation while enjoying the fresh air and 360-degree views. Below, there’s an air-conditioned parlor, but I never went downstairs. I didn’t want to miss any of the million-dollar views up top.

Attendants serve complimentary drinks throughout the journey – both alcoholic and not. I confess it was awfully satisfying to sip a rum punch while lolling past endless fields and miles of wild coast, while our conductor narrated the history of the island and the Acappella St. Kitts Railway Choir sang Caribbean folk songs and hymns.

There's no better way to see St. Kitts' natural beauty

There’s no better way to see St. Kitts’ natural beauty

Look to the left and you see cloud-shrouded volcanoes, acres of wild sugar cane, retired, sometimes crumbling sugar mills, and untouched rainforest.

St. Kitts Scenic Railway

To the right, the mostly unpopulated, unspoiled, unbelievable coastline.

St Kitts Scenic Railway St Kitts Scenic Railway

The St. Kitts Scenic Railway is often called the Last Railway in the West Indies, and riding it will certainly take you back to a different time. Plus, it affords you the opportunity to see a large percentage of the tiny island in a short time – great if you’re on a cruise and have a limited number of hours to squeeze in. 

A perfect excursion for divas of all ages

A perfect excursion for divas of all ages

Whether you’re just in port for a day or spending a week at Kittitian Hill, Christophe HarbourOttley’s Plantation Inn, or one of the Airbnbs on the island, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway is a must-see.

Sure, everyone does it, and it’s a little bit touristy. But you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in the Caribbean, and you certainly couldn’t pick a more relaxing, pleasant manner of seeing a side of St. Kitts you can’t access any other way.

How to Book St. Kitts Scenic Railway

You can book a ticket for the railway here.

Explore More of St Kitts

I just LOVE train travel. What’s your favorite train journey? Tell me in the comments! 

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Thanks to St. Kitts Tourism for inviting me to experience your beautiful island. All opinions are my own. 

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  • May 07, 2014

    Looks fabulous! I love trains – they’re one of my favourite ways to travel. And old trains are even better – no horribly garish bright seats and angry commuters. There’s something so satisfying about seeing the landscape rolling past, and not having to do the driving yourself, just listening to the rhythm of the train. 🙂

  • May 20, 2014

    This was such a fun day! Despite the repercussions of the previous evening and our iPhones applying vintage filters to all of our photos 😉

  • June 20, 2014
    Steve Hites

    Thank you for your wonderful observations on St. Kitts, and on the “last railway in the West Indies.” We’re pleased that you enjoyed your train tour, and hope we can entertain you and your friends again some day. We also offer a Rail/Sail Tour that circles the island by narrow gauge train and catamaran, and a new Rail/Helicopter Tour that goes around Brimstone Hill and down into the crater of the volcano in the helicopter, lands at La Valle Transfer Station, where you board the train to circle on around the island to Needsmust Station and Port Zante. Let me know when you are returning, and we’ll roll out the red carpet. Best Wishes, Steve Hites, President, St. Kitts Scenic Railway Ltd. Email to [email protected]

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