Many people dream of going to the Caribbean one day for a holiday. This must surely be the pinnacle of the ideal beach holiday, as you can imagine reclining on pure white sands and wandering into a clear blue sea. One area you might consider visiting if this type of holiday appeals to you is St Kitts and Nevis. This actually refers to two islands – one called St Kitts and the other called Nevis – that form part of the so-called Leeward Islands. Here we will find out more about these two islands, and also about the currency they both use – the East Caribbean dollar.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
This currency is represented by the ISO code XCD. If you need to find it on a currency converter the fastest way to do so is to enter those three letters. It should bring it up immediately.
The currency is used by all but one of the members who are part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, including St Kitts and Nevis. It works in much the same way as other dollar currencies in that it is divided into 100 cents. The coin values go from one, two, five, 10 and 25 cents in value, up to the one and two dollar coins. There are five banknotes that can be used too – these are the $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes.
From past to present – the history of the St Kitts and Nevis East Caribbean dollar
The East Caribbean dollar came into existence back in 1965. Before that the currency in use in this region of the world was the British West Indies dollar, so they’ve gone from one dollar to another.
It is pegged to the value of the US dollar although this is not done on a par basis. Instead you will get (at the time of writing) $2.70 in East Caribbean dollars for every one US dollar.
How to get hold of the St Kitts and Nevis East Caribbean dollar
Most good bureaux de change will be able to provide you with the East Caribbean dollar with no problems. However it might be best to pre-order it as you cannot assume they will always have it in stock. You’ll then have some you can take with you prior to leaving for St Kitts and Nevis.
It’s good to know you can also use traveller’s cheques on the islands. However you should make sure you have these in denominations of US dollars. Since the East Caribbean dollar is tied to this currency it means you have no additional charges when exchanging your US dollar traveller’s cheques for the local currency.
Since these islands are very welcoming of tourists and popular with many people, they don’t pose any problems when it comes to paying for things. You can use both debit and credit cards on the islands and it’s easy to get more cash via their network of cash machines as well. Just make sure you know where the nearest machines are when you first arrive, so you don’t waste time later looking for them. The banks are usually open quite early but they tend to shut early too. They don’t open over the weekends so make sure you have enough cash to tide you over this period when you are there.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the St Kitts and Nevis East Caribbean dollar
This is a breeze if you have access to a good currency converter. All you need to do is to make sure you find a good converter that includes the East Caribbean dollar in its selection of currencies. Use the ISO code – XCD – to find it fast. You can compare your own currency to it to see how far it might stretch. While it won’t include any fees you would pay when transferring your money to this currency via a bureau de change or a bank, it gives you a good starting point.
Most visitors to St Kitts and Nevis don’t experience any problems while they are there. For the most part it is a safe part of the world to visit. However you may still wish to look into the current situation before you go, just to be on the safe side. You can do this via the official UK government website, which provides the latest travel information for anyone visiting this area. The page is located at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/st-kitts-and-nevis.
Travelling safely with the St Kitts and Nevis East Caribbean dollar
Very few people who visit St Kitts and Nevis end up experiencing any problems while they are there. However it is always sensible to take precautions whenever you visit any foreign country. Make sure you do not display valuable jewellery and you are careful with your cash as well. Don’t carry any more cash than you really need to at any one time.
The ideal situation, as with any holiday, is to book into a hotel room that has a safe included in it. Make sure the safe is securely bolted down and cannot be picked up and taken away prior to you using it. If you have any additional cash you don’t need to take out with you during the day, you can then leave it in the safe. You should do the same with your travel documents and passport as well.
There have been some violent crimes in St Kitts and Nevis that have been directed towards tourists. However it is important to note such crimes are extremely rare. If you follow the steps above and make sure you never leave any of your possessions unattended for any period of time, it is less likely you would be targeted in such circumstances anyway.
Where to spend your East Caribbean dollars in St Kitts and Nevis – and what to spend them on
Well we know St Kitts and Nevis will be located in the Caribbean, and indeed they are located in the same rough area as places such as Antigua and Barbuda and Guadeloupe. St Kitts is located a short distance to the north-west of Nevis. Nevis is the smaller of the two islands.
The capital of the islands is Basseterre, and this can be found on St Kitts. This has its own port which often welcomes in cruise ships as well as yachts of a much smaller size! Ferries can also be caught from here that take you over to Charlestown in Nevis, so it is an ideal way to get from one island to the other. There are many attractions worth seeing in the capital. These include the National Museum, the Cenotaph and Independence Square.
Elsewhere on St Kitts you can also visit Brimstone Hill Fortress. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is quite impressive. It’s not just a case of visiting the fortress either – it is located within a national park so this is enough to keep you occupied for an entire day.
St Kitts is also home to a dormant volcano known as Mount Liamuiga. This is the island’s high point and many have climbed it in the past. This is no easy hike though – you can tackle some of the lower parts of the climb if you like, but be aware the entire thing is challenging. This is really only for the experienced and very fit climbers, but it is worth the challenge when you get to the top and see the views.
Over on Nevis you’ve got plenty more things to do as well. It is known for its delightful beaches – many of which are very quiet and perfect to spend a lazy day at – but there is much else to explore too. The island is particularly good for those who love to get out and about to try some activities rather than lying on a beach all day. If this includes you, make sure you search out some of the hiking and walking trails on offer. There are tours you can book onto if you’d rather tackle a hike with an expert on hand, but you can also find trails that have already been walked by many others before you. Of course if you do book onto a tour you can enjoy finding out much more about the area around you as well as enjoying the challenge.
Clearly there is plenty to see and do in St Kitts and Nevis. We have barely mentioned just a few things you could indulge in here. Many tourists come to this part of the Caribbean every year if they can – and it is easy to see why.
Whether you arrive on a cruise ship or you make your own journey to the islands via plane, when you get there you’ll be in for some real treats. Perhaps St Kitts and Nevis will be your ideal places to go the next time you think about taking a holiday.