If I could choose one mode of transportation to take always, it would be the train, no questions asked. I’ve traveled to many a European country by rail and even among some U.S. states, too. So I was thrilled—and a bit surprised, too—to arrive in St. Kitts and find it boasts a passenger train all its own.
Billed as the “last railway in the West Indies,” the St. Kitts Scenic Railway was started in 1912, completed in 1926 and served as a vital part of the island’s sugar cane trade, transporting goods around the island from field to mill during the harvest season.
St. Kitts’ sugar industry outlasted the rest of the Caribbean, but eventually ceased operations in 2005 after 350 years of being one of the big players. However, two years prior, the St. Kitts Scenic Railway was opened for tourist business and continues to operate excursions daily.
There are six train tours a day—three round trips, though most people just opt for one way and take a transfer back—for $89 per adult. Since Basseterre is such a big cruise port, trains fill up with ship passengers so it’s wise to make a reservation in advance.
The top level of the double-decker train is open air, meaning you get to enjoy the breeze and catch some rays as you cover the 18-mile route over the course of two hours.
Those who need to get back to their departure point can opt for the train-bus option, which completes a 30-mile loop, and there are other combo tours like the sail-rail package and a Brimstone Hill Fortress add-on.
Train attendants (who also double as A capella singers) serve complimentary beverages—both alcoholic and virgin—throughout the trip, though our party was still paying the price from a late night the previous evening, so we all opted for water.
The best part about the train trip is that it allows travelers to St. Kitts the chance to see parts of the island that aren’t accessible by car, from private beaches to dense rainforest to mountainside collectives.
The tracks also run smack through the center of villages, and it never failed that a gaggle of adorable preschool children would run out and chase after the train, waving. (The train attendant told me this happens every single time the train choo-choos by.)
The scenic railway was one of my absolute favorite parts of my trip to St. Kitts. I can’t say I ever in a million years would have guessed I could explore a Caribbean isle by locomotive.
I love train travel. Never done something like this, but think I would adore it!
I love that type of places. An amazing place with such natural delights. I will surely plan my upcoming vacation to this place.Thanks for posting nice views….
I love train travel and that looks so fun! Did they take stops for you to take photos or was it slow enough that you could grab them. I’ve been in India too long, because that price seems high! Also, is that Angie from “Angie Away”?!? How cool that you two know each other- if that is her. haha.
Yes! Very slow, perfect for taking pictures (and getting over a hangover, ha).
And yes to that being Angie. We’ve known each other about seven years now–she was roommates with one of my good friends in NYC while we all lived there and then we had the travel journalist-travel publicist work relationship until she quit to travel the world!
One of my favorite parts of our trip too. So fun seeing the island for that viewpoint.
Love it! I too am obsessed with trains — my recent ride on the Panama Canal Railway was one of my highlights of the country! This sounds amazing, I can only imagine the views.
I love the train, it’s the best way to see a country but I had no idea you could do it like this – awesome photos.
We’ve never tried an open-top trip like this, but train travel is definitely one of our favorite ways to see a country. This journey looks gorgeous!
That looks awesome! I can’t say I’ve ever ridden an open-top train like that, but I totally would! The landscape looks beautiful!
So picturesque. Lovely photographs, Kristin.
Open-top passenger train – never! The closest I can think of to such a journey is the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (wiki has the answers if you’re interested :D) and I was a child when I last gave it a try.
This looks INCREDIBLE! I adore trains, but this takes things to a completely different level. Tempted to book a trip out to St. Kitts ASAP just to try this!
I do love trains as they’re so much more relaxing! I’m in Poland at the moment and I took a couple of trains in order to get to the Baltic Sea! I can’t say that I’ve ever been on an open-top passenger railway before. I would remember. I think!
Love the post. 🙂
I have always been in love with trains, and I have gotten lost a number of times looking for a train! This one is a different type of journey
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I really love how you have worked for SAS and I daydream about the idea of just applying because it sounds (and looks) so awesome!
You girls are so colorful! I love it. Beautiful landscape- looks so peaceful.
Looks like a great, fun and airy traintrip! 🙂 We just came from Sri Lanka where we took the train from Ella to Kandy, considered being one of the most beautiful traintrips in the world. I just love trains!
wow. nice places and nice article . thanks for post this. i like it very much!!!
I never knew there was a train in St. Kitts–this looks like so much fun! I like how it goes through areas that aren’t accessible by cars. I would love to take this train, especially with all the beautiful views!