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St. Kitts's major crop is sugar, a tradition dating from the 17th century. But tourism may overwhelm it in the years to come, as its southeastern peninsula, site of the best white-sand beaches, has been set aside for massive resort development. Most of the island's other beaches are of gray or black volcanic sand.
The Caribs, the early settlers, called the island Liamuiga, or "fertile isle." Its mountain ranges reach up to nearly 1,200m (3,937 ft.), and its interior contains virgin rainforests, alive with hummingbirds and wild green vervet monkeys. The monkeys were brought in as pets by the early French settlers but were set free when the British took control of the island in 1783. These native African animals have proliferated and can be seen at the Estridge Estate Behavioral Research Institute. The British brought in mongooses to control rats in the sugar-cane fields, only to discover that the predators slept during the rats' most active forays. Wild deer are found in the mountains.
The capital of St. Kitts, Basseterre, lies on the Caribbean shore near the southern end of the island, about 2km (1 1/4 miles) from the airport. Its white colonial houses with toothpick balconies look like a Hollywood version of a West Indian port.
Escape to one of the Caribbean's most tranquil isles with American Airlines flights to St. Kitts. This beautiful destination features both soft white sand beaches and a pristine rainforest that's rife with lush plants and wildlife. When it comes to things to do in St. Kitts, you can do as much or as little as you like -- after all, it's the perfect place to relax.
If you care to venture away from the beach, however, there are plenty of activities in St. Kitts that we think you'll find worthwhile. One of our favorites is to hop on the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. A ride on this rail offers amazing views of the ocean as well as the verdant interior, all in an air-conditioned car. And did we mention there's live music and a full-service bar aboard? It's a three-and-a-half mile trip, so set aside an afternoon.
Another one of our top picks for things to do in St. Kitts is a visit to Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. The fortress itself is quite impressive, with a series of defensive walls and barracks built into the hilly terrain. You can almost imagine yourself stepping back in time. The park also has several hiking trails and a museum with fascinating historical exhibits. The park is open daily.
Active travelers will find a hike up Mount Liamuiga a refreshing challenge. It's a dormant volcano that is popular with adventure seekers. To reach the rim of the volcano takes about two and a half hours, so it's not a trek for the faint of heart. You'll cross a jungle and multiple ravines on your journey 3,733 feet to the top. Once you're up there, though, the view is breathtaking. If you're up to it after all that climbing, there's a path (but please note it can get slippery if it's been raining, as it often does in the jungle) that takes you down into the crater, where you'll discover a shallow lake.
And, of course, you can while away your time simply watching the waves roll in on a picture-postcard beach. Fly to St. Kitts with American Airlines and see how a life of leisure suits you.
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