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The tiny twin-island nation that’s become a celebrity holiday hotspot

Simon Calder’s Travel

The clanging old army truck judders up the narrow dirt track as we all cling on for dear life. Banana tree branches with leaves the size of umbrellas swish past, and the azure-edged sands of St Kitts fall away below.

Our guide, Kerryn “Tiem” Williams, pops up from a hole in the roof of the cab and shouts “sorry to drag you away from the beach, but I think you’re gonna like it”. A huge grin appears across his face.

It is 10am, and the already-30-degree heat of the morning is dissipating to a gentler, pleasantly warm humidity as we climb the 10-mile stretch of road to the foothills of Mount Liamuiga. Surrounded by thick jungle, mobile phone coverage fades to nothing. Our driver reaches his hard-won stop at Liamuiga Natural Farm and cuts the engine. Other than birdsong, the silence is spectacular.

The tiny twin-island Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, with its fascinating but brutal history of warring between French and British colonists, became the smallest independent nation in the Western Hemisphere in 1983. Now, it is confidently charting its own distinct course away from the fly-and-flop model of many of its higher-profile Caribbean neighbours.

St Kitts and Nevis is only 261 square kilometres (Getty Images)

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The country has counted Beyonce, John Travolta, Kevin Bacon, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Mel Gibson as guests over the years.

Sugar cane plantations, once the mainstay of the islands’ economy, have given way to tourism as the most-important economic sector, with the picturesque ruins of hundreds of years of sugar and rum production providing an atmospheric backdrop.

With mountainous interiors and coastal plains, the volcanic islands are a food lover’s paradise – the combination of the sea, fertile soil, sun and rainfall producing a smorgasbord of local delicacies.

We’d been forewarned to go easy on breakfast, with all indications that this would be a farm-to-table experience to remember. On arrival, we are ushered to a long table, heavy with food from the farm – curried eggs from the 80 free range chickens pecking about nearby, eggplant ratatouille, papaya jam on pumpkin pancakes, fresh fruit and vegetable wraps – all served on naturally anti-microbial banana leaves and washed down with coffee from beans grown on site.

Tiem then guides us down a path past enormous fruit and vegetables:…

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