Written by Justin Mewse
If you think you know the true Caribbean – and you haven’t yet made it to Nevis – we’re going to need you to revaluate your perception. Some places proclaim they are the “real” Caribbean while others wax lyrical about their luxury resorts, but step off the boat onto Nevis and you will realise that here these qualities go hand-in-hand. The holiday-making hoards overlook this jewel in the Caribbean sea and the mere 6 minute water taxi, from neighbouring St Kitts, adds an extra air of exclusivity. This is the Caribbean you’ve dreamed of, where you adventure and discover by day before relaxing in peaceful seclusion by night. Here is your guide to getting the best out of Nevis.
What to do in Nevis
Nevis is only 36 square miles in size but everything about this island is made for exploring, from the hills, forests and waterfalls of the interior to the beaches and surrounding Caribbean Sea. Road bikers will love the 20 mile ring road that skirts the edge of the island, while mountain bikers can take to the varied trails of the interior. This is a hiker’s paradise too, and there are guided tours that will take you to hidden lookouts and secluded freshwater swimming spots deep in the jungle interior. If you’re feeling the need for speed… and bumps… then buckle-up for a 4×4 off road tour in specially designed, open sided ATVs or, for a more romantic experience, saddle-up your horse for a stunning evening canter along the shoreline.
Set aside some time to discover the history of Nevis, from the early South Americans who came to the island, through the colonisation by Europe and up to the present day. The island is awash with picturesque historic churches, each of which adds to the story of community and religion on the island, and you can build an itinerary to take them all in. And for an idea of life on the island before the Europeans arrived take a look at the Nevisian Heritage Village, where replica houses and gardens give you a sense of this peaceful time. A must-see is the Museum of Nevis History. This impressive Georgian building was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton in 1757, who went on to draft the US Constitution and became an outspoken critic of slavery. In discovering more about this time in Nevis’ history you can visit the ruins of the New River and Coconut Walk estates, where sugar cane was processed and large amounts of the architecture and artefacts remain.
Wellness is one with Nevis, as the relaxed atmosphere, lack of crowds and abundant natural beauty lend themselves to holistic relaxation. All the great hotels will offer superb and tailored spa treatments but you can also enjoy what the rest of the island has to offer. Take a trip to the Nevis Hot Springs at Bath Village, where natural geothermal energy heats the pools and has been a tonic for visitors for hundreds of years. You can also join one of the fully trained yoga instructors on the island, booking them for a private session or taking part in a group session on the beach or at one of the many scenic spots.
Foodies rejoice, as Nevis delivers delicious cuisine whether you are looking for a taste of local life or a modern culinary extravaganza. A must-visit is Rodney’s Cuisine, run by Nevis local Rodney Elliott. She dishes up recipes that have been handed down through the generations and using the very freshest ingredients from land and sea. For something special and truly unique visit the Oasis in the Gardens at the Botanical Gardens of Nevis. Here fragrant Thai cuisine is served with panoramic views of Nevis Peak. A Canadian husband and wife team have curated what could be Nevis’ coolest eatery, Drift Restaurant, which is part art gallery, part restaurant and opens directly onto the beach.
Where to stay in Nevis
Each of these gorgeous hotels provides its own stunning experience, so choose which one is perfect for you.
Golden Rock Inn
11 rooms over 100 acres, spreading up the forested mountainside of Nevis Peak. The 19th Century buildings are lovingly maintained with the verdant forest creepers and trees climbing over the walls, creating a sense that you’re staying in some hidden jungle temple. With sea views that look out to neighbouring islands Montserrat and Antigua, this is a resort for those who desire secluded exclusivity.
Montpelier Plantation & Beach
A 300 year old sugar plantation has been cleverly reimagined into this delightfully laidback hotel, set on a private beach replete with hammocks, cabanas and a beach bar. You have a selection of room and suite types to choose from, with either garden or sea views, and you also have 3 very different dining options. Relaxed poolside dining is on offer at Indigo Restaurant, while modern Caribbean cuisine is served at Restaurant 750. Alternatively book the private dining at Mill Privee, inside the historic mill tower.
Four Seasons Resort Nevis
Four Seasons Resorts pride themselves on offering the last word in luxury and this beachfront property is no exception. Spread along several acres of beachfront and with its own jetty, the Four Seasons provides an unrivalled combination of exclusivity and in-resort amenities. Enjoy the 18 hole golf course, visit the water sports desk to arrange your activities on the waves or retreat to the extensive spa. You can even book in for a ‘spa under the stars’ experience before indulging at the beachfront restaurant or enjoying Caribbean cuisine ‘on the rocks’ at Mango.
Paradise Beach Nevis
13 secluded villas, each with their own private pool, make up this beachfront property that is perfect for couples and family and friend groups alike. The beach bar serves breakfast 7 days a week and you can hang out here for lunch and snacks through the day. It remains open for evening dinner some nights but each villa offers self catering, and the resort can stock your kitchen before your arrival. The fun of staying here though is to head into town for the night and dine at local restaurants, getting the real Nevis flavour and supporting the whole Nevis economy.
Oualie Beach Resort
This friendly and relaxed beach resort is a Nevis institution and offers a very reasonably priced stay in an incredibly beautiful setting. The 3 star resort has 32 rooms scattered along the beachfront in 1 and 2 storey cottages. By day you can explore the island or just soak in the beauty of Oualie Cove and beach. The resort has snorkelling equipment so you can peak at the marine life beneath the waves, or why not sign up to a scuba experience with one of the nearby companies?
Hamilton Beach Villas & Spa
Located near to historic Charlestown, The Hamilton Beach Villas & Spa is a great base for those looking to get out and discover the island on which they are staying. While the resort is perfectly located for exploring Nevis you can also happily while away the day here, with 2 pools to enjoy and a spa as well as a beachfront restaurant.
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