When the weather gets cold in New York, there's no place I'd rather be than sitting under the warm sun, soaking my feet in the clear waters of the Caribbean. I never really pictured myself as a snowbird but as the winters seem to get colder and colder I envision spending them in warmer climates.
FTC Disclosure: While I was invited to Nevis Press Trip as a journalist and my travel was paid by Nevis Travel Authority, I'm not being paid or compensated in any way to write this article. All stories, opinions, photographs and videos are mine. I love writing about my travels and sharing travel tips with my readers. I'm about to tell you about Nevis Island and about my experience.
Nevis - you may find it difficult to find it on a map, as this tiny island's area is only 36 square miles (90 sq. km) Its capital is Charlestown. Nevis neighbors are St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Maarten, and it is only 200 miles from Puerto Rico and 1,700 miles away from New York (About a 5 hour flight)
If I described Nevis in a nutshell - The beauty is extraordinary: Against the background of smoking volcano* far away - Beautiful terrain with lush greenery,with stunning beaches. A place and magnificent views where the Atlantic Ocean meets with Caribbean Sea.
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*As for the smoking volcano, Mt. Nevis looks like a smoking volcano with the clouds mostly trapped in it's peak. Although Nevis Peak it is a potentially active volcano. There have been no eruptions since prehistory, but there are active fumaroles and hot springs on the coastal slopes of the island, and these represent low-level volcanic activity. (Source Wikipedia)
I did not hike to Mt. Nevis, but It is possible to hike to the top of the peak and back, but the route has some challenging sections. Hikers need to be quite physically fit to complete this route, and for safety, it is suggested to go with a qualified guide. On days when the peak is completely free of clouds, there are remarkable views from the top of the mountain, not only of Nevis itself, but also out over the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the many surrounding islands.
Things you need to know about Nevis:
Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (XCD) - (for example, 10 US Dollars are approx. 30 XCD)
Transport: Taxis and rental cars are the best way to get around. The rates for taxis are in line with other Caribbean destinations but can be negotiable. To order a taxi, simply ask your hotel or whoever is in charge you're staying at.
Topless bathing is illegal on public beaches.
Minimum driving and drinking age is 18 y.o.
Bicycles are available for rent and the cost of mountain bike is $35 a day with helmet and lock included.
Where to stay on Nevis:
Tourists desire the warmth of the Caribbean during the frigid winter months. I stayed on Nevis November 10th thru the 18th and while the island is not still super busy, the people were preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, organizing festivals, parties and activities to do while inviting the best DJ's to the island.
The peak season lasts through March and while you won't necessarily encounter a ton of tourists, you must keep in mind that the cost of accommodation may increase during this time. I personally loved my stay in mid November and I felt like the beaches were all to myself.. Real paradise! I'd say it's a good time for weddings and honeymooners. As a matter of fact on my plane ride from Miami I met some girls who were heading to Nevis for a wedding party.
The first place I stayed at was Nisbet Plantation Beach Club. It's a charming place with well kept grounds. It would be an amazing place for honeymoons, weddings, anniversaries or for those to just looking to get away from it all. If you're traveling with kids, Nisbet Plantation has suites to accommodate. But then again isn’t the whole point to get away from it all? The place is loaded with wild monkeys who can be seen running around on the plantation grounds. It was truly peaceful to wake up at 6 in the morning, having a cup of coffee on my own private porch and watch the monkeys frolic. Feel free to take a visual look at my room video tour. I stayed at Crooks Grounds Cottage. I felt that it was more secluded and private because it is located closer to the edge of the property, with lots of trees behind the fence and I thought I had the most monkey business in my yard 🙂
If you're looking for more luxury, check out the Four Seasons Resort. Not only does it have an amazingly relaxed beach atmosphere but it also comes with outstanding service and gorgeous views of Nevis Peak. You can also upgrade to lavish two, three, four bedroom villas with spectacular views overlooking the Caribbean sea. Take a look at my video tour of my room and outside balcony where paradise begins. Once you're staying at Four Seasons, don't forget to check and reserve your very own private beach cabana and have a relaxing natural massage at a Four Seasons Spa.
Golden Rock Inn is another paradise tucked away in the lower slopes of Mt. Nevis. I did not stay there, but viewed their 100 acres site, with 13 acres of amazing gardens and vegetation. The hotel is an old mill on a sugar plantation, which has been converted into the most original property I've seen. The courtyard has gorgeous views over the ocean through the eye of the pool. If you're not staying at Golden Rock, you must at least take a tour of their property, eat at their restaurant and walk through their gardens and paths that look like heaven. The beaches are within 10 minute drive from Golden Rock.
Another place to consider is Montpelier Plantation. The decor in the main house and pool area are timeless and modern and the food is top notch. The setting is both beautiful and secluded.
The Hermitage Plantation Inn is the place we visited on our island tour and stayed there for over an hour. If you're looking for charming taste of real Caribbean with European feel, this place is for you. By the way they had the best rum punch on the island.
Foodie guide to Nevis:
All hotels have restaurants on the property, however there's also a wide range of international cuisines available across the island. Here are few of my favorites:
The Gin Trap - With the most selections of gin drinks I've seen on the menu, this place is the favorite haunt for both locals and tourists. Try the ribs, they were really good
Sunshine's Beach Bar and Grill - a must visit restaurant on Nevis. Conveniently located 5 minutes drive from Charlestown and 5 minutes walk from Four Seasons. You can even get to it by walking on the beach. Grilled lobster and roasted pumpkin salad is from out of this world. Try the “ONE Killer Bee” drink but be careful how many you have.
Bananas Restaurant - Surrounded by lush tropical gardens and hidden away on historic Hamilton's estate. The food was excellent, with great dishes and many choices for vegetarians. I loved my salmon with walnut herb crust and my friends enjoyed lobster linguine
Things to do on Nevis:
All hotels and resorts will offer a wide variety of activities such as cricket, cycling, fishing, golfing, kayaking, sailing and scuba diving... Walking, hiking and swimming you can do on your own. But for myself I wanted to explore the island first.
Car rental and getting around the island by taxi is rather pricey. Even for for a short 5-10 minutes rides it's hard to go anywhere for under $15-20, Unless you bargain a day deal with your taxi driver.
But I found the best way to explore the island is to rent a 4x4 ATV from Funky Monkey Tours. It's a 3½ hour open air tour that I recommend that you take with a guide. It's a one of a kind customizable tour and view of the island that you won't see from your resort. The guide (Our guide's name was Waz) is super knowledgeable about the island and history and people and animals, will take you to places and to see all sorts of things you never would with the car. You will be visiting a number of churches, old sugar plantations, ruined windmills, the foothills of Mt. Nevis, and Golden Rock gardens Along the way you will be seeing monkeys, goats, donkeys and stopping at the various beaches while enjoying refreshing rum punches and ice cold beer. We even drove in the pouring rain, then waited 10 minutes under a tree. My clothes was soaked, so wear a clothes that you don't mind getting dirty, as there will be spots that can get muddy. Check out our drive around the island with Funky Moneky Tour
Explore Pinney's Beach - calm turquoise waters, nice sand, no seaweed. The Four Season Resort will allow you a complimentary use of paddle boats, kayaks, trampoline and snorkeling gear.
Lovers Beach - Ask your 4x4 tour guide to take you to Lovers beach. The secluded location, white sand and view of St. Kitts make Lovers Beach one of the most lovely beaches on Nevis
Nevis Peak hike - Like I mentioned earlier, I didn't go on a hike, but I heard it is no joke. Although it is very challenging and once you reach the peak, you may be soaking in sweat, the views from Mt. Nevis are supposed to be breathtaking.
Walking up and down the delightful streets in Charlestown area, you'll see one of the best remaining examples of the colonial era in the Caribbean, like the Museum of Nevis History, Hamilton’s Estate, Jewish cemetery, Botanical Gardens of Nevis Bath Hotel and Spring House
And then there are the monkeys and donkeys and goats and sheep and horses and birds...
Green vervet monkeys were introduced to the islands back in the 17th-century. They’re shy little critters but the guides know where to find them, to the delight of travelers.
The beauty of Nevis could almost be called a hidden treasure in the West Indies, because it takes more than a hop to get to the island, with no casinos, no all-inclusives and no mega cruise ships and even Princess Diana vacationed here many years ago to avoid the spotlight.
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