Nevis is the sister island to St Kitts, but it’s very different. If you want to get away from the crowds and have some relaxing peace and quiet, Nevis is the place to be. We ended up much preferring the laid back atmosphere of Nevis, and spent over a week here. In fact, we chose Nevis to spend our Christmas and New Year.
main only real town is Charlestown on the west side. It has narrow streets, with pleasant buildings and is worth a morning wandering around. There is a market that sells fruit, vegetables and on certain days, fish. It’s also the main (perhaps only?) port of entry into Nevis. You don’t have to clear in if you have already cleared into St Kitts. You can tell them that you plan to visit Nevis and they will process you accordingly.
The basic layout of Nevis is a long beach on the west side called Pinney’s Beach. Although in some places it’s named as other smaller beaches, like Oualie Beach, I just thought of it as one long stretch. There is one road that goes all the way around the island, circling the old volcano in the middle. Anchorages are limited, mainly the west side. Supposedly, you are supposed to use one of 50 mooring balls (you pay for them in Charlestown). We did this for one night, and then anchored away from them, no-one seemed to mind.
The island is very unspoiled. There are no cruise ships, or hundreds of tourists. In fact, over the Christmas week, we figured there must have been less than a hundred people at any one time on every single beach added together. It is by far the quietest island we have been to so far in our travels.
There was plenty of hiking on Nevis, though the trail heads were hard to find. There are lots of guides that will take you, but they are expensive and we tended to be cheapskates. One “kid crack” hike we did do was on the east side of the island. In the middle of nowhere, there is a horse racetrack. It seemed deserted, perhaps from the recent hurricane. There was hundreds of donkeys wandering, but especially exciting for the boys was a long stretch of rocky beach that was primo beach combing. Being on the east side of the island, the trade winds wash lots and lots of things ashore, and as not many people go to the east side (there are no sandy beaches), the pickings are rich.
Another interesting hike was Peak Heaven on Butt Butt road (really!). The idea of Peak Heaven was to be a historical village that you could visit and walk around. The plan never took off, so now you can wander around among the buildings and explore.
All across the island are old plantations, from the days where Nevis was the biggest grower of sugar cane in the British Empire. Now, most have been converted to luxury hotels. We went to Golden Rock for our dinner of Christmas Day, an amazing setting with the old planation buildings restored and part of the hotel.
Nevis has a great selection of restaurants as well. We went to a restaurant called Bananas on Christmas Eve. The balcony had spectacular views and we were able to see an amazing sunset.
Another favorite of ours was Indian Summer, an Indian restaurant that was recommended to us by an Indian couple who gave us a lift on St Kitts. The food was delicious, some of the best Indian food I have tasted, and they even delivered!
The people of Nevis are very friendly, and always would go out of their way to help us. We didn’t hesitate to hitchhike, and were always picked up quickly. Our standard technique was to have Andrew at the back for maximum cuteness. We supplemented hitchhiking by using the local bus service, the same as on St Kitts. These privately owned vans hurtle round the island loop road and you just flag one down. For a few EC dollars, you ride them to where you want to go and they’ll just drop you off.
Overall, the whole family enjoyed Nevis; from the hiking in the rainforest, playing on the beaches, and eating out at the plantations. We gave Nevis 8 out of 10 pirates and hope to visit it again on the way north.