I had stared at Nevis a couple times from the shore of St. Kitts. The island called to me but I had to wait a couple years to actually spend some time on this Caribbean jewel. She was well worth the wait.
I arrived on Nevis via the tall ship Sagitta of Island Windjammers. When we tendered ashore, I took the time to explore the charming streets of Charlestown. After that I found a driver to take me completely around the island, showing me everything this volcanic rock had to offer. The following are some of those experiences, ones you should definitely check out if you find yourself on Nevis.
Take A Lap
One of the best things I did when on Nevis was to hire a drive to take me completely around the circular island. Rely on your driver as an expert guide, and have him take you to must-see sites based on your interests. Nevis’ small size ensures that your driver will know everywhere, and almost everyone, he passes. You’ll be able to visit historic plantations, visit hidden beaches, and get views of the volcanic Nevis Peak from all sides.
Hike Nevis Peak
Referred to locally as “The Trail,” this is one of the Caribbean ‘s tougher hikes. Climb to the 3,500-foot-high dormant volcano’s crater rim. You’ll can have a spectacular view, if the clouds are absent–but they rarely are. This is not an easy hike so be prepared. The hike takes about 2 and half hours and you’ll be able to find guides in Charlestown if you would like one.
Wash Ashore on Pinney’s Beach
On Nevis’ west edge, north of Charlestown, lies one of the most talked about beaches of the St. Kitts and Nevis island group, Pinney’s Beach. This rustic stretch of sand is the ideal place to grab a chair and soak in the Caribbean sun. Pinney’s is the longest beach on Nevis — approximately four miles of golden brown sand. This public beach is open 24/7, so spread your towel out and plan on staying awhile. One of the best features of Pinney’s Beach is that it’s home to several affordable beach bars. There’s Chevy’s Calypso Bar, the Sunshine Beach Bar and the Double Deuce Beach Bar. Grab a rum, some seafood, and breath in the salt air.
Nevis has one of the most charming capitals in the Caribbean. Unspoiled by mass tourism, Charlestown has attractive Georgian buildings and a sociable, village-like atmosphere. Park at the northern end near the Alexander Hamilton Museum then make a clockwise loop walking down Main Street and back along the seafront. On the way you can explore the market and follow signs leading to historic sights such as the Methodist Church, built by freed slaves in 1844.
Find A Horse
Trail riding from the Hermitage on the southeast side of the island is a memorable experience, from the hills around Gingerland. A breathtaking ride up to Saddle Hill, the saddle-shaped mountain that British Naval Admiral Horatio Nelson used as a look-out. A one-and-a-half hour ride is $55 per person. Or, relax in an antique carriage, and see the quiet road and villages around Gingerland. The cost is $50 for a half-hour trip for up to two adults and two children.
Sink Into The Sand of Oualie Beach
Located north of Pinney’s Beach, Oualie Beach (pronounced “wah-lee”) is located just across The Narrows from St. Kitts and is easy to reach via the inter-island ferry. Before you start enjoying the free-flowing rum drinks from the on-site beach bar, you’ll want to grab a bite to each and snag one of Oualie’s chairs and hammocks which are free to use. You can also enjoy some pretty spectacular snorkeling in the clear waters (better visibility than Pinney’s according to just about EVERYONE), and there are rental kiosks for other water sports as well.
Find The Beach Bars
No visit to a Caribbean island is complete without a visit to beach bar. On Nevis, your visit isn’t complete unless you visit Sunshine’s Beach Bar & Grill. The establishment is one of the most famous bars on the island and is best known for its grilled seafood, potent Killerbee rum drinks, and relaxed island music and vibe. Sunshine hosts nightly bonfires and monthly full-moon parties for island visitors to enjoy.
Nevis is old Caribbean. It’s not catering to massive cruise ships and doesn’t have an international airport. This is the perfect example of addition by subtraction if you ask me. It’s allowed the island to hold on to it roots and authentic Caribbean vibe.
What is your favorite part of Nevis?