First off, where is Nevis?
Most people will immediately think about the major cruising hubs in the Caribbean (The BVIs, USVIs, St. Martin, Antigua) when booking a luxury charter holiday in the Caribbean, but there are many islands in between that offer a different luxury experience of island living.
Nevis is definitely one of those places. Although, I may be partial after living there for most of my childhood. The 36-square mile island is located 60 or so miles in between St. Martin and Antigua and is a world apart from what you will find in the more touristy charter hubs.
Nevis’ history is similar to many Caribbean islands. She was sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It was already populated by Carib and Arawaks at the time. It was settled by the British in the 1600’s, which ultimately lead to the decimation of the indigenous population. During the sugar trade, Nevis was a top producer for the British Empire and was often called Queen of the Caribees for her abundance.
After the disruption of the sugar industry and the abolition of slavery, Nevis fell into relative obscurity. St. Christopher, better known as St. Kitts, is part of the same federation as Nevis and is the larger island of the two. St. Kitts was always a little more modernized than its smaller sister. It still is the larger airport hub and now hosts large resorts such as the Marriott and the Hyatt.
A Haven for the Rich and Famous
Because of its relative obscurity, Nevis became a haven for celebrities trying to get away from it all including the late Princess Diana and members of certain rock bands (“Who?” You make ask.) and to this day, the island hasn’t caved into the pressures of bringing in more tourists, whether via a new chain hotel or large cruise ships.
But that is not to say that Nevis and its boutique hotels and restaurants don’t understand the need to provide quality and luxury to its guests. Although the island doesn’t have a marina large enough for most yachts, the anchorage is comfortable and safe when the prevailing Trade Winds are blowing. This makes it a perfect stop for a couple of days when traveling in between the other main ports of call and an experience not to be missed.
Here are five things that are must do’s when you visit this beautiful island.
Climbing up the mountain is not for the faint of heart. It is over 30,000 feet of lush, verdant hillside, that will reward you with incredible views at the top if it is a clear day that is. It is not an easy climb for sure and it can take up to four hours to reach the peak. And it can be muddy. But it is certainly worth the journey and the drink at the bottom of the mountain will be all the more delicious as will be the meal that you’ve worked so hard for! Sunrise Tours provides guided tours of not only the mountain but great hikes throughout the rest of the island that are a little less arduous.
Pinney’s and Paradise Beach
Pinney’s beach is the longest beach in Nevis, spanning from the capital (Charlestown) to a couple miles down the coast where it turns into what is known as Paradise beach. It is one of the most relaxing walks along this shoreline and there are stretches where you are almost guaranteed not to have any company. There are a couple of beach bars along the way that is always entertaining and good places to cool off with a cold drink, but the best parts are the spots where you look up and see the ever-present peak on one side, the Caribbean sea on the other and all you can hear is the lapping of the waves at your feet.
The Hermitage Plantation Inn
The Hermitage Plantation Inn is not only a beautiful, boutique hotel, it also offers a West Indian pig roast every Wednesday night and pizzas right out of the stone oven. There are standard hotel rooms, cottages and private villas available for guests as well. The main house is, allegedly, one of the oldest wooden structures in the Caribbean and has incredible charm, as does the rest of the grounds.
The Golden Rock Inn
The views from The Golden Rock Inn are something that you will never forget. This sugar-mill-turned-boutique hotel, meeked out an existence for many years. Then, American artist, Brice Marden, bought the property with his wife Helen. Much like his art, Mr. Marden emboldened the inn and restaurant with bright colors and completely revamped its look.
“The Rocks” is the restaurant and they make a great roti (vegetarian and chicken) as well as a delicious lobster sandwich. Sit outside and enjoy the most dramatic view of the peak as well as views out over the Atlantic Ocean toward Antigua.
The Yachtsman Grill
The Yachtsman Grill is a restaurant is located along Beach, overlooking the Caribbean sea and St. Kitts. Their specialty is pizza, but the last time I was there I had the best lobster salad. Their wine list is extensive too. After, or during, take a swim off the sandy beach and take in Nevis Peak as you cool down. A luxurious experience indeed.