Nevis is the Caribbean’s oldest British colony and is just 36 square miles of mountains and beaches. It’s home to a small population of approximately 12,000, and the pace is very calming. There’s little traffic on the one road encircling the island, and the only traffic jams are caused by the occasional goat or sheep wandering into the road. Traffic stops for the local vervet monkeys, too.
Experience the Lifestyle
You won’t find chain hotels in Nevis, so you’ll have to make do with charming local accommodations and resorts. You can stay at plantations, or in villas. One of the most luxurious accommodations is the Montpelier Plantation and Resort. Horatio Nelson was once a guest, and Princess Diana spent some time at the Montpelier following her split from Prince Charles. At the Montpelier, you can explore 60 acres of tropical gardens, enjoy a room with a private terrace, dine in gourmet restaurants, and relax on a private beach. Off-season rates start at $225.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
These gardens are part of the Montpelier Estate and are replete with terraces, fountains, lily ponds, and tropical plants. You’ll find over 70 species of orchid and over 100 of palm, along with a cactus garden and bamboo grove. Parrots also add a burst of color to these privately owned gardens. Admission is $13 for adults, $8 for children 6-12, and free for children under 6.
Take in a Fun Regatta
The Booby Island Regatta is three different races between Nevis and St. Kitts. It’s a festival that’s spread over three days, and anybody can enter. The entry fee is $75 per yacht if paid in advance, or $125 if on the day of the race. About $40 US will get you a spot on the spectator yacht, where you can enjoy cocktails and watch the race up close. There are also free parties every day.
Dine at Bananas Bistro and Art Gallery
This is a secluded Bistro located high up in the hills. You’ll reach it using a stone walled walkway that’s lit with torches. Bananas Bistro is a plantation-style building with stone floors and wooden shutters. Caribbean artwork adorns the walls. You’ll enjoy delicacies like conch gratin, guava barbecue pork, Caribbean slaw, and fresh local fish. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner!
Charlestown is the capital of Nevis and a prime example of an 18th-century town. As well as being a historic site, though, it’s also a working, living community under the direction of the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society. The utmost care has been given to restoring and maintaining such historic buildings as the treasury building, the post office, the police station and the Bank of Nevis.
Wander the main street and take a look at the famous “skirt and blouse” architecture. The term comes from the volcanic ash that’s used to make the “skirt” of the building, and the wooden verandas that are decorated with intricate gingerbread trim, forming the “blouse.” These buildings are old and charming, so take some time to explore, and don’t forget to check out the shops as well.
Although the pace is slow and the geographic area small when compared with some other tropical vacation destinations, there’s no shortage on Nevis of things to do. You’re certain to enjoy your time on this charming island.