Travel Guide Caribbean Saint Kitts and Nevis Nevis



nevis boats

nevis boats

© bektrek

Nevis is one of the two islands that together form the country of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Nevis is the smaller and less populated one, compared to its bigger neighbour Saint Kitts.




Nevis is located near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles archipelago, about 350 kilometres east-southeast of Puerto Rico and 80 kilometres west of Antigua. Its area is 93 square kilometres and the capital is Charlestown. Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow 3-kilometre channel known as "The Narrows". Nevis is roughly conical in shape with a volcano known as Nevis Peak at its centre. The island is fringed on its western and northern coastlines by sandy beaches which are composed of a mixture of white coral sand with brown and black sand which is eroded and washed down from the volcanic rocks that make up the island. The gently-sloping coastal plain (1 kilometre) wide) has natural freshwater springs as well as non-potable volcanic hot springs, especially along the western coast.






Sights and Activities

Horse riding

Horse riding is an activity you can undertake almost anywhere in the world, but on the island of Nevis it is a bit different. Most trips include long rides along the beaches, passing beautiful white sands, turquoise waters and hanging palm trees. Visit the Ride Nevis website for more details about tours, prices and itineraries.

Nevis botanical gardens

The Nevis botanical gardens cover about 3.2 hectares of land only and are only a few minutes' southeast of Charlestown. The gardens display a rare and stunning collection of tropical greenery, orchid and rose gardens, and a rainforest conservatory. All flora is marked with its common name, making it accessible to all. There are some fine giftshops and restaurants nearby as well. Visit the Nevis Botanical Gardens website for more information.

Other Sights and Activities

  • The museums. There are three museums on Nevis: the Nelson Museum, the Alexander Hamilton House (home to the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society), and the Sports Museum. There is also the Philatelic Bureau, of interest to stamp collectors.
  • Hermitage Plantation in Saint John, has one building that was built of lignum vitae wood in 1640; this is the oldest surviving wooden house still in use in the Caribbean today.
  • Bath Hotel of 1778. Located just outside Charlestown, this was the first hotel built in the Caribbean and may even be said to have started tourism in the Americas; it was a luxury hotel and spa. The soothing waters of the hotel's hot springs lured many famous Europeans, including the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Antigua-based Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson and Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, the future William IV of the United Kingdom. These luminaries attended balls and private parties at the hotel. The hotel's time of splendiferous entertainment and revelry collapsed with the sugar industry in the 19th century, and the original structure suffered damage in a 1950 earthquake. However, in recent years the building has been repaired and restored, and now serves as government offices. Open-air access to the volcanic hot-spring water is available to anyone without charge, and in 2013 a channel was built to allow people to access pools of the volcanic water when it is less than extremely hot, as it is when it first emerges from the spring. Free.
  • Historical churches - Many of the churches on Nevis also date to the 18th century, as well as some of the reconstructed mills.
  • Ruins. Architecture from the past includes historical estate buildings and sugar mills. Popular destinations with ruins worth viewing include Hamilton Estate, New River Estate, Coconut Walk Estate, The Lime Kiln, and Cottle Church.
  • Green vervet monkeys. Nevis is one of only three West Indian islands which have a population of these handsome large monkeys, which were introduced and became naturalized many centuries ago. The monkeys have extremely long tails, and they spend a lot of time on the ground. Their fur is olive-green and beige, and because of this, when they are motionless they are very hard to spot, because they blend in so well with the vegetation. Hundreds of troupes of these monkeys sleep at night in the forest on Nevis Peak. They are usually seen by humans only when a troupe goes out foraging for food in the early morning, or the quiet part of the afternoon, when the monkeys venture into gardens and cultivated areas looking for not only edible seeds of wild plants but also mangos, tomatoes, and other delicious cultivated items. The tourists find the monkeys exciting and picturesque, but they are considered a nuisance by locals, because they raid farms and gardens mercilessly. During the driest parts of the year troupes of monkeys come all the way down to the coast, travelling on foot in the "ghauts" or ravines, and then you might see some of them almost anywhere on the island, although they prefer to stay at a safe distance from people.
  • Pinney's Beach on the western (Caribbean) side of the island is a straight sandy beach several miles long which features the Four Seasons Resort, various beach bars, etc.
  • Oualie Beach, further north on the Caribbean side, this is a very sheltered bay beach with very calm shallow water, a scuba centre, a laid-back hotel, etc.
  • Golf at The Four Seasons. Each golf hole has an absolutely gorgeous view of the island and the ocean. The golf course winds around the lower slopes of the volcano, Nevis Peak. If you are not into golfing, Four Seasons offer a tour right around sunset during which you may see the monkeys that wander the grounds, as well as the spectacular views. It is breathtaking and a "must do" when visiting Nevis.
  • The Eva Wilkin Art Gallery. Evan Wilkin lived in a windmill that was built in the 18th century. She died in 1989, but people still visit her home to see her sketches and paintings representing Nevis culture, including views and the interaction of people.

For the adventurous there is mountain biking and hiking to the top of Nevis Peak, all the while admiring breathtaking views of the island. There is also deep sea fishing and scuba diving.



Events and Festivals


This is the smaller island of Nevis’ answer to the main annual festival held in St Kitts. It is held over the last weekend of July, and features similar music, street dancing, parades, and pageants.

Independence Day

Independence Day is a public holiday that celebrates the independence and formation of the sovereign nation of St Kitts and Nevis. During the week either side of the day communities have a schedule of events including parades, picnics, and formal cocktail receptions.




Nevis has a warm and humid tropical climate with temperatures usually around 30 °C during the day and around 23 °C at night. June to September is slightly warmer with temperatures above 30 °C at daytime and not dropping below 26 °C on average at night. Rainfall is spread throughout the year and possible in every month but July to November is the wetter time of year while February to May is somewhat drier.



Getting There

By Plane

Vance W. Amory International Airport (NEV) has flights with Windward Islands Airways (Winair) to Saint Kitts and Sint Maarten, Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) to Antigua and Barbuda, while American Eagle has flights to and from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

By Boat

Six ferries operate between the islands of Saint Kitss and Nevis: the MV Caribe Queen, MV Carib Breeze and MV Carib Surf, the MV Mark Twain, the MV Geronimo and the MV Sea Hustler. The MV Mark Twain is currently inactive, but the other 5 vessels have a total of 15 sailings a day between both islands in either direction, between 6:30am (first sailing from Saint Kitts) to 7pm (last sailing from Saint Kitts). From Nevis, the first one leaves at 7:00am and the last at 6:00pm. Crossings take about 45 minutes and provide an excellent way of travelling between the capital Basseterre on Saint Kitts and Charlestown on Nevis.



Getting Around

Taxis are vans that have yellow license plates that start with T or TA. They are large, efficient, clean, and the drivers are mostly very knowledgeable and friendly. Drivers can bring you to your destination and wait for you, or can come back and get you at your convenience. Although a bargain in terms of what you get (really more like a personal limo -- and the charge is the same no matter how many people are coming with you) -- taxis are relatively expensive in absolute amounts (USD10-20 is typical) to go even a rather short distance. And in general whenever you use a taxi, ask in advance how much the cost is going to be, and determine whether the amount quoted is in East Caribbean dollars or US dollars; there is a big difference because 1 US dollar equals 2.7 EC dollars! If you are only visiting Nevis for a day or two, it is well worth the cost to take a guided taxi tour of the island, which can last two or three hours according to what suits you.

Buses on Nevis are vans with a lot of seats and a license plate which is green and starts with the letter H. The vans are privately owned, but government-registered. These buses are safe, cheap, extremely convenient, quite fast, and are a fun way to see a little of real life on Nevis. Everyone from old ladies to little kids will be getting on and off. Buses are extremely frequent during early morning and late afternoon, but are not as frequent in the middle of the day; they also do not run at all after about 9 pm. A bus will pick you up anywhere on the main road and drop you off anywhere else on the main road, or even on a side street if you pay a little extra. The buses take people from point to point very inexpensively for around XCD3-5 (USD1-2, depending on how far you are going) per person. Buses generally make circuits on one part of the ring road (the road running around the island) with each van running back and forth on roughly a third of the 17-mile road. To catch a bus, you just stand on the side of the road anywhere, look for a van going your way whose license plate is green and starts with H, then wave at them with a downwards motion (like saying "slow down") as the van is approaching. Occasionally a bus will only beep and drive past, but that is simply because the bus is already completely full. You can pay when you get on the bus, or on your way out (it is easier and faster if you have EC dollar coins that you can give to the driver). Just tell the driver where you are going. if the bus is very full you may want to call out a reminder when the van is approaching the point where you want to get off. If you want to go somewhere that is far outside the loop that the van is running, the driver will drop you at a point where you will can meet the next bus. Buses are really great: they can save you a lot of money and they give you a taste of local culture.

Car Rentals are good if you plan to stay for more than a couple of days and want to have more freedom than the buses offer, or want to go to inaccessible places that the buses don't service. The car rental agency will issue you a temporary driving licence at the time you take possession. Arrangements can be made via phone or email prior to arrival, including airport pick-up and drop-off. Drive on the left and proceed with care and courtesy toward other drivers, Watch out for livestock and pedestrians in the road.




Nevis food is a blend of European, American, with hints of African and Asian. Some local delicacies which may be features in meals are breadfruit, coconut jelly, fresh mangos, and fresh tamarind. It is nearly impossible to get a bad meal on Nevis. The food is fresh and further complimented by the island's lack of pollution. The simple but delicious (and widely available) roti is a roll-up with a savoury filling. Restaurants serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are usually closed in between these times. Restaurants also close early at night, so expect to eat dinner before nine or ten, or not at all.

There is a surprisingly wide range of different places to eat, including quite a few Chinese restaurants, and a well-regarded Indian Restaurant called "Indian Summer". Not all restaurants on Nevis look grand, but do not let this sway your decision on where to eat, as very often the food is really good even in the simplest places. The local bars and grills are in the lower price range, and feature a lot of Nevis's culture. There are also many moderately priced food venues. The highest-priced restaurants are mostly located at the hotels.

Food service on the island is mostly very slow, often with errors that will lead to more slow service in the process of correcting them. However, the wait staff of the restaurants, although sometimes substandard in performance, are generally very kind and pleasant to deal with. If you want to cut down on your wait time, some restaurants will let you call your order in before you arrive.

"Snackettes" are informal restaurants which sell home-cooked meals and also sell drinks. Most villages have several different snackettes, which serve as a central feature of village life.

The open-air market in Charlestown (near the port on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) sells fruit and vegetables, much of which is local produce. The vendors who set up small tables outside the building itself often have the freshest produce and the lowest prices.

The "Yellow Bus", which parks on the waterfront near the port in Charlestown, is widely regarded as a great place to get a roti. The "Fancy Jamaican Bakery" a little further north and facing the water, has great raisin pastries (called raisin rolls) and other interesting baked goods, as well as fresh bread and bottled drinks, including local specialities such as "sea moss" (a creamy thick sweet drink made from a local edible seaweed).

The two different ice cream shops in Charlestown each sell their own home-made ice cream; be sure to try it!

You may also want to try:

  • Riviere House uphill a little on the edge of Charlestown - a very elegant, cool breezy setting, and very good food, not expensive.
  • Chrishi Beach Club at the south end of Cades Bay, not far from the Sea Bridge ferry stop - really excellent food.
  • Nature's Way not far from Ram's supermarket - very good vegetarian food at excellent prices, no alcoholic drinks served.




There are plenty of good things to drink on Nevis, ranging from perfectly good tap water to wonderful homemade ginger beer made from locally grown ginger, to innumerable different rum punches made in the hotels and beach bars.

Each of the various hotels and beach bars has a barbecue party with music on a different night of the week. Nevis features a number of very popular beach bars, most of which are on Pinney's Beach. There are of course elegant bars in all of the of the upmarket hotels.

There are numerous local bars, and in addition, many local "snackettes", informal restaurants which sell home cooked meals and also sell drinks. Most villages have several snackettes, which serve as a central feature of village life.

Non-alcoholic drinks

  • There is a local Caribbean grapefruit soda called "Ting", which is very straightforward and wholesome; just grapefruit, sugar, water and fizz, that's all.
  • Buy the island's most outstanding home-made ginger beer at "Mansa's Last Stop", a farm stand near Cades Bay.
  • If you can find any, try the local home-made Sarsaparilla, which is very mildly alcoholic and supposed to be very good for you!

Alcoholic drinks

  • A popular cocktail is "Ting and Sting", which is Ting with the addition of Cane Spirit Rothschild (CRS), a locally produced white rum.
  • Carib Beer is a standard of course; Stag Beer is a more assertive and tasty beer produced by the same company.
  • Rum punches - every hotel and beach bar has their own version; the one from Sunshine's Beach Bar is called a "Killer Bee".




There are a number of different places to stay on Nevis, ranging from luxury hotels to small local guest houses, and also including house rentals. Some places to stay are right on the beach, some are inland but have a beach that they will run you to; one is up on the mountainside, which is cooler.

  • Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Pinneys Beach, ☎ +1 869 4691111. Very expensive, rather generic, luxurious, a good golf course.
  • Montpelier Plantation & Beach. This place northeast from Charlestown is expensive but also elegant and atmospheric.
  • Nisbet Plantation Beach Club. East of Newcastle and next to the beach. Also costly but elegant and atmospheric, with superb staff.
  • Mount Nevis Hotel and Beach Club.
  • Oualie Beach Resort, Right on sandy Oualie Bay. Not cheap, very laid back, great location, next to the scuba center etc. Oualie is a very calm shallow bay good for children and people who don't swim well.
  • Golden Rock Inn. Up fairly high on the mountainside, lush plantings, fabulous view, poshly renovated restaurant, a good place to see monkeys.


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This is version 9. Last edited at 12:42 on Aug 29, 18 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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