Enjoy Nevis a tranquil jewel beyond expectations

Nevis may not draw as many visitors as some better-known and larger Caribbean islands, with its sister island St Kitts often overshadowing it. The short flight to St Kitts seems to deter many, even though Nevis is just a quick water taxi ride away. However, this small island, hidden just across a two-mile stretch of water, is a true hidden gem that’s well worth the extra hour of travel.

Montpelier Plantation Entrance

Nevis is an ideal destination for those seeking a slower pace, relaxation, and tranquility. The necessity of arriving via St Kitts, due to Nevis’s limited airport facilities, keeps tourist numbers low and contributes to the unhurried rhythm of life on the island.

One of the epitomes of tranquility is Montpelier, an 18th-century former sugar plantation nestled in the foothills of Nevis Peak. Spread across 60 acres of lush tropical gardens and with its private beach accessible by a shuttle, Montpelier offers a secluded and peaceful retreat. The ambiance is serene, interrupted only by the evening serenades of tree frogs. A short walk from Montpelier leads to the island’s beautiful botanical gardens, marked by a sign noting the spot where Nelson celebrated his ill-fated first marriage.

Montpelier Plantation Beach

While it may seem surprising, Nevis played a crucial role in the Caribbean 200 years ago. As a British colonial headquarters, it was a bustling hub, renowned for its high-quality sugar cane and strategic location for ships involved in the slave trade or restocking for journeys to the American mainland. Despite its past, modern-day Nevis is quieter, spanning just 36 square miles with a population of around 12,000.

The capital, Charlestown, boasts picturesque colonial architecture, featuring charming wooden verandahs and balconies designed to capture the Trade Winds. The Bath Hotel, a prominent Georgian building, stands as a testament to the island’s volcanic nature, housing hot water mineral springs that attracted the Georgians to build a spa hotel.

Hiking in Nevis

Today, Nevis offers a more peaceful experience than during the Georgian era. Activities include boat trips around the coast, relaxation on beautiful beaches, visits to the Botanical Gardens, and exploring the museum dedicated to Alexander Hamilton, a Nevis native. The island’s roads are shared with descendants of monkeys, likely introduced as pets in the Georgian era, but traffic moves slowly, and the horn is mainly used for friendly greetings, especially on the busiest day, Sunday, when everyone heads to church.

Culinary delights abound on Nevis, with delicious seafood options available, including Montpelier’s poolside restaurant and the world’s only restaurant located in a former sugar mill. From stylish restaurants to crab shacks, the island offers diverse dining experiences. The rum, particularly the infamous Killer Bee at Sunshine’s beach restaurant, is potent and adds to the island’s allure. Whether enjoying the local cuisine or listening to the soothing song of tree frogs, Nevis promises a unique and tranquil Caribbean getaway.