5 reasons Nevis might be your next favourite Caribbean island

Even before I floated in the clear blue sea, my only companion a giant sea turtle who glided past — just his leathery head peeking out of the water — I was tempted to declare that Nevis might be my new favourite Caribbean island.

Hammock with Mount Nevis in the background Credit Nisbet Plantation

Spend your day in a hammock with Mount Nevis in the background Credit Nisbet Plantation

I’d spent a few blissful days  swimming, basking in the sun and eating mangoes while attending the Nevis Mango & Food Festival and was already halfway convinced that this little island, the smaller, quieter sister to Saint Kitts (check out my post on the Carambola Beach Club on what to see and do if you only have one day in St. Kitt’s), had everything I loved about the Caribbean. Then, I ate a perfect lobster roll and swam beside a turtle and I was smitten. Here’s why I think you should consider the beautiful island of Nevis in the British West Indies for your next Caribbean  getaway.

1. Few Crowds

You won't see many crowds on the beach at Nisbet Plantation

You won’t see many crowds on the beach at Nisbet Plantation

I walked the beach each morning at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club (the Caribbean’s only  historic plantation inn located on a beach) and rarely saw anyone apart from a few snorkelers heading out for a morning swim. Nisbet Beach offers a mix of fine golden sand sprinkled with black volcanic dust that glint in the sunlight and although it faces the Atlantic, it’s actually quite swimmable thanks to rocky breakers built to protect the shoreline and waters. With no undertow or enormous waves to pull an unsuspecting swimmer under, it’s a welcoming beach for non-swimmers. A string of tidal pools along the shoreline makes for interesting beach combing.

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Have the beach to yourself at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club

Unlike other volcanic islands where you’re likely to find mostly black sand beaches, Nevis has been blessed with a surprising number of white and golden sand beaches to choose from.

View of Pinney's Beach from the beach cabana at Four Seasons Nevis

View of Pinney’s Beach from the beach cabana at Four Seasons Nevis

On the Caribbean side, Pinney’s Beach is one of the best of the island’s white sand beaches. The beach at Four Seasons Resort Nevis is also relatively free of crowds and if you splurge on a private beach cabana, you’ll score butler service, a choice of comfy loungers, excellent WiFi and of course easy access to the translucent blue waters.

Hang out at a beach cabana at the Four Seasons Nevis

Hang out at a beach cabana at the Four Seasons Nevis and swim here

Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity or two.  Nevis is a top hideaway for jet-setters, celebrities and A-Listers. Just check-out the Wall of Fame at nearby Sunshine’s Beach Bar (a short walk along the beach from the Four Seasons) and you’ll recognize Beyonce, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many others among the photos.

2. Vibrant Food Scene

Mango shake at Nevis Mango and Food Festival

Mango shake at Nevis Mango and Food Festival Credit: Sue Campbell

The Nevis Mango & Food Festival, a 3-day culinary extravaganza that takes places each July,  is well worth adding to your calendar. In between dining on mango-themed fare, you’ll get to meet celebrity chefs such as Natasha Corrett and even Iron Chef UK, Judy Joo, who helms Jinjuu Restaurant in London and Hong Kong.

Tree mutton aka monkey is on the menu in St. Kitts and Nevis

Tree mutton aka monkey is on the menu in St. Kitts and Nevis

There’s fine-dining on grilled spiny lobster, an open-air food market in Charlestown, lots of street vendors (note to the unadventurous, beware of ordering the “tree mutton” which is actually monkey) and plenty of beach bars such as Sunshines — all of which adds up to a happening food scene.

Read more about what to eat and drink in Nevis in my article The Best Places to Eat on the Island of Nevis for Travel Age West

Lobster roll, mac n cheese and fresh salad at a beach cabana lunch at Four Seasons Nevis

Lobster roll, mac n cheese and fresh salad at a beach cabana lunch at Four Seasons Nevis

3. Great Value

Interest in Nevis is booming due to the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton”, a musical that tells the story of the Nevis-born Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father of the United States. But although growing interest might prompt price increases, for now, island still offers excellent value. For example, while there are loads of beautiful luxury properties to choose from, including the dreamy Relais & Châteaux member the Montpelier Plantation and Beach, you can also rent a modest sea view room at a guest house in historic Charlestown for just $45 a night or get a cottage all to yourself for $80 a night. Check out these budget options at Explore Nevis.

Charlestown is the island’s capital and is small, walkable and still-authentic, not overrun with duty free shops or fast-food outlets.  The leafy town square is circled by a fine selection of 18th and 19th century Georgian-style buildings with wooden second stories built above stone foundations.  Nearby, several  historic churches, the childhood home of Alexander Hamilton (now a museum) and the Market Place make for an interesting way to spend several hours.

Charlestown Nevis

Explore local history along with tropical diversions in historic Charlestown Nevis

Further afield, another affordable option is Oualie Beach Resort, a 3.5 star beachfront collection of 32 low-rise Caribbean-style cottages, offering rates beginning at $166 USD per night. These pastel-hued cottages feature screened verandas as well as direct access to one of the nicest swimming beaches. The location isn’t as private as Nisbet Plantation Beach Club ( the water-taxi as well as several other boats depart from the dock at Oualie Beach) but the onsite restaurant is a happening place offering live music and dancing on Tuesday nights.

Gingerbread cottages and restaurants on Oualie Beach

Gingerbread cottages and restaurants on Oualie Beach

I was fortunate to have been invited to stay at the beautiful Nisbet Plantation Inn, a sprawling beachfront property that’s ideal for those who love history and luxury. It’s also great value. Summer rates for 2017 begin at $495 a night for a standard room, a rate that applies to two guests and includes full breakfast, afternoon tea and gourmet dinner. Suites feature wifi, AC, a refrigerator with mini-bar, coffee/tea maker, bathrobes and more, all of which adds up to a luxury stay. Complimentary airport transfers from St. Kitts (SKB) or Nevis (NEV) airports are also included for stays of 5 nights or more.

Nisbet Plantation Inn

You’re just steps from the sea at Nisbet Plantation Inn

Elegant rooms at Nisbet Plantation Inn in Nevis

Elegant rooms at Nisbet Plantation Inn in Nevis

sea-breeze-dining-at-nisbet-plantation-credit-nisbet-plantation

You get to enjoy the luxe beach club at Nisbet Plantation Inn on Nevis Credit Nisbet Plantation

4. Hot Springs and Spas

There are many volcanic islands in the Caribbean, but few where you can actually soak in thermal waters as easily as you can in Central American countries such as Costa Rica. Nevis has done a fantastic job of preserving and restoring the series of natural hot springs located in front of the aptly named Bath Hotel in Charlestown. Although the historic Bath Hotel, built in 1778 and once the playground for royalty and aristocracy, was converted to offices decades ago, rumours say it may be returned to its former glory as a hotel within the near future. In the meantime, it’s still possible to soak up the therapeutic benefits of the scorchingly hot natural springs for absolutely free.

The steaming hot volcanic springs at the Bath Hotel Nevis are open to the public

The steaming hot volcanic springs at the Bath Hotel Nevis are open to the public

bath-hotel-and-spring-house-nevis

The historic Bath Hotel and Spring House in Nevis

Or, if you’re looking for something more swanky and private, the spa at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis offers one of the Caribbean’s most stunning settings. The treatment rooms are located within a meandering collection of spa cottages tucked beneath the palms and are just steps to a luxurious soaking pool with soothing warm waters. The spa treatment of choice is a Nevis Naturally Massage featuring herbs and botanicals harvested from the spa’s organic garden.

Spa cottages at Four Seasons Resort Nevis

I could live in one of these spa cottages at Four Seasons Resort Nevis

5. Easy to Get To

Dock on St. Ktts for transfer to Nevis

Nevis here I come! Dock on St. Ktts for transfer to Nevis

There are many beautiful yet secluded islands in the Caribbean, but most require a rather rigorous commitment to get there. I’ve flown on tiny 6-seater airplanes clutching the ashtray holder as we careened past rocky cliffs, and taken ferry boats across turbulent seas, so it’s a real treat to discover a still-under-the-radar island where an easy water taxi gets you to your destination faster than you have time to finish a Red Stripe. Many of the resorts include transfers for minimum stays.

Travel Planner

More info: Learn more about the island of Nevis by visiting the Nevis Tourism Authority website.

Getting There: Travellers from North America or the UK can fly to St Kitts and then connect to Nevis via ferry or private water taxi. Another option is to fly to St Maarten and transfer to Nevis on a WINAIR flight.

Nevis Mango & Food Festival: This new annual event features cooking demonstrations, mango-themed dinners prepared by local and visiting celebrity chefs, a street fair and more. It takes place each July, when the mango crops are ripe. Check the Nevis Tourism Authority website for exact dates and details.

Disclosure: I travelled to the Nevis Mango & Food Festival as a guest of the Nevis Tourism Authority. However, my opinions  are my own and they did not review this story or try to stop me from eating my weight in mangoes each day.

Looking for more travel ideas for unique beach destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico? Check out these posts:

12 Reasons I’m Tempted to Drop Everything and Move to Grenada

Beginner’s Guide to Puerto Escondido, Mexico Beaches 

Undiscovered Riviera Maya

Mystic Montserrat, Caribbean 

 

5 Amazing things to do on the Caribbean island of Nevis

Credit: Nisbet Plantation

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Showing 28 comments
  • melbtravel
    Reply

    Wow that places looks stunning and thanks for the tip. I am definitely going to add this one to my ever-growing bucket list.

  • Wandering Carol
    Reply

    Those beaches AND hot springs? I would never want to leave. The photos are priceless.

  • Gareth
    Reply

    Wow, this looks like a true dream vacation. I particularly love the photo with the volcanic hot springs although the food has to run a pretty close second. And for $80 for a cottage, that is really great value

  • Betty
    Reply

    Gorgeous photos! Would love to make a trip to the Caribbean someday. Hot springs would be great to visit this winter.

  • Tara
    Reply

    Nevis has been in my mind for a while now, and I think you’ve just sealed the deal for me. This is exactly the type of travel I prefer – fewer crowds, awesome food, and hot springs – you just can’t beat hot springs!

  • Janice Chung
    Reply

    The beach club at Nisbet Plantation Inn looks heavenly. I never knew much about Nevis but the idea of a less-touristy island is very appealing. And a Mango festival? Yes! Tree mutton? No thank you.

  • Donna Janke
    Reply

    I love Nevis for much the same reasons. I think you could add the friendliness of the people as a sixth reason. This post made me want to go back soon.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      Yes, I agree! Friendly people is definitely a 6th reason to love the island of Nevis

  • Culture Tripper
    Reply

    Gorgeous photos! I love the one of the hammock at Nisbet Plantation. The carved fruit at the mango festival, the cute cottages, the connection with Alexander Hamilton–so many reasons to visit Nevis!

  • Vyjay
    Reply

    Nevis undoubtedly exudes the magic and charm of the Caribbean. Such a serene and beautiful island.. The hot springs bath too looks intriguing. The blue waters look really inviting.

  • Sue Reddel
    Reply

    Nevis is such a wonderful destination. We enjoyed a stay at the Hermitage Plantation a few years ago and we thoroughly enjoyed the island. It truly is a terrific culinary destination so many great restaurants and beach bars with great food.

  • The GypsyNesters
    Reply

    We have been to many of the Caribbean Islands, but never Nevis. It looks every bit as wonderful as the others, if not even better.

  • Tami
    Reply

    I hadn’t even heard of Nevis before reading your post. But I can only imagine how beautiful it must be. Your photos really accent how gorgeous the water is! The opportunity to enjoy some of those beaches without all the crowds sounds heavenly. I’m adding it to my list!

  • Betty
    Reply

    I’ve never been to the Carribean before, but it looks fab. The brightly colored dishes look so good I wish I could eat it. =)

  • Shiloh
    Reply

    You had me at #2- food! Loving the easy to reference post for a future trip.

  • Amanda
    Reply

    Looks awesome. I love that there are few crowds!

  • John
    Reply

    Stunning place! No crowds, great food, and affordable, I’m packing my bags now!

  • Cristal
    Reply

    Wow! It sounds ideal. I’ll definitely have to add it to my list.

  • Active City Travel
    Reply

    Great article, looks like paradise.

  • Suzanne Fluhr
    Reply

    Mr. Excitement and I live on the east coast of the US and love Hawaii, but everytime we return to the Caribbean, we wonder why we think we need to fly almost 6,000 miles for February sun and sand. Thanks for the reminder about Nevis.

  • Global Brunch
    Reply

    Oh my this looks amazing. I love Caribbean food but unfortunately never actually been to the Caribbean. This looks like a fantastic place to indulge into the cuisine. I especially like the sound of the food festival. Thanks for putting this on to my radar 🙂

  • LaTessa
    Reply

    I just got back from my first trip to the Caribbean and I’ve never heard of Nevis. I am adding it to my travel list.

  • Ivan Kralj
    Reply

    Writing this from another, but completely different kind of a tropical country (Cambodia), I have to say the Caribbean should definitely be put on my travel plans list too! Thank you for all suggestions!

  • WhenTwoWander
    Reply

    That watermelon carving! :O And I love it when you see a beach with noone on it – incredible tranquility.

  • Nico
    Reply

    This is beautiful, seems so peaceful! Would love to bring my loved one there walking along the beach with feet in the water. Thankx for the great post about Nevis.

  • Vicki Louise
    Reply

    You had me at the clear blue sea with a sea turtle for company! I haven’t visited anywhere in the Caribbean and I had never even heard of Nevis until your post – but it has shot to the top of my list now! It looks beautiful!

  • Calvin
    Reply

    Just worry about gangs & rising murder rate. Sometimes a picture isn’t worth a thousand words. 5 murders (1 clinging to life) in population of 11,000.

    • Michele Peterson
      Reply

      I sure hope the violence is just a temporary problem! But it’s a good reminder for visitors to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings when travelling.

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