It has been 14 days since I’ve been back from Nevis and oh, do I miss it. I miss its simplicity, its history, its undeniable charm, its nature, its beauty and of course its wild monkeys and donkeys.
I was invited by the Nevis Tourism Authority to visit this Caribbean gem and experience all that it has to offer as well as attend their popular annual Blues Festival, but more on this in another post.
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Having never visited Nevis before I was blown away by how clean it is. I mean it was evident from the moment I touched down, that Nevisians truly care about proper representation of their island. As we were driving to my hotel I watched in awe perfectly groomed front yards zoom by, along with nicely kept houses in pastel colors and amazingly well kept architecture. Hell, even the bus stops made me do a double take. Bus stops with solar panels and soon to be wifi hotspots. The level of hospitality here is just astounding and this was only my first hour in Nevis.
The island competes with the likes of Anguilla and St. Barth in the luxury destination market and it is evident why the rich and the famous choose quiet little Nevis as a place to escape to. The opening of the Four Seasons Resort in 1991 only strengthened their position as one of the preferred luxury destinations in the Caribbean.
But I’m going to leave you experience all of this for yourself when you visit. You are here after all for some of my tips on what to eat, do and experience in Nevis, are you not? And I am only happy to oblige. So without further ado:
Eat, sleep, Do in the Caribbean: the Nevis chapter
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The Hamilton Beach Villas at first look was a bit bland in my opinion but I came to understand that there are ongoing constructions of some new units, which gives it that initial “blah” feeling upon entering the property. All doubts disappeared though the moment I entered my unit and explored the rest of the resort. Holy Moly, I have arrived.
My unit was huge with a view of the main pool, the restaurant and the beach in the distance. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, one decent sized kitchen, a humongous living area and a large balcony, was what I got to call home for the duration of my Nevis stay.
Hamilton Beach Villas is named after Alexander Hamilton of course. Nevis is after all his birthplace and the island as well as its people will not let you forget this. The property is relatively new at only 5 years old and is said to be the most cost approachable hotel in Nevis, on the best stretch of beach on the island, with a spa and gym coming soon. There are one bedroom, two bedrooms and a recently completed four bedroom unit complete with rooftop, jacuzzi and 360 degree views.
The Hamilton is a mixed use development, meaning that some of the units are owned, while others are rented to vacationers or long term renters. All I know is that I loved my stay here. The restaurant on property is on point with a delicious menu, friendly staff and mouth watering cocktails and a spectacular view of the beach and of St. Kitts in the background. The beach may not be picture perfect with clear blue water and white sands, but it is perfect for long romantic strolls and just relaxing by the water. I should point out that this is a family friendly place, with kids quite often splashing around in the main pool. If you are looking for a more adult-only atmosphere I would still suggest the Hamilton Beach. Halfway through my stay here I discovered a quiet second pool perfect for relaxing with a good book. Aaaah, Bliss. I will definitely return.
Nevis boasts 4 sugar mill estates turned into 4 star resorts or boutique hotels with delectable restaurants and I had the pleasure of dining at two during my 4 day stay in Nevis. Stay tuned for my blog post on all 4 estates coming soon.
The Hermitage Plantation features a Pork Roast on Wednesday evenings. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “but isn’t she supposed to be refrained from eating meat?” I still am and at first I was appalled by the idea of a poor defenseless piggy being roasted and its flesh ravished by hungry humans, but I was invited to attend by my gracious hosts and it would be rude to turn them down. My mama raised me better than that. Boy, am I glad I didn’t (sorry piggy). The Hermitage Plantation at night is remarkable. We were first welcomed into the main house, said to be the oldest building in the Caribbean for pre dinner drinks and were later escorted to the dining terrace. After being served a fish soup as appetizer we were led into the buffet area where the corpse of the late Mr. Pig laid center stage on display, surrounded by an assortment of the most delicious food I have had in a while. Stewed pumpkin, Johnny cakes, garbanzo beans in curry, red beets with goat cheese, it definitely was a mouthwatering experience. And the fact that the owner’s dog and two kittens entertained guests with their antics only added to the laid back yet very chic atmosphere at the Hermitage Plantation.
Nisbet Plantation where the likes of Prince Charles and lady Diana used to stay in days gone by is another beautiful estate with a gorgeous big green lawn and the only plantation right on the beach. Their restaurant also located on the beach is where I had my second most delectable food experience on Nevis. This time it was a seafood buffet and yours truly was eager to sink her teeth into some good food. The seafood buffet on Thursdays is definitely a must. Not only for the well prepared food, the presentation of it around the pool with the sea breeze in your hair but also for the general ambience.
Lunch at the Yachtsman Grill at the Hamilton Beach Villas where I stayed is a real treat. The restaurant offers a spectacular view of the long beach with St. Kitts in the near distance. The menu is amazing, the food scrumptious and the staff delightful. They are famous for their pizzas. Take it from me, have a Full Nelson while you wait for your food to arrive.
Imagine for a while if you will, sitting in a serene lush garden amidst trees of all sorts, a wooden building built in old plantation style with large windows inviting in the gentle breeze, being surrounded by island art, nice music playing in the background and the most delicious food in front of you. Welcome to Bananas, by far my favorite restaurant in Nevis.
The drive to Bananas is an adventure on its own. A dirt road with monkeys scurrying across, shying away from the approaching vehicle. On the way you will pass the ruins of yet another sugar mill, a memory of the island’s sugar industry and what Nevis was most known for in yonder years. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted and escorted inside by the adorable Jody, the restaurant’s mascot, a cute island pooch with a permanent smile on her face. It really doesn’t get better than this. Browse through the boutique on property while you wait for your food or climb the stairs up to the rooftop for a magnificent view of the ocean in the distance.
Cafe des Arts
I loved this place, not exactly for its menu, but for its true island feel. Located next to the Nevis History Museum and on the same grounds as where THE Alexander Hamilton was born, Cafe des Arts offers a true colorful Caribbean experience, complete with roaming hens and a domineering rooster. My breakfast here reminded me of home. Large egg sandwich with mayo, slices of cucumber and lots of cheese. Yummm.
Another breakfast place definitely worth mentioning is the Oualie Beach Restaurant at Oualie Beach Resort. I had a fantastic breakfast taco here while over looking the palm tree lined beach just as two cows unexpectedly strolled by, much to the delight of the restaurant guests. I could not make this up even if I tried. This will definitely go down in my records of most memorable moments. The restaurant staff is friendly and attentive and the atmosphere is laid back and chill.
I’m not exactly a fan of guided tours and prefer to explore a destination by myself but I was scheduled for an ATV tour with Funky Monkey, one of Nevis’ most well known tour companies. Our driver was Oneil, a delightful man from Guyanese origins that has an obvious love for his job, and how could he not love off roading on ATV’s while exploring more of his new home, Nevis? The three hour tour was as educational as it was fun. Oneil’s signature drink the Ting with a Sting will definitely make the whole experience that more fun. Stops include Lovers Beach, the old Cottle church where blacks were allowed to worship alongside whites, old sugar mills, the beach at Nisbet Platantaion, some bumpy off roading to more secluded areas and lots and lots of wild monkeys and donkeys along the way.
Hike to the 6 waterfalls
Like I said it has been 14 days since I left Nevis and I can finally feel my legs and upper arms after the intense yet spectacular hike to the 6 waterfalls in the Nevis peak forests. It is totally worth it and I can honestly, most definitely recommend it. For details on this hike and how I survived it, check out my recent blog post.
Another unforgettable moment was when my Nevis Tourism Authority contact person and new friend took me to the Hot Springs at Bath Village after our hike. I was amazed that this existed. The Bath Springs are located on the grounds of the old Bath Hotel, the first luxury hotel in the West Indies built in 1778. The naturally warm waters can often reach temperatures as high as 108 degrees and is favored by locals and visitors alike. A dip in the springs can relieve aches and pains associated with rheumatism, gout and aching bones. The baths are open to the public free of charge.
Visit the Museum of Nevis History and the Birthplace of Alexander Hamilton. Alexander Hamilton’s handsome face is seen on every US 10 Dollar bill but this Founding Father of the United States actually hails from the island of Nevis. An illegitimate son of a Scotsman and a Nevisian born lady of French descent, Alexander’s life story is on display here at the Museum of Nevis History. Ask for Trisha Griffin, the best guide at the museum in my opinion and one of the nicest persons I met in Nevis. Not only is she very knowledgable, she also has a knack for interesting storytelling. I enjoyed my hour visit to the museum. Who knew there was so much history on tiny Nevis.
Listen to amazing talents on stage at the annual Nevis Blues festival.
I had the pleasure of attending this year’s event and oh my…so much talent on one stage. I must have had at least a dozen goosebumps moments and it was not because of the slight chill in the ocean air. The likes of AJ Ghent, Denise Gordon, Ian Siegal (whom I shared a plane ride to Nevis with) and Deanne Bogart were just a few of the performers that made me close my eyes and sway away to their rhythmic tunes. I am counting down the days till next year’s festival.
On Sundays it is customary to head to Pinney’s Beach and the ever so popular Sunshine’s Beach Bar for the infamous Killer Bee, a rum punch with a hell of a kick. I had to buy a bottle to take home with me, no matter how expensive. I just couldn’t get enough, even as my tongue started getting heavy. I was feeling rather Irie after just two. Sunshine’s is named after its owner Sunny or Sunshine, a nickname he got from his grandmother, the same person who gave him the recipe for his big seller the Killer Bee.
Make a stop at the Artisan Village. This colorful group of souvenir and art shops is worth a quick stop. Make sure to get your Guava, Tamarind and Mango jam as well as a bottle of organic honey from Nevis bees or try on one the beautiful handmade leather sandals. The Artisan Village is located right next to the Nevis Craft House where Nevisian arts and crafts are made and put on display. It also makes for a stunning photo backdrop.
Have you been to Nevis before? If so, what was your experience like and what would you recommend I do on my next visit?
*All opinions are my own. My trip to Nevis was made possible by the Nevis Tourism Authority and Winair. The aboev is based on my honest observations and experience of the island, its people and its culture.