Caribbean Cruising '23: Nevis

Suzanna Pinder on 12 March 2023
A pretty island to approach by sea, Nevis Peak stands at over 3,000 feet and is often shrouded in cloud, tumbling down the sides like snow. Christopher Columbus named it ‘’Nuestra Senora de las Nieves’’, Our Lady of the Snows.

Fought over by the Spanish, French and English, home to Alexander Hamilton, where Horatio Nelson married Nevisian, Fanny Nisbet and with a long tradition of sugar production, Nevis has a varied history.

Not long after we arrived ashore, we were lucky to bump into a local legend (at least a legend in our Leeward Island Cruising Guide!), Teach. A former teacher turned taxi driver, Teach is well known for his informative island tours and quirky local facts.

The capital, Charlestown, is a pretty little place, with lovely old stone buildings and palm planted squares. Passing by the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton (and a bus load of very excited Americans), we next witnessed a darker side - a bleak tunnel from the sea where slaves were once off-loaded from ships and passed under town to market. On a lighter note, we visited The Old Bath Hotel, the oldest tourist hotel in the Caribbean. Currently under renovation, it has a lovely commanding position, perched on the hill overlooking Charlestown and next to Nevis Hot Springs, where still today locals come to bathe in the natural volcanic waters. Following the flow upstream, the water got progressively warmer, reaching its peak where it emerges from the ground as hot as a recently boiled kettle.

The Montpellier Estate is probably one of the best known plantations on the island, where Lord Nelson married Fanny Nisbet. Today it is a beautiful bijoux hotel, with a guest list including Meryl Streep, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake and even Princess Diana when looking to escape the fresh news about her divorce from Charles. Perched high on the island, with glimpses of the sparkling Caribbean Sea between the lush palms and pines, there was a delightful cooling breeze keeping guests comfortable.

For lunch we decided on another charming plantation hotel, Golden Rock. Set in stunning tropical gardens with terraced fish ponds, we feasted on delicious fish tacos and ice cold Caribs, whilst keeping one eye peeled for the mischievous greenback monkeys that freely roam the area.

Not a big island, in less than a couple of hours we had circumnavigated by road, having driven up the wild Atlantic east coast, past Oualie Beach, a popular tourist spot, dotted with small hotels and beach bars and past Nelson’s Spring, where Nelson used to bring his ships from Antigua to replenish with water. Our tour ended at the Four Seasons Hotel, located at the furthest end of Pinney Beach.

The Four Seasons is a modern airy hotel, with a golf course and beautifully decked swimming pool, leading to their own area of beach with comfy sun loungers, cocktails on demand and a breakwater to provide a safe sea swimming area. Busy with guests of all ages, it was a very lively and buzzing spot.

Only one thing left to do before we departed Nevis… enjoy an infamous ‘Killer Bee’ cocktail at Sunshine’s. A quintessential Caribbean beach bar, with reggae tunes, beach games and a delicious BBQ on the go serving freshly caught fish, chicken wings and conch fritters. What more does one need as the sun goes down on a glorious day exploring this beautiful tiny corner of the Caribbean.

This article was published as part of a series ‘Caribbean Cruising 2023’.

Next article ‘St Bathelemy (St Barths)’.