So you’ve decided to go on holiday to the smallest nation in the Western hemisphere: St. Kitts and Nevis. This relaxed and charming Caribbean country, known for its quaint hospitality and affordable villas, is composed of two islands – a fact that some tourists forget when planning their vacations. Although you’ll probably fly in and out of the country from St. Kitts and undoubtedly find more “city” life in the capital of Basseterre, it would be a shame to ignore Nevis, the quieter half of the island nation. There are plenty of things to do in Nevis, and the slower, almost meandering pace of life there ensures that you’ll enjoy the activities without stress or concern for time.
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #1: Relax in a Villa
Nevis features well-priced, cozy villas for rent. As an alternative to conventional hotels, the villas allow you to retreat from the world and pretend that you actually own a Caribbean island home. Hang out in a hammock and enjoy the peace.
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #2: Have a Plantation Meal
Indulge in a meal at Nisbet Plantation or Montpelier Plantation restaurants, two of the more expensive but worthwhile restaurants that harken back to the sugar baron era. Enjoy a fusion of European cuisine with Caribbean island delights at both of these places. Lobster, goat fish, yams, barbecued rice, and other delectable dishes await you.
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #3: Go Windsurfing
Nevis is better positioned for windsurfing than some of its peers in the Caribbean, thanks to friendly but brisk trade winds. Windsurfing Nevis, an owner-operated company, helps both beginners and experts with the sport. The reefs around the shore can shelter you in shallow water, or you can venture farther out to sea, depending on your experience level and thirst for breezy adventure.
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #4: Take a Hike
Guided tours of the rainforest and the interior of the island are available from experienced locals, including proprietor and biologist Jim Johnson and self-appointed “Eco-rambler” David Rollinson. You can choose both physically strenuous hikes and more modest, clear-trail hikes. Whatever you choose, be sure to see the monkeys!
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #5: Visit the Ruins
You’d think Nevis is too small to have abandoned historic sectors, but there are remnants of old houses, mills, and other ruins from the sugar industry days (which are now over on both St. Kitts and Nevis).
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #6: Snorkel or Scuba-dive
What would a trip to a Caribbean island be without the requisite scuba diving and snorkeling? Scuba Safaris is one small business that provides guided dives and snorkeling trips that allow you to see not only reefs but shipwrecks!
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #7: Relax on a quiet beach
Less crowded than the beaches of St. Kitts, the shores of Nevis provide the same clean sand and clear water you’d expect from any Caribbean island beach – without most of the noise and fanfare of rabid commercialism. Cades Bay Beach, Pinneys Beach, and Oualie Beach are all recommended.
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #8: Birdwatch
If you’re an amateur ornithologist, you’ll be delighted with unusual flying flappers, especially near Fort Ashby Beach and in the interior regions (closer to the jungle).
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #9: Go Bananas, literally
Eat banana fritters, banana bread, banana crepes, and every possible permutation of bananas. Oh, and don’t forget the banana rum beverages. Local bars and restaurants on Nevis have a penchant for the yellow fruit and its cousin, the plantain.
Things to do in Nevis – Idea #10: Shop in Charlestown
If you’ve spent a few days in near solitude on Nevis and are ready for some human interaction, visit Charlestown, the softly humming economic center of Nevis. Local shops and galleries are not resplendent with pomp; they’re humbly accommodating and friendly.
A note about the name of Nevis: In case you’re wondering, Nevis is something of a misnomer. It was derived from a fractured version of the Spanish phrase “Nuestra Señora de las Nieves” – meaning “Our Lady of the Snows.” Apparently, Christopher Columbus, besides thinking he was headed toward India, also believed he saw snow on top of a mountain. What he actually observed was just a low cloud encircling Nevis peak, a common occurrence on this volcanic Caribbean island.