Updated August 24, 2012—What are the must-see sights in Nevis? What’s the entertainment scene like? What’s the best time to see the sea turtle? We asked Assistant Concierge Manager Vanessa Paris at Four Seasons Resort Nevis to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions she could find—not just her own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some she works with every day at the Hotel.
Nevis is a small, friendly island in the Caribbean that’s perfect for exploration at a leisurely pace. Paris shares tips for making your visit to Nevis a memorable one.
Playful vervet monkeys, which move about in large packs, are said to outnumber the people. After all, there’s not a single stop sign on the island, but monkey-crossing signs line the roads. They are most active in late afternoon, and the resort offers 90-minute walking tours daily at 4:00 pm, at a nearby plantation, guided by leading local naturalists. At any time, ask one of the Concierges to play chauffeur on a free monkey-viewing search of the Resorts golf course; the Concierge will also describe local flora and fauna. In mango season, June through October, the monkeys are extra busy stealing fruit off the trees.
Where the Sun Shines, Even at Night
Three-mile-long Pinney’s Beach is the best on Nevis, and right in front of the Resort. It is largely undeveloped, but a wonderful exception is Sunshine’s Bar, right next door. Arguably the island’s most famous watering hole, this open-air beach drinkery is a favourite of local and visiting celebrities and musicians who come for fresh grilled seafood, delicious rum drinks, live music and a relaxing Caribbean vibe. The bar hosts nightly bonfires and monthly full moon parties. Try a Killer Bee rum cocktail and the fresh Caribbean lobster.
Heaven on Nevis
A relatively new attraction, Peak Heaven is quickly becoming one of the most beloved on the island. Located 1,200 feet (364 metres) above sea level, it is a recreation of a Nevisian village from over century ago, with historically accurate wooden structures, including indentured slaves’ quarters, all set on 5 lush tropical acres (2 hectares) full of flowering gardens. The Heritage House contains a local museum exploring the island’s history from the 1700s, and beyond it are hiking trails, historic ruins to explore, a zip line ride and a real-life jungle gym playground for kids, plus a funky and popular island restaurant, The Coal Pot, focused on recreating indigenous and period cuisine of early Nevis.
World’s Best Taxi Ride?
One of Nevis’ greatest assets is its friendly, small-town charm, and this includes the handful of taxi drivers, true island ambassadors who all know each other—and seemingly everyone on the island. Hire a taxi for a flat-rate “island tour,” lasting anywhere from two hours to a full day with lunch and stops for cocktails at different plantations. You’ll get a whirlwind look at all of Nevis, from downtown Charlestown to the ruins of 19th-century sugar mills to the almonds growing almost unnoticed along the sides of the road. Stop frequently to explore a bit on foot, shop, grab a bite—these tours are totally flexible, as if a friend were driving you around their hometown.
The Paradise of Paradise
Many visitors cite the Botanical Gardens of Nevis as their single favourite attraction on the island—and it is easy to see why. The 5 acres (2 hectares) of gardens are set on mountain slopes at altitude, with panoramic views to the Caribbean Sea. The flora and gardens are neatly divided into themes, and besides flowers and plants there is an ample supply of Asian sculptures, fountains and water-lily pools, and a conservatory enclosing a “rain forest”—complete with parrots. As a bonus, the gift shop and attached art and antique shop are among the best places to shop on the island.