Nevis (Photo:EQRoy/Shutterstock)
Nevis (Photo:EQRoy/Shutterstock)
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Nevis

Nevis is often lumped together with nearby St. Kitts and there are reasons, historic and contemporary, for that. Eons ago, the islands -- both discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 -- were actually part of the same landmass (they're now severed by a most miniscule two-mile-wide channel). Both were long part of the English empire; they achieved a level of independence in 1967 by becoming an associated state of Great Britain. They cut the cord pretty much entirely in 1983. Today, they share a government.

Shore Excursions

About Nevis


Pro

This laid-back Caribbean destination offers tranquil beach days and plenty of natural beauty

Con

There isn't as much to do on Nevis compared to more developed Caribbean islands

Bottom Line

Nevis is a quieter, less traveled alternative to its neighbor, St. Kitts


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And it's true that both are dominated by sky-high mountains -- St. Kitts' Mt. Misery, at 3,750 ft., is higher than Nevis' Nevis Peak, at 3,232 ft., which means that the isles have their lush and green areas, frequently snagged by clouds.

Otherwise, you could say that as twins, St. Kitts and Nevis are far more fraternal than identical. The former is far more a bustling, touristic place (it's got the major airport and the deep water cruise ship harbor, complete with swanky new cruise terminal/shopping center); Nevis' appeal is in quieter pleasures.

Charlestown, its main city, is charming with its still-standing Victorian-style cottages and a general aura of peace, even downtown, that hovers over the place like a golden cloud. The fact that the Four Seasons developers -- picky as they are -- found an appeal in Nevis is significant in that it reinforces the fact that the island is naturally beautiful and that its people are quite welcoming.

And, as the Four Seasons folks undoubtedly figured out, fabulous beaches give Nevis at least one edge over its bigger sister isle. We found much to like in this sweet place that's relatively untouched by mass tourism, and plan to return for a longer stay.

Where You're Docked

You'll be anchored in Charlestown Harbor and tendered in to Charlestown.

Getting Around

On Foot: Charlestown is compact and easily walkable. For any locale beyond the town center, your best bet is to take a taxi.

By Taxi: Most cabs are minibus style and will pick up and drop off numerous folks. They line up at Main Street.

By Bus: Privately owned mini-buses, the island's version of public transportation, run around the island during the day on the main road. They have names like "Dem Say," "No Problem," and "Zion Train." To catch a bus, stand on the side of the road in the direction you are going and flag one down. Fares run between $1 and $3 EC.

By Car: Nevis is so small (eight by six miles) that renting a car isn't really necessary for a day visit but you certainly can. However, to rent a car or scooter, it's necessary to obtain a driver's license from any of the island police departments (Charlestown, Newcastle, Cotton Ground or Gingerland). Cost is $20 US for a three-month license. A valid driver's license from home is needed as well. Why bother for just the day? But if you must, Thrifty has an outpost on the waterfront.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Nevis operates on the Eastern Caribbean Dollar; $1 ECD is worth about 36 cents U.S., but you'll want to check xe.com for the latest exchange rates. Many shops and restaurants take American cash (or euros) but you may receive change in EC.

Language

English is the language of Nevis.

Food and Drink

If you like funky and arty ambience, check out the aforementioned Cafe des Arts in Charlestown, right next to the Museum of Nevis History (and walkable from the tender dock); opt for casual fare. Another casual in-town option is the Downtown Cyber Cafe (both an Internet center and a cafe); it offers sandwich-style fare and one hot dish a day, which is the highlight -- you know you're getting some Nevis cuisine. Options, depending on the day, include beef and cheese, seafood, lasagna, grilled snapper, and barbecued ribs.

At Pinney's Beach there are a variety of places. Nearest the tender pier (see the 10-minute walk option above) is Double Deuce (near Pinney's Beach Hotel). Value for money, locals say it's the best restaurant on the beach; the chef used to work at the far more upscale Montpelier's Plantation Inn so he's serving high quality food at bar prices. Next is Chevy's, a locals' joint (known for Caribbean mutton and wings). Beyond that is the famous Sunshine's. And if upscale calls, the last restaurant bar on Pinney's is the Four Seasons' Mango; it is built out over the water and offers fabulous views of St. Kitts.

The aforementioned Martha's in the Garden at the Botanical Garden Nevis.

Best Cocktail

"Killer Bee" -- a drink consisting of rum and other "secret" ingredients -- best known at Sunshine's Bar on Pinney's Beach