Just back this Sunday from a one week trip to Nevis. Here’s a brief report. Landed in St. Kitts and was picked up by land taxi for the trip to Reggae Beach for the water taxi. Compared to other ways to get from Kitts to Nevis, the water taxi is superior, and depending on how many people make the crossing with you it can be as cheap as 30 dollars a person and you’re there in 20 minutes. Another taxi met us at Oualie Beach to take us up to our cottage just above Charlestown in lower Hamilton Estates. The cottage was adorable. Simple. Well maintained. Lovely views. With a full kitchen and fridge, which the owner will fill for you with grocery staples, such as eggs, milk, and most importantly Carib beer. We rented from Kay Loomis, who manages many properties on Nevis, and it was a terrific experience. Kay is lovely. Her property (upon which the cottage sits) is lovely, and we were perfectly happy all week. The location is great – easy drives on the Bypass road to either Pinney’s beach and north on the Caribbean side or Montpelier, Golden Rock, Hermitage, on the Atlantic side.
I won’t give a day-to-day, just some impressions of where we went, where we ate, what we did, etc.
Gallipot. The fish was very good for dinner our first night. A hamburger for lunch later in the week was excellent. Make reservations for dinner. It gets very crowded, although we were glad we hadn’t make reservations because it meant we sat at the bar and talked to the bartender and an expat couple. It’s reasonably priced. Awesome view across the channel to St. Kitts. Only open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for lunch
Indian Summer. One of our best meals on the island and very reasonably priced. We had goat curry and some other things, but the goat curry and the breads were a standout. It may not look busy when you go by, but a lot of takeout leaves this restaurant.
Mango. The location is beautiful, right on the water, and the food is fine, but it’s very pricey. I had to ask for 3 different bottles of wine before they were able to find me something on the wine list that they actually had. Call the Four Seasons to see if they are open. Hours vary depending on 4 Seasons occupancy. Beautiful at sunset.
Coconut Beach. We had lunch here. It was very expensive and right now, I can’t even remember what I had. They give you your bill in a fake coconut. Enough said.
Golden Rock. We wandered over just before sunset, had no reservations, and after strolling through the beautiful grounds we sat on the terrace and had cocktails. They told us they would have a table for us at The Rocks whenever we wanted one, so the second time they asked us if we wanted to be seated, we took the gentle hint and said yes. Probably the best grilled spiny lobster I have ever had and a truly magical setting. I can’t recommend it highly enough for food, service, atmosphere, etc. I’d been there 15 years ago, before the new owners, and the bartender walked around with me in the great house showing me where things used to be. Attentive and kind service.
Sunshine’s. His lobster salad was surprisingly good – plenty of fresh lobster and a really nice mix of lettuces, herbs, and grilled vegetables. With a couple of Caribs late in the afternoon one day, it really hit the spot. Sit inside on the banquettes. Besides being more comfortable, you don’t get hustled by the guy with jewelry in a briefcase and the fellow with the diapered monkey who encourages you to take his picture and then shakes you down for five dollars. I saw it happen! We didn’t have Killer Bees, but others seemed to be liking them.
The Four Seasons pool bar. Don’t go here unless you want to spend $20 on a Carib and a glass of white wine. Not kidding.
Bananas. Lovely setting. Very good food. Kind and thoughtful service. Reservations days in advance are a must. A lot of people come here from the Four Seasons in van taxis.
Oualie Beach restaurant. We sat outside at the tables in the sand our last day there, waiting for the water taxi ,and had surprisingly good and fresh fish sandwiches.
Mansa’s. The place to go for fresh produce, a home-made lunch, and really good juices. There is only produce on Mondays. Lunch and juices start on Tuesday. Mansa is super nice. It’s located across from Chrishi Beach, right on the corner of the road that leads up to Fountain.
Water Department Barbecue. On Fridays (and maybe Saturdays?)_Excellent ribs, cold beer, and ear-splittingly loud calypso on the speakers. Takeout unless you want to hangout at the side of the road.
Things we did. A hike up to Mountravers with DeVito Liburd who is taking over for his father, who is ill and being treated in New York. His mother, Eula Liburd, gives several different tours on Nevis as well. Truly nice and thoughtful kid. A hike up to Mount Pleasant with Nikki Johnson. This was enormously enjoyable as we roamed through the ruins of a late 17th early 18th sugar plantation. Nikki knows a lot about plants, animals, and Nevis history. Trips to the Alexander Hamilton museum and the Nelson Museum for research. Gail Dore was very nice, very helpful, and easy to talk to. Snorkeling via the catamaran trip the Four Seasons offers (Lennox and Fitzroy). The sail was awesome, even with some rain, but the snorkeling wasn’t much to look at. I’d go again though for the sail and the music on the way back. A hike on our own up to Saddle Hill and Nelson’s Lookout. It’s a bit hard to find the trailhead, but it’s worth it for the views. We didn’t spend much time on the beach, but when we did, we headed for Pinney’s, bordering the Four Seasons. It was easy to park and just down the beach from Sunshine’s, Lime, and Chevy’s. The Four Seasons staff had no problem with us using their lounges, even though we weren’t guests. The Botanic Gardens made for a nice stroll the morning of the day we left. Not crowded, serene. Montpelier. We only strolled through one afternoon. The great room was just as I remembered from 15 years ago, although the Scrabble set was nowhere in sight. We were there during the dead time between tea and cocktails and so we didn’t have either. Nisbet. We sat at the beach bar one afternoon and watched the ocean, which is rougher than on the Caribbean side. There’s a lot of erosion on this beach now.
Impressions. The island is much more tourist-oriented than it was 15 years ago, which is bad and good. There are more places to eat, but also more touristy places to eat. There are good places to buy groceries, though, which is a real plus. The expat community is friendly and loves talking about the island. The Nevisians are reserved at first but warm up when they see you’re genuinely interested in things. You really have to like driving, and be okay driving on the right side, if you’re going to explore the island. If you fly on a Saturday, be prepared for long waits in immigration and customs in Kitts on the way in, and a long wait to clear security on the way home. We were leaving at the same time as a charter plane of 200 from Connecticut and it was brutal. If you fly through Miami, be aware that when you land you have to go through immigration, pick up your luggage from the carousel, go through customs, take your luggage to the airline drop off, and then GO THROUGH SECURITY AGAIN. We weren’t aware of this and ended up just making our 8:30 plane having had nothing to eat since 1 o’clock in the afternoon. And of course, there were only raisins and nuts on the plane. It didn’t make for the happiest return. But all in all, it was a great trip. Nevis is one of my favorite places on Earth and it was wonderful to return with my husband to show him why I love it as much as I do.