A Five-Minute Island Guide to Nevis
Defined by the verdant volcanic peak that towers above its sun-drenched shores, the island of Nevis is an understated and undeveloped alternative to better known Caribbean hotspots such as St Barts and Barbados. Here, deserted beaches, palm-fringed coastlines, and the remnants of a once thriving sugar industry attract travellers seeking a relaxed and easygoing island retreat.
When you arrive on Nevis you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There are no traffic lights, no multiplex theatres, and other than pristine natural vistas, very little to distract you from your main goal of achieving total relaxation.
If you’re looking for an idyllic place to escape reality for just a little while, ditch the clichéd holiday itinerary of all-inclusive sea, sand, and sun, and instead immerse yourself in the real Caribbean at luxury villa The Retreat.
The Best Time of Year to Visit Nevis
Nevis is blessed with a temperate climate for much of the year however the island’s weather, like most in the West Indies, has a rainy season which runs from August through until early November. September tends to be the most unpredictable month for weather and the island slips into a sort of hibernation, with a couple of the plantation hotels closing during this time for their annual maintenance.
The festive seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas are notably popular with American and English travellers, however February is also a favoured month for visitors so keep in mind that occupancy will reach its peak throughout these periods. Mid November to Christmas and April to July are the best times to take advantage of lower cost international flights, and yet at this time the island still enjoys some of its best seasonal weather.
These are our favourite times of year to visit Nevis. Although crowds are seldom seen on the island, at either side of the main Caribbean holiday season Nevis can feel as though a private island with you its only guest.
How to Get to The Retreat
on Nevis Island
The smallest of two islands that form the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, Nevis sits in the Leeward Island chain around 80 km west of Antigua.
Flights from Puerto Rico, St Maarten, and Antigua fly into the island’s regional airport Vance W. Amory International (NEV), whereas international connections from mainland America and the United Kingdom arrive into the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport (SKB) on neighbouring St Kitts.
Guests of The Retreat arriving into St Kitts are met by a private taxi and enjoy a 25-minute car journey which affords them stunning views of the island’s south east peninsula, as well as a refreshing ride (8 minutes) across the narrows to the Oualie Beach pier on Nevis where a transfer to the villa awaits.
Rental cars and the required temporary driving license can be pre-arranged for delivery to The Retreat prior to your arrival on Nevis. Please make this request at the time of booking.
Best Attractions and Scenic Spots
For me, the indomitable Nevis Peak is the island’s most iconic attraction; a dormant stratovolcano it reaches some 3,230 ft toward the sky and is almost permanently shrouded in a swath of white cloud. To really appreciate its beauty, book a day sail with the crew of Nevis Yacht Charters or hike the forest trails that wend their way toward the summit. On a clear day views of Antigua and uninhabited Redonda reward the victorious.
For more information covering the best activities and water sports on Nevis
Equally outstanding are the island’s wealth of beach hangouts. From the chic to the charmingly ramshackle, you could enjoy a sundowner on the sand at a different establishment each night of your stay. Our favourites are the St Barts inspired Chrishi Beach Club and local’s favourite Turtle Time.
Read more about the best bars and restaurants on Nevis here
Planning to spend some time relaxing on the beach? The island’s western shores are awash with unspoiled natural coastlines that invite those seeking seclusion and solace.
Take a stroll along the sand at Cades Bay, bordered mostly by scrubland it bears a resemblance to Daniel Defoe’s fictional desert island, or retreat to Lover’s Bay and soak in the picturesque view over the narrows toward neighbouring St Kitts.
If sitting still doesn’t suit, consider renting a bicycle from local triathlete Winston Crooke at Wheel World by Oualie Beach. When cycling on Nevis there’s a different view around every corner and you’ll even spot wild donkeys, goats, and monkeys roaming wild on the verge. It’s also an island with varied ride conditions that will satisfy the appetite of every two-wheeled traveller.
Read this guide covering where to cycle on Nevis for more insight
Local Culture, Currency,
and Services on Nevis
The local dialect is Saint Kitts Creole and much of the local population are practising Christians.
The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar, although small denominations of US Dollars are widely accepted. Both can be obtained from cash points in the capital Charlestown.
The island is divided into five parishes and the majority of the local population live in villages that span the northern and eastern shores. You’ll find that tourism is focused on the west coast, although the historic plantation properties are an exception to this rule as all but the Nisbet Plantation are situated inland.
Travellers who wish to rent a car or bike need to be aware that the road system on Nevis is like the UK and not the USA - ie they drive on the left hand side! The first night is always the most disorienting for drivers that have never done this but then its soon second nature for the rest of their stay.
While self-catered accommodation options such as The Retreat can provide a private chef service on request, three supermarkets (two in Charlestown and one in Gingerland) offer a selection of fresh and long life grocery items. There are also a number of fresh fruit and vegetable stands located in Charlestown and a health food shop on the main island road between Charlestown and Gingerland.
Local Laws and Customs
– Nudism and topless sunbathing are illegal
– Minimum driving age is 18 years old
– Minimum drinking age is 18 years old
– Drink driving is illegal on Nevis and those found guilty can be fined and/or jailed for up to 12 months
To view an up-to-date availability calendar, contact us, or make a booking at The Retreat, please click here.
Read more about the island of Nevis and find Nevis travel inspiration in the helpful guides below.