A Perfect Choice for a Family Vacation
The island of Nevis is a true hidden gem in the Caribbean! We were fortunate enough to visit Nevis (along with Anguilla, see our review of Anguilla here) the past July for Josh’s 40th birthday. We had not heard of Nevis before this trip, and we were so happy to have chosen it for our family vacation/birthday celebration!
Nevis is a small island southeast of Puerto Rico. It is only 36 sq mi large, and together with its neighboring island of St Kitts, it makes up one country: The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis.
The History of Nevis
For such a small island, Nevis has had some pretty large moments in history. Christopher Columbus first sighted Nevis in 1493 and named it St Martin, but due to limited mapping at the time, that name was later transferred to another island. Captain John Smith, who later founded the Jamestown, also visited the island on his way to the New World.
During this colonial era, Nevis was found to have high quality sugar cane, and so it was colonized by Great Britain and became a major exporter of sugar for them. One can still see the remains of these impressive sugar cane mills on the island today. Sadly, Nevis was also a hub for slave trade in the Caribbean during that time.
One fun trivia fact about Nevis is that it was the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, whose life inspired the award-winning musical Hamilton.
We often are asked why we choose our travel destinations, since many times we visit places that are not on the average person’s list of places to vacation. Well, we would love to visit every country in the world at some point, but we normally try to explore locations that are “off the beaten path” a bit. Although it can be a little nerve wracking during the planning process, it can make for amazing adventures.
That being said, I have to be honest about our decision to visit Nevis. Basically, we chose Nevis because there is a Four Seasons resort there. I know what you may be thinking, but having stayed at Four Seasons resorts for the past 15 years, and having friends and family that work for the brand, I know all too well that you can never go wrong with a Four Seasons resort destination. Four Seasons completes an in-depth evaluation of every location before they choose a resort location, so I know that they have done the homework for me. And no, I do not receive any compensation for writing this!
If you’re flying from the US, you can fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico and can connect directly into Nevis, using Tradewind Aviation or SeaBorne Airline. Travelers from North America or the UK can choose to fly to St Kitts and then connect to Nevis (via ferry or private boat). Another option would be to fly to Antigua and take Tradewind Aviation to Nevis. We were coming from Anguilla via St Maarten, so we flew into St Kitts. We arranged a transfer through the hotel, so they facilitated a taxi to the marina, where we took a private boat to the resort.
We stayed in a Four Seasons Plantation Suite, which is a one-bedroom suite with a sofa bed in the separate living area. The room was well-appointed with comfortable bedding, a large marble bathroom, and a coffee and tea bar with a Nespresso machine. Upon arrival, we were greeted by these three stuffed monkeys which the hotel gifted to the children, along with baby and children’s toiletries. There are washer and dryers designated for guest use throughout the property, and complimentary laundry detergent and dryer sheets are provided as well.
Tip: If you’re visiting with kids, request a ground floor unit. There is a large lawn between the building that houses these suites and the beach, where the children can run around and burn off some energy.
The resort has a wide array of activities, such as non-motorized water sports (kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling), volleyball, a tennis, and different tours of the expansive property. You can choose to play golf or even take a lesson on their stunning course, which has beautiful views of neighboring St Kitts.
There are four beach cabanas, just steps away from the water’s edge, that you can rent for a perfect beach day. They come with wifi, a docking station, a mini bar stocked with non alcoholic beverages, snacks, and a personal attendant. We rented cabana 1302, called Meringue, one day, and it made for a perfect beach day.
Outside of the resort, we chose to take a 4×4 tour of the island with Funky Monkey Tours, which I highly recommend! They have different 4×4 vehicles available, and some can seat up to 6 people. They even have car seats available upon request! On this tour we were able to see on and off-road parts of the island that we would not have had a chance to experience otherwise, like The Cottle Church and many of the island’s wild donkeys and monkeys.
We also experienced a stunning sunset horseback ride organized by the Nevis Equestrian Centre. The Equestrian Centre is very much a laidback, island-vibe outfitter, but they area professional and will pair you with the perfect horse, regardess of whether it’s your first ride or your fiftieth.
Since we flew to Nevis immediately after visiting Anguilla, which is know as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,” we were almost prepared to be slightly disappointed by our dining experiences here. Boy were we wrong! We were pleasantly surprised by every meal, and since we were visiting during what is considered the slow time (May-Nov), we had no issues with reservations at our chosen restaurants. In fact, on the evening we visited The Hermitage Plantation, we were the only ones dining. The Hermitage Plantation is a 17th century home set in a lush garden among mango and palm trees, where you dine on the verandah overlooking the gardens. The ambiance here had a more formal feel than the other restaurants we enjoyed over the course of our stay in Nevis. They do not have a kid’s menu, but our server was very accommodation and offered to split an adult pasta dish in three for our children. All of their dishes are made with local ingredients with a West Indian flare.
Our favorite restaurant experience in Nevis was Bananas. From the moment you arrive, the staff makes you feel like you are at a friend’s house for dinner. The restaurant itself is on the second floor, above the historic Hamilton Estate. It exudes character, with a cozy plantation meets shabby chic meets island flair. They serve Caribbean comfort food that is just delectable. They also have a small boutique on the premises that is worth a stop on your way out.
Our Overall Impression
Our little family gives Nevis ten thumbs up. Even as I write this, my daughter is standing by my side, looking at our photos of Nevis and asking to go back. The sand was darker and not as fine as the sand in Anguilla, but the water is just as clear and warm. It is a tiny island, rich in history and shock full of activities for the entire family.