This is the time of the year that many people head south to escape the worst that Minnesota’s winter can throw at us. While Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic remain the most popular destinations for Minnesotans heading to the Caribbean, they are starting to suffer from the problems of overtourism and crowds. For people seeking a more serene, authentic experience, the good news is that there are lots of excellent options available. The island of Nevis, part of the southern Caribbean nation of St. Kitts & Nevis, is a perfect example.
Located about a five hour flight from Minneapolis, Nevis is a small, unspoiled, relaxing island of approximately 36 square miles and about 10,000 residents. Non-stop flights to the neighboring island of St. Kitts are available every Saturday during the winter/spring season, or daily connecting flights are available through Miami. From the St. Kitts airport, it is 30 minute transfer by taxi and water taxi to Nevis, and you’ll truly feel your stresses and worries vanish as you make your way to the island.
Visitors to Nevis will find high quality, luxurious accommodations scattered throughout the island. For the luxury-minded traveler, there is a stunning Four Seasons Resort located on a beautiful stretch of beach, boasting a Robert Trent Jones II golf course, a comprehensive family program (including babysitting service), and the top notch service you’d expect from Four Seasons.
Other accommodations are equally luxurious, yet offer a far more intimate setting. The Montpelier Plantation and Nisbet Plantation resorts are two of my favorites, each offering a distinctive island experience paired with superb cuisine. Each occupies the site of a former sugar plantation, with charming accommodations in a highly private, uncrowded setting. I am reliably informed that the rum punch served at Montpelier Plantation is the best in the Caribbean, and I can say from personal experience that the Johnny Cakes (similar to a fried pancake) at Nisbet Planation are outstanding!
There are no all-inclusive resorts on the islands, which encourages guests to leave the property and discover authentic regional cuisine in a variety of nice restaurants, none of which is more than a 20 minute drive from the resort. Nevis boasts some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean, many offering open air or even beachfront dining. The annual Nevis Mango and Food Festival, held in July of each year, brings chefs from around the world to compete in a series of competitions designed to showcase local food and produce.
Pleasant beaches surround the island, offering relaxation or a chance to go for a swim. Snorkeling, scuba diving, and other water sports are readily available throughout the island. For the active traveler, biking around the island can make for an enjoyable day. Fancy a bit of cricket? The island’s well-regarded home team hosts matches throughout much of the year. Looking for a unique destination for a wedding or honeymoon? Nevis offers some very romantic options.
Nevis is also an island rich in history. The American founding father Alexander Hamilton was born on the island, and his birthplace is a museum that doubles as the island’s local parliament assembly. The capital, Charlestown, is a charming mélange of Georgian English architecture mixed with bright Caribbean colors. Elsewhere on the island, remnants of the once-dominant sugar industry can be seen, offering insight into Nevis’ unique history.
The island’s residents, called Nevians, are friendly and welcoming, and very eager to share their special island with visitors. If you’re looking for a unique destination to visit next winter, you’ll definitely want to put the island of Nevis on your list of places to go!