Last Updated 5/28/17

| Travel | Nevis, West Indies

Published June 8, 2017 in Personal, Travel

Oua·lie
/wôlē/

“Land of Beautiful Waters”

 

I’m a little late but wanted to share travel photos of our (not-so-recent) trip to the Caribbean Island of Nevis. Our sons were 3 and 1, and my husband wanted to go on a trip just the two of us. Me – not so much! I had trepidations about leaving the boys, especially leave the country! And my husband chose the obscure Island of Nevis. Nevis?! Never heard of the place!

Nonetheless, I for once was not involved in the vacation planning and also not too excited. But thankfully, PLEASANTLY surprised by the gorgeous waters, beaches, and landscapes of this quiet, serene Island.

The Caribbean, Mon

This was both of our first time down in the Caribbean! Now, I know where the term “Caribbean Blue” came from, because the water was a unique and amazing turquoise color. St Kitts is absolutely gorgeous – it’s mountainous with gorgeous ocean views, rolling hills, beautiful beaches. It was such a pretty island and I’m glad we were able to see it by flying into there. The difference between St Kitts and Nevis – St Kitts is much larger, population of about 50,000, has high rises, many resorts, highways, traffic, and frequented by large cruise ships. So it’s larger with lots of activity.

Nevis (pronounced nee-vis) on the other hand – much smaller island. Population of 11,000. No high rises, no interstate, no traffic – no hustle & bustle. It’s called the ‘Queen of the Caribbean’ and still a very authentic island. It is the place people go just to get away for peace and quiet. It’s popular among celebrities to vacation in peace with anonymity – (the names we heard tossed around were Oprah, Eddie Murphy, Kelly Ripa, Ellen Degeneres, Jay Z & Bey, etc). It’s most notable for being the place Princess Diana escaped with William & Harry after her divorce. Oh, and other big claims to fame – a respite for Christopher Columbus and birthplace to Alexander Hamilton.

Arriving to Nevis

It was a trek to get there- we drove to Birmingham, flew from Birmingham to Miami, and Miami to St. Kitts. From there, we took a taxi across St. Kitts to Reggae Beach where we got on a Water Taxi (speed boat) that quickly (6 minutes) took us across the narrows (a bay in between the two islands) to Oualie Beach on Nevis.

water taxis to nevis

Taking the water taxi across the narrows – St. Kitts in the background

Oualie Bay

Arriving at Oualie Bay

Oualie Beach Resort

Arriving at Oualie Beach Resort

We rented a house just short walk from the beach called “Yellow Bird” – a perfect little oasis with a pool and a balcony that overlooked Oualie. And ‘oasis’ is a great word for the Island – serene, quiet, remote. Just across the street from where we stayed was the Oualie Beach Resort where we had dinner the first night with our toes in the sand – we got the Mahi Mahi special and all Nevisian meals seem to have a side of “rice and peas.” Very tasty!

Yellow Bird, Nevis

A view of the home where we stayed – “Yellow Bird”

View from Yellow Bird, Nevis

View of Oualie Bay from our balcony

Lovers Beach, Nevis

We took public transportation around the Island and felt like a local for the week. This included a trip to the Downtown grocery store in Charlestown to pick up snacks and peruse the aisles – I love to see what foods and products are different. It is great to talk to the locals and get their dining and excursion recommendations and of course – a challenge to decipher their accents!  Something we found so unique and loved about the locals is that that everyone we met went by a nickname – Chili, Baba, Smoothie, Sunshine, Scuba Boy (only to find out their real names were like Charles, Alfred, and Robert). However, not unlike hanging out at an Air Force Squadron where everyone goes by his/her call signs!

The Yellow Bird where we stayed was a 1/2 mile walk to Sea Haven Beach, also known as “Lovers Beach” which we frequented on our trip.  The name “Lovers Beach” is a given – it’s virtually hidden from the road. After a quick jaunt through a wooded trail, the trees open up to a massive (maybe one mile long) beach that was completely secluded. This beach is on the North Side of the Island, where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic, so the waves were rougher and not a great place to snorkel (though we tried). It was absolutely beautiful, with a fantastic view of St. Kitts. Interesting fact – all beaches along Nevis are open to the Public.

Lovers Beach, Nevis

Lovers Beach – taken with my iPhone

Lovers Beach, Nevis

Lovers Beach – taken with my iPhone

Hiking to Nevis Peak

One of our excursions on this trip was a hike to the top of Nevis Peak – the one mountain (inactive volcano) on the island and the highest point. Our guide was a young local boy named Nichael who led us to the top through a muddy jungle. He was very polite, knowledgeable, and affable. Ok, I am not new to hiking, we’ve hiked quite a bit, backpacked and climbed mountains from North Carolina to Alaska – but this was the hardest hike I’ve ever done. It was not the longest, but it was the most intense and not for a beginner – the first 40% or so of the hike was straight up like stairs; the next 60% was straight up but over roots and bouldering rocks, using ropes. It was much less of a hike and more of a climb. We flew through it though because we were told it takes about 2.5 hours to make it to the top for the average hiker, and we did it in 1hr 40min.

Unfortunately, we did not get to see the amazing views of the Island at the top. It is very common for the peak to be covered in a ring of clouds. In fact, the name Nevis derived from the Spanish Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (which means Our Lady of the Snows). Columbus called the Island Our Lady of the Snows because the peak looked like it was always covered in Snow. I digress, it was still a fun adventure and a good workout. And at least we can say we accomplished that. The hike down went more quickly, but we got so muddy and dirty! All 3 of us were slipping and sliding at some points.

Nevis Peak

Mad it to the top of Nevis Peak

Nevis Peak

Our view at the top of Nevis Peak – haha

Sailing Nevis

Our favorite day in Nevis was definitely our day of Sailing and Snorkeling around the Caribbean! We chartered a half-day sail through Nevis Yachts where Miles was not only our captain but also a Marine Biologist and Scuba Instructor who showed us around the island and took us to the best snorkeling spot around – Shitten Bay off of St. Kitts. His deckhand Devon was a local Island boy who was becoming a sailing instructor and also skilled in diving. We started our trip by just sailing along the coast of Nevis, with our private guides telling us history, facts, and culture of the Island. We enjoyed beer (Michael), Rum Punch (me), and snacks as we cruised. And in fact, the deckhand’s rum punch was the best I had on the Island. Or maybe it was because I was drinking it on a yacht in the Caribbean Sea…

Nevis Yacht Charters

Setting sail on Nevis Yacht Charters

Nevis Yacht Charters

Miles, our Captain

Nevis Yacht Charters

Nevis Yacht Charters

Nevis Yacht Charters

Our first mate Devon

Nevis Yacht Charters

This is the life…

The snorkeling was amazing – how cool was it to have a marine biologist as our guide – he knew where to find lots of interesting sea creatures. We saw sea turtles, star fish, sea urchin, trumpet fish, eel, and lots of colorful fish (rainbow fish). In fact, we saw the coolest fish we had ever seen – I believe was a Queen Triggerfish.

Definitely both of our favorite day on our Caribbean Vacay.

Shitten Bay, St. Kitts

Snorkeling around Shitten Bay

Sunken Ship in Shitten Bay, St. Kitts

A sunken ship – great place to snorkel and where we saw the coolest fish

Shitten Bay, St. Kitts

Shitten Bay, St. Kitts

Nevis

Heading back to Nevis

Sailing Nevis

Sailing along Nevis

Oualie Bay, Nevis

Returning to Oualie Bay, Nevis

Dining in Nevis

We had some fantastic meals in Nevis and we dined based on recommendations by locals. Fresh seafood was obviously at the top of our lists, such as mahi mahi, lobster, and conch. All delicious. A roadside stand had some of the best BBQ chicken! Chrishi’s Beach Club Lounge & Restaurant was a cool bar right on the water where we really enjoyed getting drinks and chilling. The Gin Trap was brand new and right around the block from where we stayed and had good food and a great ambiance. One of our favorite meals was at a place we completely stumbled upon during an evening beach stroll – Yachtsman’s Grill. Awesome lobster mac & cheese and lobster pizza.

There were two places that were recommended overwhelmingly – Sunshines Bar for chilling and drinks and Banana’s Restaurant for finer dining. Neither disappointed! Sunshine’s is open-air cabanas on Pinny’s Beach with low tables and lots of pillowed seats – made for relaxing. It had a great seafood menu (loved the fried conch balls) but is most known for their famous rum drink “The Killer Be.” Killer Bee was MIGHTY good and MIGHTY strong. Just one and I was feeling good. The ceilings are covered in college, state, and various country flags (I found LSU – Geaux Tigers!).  And the walls are covered with pictures of famous celebrities who have visited (George Bush, Bill Clinton, Jay Z & Bey, Britney Spears, Oprah – and Kelly Ripa who is particularly a big fan). We chilled there, ate, drank, and chatted it up with locals, our waiter and Sunshine himself. The island is so small and the people are so hospitable that the bartender gave us a ride home. We loved it so much, we had to go back! When we returned, the bartender said, “I heard you went sailing, how did you like it?!” Sunshines is right on Pinny Beach and a great place to relax and watch monkeys play.

Sunshine's famous Killer Bee

Sunshine’s famous Killer Bee

When we spoke to locals, Bananas Restaurant came up time and again as arguably the best on the Island. It’s known for fabulous local cuisine but also for it’s fantastic ambiance, as it’s situated up in the foothills of the volcano and perched in the jungle. We went early in the evening to enjoy drinks on their rooftop terrace for the fabulous view of sunset on the ocean. It was awesome! Though it started drizzling for a little while when we were up there, and it was a cloudier sunset.

One dish that we heard a lot about was “goat water” and though the name was unappetizing, it was something we had to try. It was basically a stew with vegetables, including one indigenous to Nevis called “breadfruit” and of course goat meat. It was very tasty! Similar to a stew we would eat but of course with different seasonings. The waitress was giddy when I ordered it; she exclaimed, “You will not be disappointed!!” The rest of our meal was fantastic too, including the ribs and the must-try Coconut Cake.

Monkeys of Nevis

Monkeys seen on the way to Bananas Restaurant

Nevis Flowers

Nevis Flowers

Sunset atop Bananas, Nevis

Sunset view atop Bananas Restaurant

Sunset atop Bananas, Nevis

Sunset atop Bananas, Nevis

Nisbet Plantation

On our last full day in Nevis, we got cultural. A few hundred years ago, the Island’s main industry was sugar production. The Island had many sugar plantations throughout but were eventually ravaged by wars and hurricanes. However, a few of the structures were intact or refurbished and have been converted to restaurants and hotels. So, we decided to check out one of the plantations before we left Nevis. We chose Nisbit Plantation, for no particular reason. But the main house/restaurant was very cute and the grounds were very pretty. We walked all around and saw the bungalows that were for rent.

Nisbet is on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Island so the surf at their beach was much rougher. However, the view was really spectacular at this beach – tons of palm trees and still a nice view of St Kitt’s across the narrows. And still – very few people around, everywhere we went. Such a great island for a quiet retreat. From here, we walked down the beach for miles – probably about 3 miles until it got too rocky to cross and we just hopped on the bus. Headed back to our favorite – good ole Lovers Beach!

The Beach at Nisbet Plantation

The Beach at Nisbet Plantation

The Beach at Nisbet Plantation

The Beach at Nisbet Plantation

The Beach at Nisbet Plantation

Coconut on the beach

Nevis

On our walk around the island

Good-Bye, Nevis….

Overall, we had a fantastic Caribbean vacation and were sad to say ‘bye’ to this beautiful Caribbean Island!

Oualie Bay

Heading out of Oualie Bay – thankful for camera timer

Oualie Bay

Oualie Bay

Oualie Bay

Oualie Bay

Oualie Bay

Oualie Bay

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