What’s the secret to experiencing a perfect day in Nevis so meaningful that it lodges deep in your memory? Hint: It’s more than the thrilling experiences and enriching activities available on this Caribbean island.
On a recent trip with my husband to the 36-square-mile island of Nevis, we had the chance to craft a day-to-end-all-days. Nevis, part of the two-island nation of St. Kitts & Nevis and known as the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, afforded us a challenging hike up the iconic 3,232-foot Nevis Peak. At the backend, we reserved the Spa Under the Stars experience, a spa dinner beneath a star-studded night at Four Seasons Resort Nevis, where we were staying.
From grueling to indulgent, we hoped this itinerary would deliver a perfect day in Nevis. And it did, though only in part due to the exhilarating activities.
Spoiler Alert: The real thrill of this perfect day in Nevis came from conversations with residents. Sound oversimplistic? Truly, listening to lifelong residents talk about their homeland was more enlightening and educational than any set of experiences we could cobble together.
Understand Nevis Peak for a Perfect Day in Nevis
Looming like an enormous Hershey’s Kiss in the center of the island, the volcanic mountain with its gauzy signature cloud-covered tip shows up in nearly every photo. The five parishes of the island form “pizza slices,” starting from the top of the cone. But because the mountain is largely uninhabitable, the roughly 13k residents of the island are clustered around the coastal rim. One 19-mile road—without stoplights— circles the island.
Fun-fact: Nevis was named for the cloud-swathed peak which reminded Columbus and his team of Spanish explorers in 1493 of las nieves, “the snows.”
Consider Hiking Up Nevis Peak for a Perfect Day in Nevis
Hiking Nevis Peak is strenuous and often has zero visibility at the top. Yet we wanted this experience to be the first half of our perfect day in Nevis. The resort concierge desk recommended Devito (aka Kervin Liburd) of the family-operated Sunrise Tours to shepherd us on the grueling, muddy 4-hour hike.
Wearing hiking shoes and carrying a utility backpack, we met Devito at 7:30 A.M. to beat the heat.
Pro-tip: The hike starts at 2,695 feet though Nevis Peak measures 3,232 feet above sea level.
What Conditions to Expect on Nevis Peak
There was full sun at the outset, but we soon disappeared into a shaded rainforest with sauna-like conditions. The dense foliage was stunning, with orchids and ferns growing effortlessly off branches and trunks of trees. The ground grew increasingly muddy and sloppy. Ropes were critical to safely scramble. Devito led the way and walked us through each ascent, showing us how to take full advantage of the ropes or use a root or crevasse to climb.
If You Go: 1) Consider having gloves along because the ropes are rough on tender hands. 2) I noticed Devito had his phone secured in a ziplock bag to protect it from mud.
All About Mangoes in Nevis
“Let’s talk mangoes.” I hit Devito with a topic I love, mangoes, which I knew were plentiful on the island. He explained that Nevis is the #1 mango grower in the Caribbean, home to 44+ varieties. The island’s rich soil enables mangoes to grow wild, requiring no support or attention.
All mango lovers should visit in July during the peak season, he said. The popular summertime Mango Festival showcases local chefs’ culinary creations, which are judged by a celebrity panel of international chefs.
Cross-Channel Swim in Nevis
I discovered Devito had been a guide for 11 years and asked how many times he’d climbed Nevis Peak. He cracked a smile: “About a million. And I’m still here!” Indicating we shouldn’t worry—we’d survive.
The day before, he climbed with two swimmers in town to compete in the annual Cross-Channel Swim, taking place while we were hiking. Devito jabbed his thumb toward Oualie Beach, where the race starts. It’s a bucket list for lovers of open-water swims and draws 350+ globally to cross The Narrows, the 2-mile stretch between Nevis and St. Kitts.
Fun-fact: The event partners with the Special Olympics local chapter and St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network to bring attention to the oceans’ endangered species. They also support Gifting Goggles, an effort which solicits visitors to donate used goggles for the youth swimming program.
Learning About Must-See Sights on a Perfect Day in Nevis
Warning of post-hike aches, Devito recommended the healing public hot springs near the site of the 1778 Bath Hotel, the oldest luxury hotel in the Caribbean, which once entertained celebrities. Consuming a strong rum drink, Killer Bee, at the popular beachside bar Sunshine’s couldn’t hurt either. During a water break, he talked about the 60+ churches in Nevis and pointed toward the oldest continuously active church in the Caribbean, 1643 St Thomas Anglican.
View From the Top of Nevis Peak
While we enjoyed stunning views during our ascent on our perfect day in Nevis, the top was sadly cloud-covered. Yet, Devito gestured to where the island of Montserrat and other landmarks would be easily spotted sans clouds.
Pro-tip: Nevis offers many easy to moderate hikes. Ask about what locals refer to as the waterfall hike as well as Golden Rock and Saddle Hill.
Savor Sunset at Four Seasons Resort Nevis Pier Bar for a Perfect Day in Nevis
At sunset, we sat at Four Seasons’ iconic bar on the Pier, enchanted by the setting sun.
Experience Spa Under the Stars for a Perfect Day in Nevis
We arrived at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis spa for our indulgent Spa Under the Stars evening. The experience gives one couple full use of all spa amenities, a 180-minute treatment, plus a 4-course meal. It perfectly balanced the rigors of the first part of our day. Stepping into the hushed candlelit entry lavishly carpeted with rose petals, we were greeted by name with Champagne and handed plush robes. In the garden sanctuary, the bubbling of the volcanic-stone whirlpool with a waterfall and lush landscaping under a starry sky made for an exclusive retreat. Towels artistically folded into swans— known to form lifelong monogamous bonds— further underscored the aura of romance.
A Nevisian Massage is Part of a Perfect Day in Nevis
Our signature Nevisian Massage commenced—a treatment incorporating island oils, spices, and herbs. It begins with a warm foot bath of soothing lemongrass water and an aromatic scrub. Then the main treatment ensues—a full-body massage using long, flowing strokes to evoke ocean waves.
Excellent Cuisine is Essential to a Perfect Day in Nevis
Relaxed but ravenous, my husband and I moved to a gorgeously laid white tablecloth setting for dinner. Our dinner attendant was Tricia Williams, born and raised on Nevis and, by day, a full-time award-winning schoolteacher at St. James’ Primary School. As she served the elegant menu, which included quinoa kale salad, seared scallops, and beef medallion, we talked about life on Nevis.
Tricia was warm and engaging, telling us more about the island’s roughly 30,000 wild green vervet monkeys. Though enjoyed by tourists (who doesn’t want to do some monkey-spotting?)—they create hardships for locals, eating from farmers and stripping residential gardens. Her insight provided a window into everyday life.
I marveled at Tricia’s work ethic, discovering that she serves on the management team at the school where she teaches and has been an “on-call” employee at the resort for 10+ years.
Four Seasons is the island’s second-largest employer after the government, and Tricia explained that working there is economically fulfilling. Moreover, it provides an outlet to exercise her talents and values while expanding her skill set. She credits the resort for allowing her firsthand interaction with different cultures. “The jargon, types of foods and wines, the introduction of salutations of different languages, and the intricate details of places of origin of the patrons of the hotel adds to the wealth of experience that I gain.”
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The Perfect Day in Nevis
Tricia’s perspective resonated with me in the reverse as the one traveling. On this perfect day in Nevis, I rediscovered the truth that travel is enhanced by engaging with locals. I left with a feeling of kinship with the island through my interactions with those who know it best. Let Wander With Wonder be your guide when planning your journey to the Caribbean or other magnificent beach vacations.