Nevis - Abbey Travel, Ireland



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Welcome to Nevis


From its beginnings as Dulcina, or 'Sweet Island' during the time of the island's first inhabitants, to Oualie, or 'land of beautiful waters' as named by the Carib Indians, Nevis has always been a paradise to those who lived there, and is like finding a pearl hidden in the Caribbean oyster for those who visit today. Christopher Columbus derived the present-day name of Nevis from his sighting of the island in 1493; the island's cloud-capped volcanic peak reminded him of snow, or 'nieves' in Spanish.

Small and round, Nevis is about seven miles (11km) long and five miles (8km) wide, an unspoilt and serene island that is delight for nature lovers and for those seeking an escape from the stresses of the modern day world. Its single volcanic peak rises 3,232ft (985m) above the verdant rainforest filled with tropical flowers and animals, and the beaches and clear waters that surround the island provide the ideal holiday environment for swimming, sunbathing and underwater exploration.

During the 18th century Nevis gained undreamt-of wealth from its sugar industry and became known as the Queen of the Caribbean sugar islands, with a social life that became as decadent as it was extravagant. Today grand estate houses and once lavish hotels lie in ruins, and sugar plantations remain untouched as they have been since the decline of the most coveted trade in the Caribbean towards the end of the 18th century.

A sad decline it might have been then, but the charm of its small towns, the genuine hospitality and friendliness of the people, and the laws controlling over-development and natural conservation, are attractions far more endearing to visitors today. Lavish manors have been preserved and rank among the best plantation inns in the Caribbean, and architectural gems and historical relics hold hours of exploration amid the natural splendour that covers the island.

Today, Nevis has a reputation of elegant living, with one of the world's most exlusive resorts and spas, golf courses, a variety of restaurants and bars, and beautiful gardens and beaches. A vacation in Nevis is sure to recharge any traveller's batteries.

Information & Facts


Nevis experiences a classic tropical climate with the cooling north-easterly trade winds that moderate the temperature. With no definite seasons, the average daytime highs are much the same throughout the year with the average temperature reaching 79°F (26°C). The months between July and November are more prone to rainfall when the hurricane season prevails, humidity is higher and the temperatures are slightly hotter.

English is the official language.

The official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (XCD), which is divided into 100 cents. It is tied to the US dollar at a rate of US$1=EC$2.70. Most businesses accept US Dollar notes as payment, but change is given in EC$. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted, and major currencies can be exchanged at banks, with US Dollars the cheapest to exchange. Most banks are closed on weekends, but provide 24-hour ATM services.

Local time is GMT -4.

The unassuming capital of Nevis is one of the most charming towns in the Caribbean, with a small population and a tranquil atmosphere to match. Eighteenth and 19th century Georgian buildings remain from the colonial era, with ground floors of stone and wooden structures upstairs, a building custom that came about due to the destruction caused by the frequent earthquakes of the 1800s. Part of Charlestown's vivid history was the birth of Alexander Hamilton, the great American statesman, whose family estate home has been turned into a museum of Nevis history as well as Hamilton memorabilia. Charlestown is also the site of the Jewish cemetery, a reminder of the Sephardic Jews whose sought-after sugar processing techniques were responsible for the ultimate success and prosperity of the sugar industry on the island.

The museum contains the largest collection of Nelson memorabilia in the Americas, and is dedicated to the life of the British Naval Admiral who was Britain's greatest naval hero who died in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Horatio Nelson visited Nevis in the late 18th century during his time based in nearby Antigua, and was where he courted and married Frances Nisbet in what is undoubtedly the island's most famous wedding yet. The displays offer a fascinating introduction to the life and times of Nelson, including photos of Nevis, his wedding, miniatures of his fleet, and other souvenirs of the island during his time.

One of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Pinney's Beach is the epitome of paradise with its fine white sands backed by palm trees and lapped by calm Caribbean waters. The four-mile (6km) stretch of sand is never crowded and is backed by a beautiful lagoon.

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