Once the most productive island for sugar in the world, Nevis is ideal for adventure-seekers and hammock-dwellers alike
By late 2009, all of Nevis’s electricity will come from renewable geothermal power plants thanks to Mount Nevis, a dormant volcano. Steam from heated underground water will turn turbines to generate enough electricity to power St. Kitts and Nevis. Both islands will then be able to stop buying oil to produce energy, and residents will see a 50 percent reduction in the cost of electricity.
There are plenty of entertaining characters on this small island: from taxi driver T. C., a feisty, flame-haired Brit who knows everything and everyone, to the dreadlocked Sunshine, whose self-named beach side bar is a favorite with locals and celebs alike (try his Killer Bee—a rum punch whose ingredients are top secret and, from the taste of it, top shelf).
Nevis is the sister island to the bigger, flashier, much more developed St. Kitts. Its 10,000 residents live in the shadow of Mount Nevis, where hard-core hikers head for the top, 3,232 feet above sea level through the rain forest. (Less experienced hikers can find plenty of easier trails to choose from that still offer panoramic views and a breezy escape from the heat.)
On the water, let marine biologist turned yacht captain Miles Denne of Nevis Yacht Charters show you the thirty-six-square-mile island and you'll understand why he left his native England in favor of bare feet and a good breeze. Charter a yacht for a half day of sailing and snorkeling or for a couple hours in the evening for a champagne sunset tour. Rates are comparable to those on the larger catamarans, but the experience is unequaled.
The Four Seasons Resort hosts families and couples (most notably, honeymooners), but for a more private and unique experience, stay at one of the island's many plantation inns once known for their sugar production. Notable inns include Nisbet Plantation the island's only beach front plantation ($350-$835 per night); the hillside Mount Nevis Hotel, which boasts sweeping ocean views and amiable, good-natured hosts ($250-$675 per night); and Montpelier Plantation Inn, where the eighteenth-century sugar mill dining room is a candlelit experience not to be missed ($300-$1,200 per night).
GET THERE: From Charlotte, expect to spend between $1,000 and $1,800 per person on airfare and make at least two connections.