Nevis (pronounced nee'-vis) is part of the
St. Kitts & Nevis Federation, an independent
nation within the British Commonwealth. The
Federation received its independence from
Britain in 1983, and British influence is
still strong. Nevis was presumably named by Christopher
Columbus, who sailed by and landed on St. Kitts in 1493.
Nevis comes from the Spanish word for snow; the name was inspired by white
clouds around Nevis Peak.
Nevis is one of the Leeward Islands
and lies about 200 miles south
of Puerto Rico.
(See a map of the Caribbean Sea here.)
Nevis is slightly elongated, 7 miles long and 5 miles wide
with an area of 36 sq. miles.
(See a map of Nevis here.)
A drive around the island on the main road takes about an
The beautiful Nevis Peak, an extinct
volcano (elev. 3,232 ft.), dominates the
landscape. Nevis is separated from St. Kitts
by a narrow strait.
Nevis is exceptionally green with some
rainforest up in the hills.
Like all Carribbean islands, Nevis has a long
history of battles, pirates, and hurricanes.
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries,
sugar production on Nevis surpassed most
other Caribbean islands, making it a
valuable possession and gaining it the name
of "The Queen of the Caribees."
For an entertaining (if not 100% accurate) account
of Nevis history, get a copy of Swords,
Ships, and Sugar: A History of Nevis to
1900 by Vincent K. Hubbard.
About 10,000 people live on Nevis, most of
African descent. The official language is
Nevis is relatively prosperous,
with a literacy rate exceeding 97% and an
average life expectancy of over 67 years.
The capital of Nevis is Charlestown.
Nevisians are church-going people with Methodist,
Baptist, Roman Catholic, Jehovah’s Witnesses
and other faiths represented.
There is no synagogue
used to be one
in the 17th - 18th centuries;
a Jewish cemetery with some 300-year-old
graves is located near the center of
There is no agriculture left on Nevis
beyond small farming; sugar production
stopped long ago.
The main source of income is tourism.
The luxury Four Seasons resort is the major employer.
Nevis is quieter and more upscale than St. Kitts;
there are no cruise ships, casinos, or
high-rise hotels on Nevis.
And Nevisians like it that way.
The year-round temperature ranges
from 25oC to 30oC
(77oF - 86oF), usually with a cool
breeze on the Calypso and Iris verandas.
In October and early November Nevis may get some clouds and
The rest of the year, occasional tropical showers
lasting only a couple of minutes bring spectacular
rainbows over the sea.
The official currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC), which is
tied to the US dollar at the rate of US$ 1 = EC$ 2.66.
US dollars are accepted everywhere,
though change may often be given in EC. Credit cards are accepted widely,
including some grocery stores. There are a number of ATMs in town and at the airport.
Phone and the Internet
Direct dial to and from the US, area code 869.
Cable or wireless Internet access is available at the villas.
Driving and Getting Around
It is probably better to just take a cab from the airport
on the day of your arrival.
Nevis Car Rentals (869-469-9837; Fax: 869-469-9827),
M&M Car Rentals (Marlon, 869-663-2013),
Striker's Car Rentals (869-469-2654),
and other car rental companies will bring a car
or a jeep to your villa or will pick you up.
Driving is on the left side.
A jeep may be more fun ($45-$55 US/day).
Taxis are readily available but not cheap ($11 US
for a five-minute ride from the airport to Calypso and Iris).
"Dollar Buses" (actually minivans) go
to Charlestown ($3 EC) and elsewhere around the island
every half hour or so.
Mountain bike rentals
are available just below our villas
on Oualie Beach (869-469-9682).
Ferries to St. Kitts leave 3 times daily from Charlestown and take 40
Call 869-466-4636 for
a recording of daily ferry schedules.
See news and information at
the lovely and detailed web site of the
Nevis Tourism Authority,
and the St. Kitts and Nevis official government web site,