Circular Island Walk

Get to know Nevis.
Walk the entire island in just a day.

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Time: 1 full day. Difficulty: 3-4 because of distance and the long walk in the open.

There is much to see around the rest of the island, most of it near the coastline. Most people prefer to drive the 20-mile main road encircling Nevis, but a roundabout walk certainly is possible in a single day if you desire a really good stretch of the legs.

It's also a good way to get in shape if you plan to tackle Nevis peak, one of the Caribbean 's toughest hikes.

Nevis's main road passes through the flatland of Charlestown, but it also runs through quite hilly regions, mostly in the south-southwest, where you'll find most of the historical sites.

Some places to look for: Nevis played an important role in the life of famed British Admiral, Lord Nelson. St. John's Anglican Church at Fig Tree, an ancient stone building featuring a bell tower, proudly displays the faded marriage certificate that reads "Horatio Nelson, Esq., to Frances Nisbet, widow, on March 11, 1787." The Duke of Clarence, who became King William IV, stood up for Nelson.

The Nelson Museum is nearby at Morning Star Plantation, where his books, pictures and letters are on display. Admission is free. The poorly marked Nelson's Spring is where Nelson took on fresh water for his ships. It must have once been an impressive outflow of water, but it's reduced today to a small reflecting pond. It is considered historically important as the site where Nelson supposedly met Fanny Nisbet, his future wife.

 Indian Castle Estate is a long detour to the south, down Hanley's Road to a government farm raising cattle and experimental crops. This was once a busy place, with ships loading sugar and its by-products for export to the U.S., Canada and England .

New River Plantation was the last sugar plantation on Nevis to go bust, surviving until the 1940s. It was built in the 17th century and "modernized" by converting to steam in the late 1800s. Government-owned and open to the public, you can still see the ruins of the Great House and the big water cistern.

The Eden Brown Estate, built around 1740, is the island's haunted ruin. In 1822, it was occupied by Miss Julia Higgins, who was preparing to marry a gentleman named Maynard. On their wedding day, he and his best man had a falling out, and the two killed each other in a duel. One story says the distraught bride became a recluse and the mansion was closed down. Another version says that following the duel, she screamed until she died. Locals will tell you that whenever they're near the property, they feel the presence of someone...they're not sure if it Miss Higgins or Mr. Maynard...but it's definitely...someone. The government owns the property, this is one haunted house that doesn't welcome overnight guests. Just day walkers.

The Nisbet Plantation beach is only a quarter of a mile long, but until Hurricane Hugo thinned out its palms, it was one of the most photographed ribbons of sand in the Caribbean. It's still well worth a visit, if only to enjoy one of the fabulous burgers in the beach restaurant. The Nisbet Plantation is, of course, where Nelson's bride once lived. The Great House is an excellent restaurant, with an 18th-century ambiance, thanks to its fine dining room and mahogany bar.

The Cades Bay Soufriere is one of several active areas to remind you that Mount Nevis is not dead, only sleeping. Look for a burned-out gully or follow the unmistakable sulfur smell to its source. Steam sometimes shoots from the vents and the rocks are warm. This soufriere opened in 1951.

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