In terms of development, Nevis still is decades behind the rest of the Caribbean, a rare gemstone in an increasing sea of costume jewelry.
Just 36 square miles in size, Nevis (pronounced Nee-vis) is part of the federation known as St. Kitts and Nevis. St. Kitts is covered in a different section.
Tiny Nevis didn't seriously become interested in tourism until around 1980, so most of its natural environment remains untapped.
After entering the tourism race, Nevis quickly landed a coveted Four Seasons Resort, joining the Nisbet Plantation as one of the island's most upscale beachfront properties.
Many Nevis hotels, including The Hermitage, Golden Rock Inn and Mount Nevis Inn, are located in the cooler mountain interior.
The sland's hallmark is brooding Nevis Peak, a lush green, square-shaped volcanic mountain emerging from the water in an almost perfect cone shape. A sombrero of ever-present clouds usually obscures the 3,232-foot summit.
Seen from the water, Nevis Peak's white puffy shroud has a very primeval aspect, the kind of place where you wouldn't be too surprised to find a living species of dinosaur or even King Kong, himself.
The strong clouds that cover the Nevis Peak rain forest and the excellent hiking trails there are typically so dense that from a distance they could be mistaken for snow.
In fact, such a spectacle prompted Columbus in 1493 to christen the landfall "Nuestra Senora de las Nieves," Our Lady of the Snows, because it reminded him of the snow-covered Spanish Pyrenees.
That Mount Nevis can appear moody, even threatening, from a distance is more than just a fanciful impression. Nevis has experienced several memorable earthquakes, including one as recently as 1950 that caused considerable damage. But that one was insignificant compared to the earthquake and tidal wave that destroyed the capital, Jamestown, in 1660.
Although small, Nevis is unusually well endowed with beaches. The best is 4-mile long Pinney's Beach, truly the archetypal tropical beach; a wide ribbon of smooth, soft sand skirted by a thick coconut palm forest.
The combination of soft powdery sand, tall swaying palms and the striking view of mountainous St. Kitts sprawling on the horizon just two miles distant make this one of the Caribbean's finest.Hiking in the rain forest is one of the most popular land activities. The climb up Nevis Peak is one of the region's most challenging.
The EssentialsDetailed Background Facts & Map
Courtesy of the CIA
Nevis Road Map